Exclusive: Countdown Writers Talk Nero, Star Trek Movie, Prequel Comic & more | TrekMovie.com
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Exclusive: Countdown Writers Talk Nero, Star Trek Movie, Prequel Comic & more March 3, 2009

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Comics,Conventions/Events/Attractions,Interview,Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback

"Star Trek: Countdown" is the official prequel comic for the new Star Trek movie, with two issues of the four issue series released so far. Countdown writers Mike Johnson and Tim Jones talked about the series at a panel at Wondercon over the weekend. TrekMovie has a report from that appearance plus an exclusive follow-up interview full of information on both the comics and the movie. [COMIC and MOVIE spoilers below]

 

IDW Movie tie-in Panel – Countdown portion transcript
IDW’s Wondercon panel on movie-tie ins comics included "Star Trek Countdown" writers Tim Jones and Mike Johnson. The pair spoke about the genesis of "Star Trek Countdown" and how it ties the movie to the TNG era. Here is a transcript of their portion of the panel.  

Mike Johnson: We both work for Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci, so when they were talking about what we can do to do something special, they were talking about something that would honor The Next Generation cast. We are all huge fans and grew up on Next Gen, we are huge fanboys. We found out a way to connect The Next Generation cast to the movie that is coming out and you are going to see exactly how that happens in Issue 4 and the beginning of the movie. Issue 4 of this series literally is a cliffhanger and it is going to continue in the first minutes in the film. And we were lucky enough to be able to have Alex and Bob right there to guide us and make sure it flowed seamlessly and they were very much involved in the comic.

And IDW has done a phenomenal job bringing it to life. We got very lucky to have David Messina draw the book. People who have seen the first two issues, his work speaks for itself, it is amazing. Just looking at these cover images alone you can see how good he is at capturing likenesses of the characters, this is phenomenal.

Tim Jones: Part of the movie will take place in the Next Generation universe, so that is how we decided to tie it in. It has been really fun.

Mike Johnson: We sort of said goodbye to The Next Generation cast in the finale of the show and the movies. But that doesn’t end very well and what we are doing is keeping these characters alive and it is not really a ‘so long everybody’ wrap up in any sense. They are very active participants in any sense. And you will see that in issue 4, that it ends on a real cliffhanger. It is not a big weepy farewell to The Next Generation cast, they are part of the action, they are very much involved in it. They are actually really responsible and important for things we see played out in the movie. So they play a real role in that. Bob and Alex really wanted to make sure that was the case. 

[NOTE: It was this discussion of TNG characters in the Countdown series and how the series related to the film that prompted an audience member to ask if there would be any "surprise appearances" in the new Star Trek movie. And Tim's response of "I can't really can't say anything about that." which kicked of the Internet rumor that TNG characters may be the movie, unfortunately they wont.]


Mike Johnson and Tim Jones after the Star Trek panel

Interview with Mike Johnson & Tim Jones
Immediately after the panel, I sat down with Johnson and Jones to talk about the comic, the movie and more.

TrekMovie: First, can you talk about your writing background before working on Countdown?

Mike: I worked on film production and development for ten years and have been working for Alex and Bob for almost three. Separately I started co-writing Superman and Batman for DC almost two years ago, so it was a perfect dovetailing since they wanted to do a comic, it was a natural fit. And we were doing a Fringe comic at the same time so it worked very well.

Tim: I have worked with them for a long time, I worked with them back on Jack of All Trades, a TV show they worked on before Alias, a long long time ago. Great show with Bruce Campbell, got to write one of those episodes with them and have been working with them off and on every since.

Mike: Tim is more of our Trek lore guy.

TrekMovie: So JJ [Abrams] talks about the producers having spectrum between the Trek newbie Bryan Burk and the mega-Trekkie Bob Orci. So on the Burk/Orci scale, where do you sit? (with 10 being an Orci)

Mike: I would probably be a 7, or 7.5 Orcis. I am 75% on the Burk/Orci scale

Tim: There is no higher than the Orci, but I would say a 9. Orci and I watch a lot of Star Trek together.

Mike: I would say Tim is a 9.5.

TrekMovie: So what are some of your favorite episodes?

Tim: The cliffhanger of "Best of Best of Both Worlds, Part 1" is the most dramatic of television history as far as I am concerned. I don’t even think Star Trek in the movies have captured that amazing, heart-stopping moment…I would say that is the best.

Mike: I remember I was sitting in our living room in 1990, and I shouted when it said ‘To Be Continued’ and my mom was like ‘what are you shouting about?’ and I was ‘you don’t understand! Locutus!’ But I would say, "Measure of a Man" is my favorite episode.

TrekMovie: So these comics are ‘presented by JJ Abrams’ with a ‘story by’ credit to Bob and Alex and you guys as the writers, so how does the process work?

Mike: Well JJ is the boss, nothing happens that JJ doesn’t want to happen, so it all stems from him. For the nuts and bolts writing it, Bob was overseeing it as the point guy, because logistically JJ is in the editing room so he can’t get into the nitty gritty. But we work in the same office as Bob and Alex so we can pester them and show them things and art as we get it and get their input. We are really lucky because a lot of these tie-in comics, because they don’t have the relationship to the thing they are tying into. This comic was written in the same place the script for the movie was written.

TrekMovie:  And you guys read the script and saw parts of the film before you started…

Mike: That’s right, especially parts of the film that related to Nero since he was key. It is really Nero’s story. As much as we wanted it to be about the Next Gen guys, it is ultimately Nero’s story.


Jones and Johnson focused on watching Nero scenes in Star Trek film to tell his back story in   Countdown

TrekMovie: Regarding Nero, in the first issue he is rather a sympathetic character. Is that the goal of the series, to make him more relatable? 

Tim: We just felt that adds so much more depth to the character, to show a turn of the character — to see how he is not born a bad guy — he becomes a bad guy. He is the villain so he is evil, but what made him turn into a villain? It just seemed more fun that way, instead of just being a bad guy from the beginning

Mike: The best bad guys are the ones that there is a part of you that can see where they are coming from. Like Zod [from Superman II] who just sees all these humans as in his way or Darth Vader, he is much more interesting when you find out he is Luke’s father.

TrekMovie: Is he more interesting when you find out how many midi-chlorians he has?

Mike: Don’t get me started…that is nonsense…it is non-canonical! But the thing about Nero is that yeah we show him as more sympathetic, but that does stem from things in the movie. 

TrekMovie: In a way there are lines of dialog in the movie where people get why he is pissed, like lines of dialog where he talks about what happened before the movie, and that is what we are seeing in the comic book?

Mike: That is right. Absolutely. Every scene that he has in the movie, and not just dialog, has fed into the comic. Also his ship and his crew and how they interact. There is a story behind why the Narada looks like that, and that will be in issue 3….There is a connection between the ship we see in issues 1 & 2 and the ship you see in the trailers, and issue 3 is going to reveal that connection, but we don’t want to say any more.

TrekMovie:  Speaking of Nero’s crew, you raised a few eyebrows with "Get your ass up here Big Boy", did you know that was going to be controversial?

Mike: Well I know putting ‘ass’ in the comic was something, you don’t see that a lot in Star Trek comics.

Tim: But these are miners, these are blue collar tough guys, they are not military. I was surprised by it, but excited as I do love controversy.

Mike: It was very important that they sound like normal people as it factors into Nero’s journey. He has to go from being a normal guy to being the villain.

TrekMovie: So if you have read the comics, will it change the way you view the film?

Mike: I would say that is the intention from everyone involved. It is not going to change it in the sense that if you don’t read it and see the movie you will get less out of the movie. But with the scenes with Nero, there is a lot more subtext to what is going on. You are see things in the movie whose origins are not explained in the movie, but they are explained in the comic book.

TrekMovie: In the trailer we just saw, there is a line where Nero says "James T. Kirk was a great man, but that was another life." He was clearly talking about the ‘Timeline A Kirk’. There was a scene in Countdown #2 where we see Nero doing research and you can see him looking up Kirk and you see Kirk’s image…

Tim: And it is Shatner’s likeness!

TrekMovie: In the film, will people know how Nero knows about that Kirk?

Tim: That is the point of that scene in the comic.

Mike: Nero is fascinated by the ship, he is also interested in Spock’s technology, which is why when he looks in the databanks there is a lot of stuff that is restricted. Nero is a smart guy. He is studying the ship and looking at its history. He says to Picard at one point "I read about you as well" so he did his research.   


Nero finds out that James T. Kirk ‘was a great man’

TrekMovie: Can we expect more Easter Eggs, like the Bad Robot showing up in issue 2?

Mike: Dave Messina put that in, by the way, we can’t rave enough about him. But I don’t think there are more in 3 and 4. In 3 and 4 it is really really fast-paced, this is where the big  things are happening and questions are being answered. You have to be careful with those Easter Eggs. You may think you are being subtle and then it becomes like a clown nose, but there might be some in there.

TrekMovie: You guys have also brought back Data. Was that a no-brainer for both bringing him back and how to bring him back?

Mike: The comic started with the back-story of Nero and Spock, that is why the comic exists. But at the same time we decided to show The Next Generation characters after Nemesis, where are they? What are they doing? And naturally the first step is Picard and if he is not the captain of the Enterprise, then who is? It is not just an invention on our part that Data is restored through B-4, I think that is very plainly pointed to at the end of Nemesis. We just took it from that and what would be the most interesting journey for Data, and not just Data, but for Starfleet, to say ‘this unique individual, that this guy is the most capable strategist, captain, leader that we have in Starfleet so we are going to put him on the Enterprise.’

Tim: We would love to do more. That is one of those things, we would love to tell that story.

TrekMovie: Well I hate to bring up a Voyager episode as a precedent, but in the episode "Tuvix," two characters (Tuvok and Neelix) are combined into on new individual, creating a moral quandary. In the end Janeway decides to eliminate that individual against his will to restore the two original individuals, in a sense, killing ‘Tuvix’. If Data was an individual, wasn’t B-4 also an individual? And if so, then have you not done the same and murdered B-4 by imprinting Data onto him?

Mike: That is the story we want to tell and is yet to be told. And the issue you just brought up is at the emotional heart of that story. The emotional heart of this story is how Nero became a bad guy. The emotional heart of that story is what happened to B-4 and how does Data feel about it, how did Data come back, huge issues.

TrekMovie: Is there anything left of B-4 in Data?

Tim: That is a question that will be answered and we will nail down the specifics, Mike and I are on that.

TrekMovie: So this is not the last word from you guys in this universe?

Tim: Definitely not.

Mike: We are in discussions now about doing more in the same storyline and world that we have done for Countdown.


Countdown brings Data back (via B-4) as new captain of Enterprise

TrekMovie: There have been questions on timing for the issue so when does the comic take place?

Mike: Around eight years after Nemesis.

TrekMovie: Well there is a line where Spock talks about being on Romulus for forty years, but if you do the math back to "Unification" it doesn’t seem to add up.

Mike: The basic issue is: what is his definition of ‘Romulus has been my home’? We don’t have a specific date for Spock’s first arrival on Romulus.

Tim: Well it has been pointed out that in "Unification" he left Vulcan three weeks prior, but whether or not he had duel citizenship before that, it is not clear.

Mike: And he goes back and forth between Romulus and Vulcan. So it is a grey area.

TrekMovie: So do you consider "Countdown" canon?

Mike: Well I do, I think it is important that the writer does. The writer has to think that what they are doing is part of what has come before and what is to come.

TrekMovie: How closely is the final page of the comic to the beginning of the movie?

Tim: It is very close

Mike: It is immediate. It is cause and effect. It is a cliffhanger in the same spirit as "Best of Both Worlds." This ends and you need to go see the movie right now. And this time it isn’t three months later.

Tim: Which is pretty cool.


Two more issues to go

Countdown #1 & #2 are out (and gone from store shelves), but #3 & #4 are still to come. If you have been reading along and don’t have a subscription it is a good idea to pre-order. Otherwise pick up the Trade Paperback which should come out the same week as the fourth issue in April.

Countdown #1

Countdown #2

Countdown #3

Countdown #4

(sold out) 

(sold out)

$3.19
(March)

$3.19
(April)

 

Star Trek Countdown
(Trade Paperback – compiling all 4 issues)

$12.23
(Pre-order – April. 29)

 

Win a signed Countdown Poster
Jones and Johnson signed Countdown posters at the IDW booth and they were nice enough to sign one for myself, and one to give away to a TrekMovie.com reader. To get the poster be the first person in the comments below who can name Nero’s wife. Use a valid email to be contacted for your delivery information.


Tim and Mike signing the poster to be given away

Comments

1. CardassiaPrimera - March 3, 2009

Firsts. Excellent history. B4 is now Data, mmmmmmmmm

2. ScootyPuffJr - March 3, 2009

wow!

3. The Jui$tain - March 3, 2009

I went to my local comic shop but the guy said that he might would order a few of Countdown #2. But he doesn’t order ST comics because they end up just sitting on the shelf…… major bummer……

Anyway, these guys have really thought this through!
With this series as a send off to TNG, and an introduction to the new ST movie, I can’t wait for May!

My hat is off to all who worked on this.

*J

4. Open Maw Productions - March 3, 2009

“Mike: The basic issue is: what is his definition of ‘Romulus has been my home’? We don’t have a specific date for Spock’s first arrival on Romulus.

Tim: Well it has been pointed out that in “Unification” he left Vulcan three weeks prior, but whether or not he had duel citizenship before that, it is not clear.

Mike: And he goes back and forth between Romulus and Vulcan. So it is a grey area

TRANSLATION : We screwed up, and now we have to try and wiggle out of it. Lol.

A couple of years difference isnt quite the same thing as missing the mark by years, especially when you watch Unification and take note that Vulcans and Romulans are clearly on the worst of terms with eachother, it is not likely many Vulcans have migrated to Romulous at all. Let alone Spock taking up a home there for that amount of time. Ah well.

It is a shame that this Nero backstory isnt already in the film, though. Some of it is fairly well written and I could definately contribute to having a far less cliche villian for a change. :)

5. Nick Tschumakow - March 3, 2009

Nero’s Wife’s name is Mandana.

6. Shatner_Fan_Prime - March 3, 2009

Appreciate having the timeline question answered. I like the comics overall, but I have to say that Picard being the ambassador to Vulcan seems off to me. Where did that come from??

7. Simon - March 3, 2009

“Mike: Well I know putting ‘ass’ in the comic was something, you don’t see that a lot in Star Trek comics.

Tim: But these are miners, these are blue collar tough guys, they are not military. I was surprised by it, but excited as I do love controversy.”

From Galaxy Quest:

Minors NOT miners!

8. scottlukaswilliams - March 3, 2009

Nero’s wife is named Mandana.

9. Anthony Pascale - March 3, 2009

nick wins the poster, congrats

10. Daniel - March 3, 2009

I wonder,will there be a comic adaption of the movie itself?That woul really rock!! By the way,what about a “Making of ” Book?

11. The Governator - March 3, 2009

Interesting. Nice to know Next Gen will be involved in the plot.

12. VOODOO - March 3, 2009

I love the story so far.

13. GaryP - March 3, 2009

Shatner_Fan_Prime, Picard mind-melded with both Sarek and Spock. He shared a lifetime of experiences and memories with two highly influential Vulcans and held a very special relationship with Sarek. If any path would lead him to that world, I’d start there. my two cents.

14. Steamblade - March 3, 2009

6. I would imagine from his connection to Sarek. Just a thought.

15. The Governator - March 3, 2009

It will be interesting to see how the Narada will become that massive space-monster from the trailers. Honestly, I can’t think of anyway they could present that without making it lame, but maybe I’ll be surprised. So far, the comics, aside from some bad dialogue here and there, are great. Can’t wait for more.

16. Steamblade - March 3, 2009

10. Yes please! I would love a new edition of Mr. Scott’s Guide to the Enterprise for the movie. I miss the great Trek reference publications of the 90s.

17. OneBuckFilms - March 3, 2009

9 – That was quick !!!!

18. garen - March 3, 2009

my comic book shop is also apparently able to order some more copies of #2.

19. Shatner_Fan_Prime - March 3, 2009

#s 13 &14 … I recall those melds. Still, it doesn’t seem right to me. Vulcans were never a big part of the TNG series, and Picard never displayed any particular interest in their culture. If these writers weren’t going to promote Picard into a suitably impressive position, such as Admiral, head of Starfleet, or President of the UFP, they should’ve left him as Captain of the Enterprise, IMO.

20. AJ - March 3, 2009

It’s a gift to have such care taken with the sequel “transition” to prequel, or whatever.

For all the nay-sayers out there, I have never seen such care taken by screenwriters, prequel comic writers, novelisors, directors, FX artists, actors, etc. to bring something to life to the extent these guys are doing.

21. Enterprise - March 3, 2009

Nero’s wife is named Messalina, I think.

22. Fleet Captain Kor'Tar - March 3, 2009

I’ve really been enjoying these books and seeing how they lead up to the new movie . Plus it gives me a chance to run down to my local comic shop and browse for a few minutes while I’m there . I can’t wait for issues 3 and 4 to see how it it lays the groundwork for ST XI .

23. harley3k - March 3, 2009

I just read countdown #2…
Dang… that was sweet.

I didn’t understand some of the artwork on Page 22.
The same page as the BadRobot easter egg.

[****************SPOILER COMMENT ALERT****************]
What exactly is that orb looking thing that resembles a POD from 2001 Space Odyssey that Picard and Spock are sitting next too, and that thing in the middle of them looks like a hole in the ground, but the view from the window show they are in a skyscraper?

24. Schultz - March 3, 2009

They should turn Countdown into a short supporting film—either animated or live-action—and include it on the BluRay of ST XI. If it’s animated, get all the original actors in to do the voice work etc.… would be great, I think.

25. Don Farnsworth - March 3, 2009

I would like to see this set up for all the next gen crew to be obliterated at the beggining of the movie as punishment for what was allowed to happen to Kirk in Generations.

26. THE NACELLES ARE NOW UNCIRCUMCISED.... - March 3, 2009

Parts one and two have been very good. Looking forward to pts 3 and 4 and the movie of course!

27. Don Farnsworth - March 3, 2009

@25
By grapthars hammer Kirk shall be avenged.

28. Valar1 - March 3, 2009

Nero’s wife is named Laquisha, IIRC.

29. Jeffrey S. Nelson - March 3, 2009

Mrs. Nero. She fiddled while Nero mined planets.

30. TrekMadeMeWonder - March 3, 2009

I WANT A TOS MOVIE!

31. Boborci - March 3, 2009

4. Open Maw Productions – March 3, 2009

TRANSLATION : We screwed up, and now we have to try and wiggle out of it. Lol.

Yeah, but great wiggling!

32. DrNebuloso - March 3, 2009

Im so glad for the nod to TNG, I just wish I could see them on screen act it out…

33. Don Farnsworth - March 3, 2009

@27 Well said.

34. DGill - March 3, 2009

This has me really excited. I continue to have long arguments with my brother over the phone about this movie, but even he wants to get his hands on these comics…and this is coming from a 30 year-old businessman who doesn’t usually have time for comics! :D

35. Open Maw Productions - March 3, 2009

#31. Boborci
Bah, quit squirming already! Certainly you guys deserve credit for being so creative with Star Trek.

#20. AJ

Best ever is a little too much for me at this point in the game. We havent even seen the comics through and through or the film. We’ll be in a far better position to say “best ever” or “epic fail” at that point. We’ll see. I certainly hope it’s that good.

I think a lot of people are hyping themselves up just because we’re so starved for new Trek. We havent really had anything since 2004, and for some of us it’s been even longer than that. (i’m not a fan of Enterprise… Yet I somehow own all four seasons, what is up with that?!)

Many of us have had reality smacked into us since this was first announced. Not nessacarily in a bad way, just having expectations and our own perceptions of what a Star Trek movie should be, and then seeing what the new kids on the block think should be done. I hope you’re right though AJ. I hope these guys really knock our socks off.

When will the next trailer be out anyway?

36. Boborci - March 3, 2009

35. Open Maw Productions – March 3, 2009

“(i’m not a fan of Enterprise… Yet I somehow own all four seasons, what is up with that?!)”

LOL!

As for the trailer… Friday, in front of Watchmen.

37. thorsten - March 4, 2009

Tim Jones:
Part of the movie will take place in the Next Generation universe […]

Interesting.

38. Enc - March 4, 2009

23
any 1 care to post that pic.
it sounds familar

39. thorsten - March 4, 2009

And good to see that the Narada transformation comes up in number three…
I wonder if the Time engine will be built in there, too, together with the squiddy tentacles!

40. Byron - March 4, 2009

A regular comic series by those guys?! SIGN ME UP!

41. thorsten - March 4, 2009

@23…

Holographic Projector.
There are no R2 Units on Romulus.

42. SebiMeyer - March 4, 2009

TrekMovie: Is he more interesting when you find out how many midi-chlorians he has?

Burn! That made me laugh… Thanks for that! ;)

Isn’t the Picasso inspired version of Data’s cat Spot that hangs in Capt. Data’s ready room an easter egg as well? I’d count is as such as the original version appeared on TNG, albeit a much smaller version of the painting.

43. Alex Rosenzweig - March 4, 2009

#35 – “I think a lot of people are hyping themselves up just because we’re so starved for new Trek. We havent really had anything since 2004, and for some of us it’s been even longer than that.”

I guess maybe that’s why I’m somewhat pickier these days about my Trek. I’ve never had this feeling of not getting new Trek. I’m in the middle of reading a new Trek story right now. And I’ve finished the outline of one I’m writing, too.

So, do I feel starved? Not so much, I’m afraid. Obviously I look forward to the film, but if it’s gonna be a reboot, rather than the TOS origin story I’d so hoped for, I’m not so hard up for good Star Trek that I need to accept such a thing.

44. thorsten - March 4, 2009

@40…

There are no R2 Units on Vulcan, either ;))

45. thorsten - March 4, 2009

It is amazing how posts pop in later… like Byrons 40.
These are little shifts in the timeline, I guess.

46. Tarrax - March 4, 2009

40 – Are you sure about that?

47. Will_H - March 4, 2009

nice spot painting

48. Paulaner - March 4, 2009

#35 “I think a lot of people are hyping themselves up just because we’re so starved for new Trek.”

In my opinion this is not the only reason. With this movie we have the biggest scale ever for Trek: high budget, top actors, top crew and, most important, a totally new vision. Something fresh and new to change a losing formula that had to be changed. This is why I am so excited.

49. cinemadeus - March 4, 2009

“You will see things in the movie whose origins are not explained in the movie, but they are explained in the comic book.”

Two words: Not good.

However my former best girlfriend used to say “Hope dies last”.

50. thorsten - March 4, 2009

@49…

that will be additional information which is not neccessary to follow the movies plotline…

51. Paulaner - March 4, 2009

#49

This movie is made to embrace non-trekkers, so I think that no previous knowledge of the Trek universe is needed, except what we will see on screen.

52. SirBroiler - March 4, 2009

I happen to know a lot of non-fanatics (yes, I hang out with people who don’t like Trek) who are actually excited about seeing this movie – and don’t seem to be too concerned about not having an extensive knowledge of the Trek universe.

And…why again are we so quick to conclude that there are no appearances by any of the TNG cast in the film? I mean, why bother setting the opening of this film in the TNG era, and not have at least one character show up?

Seems to me like Paramount would want to keep the TNG spark alive, considering they recently re-released the series in syndication (with pretty strong pick-up across the country). Remember, in the end, all this Trek stuff is a business.

53. AJ - March 4, 2009

52:

SirBroiler:

One thing at a time?

If STXI is a hit, many possibilities may arise!

54. Admiral_BlackCat - March 4, 2009

Thank you thank you thank you for asking about the timeframe and Spock’s 40 years on Romulus. It clears up alot of confusion not only on my part, but I know on the part of others.
Anthony and all of the Trekmovie staff ROCK!

55. There's no enough scots in starfleet! - March 4, 2009

Not into comics but i’m giving the Countdown one’s a bash. Have just read the 2nd one and i’m really enjoying it.

keep up the good work boys! :D

56. DEMODE - March 4, 2009

This needs to get animated. Sell it as a DVD a month before the movie comes out on DVD. It would sell huge!

57. Mike Ten - March 4, 2009

#25 I bet when this movie is over the timeline will be changed so much that Kirk will not die and the movie Generations will disappear like the images in Marty McFly’s picture in Back to the Future.

58. cinemadeus - March 4, 2009

@ thorsten:

Maybe, but then again, if the movie lacks the whole back story I fear that Nero’s gonna fall pretty effing flat as an everyday baddy …

Verstehst Du?

59. Mr. Anonymous - March 4, 2009

#4: If you’re going to nit-pick about how these professional writers did their Star Trek homework, then you might want to make sure you spell “Romulus” correctly.

60. CaptainChris - March 4, 2009

I think this sounds good and I’m looking forward to reading the comics (a first for me) when they are released in the UK in April.
As a side, and not to say this is the way to go, I am more than looking forward to the new movie and the direction Star Trek is taking but, if they were to bring the TNG crew back to the big screen one day they could most definitely overcome the ageing issue around Brent Spiner.
If anyone saw Benjamin Button the CGI technology is available (and forever improving) on making someone appear 20 years younger as they did with Mr Pitt. If the budget were available, they could absolutely bring this story to life on the big screen.

But, as I mentioned, we’ll let the TNG crew rest for now and allow this ‘new’ crew to re-invigorate the franchise!

Roll on May 8th.

61. thorsten - March 4, 2009

@58…

Klar, verstehe! Aber ich denke dass tatsächlich alle entscheidenden Motivationspunkte im Film abgehakt werden… nur eben nicht unbedingt dass Nero Gast auf Datas Enterprise war… Aber schon klar wird wie sein handeln begründet ist. Sonst hätten sie ja nicht Bana nehmen müssen.
Das wird schon!
;))

62. Rastaman - March 4, 2009

I read the first two comics and was very pleased how they have depicted Nero’s fall. The more an audience can relate to a villain and understand his motivations, the more captivating the story becomes. I think it will enhance my experience of watching the movie.

I do wish each comic was longer because I think the first two issues really should have been combined into one. But I guess that’s what the anthology is for.

63. Closettrekker - March 4, 2009

Good stuff…although I do think they wiffed on the “Romulus has been my home for 40 years” thing.

I’m looking forward to issues #3 and #4.

#6—I actually think that his butt-cheeks were clinched just tight enough for that job!

But I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him doing something with archeology. Wasn’t that his first passion? I seem to remember that. In any case, it’s better than sitting around playing the flute or singing with Data.

64. Captain Joe - March 4, 2009

Animated, live action, merely the comic, whatever – Countdown, imo, should be canon, especially since the end of it leads directly into Star Trek (2009). I’m a little surprised Data/B-4 is captain, but I’m glad he has been resurrected. Like Kirk and Trip, he never should have been killed.

65. Shatner_Fan_Prime - March 4, 2009

I have a spoiler question re. Countdown…

***SPOILER ALERT***

…is that Romulus that explodes at the end of issue 2??? If so, that is a MAJOR occurrence in the prime universe.

66. Jeyl - March 4, 2009

“TrekMovie: So do you consider “Countdown” canon?

Mike: Well I do, I think it is important that the writer does. The writer has to think that what they are doing is part of what has come before and what is to come.”

Thank god for this. This whole canon/non-canon nonsense really irks me. I’m glad these writers are saying “Well, why would we write it if it wasn’t?”.

67. Check The Circuit - March 4, 2009

I don’t consider myself a purist or rigid. But once in awhile, I get very anal. I’m struggling with the timeline of Countdown. The writers say it’s EIGHTY YEARS after Nemesis…and you would think the buck stops with them. But Spock’s dialog says he’s been on Vulcan for FORTY YEARS. (The writers admitted that was a “gray” statement.) My anal struggles include:
– Enterprise-E being in service somewhere between 30-70 years
– Picard doesn’t seem to have aged a day
– Wouldn’t that make Spock 190-230 years old?
– Would a half-Vulcan live that long?

Someone enlighten me? Is that at all possible…in a fictional universe with some established “rules?” Even if it is…why extend the timeline out that far? Wouldn’t a timeline closer to our real universe worked as well? (When did Nemesis flame out…uh…I mean, come out? 2003?) Why not just have Countdown start 6 years after the events of the movie?

And does it really matter?

68. Doktor Gonzo - March 4, 2009

::Decloaking::, in an effort to put the “Romulus for 40 years” thing to bed:

Since when is a “year” the same time interval on every world in the quadrant? Romulus may well have a shorter orbital period than Earth, such that a Romulan year is considerably shorter than a Terran year. If so, it would be perfectly reasonable for Spock to say “40 years” while addressing Romulans, while by Terran/Federation reckoning it’s been considerably less.

::Recloaking::

69. OneBuckFilms - March 4, 2009

I remember in Part 2, there’s a spelling mistake where they call Romulus “Romulas” !!!

I’ll have to dig out that spot.

I’m also wondering if Spock’s “40 years” reference was a typo, and they actually meant “4 years”?

That would make a lot more sense, since it allows for a relationship between Spock and the Romulans to develop after Nemesis, and for peace negotiations to get underway.

Spock being a legal citizen for 4 years would certainly be plausible.

70. Jason P Hunt - co-creator of COMET TALES - March 4, 2009

Circuit:
Go back and read it again. It’s eight years after Nemesis.

71. Closettrekker - March 4, 2009

#68—“Since when is a “year” the same time interval on every world in the quadrant?”

That wasn’t the explanation given for the discrepancy. This was:

Mike: “The basic issue is: what is his definition of ‘Romulus has been my home’? We don’t have a specific date for Spock’s first arrival on Romulus.”

Tim: “Well it has been pointed out that in “Unification” he left Vulcan three weeks prior, but whether or not he had duel citizenship before that, it is not clear.”

Mike: “And he goes back and forth between Romulus and Vulcan. So it is a grey area.”

72. Bren - March 4, 2009

-71

None of that discounts the idea of Romulan years being shorter.
It’s frankly preposterous that Romulus would have the exact same orbital period as Earth.

*********************SPOILER**********************

What I would like explained is what is so freaking special about the Hobus Star that allows a simple Super Nova to threaten the “Entire Universe”? Spock is not one for exaggeration.

Unless Hobus is the sun of Romulus, It ought to take several YEARS at the very least for Romulus to feel the effects. And I think if the Hobus Star were in the Romulus system, the senate would take the threat a little more seriously.

A LITTLE MORE TECHNOBABBLE, PLEASE!
WE ARE TREKKIES, YOU KNOW, WE INVENTED TECHNOBABBLE!
Or am I mistaken in thinking that the comic is aimed at the fans?

73. Doktor Gonzo - March 4, 2009

I like my whiffle better than theirs. What do you say, Boborci?

74. A.J. - March 4, 2009

You know maybe im just not into comic books or whatever but the back story so far in these seems very disjointed, the dialogue often is out of character from what we know and the timeline is a stretch. Theres been some questionable choices here and theres definitely a lack of homage to TNG making Picard a ambassador to Vulcan. It sure doesnt feel like the trek world to me, i dont really recognize it. I really dont think the trek world CAN translate into a comic book……not that I know a damn thing about comic books.

75. NaradaAlpha - March 4, 2009

#26— BEST ALIAS/HANDLE EVER!! (THE NACELLES ARE NOW UNCIRCUMCISED)<———(LMFAO!!!)

76. Check The Circuit - March 4, 2009

Jason….

I will go back and double check…I had it in my head that the story took place relatively soon after Nemesis after my first reading. But on this and other message boards, I started to hear that it was decades after. Then there are Spock’s comments about living on Romulus for 40 years. Now the writers are quoted as saying 80.

I’m just confused.

“I hate mysteries. They give me a bellyache and I’ve got a beauty right now.”

77. Ben IV - March 4, 2009

“What I would like explained is what is so freaking special about the Hobus Star that allows a simple Super Nova to threaten the “Entire Universe”? Spock is not one for exaggeration.

Unless Hobus is the sun of Romulus, It ought to take several YEARS at the very least for Romulus to feel the effects. And I think if the Hobus Star were in the Romulus system, the senate would take the threat a little more seriously.

A LITTLE MORE TECHNOBABBLE, PLEASE!
WE ARE TREKKIES, YOU KNOW, WE INVENTED TECHNOBABBLE!
Or am I mistaken in thinking that the comic is aimed at the fans?”

right… like “insufficient safety precautions” caused a moon to collapse and send out a subspace shock wave that shook the Excelsior (presumably sectors away) like an earth quake. oh, right… and the Excelsior was headed home under impulse power – were they trying to make it take decades? Or, hey, I’ve got a better one: destroying the Amargosa star in Generations affecting the gravity outside the system (and much faster than light speed)! lol, like the writers have never heard of a “center of mass” or the nexus understanding the difference between a planet and a spaceship when it comes to sucking up people… Or a superluminal nexus that you can see coming…

forget that, nevermind we saw rocket-powered missiles that could do Warp 4! (planet to Sun in 7 to 12 seconds? You do the math…)

78. Steven - March 4, 2009

I had a feeling B-4 would finally assimilate all of Data’s memory, as hinted at in the final moments of “Star Trek: Nemesis.” I’ve pre-ordered the last two “Countdown” comics, ordered a used copy of #2, and pre-ordered the paperback of all four comics. Just trying to get the prequel story read before the movie comes out.

God bless!

79. Mike Spacely - March 4, 2009

re: #65

Yes, it’s Romulus. Pretty jaw-dropping stuff, I’m totally hooked now!

80. ShawnP - March 4, 2009

BTW, you can buy the first two issues for $0.99 on the Android Market with the T-Mobile G1 phone. Not sure if it’s on the iPhone app store.

81. boborci - March 4, 2009

77. Ben IV – March 4, 2009
“What I would like explained is what is so freaking special about the Hobus Star that allows a simple Super Nova to threaten the “Entire Universe”? Spock is not one for exaggeration.”

Wait for the novelization!

82. Peter N - March 4, 2009

Bob and Alex worked on Jack of All Trades with my hero Bruce Campbell? I had no idea! Their “cred” just went through the roof. Hey Bob, do you have a complete series DVD se to give away to a devoted Trek+Bruce fan? I would be more interested in that than the Countdown poster, although I am enjoying my first comic-book purchase(s) in 25 years.

83. Peter N - March 4, 2009

“DVD set” my “t” key mus be a lile slow oday

P.S.: Please, Bob!

84. Closettrekker - March 4, 2009

#72—“None of that discounts the idea of Romulan years being shorter.
It’s frankly preposterous that Romulus would have the exact same orbital period as Earth.”

I agree, but if that were the reason behind the “40 years”, it would have been easy for Tim and Mike to just say so. Instead, we have the “explanation” given above—which basically just says, “Hey, you can’t prove it’s wrong!”.

:)

“A LITTLE MORE TECHNOBABBLE, PLEASE!
WE ARE TREKKIES, YOU KNOW, WE INVENTED TECHNOBABBLE!”

I actually hope that is minimized in the film. It’s one of the things I did not like about TNG and the Berman/Braga era.

Personally, I hope that none of the problems in the plot are solved by “reverse tacion beams”, or hypo-triangulating the polarity of the flux capacitor to create a aerosol shield around the EPS conduits…That will put me right to sleep.

85. Ben IV - March 4, 2009

#81
Hi Bob,
I did not say that, I was quoting #72
and pointing out other non-physical star trek phenomena…

86. Jay El Jay - March 4, 2009

Awesome, just pre-ordered the Trade Paperback WOOP WOOP!!

87. AJ - March 4, 2009

84:

Closettrekker:

That “aerosol shield around the EPS conduits” was the last of the Lemon Pledge. At least they smell nice.

Approved techno-babble: “The automation system’s hotwired like a Christmas tree, so don’t give me too many bumps!”

Be very afraid of “trans-warp beaming.”

88. Daoud - March 4, 2009

Not having the comic, someone who does could clarify:
Does the comic lettering have “40” years or “forty” years?

Perhaps we can pencil in a decimal point if it’s “40” and say “4.0” years. Spock did always love his decimals!

I suggest a future crossover comic issue “Spock of All Trades” where he inadvertently travels too far back in time and encounters Jack. ;)

#81 Here’s hoping that Alan Dean Foster has talked with you guys frequently, and all the various ‘inconsistencies’ that have come out from your interaction on trekmovie.com have been “useful” in informing the trade paperback. It should be awesome.

Perhaps ADF could also work with y’all to create a novelization of Countdown that could expand on the pre-movie TNG situation. Etc. After all, ADF could take a 21 minute animated episode and turn it into a long form novel! :)

89. Admiral_BlackCat - March 4, 2009

Since the Hobus Star exists in the alternate-timeline of STXI and will undoubtly supernova in this timeline’s future also, my guess is during STXI Nimoy Spock will try to stop it centuries before it even becomes a threat. Either by destroying the star or neutralizing it.
Because regardless of what alternate/parallel universe/timeline Spock is in the same old “Need of the many…” rules still apply.

90. The Wild Man of Borneo - March 4, 2009

You know, after reading #1 I thought this was all right. But I just read #2 of this crap series. #1 was cool, but c’mon…what happens at the end of #2 has to be the biggest joke.

*********************SPOILER************************************************

BUT COME ON. DID that really happen?? Did Romulus just blow up? This is ridiculous. Seriously.

91. Unbel1ever - March 4, 2009

I am fine with most of the stuff in the comics, yet there are still some things, which hopefully get explained. If anyone can tell me, wether they are, that would be nice.

First:
What technology or insight does Spock possess, that no one else has, since at least the Federation would have warned to Romulans about the impending disaster ?

Second:
Why are the Vulcans, the Vulcans from Ent with all their unlogical behaviour and the High Command, when the Vulcans are supposed to have returned to Surak’s ways and the High Command is supposed to be abolished ?

92. Admiral_BlackCat - March 4, 2009

I’m not saying that’s WHY Spock travels back in time.
My theory is he successfully halts the Hobus Supernova on a “one-way-mission” at the end of Countdown 4 and the resulting “exotic particles” send him and Nero (in close proximity or attacking Elder Spock) back to pre-TOS/the beginning of the movie.
In STXI Nimoy Spock has a second change to stop the Hobus Star and Quinto Spock won’t have to make that sacrifice in his future. (That is if Quinto Spock is even on the same Best Destiny path as Nimoy Spock was at this point.)

93. Closettrekker - March 4, 2009

#87—“That “aerosol shield around the EPS conduits” was the last of the Lemon Pledge. At least they smell nice.”

lol.

“Be very afraid of ‘trans-warp beaming.’ ”

Yep. There’s potential there, but my hope is that Abrams’ wish for this to appeal to non-traditional fans will relegate the explanation for that to something more like “transparent aluminum” or “the main energizer’s out”.

But yeah—gone are the days when Kirk would simply talk a machine into self-destructing and save the day. Everything has to be, ” too much glucose on the excrement manifolds is interfering with our sensor grid”, or something like that…Maybe Geordi can invert the relativity of the asanine converter and get us out of here.

94. Closettrekker - March 4, 2009

#91–“What technology or insight does Spock possess, that no one else has, since at least the Federation would have warned to Romulans about the impending disaster ?”

I think we are supposed to believe that Spock is simply more intelligent than everyone else. I guess I already did.

“…the Vulcans from Ent with all their unlogical(?) behaviour…”

I don’t think they felt as though their behavior towards Earth or Andoria (which they perceived as a threat) was illogical, and their own belief is all that matters. And let’s remember that they are being led by a man who is quite clearly a Romulan agent. The clandestine agenda of the RSE at this point was to create and maintain instability in the region of space where they see space-faring Worlds like Earth, Vulcan, Andoria, and Tellar with the potential to upset the balance with a possible alliance (Of course, the irony is that alliance is caused more by the growing Romulan threat than anything else).

Even among Vulcans, logical behavior is somewhat relative, and not always consistent. Vulcans have always been individuals. They are also commonly driven by their own motives–their “logic” is often tailored to suit those motives, whether you are talking about the members of the Vulcan High Command, T’Pring, or Valeris.

“…the Vulcans are supposed to have returned to Surak’s ways and the High Command is supposed to be abolished.”

Yep. “The High Command” was disbanded in Season 4 of ENT. I think that is just sloppy dialogue wording on the part of the comic writers.

However, “returned to Surak’s ways” might not be the best way to put that. The Vulcans clearly believed that they were doing so already. It was the discovery of the artifact by T’Pau, T’Pol, and Jonathan Archer which convinced them that Surak’s teachings were not being truly adhered to. Like so many other philosophies and religious teachings everywhere, Surak’s writings were being misinterpreted and perverted.

It could have just as easily been the works of Karl Marx, The Koran, or the Christian Bible. All have been subject to dangerous interpretation and used to justify tyrannical and even violent action.

95. Peter N - March 4, 2009

#88

I will help you pitch the idea of “Spock Of All Trades.” The ultimate crossover! Especially if we can sneak Ash in there somehow…. And forget the comic book genre, this would be an awesome SciFi Saturday feature. The most dangerous night on television just got dangerouser.

96. ThePhaige - March 4, 2009

Oh how I would love to be seeing this forum from Bob O’s perspective….

97. istewart - March 4, 2009

I don’t know, I’m not too enchanted with these guys’ vision of the post-Nemesis storyline. There’s only two issues to go on so far, but I doubt a top-heavy, secretive empire like the Romulans would come back together so easily after having their entire leadership structure killed off. Former elites setting themselves up as warlords would be far more compelling as an existential threat to a new Romulan government than the generic sci-fi plot device of a supernova (and besides, it’s already been done better with Praxis in STVI). Likewise, the Remans are portrayed as generic space pirates, no compelling exploration of them so far. And if Romulus really does get blown up as part of the backstory to the new movie, quite frankly, that’s f***ing stupid. It’s throwing away myriad storytelling possibilities for no good reason at all.

I don’t think I could stand a story about Data moping over B-4, either, since he was the guy who dumped his memories into B-4’s head to start with, and he very explicitly says that he “feels nothing” when Geordi asks him about it. That’s mostly due to the incredibly tortured logic of Nemesis’ plot, but I’m still not really interested in a story that tries to salvage that. Best to just ignore it and move on, letting it stand as an example of just how bad Star Trek can get.

Bottom-line, I think I’ll just drop this comic and see how the character of Nero stands up on his own when the film comes out. Hopefully his motivations will be less confused than, say, Shinzon’s. TNG only really worked as a TV series. I didn’t buy into Pocket’s “TNG relaunch,” and I’m not buying into this one, either. Sorry.

98. spark-1701 - March 4, 2009

Personally, I love the subplot of Romulus being destroyed. Trek needs a big shake up and needs to take risks. Thats a big risk, and Nero’s rage is perfectly justified. Makes his character very gritty and believable.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The only thing that can potentially tank his movie for me is Pine’s portrayl of Kirk. If there is too much of a departure from the original character, I’m just going to feel alienated. I know the ptb don’t care about us crusty old fans any more, but if half the current fan base feels the same, it can only hurt this movie and the franchise in the long run.

Just my 2 cents
Spark

99. Closettrekker - March 5, 2009

#97—“… I doubt a top-heavy, secretive empire like the Romulans would come back together so easily after having their entire leadership structure killed off.”

Who says it has come together easily? According to the TSO timeline leading up to the movie, it doesn’t seem so.

“Former elites setting themselves up as warlords would be far more compelling as an existential threat to a new Romulan government…”

Which is pretty much what the TSO timeline has suggested, although minus the “warlords” part (and thank goodness, since that is far more Klingon-like).

“And if Romulus really does get blown up as part of the backstory to the new movie, quite frankly, that’s f***ing stupid. It’s throwing away myriad storytelling possibilities for no good reason at all.”

How so? Romulus is destroyed post-Nemesis, not in the 23rd Century (where future Trek stories are likely to be told). And we do not even know as yet whether Romulus’ fate is sealed, given the time travel aspect of the storyline.

100. Dom - March 5, 2009

99 Closettrekker

I’d assume Nero would make his presence known to Romulus from the outset and set about saving the Empire in return for money and favours. I suspect the Romulans and Romulus will be a regular part of the new universe, even though they are gone in the TNG universe!

Of course something as huge as a supernova wouldn’t just wipe out one planet: it’d potentially render a number of solar systems uninhabitable either through force of explosion or the huge amounts of solar radiation.

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