If you're a Star Trek fan, there's no doubt you know about the new movie coming in May 2009, unless you really have been hiding out in your mom's basement, and both your tv and internet connection are broken. This movie fits into the Star Trek universe/timeline after the series "Enterprise" but before the start of the original Star Trek series, which fans abbreviate as "TOS" (the original series). It shows how the classic Star Trek crew of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and others met at Star Fleet Academy and presumably will cover their very first adventures together. And one thing the trailer has shown they will encounter will be at least one bald Romulan with multiple facial tattoos.
It's already known that the villain of the movie is a Romulan named Nero, who will be played by Australian actor Eric Bana. You might remember him as David Banner in the first Incredible Hulk movie, or as the hero Hector in the movie "Troy." Bana has said in interviews he was a huge fan of the show as child and was very enthusiastic about being cast in the film.
In TOS Romulans were nearly identical to Vulcans, and in fact, are descended from common ancestors. They are portrayed as giving full vent to their emotions in contrast to the Vulcans who suppressed them. When ST: The Next Generation television show was in production, Romulans were portrayed as having forehead ridges to differentiate them from Vulcans. In this latest film, their shaved heads and tribal-style facial tattoos are what set them apart from their Vulcan brethren.
Fan reaction to the images have been mixed, especially since the only Romulan shown so far is Bana's Nero. Reading over various forums and sites, the responses so far range from "OMG, tattooed Romulans? Give me a break!" to "Those tattoos are awesome and those guys look amazing." Producer Damon Lindelof has described the Romulans as being like pirates. Some fans have pointed out the tattoo designs look like those seen on Romulan helmets from one of the other films. Will these tattoos "work?" We'll all have to wait until May 2009 to find out...