Star Trek Comics Writer Talks Timeline Divergence Leading To 2013 Sequel

With the release of the Star Trek sequel only nine months away, fans are anxiously looking for any hints about the direction of the film’s story and characters. While the J.J. Abrams wall of secrecy has remained largely impenetrable, some hints at what is planned may have been revealed in a recent interview with the writer of the Star Trek ongoing comics.


Comic writer talks "more Vulcan" Spock and timeline divergences – hints for sequel?

Mike Johnson, the author of IDW’s ongoing Star Trek comic book series set in the new movie universe has already stated that there are clues to the next movie being dropped into the series. The comics have been retelling episodes from the original Star Trek series in the new timeline as well as following up on story threads from the first film. In a new interview up at Newsarama where he talks about the future of the series and also says several interesting things that might hint at things we’ll see in the 2013 Star Trek movie sequel.

In the first film, we saw a far more emotional Spock than we were used to seeing. According to Johnson, that may not remain the case:

Johnson: Taking a cue from the last movie, I think Quinto’s Spock struggles more with his hybrid genealogy. Nimoy’s Spock, particularly in the beginning of the original series, is much more stereotypically “Vulcan.” The revelation of his intense, more “human" emotions came as the series progressed. But we saw Quinto’s Spock having to cope with his emotions right away given what happened to the Vulcan homeworld and his human mother.

Ironically, the loss of Vulcan has caused him to embrace his Vulcan side even more, and we’ve seen that emotional detachment play out in the third and fourth issues of the comic, inspired by the original episode “The Galileo 7.”

Could this be indicating that we will see a more unemotional Spock in the sequel? And if so, then would that have an effect on his relationship with Uhura as well as his developing friendship with Kirk?

Mr. Spock in issue #4 seems more Vulcan than in the 2009 film

The alternate timeline shown in the first film showed some dramatic differences from the "prime" universe. This has continued in the comic series, where some familiar stories from TOS have begun to depart greatly from the original source. Johnson says this is by design:

Johnson: It’s the “butterfly flaps its wings, causes a hurricane” analogy. We started off with small deviations, but as we proceed, we’re getting further and further from the original timeline. Issues #9 and #10, “The Return of the Archons,” is an example of how the new timeline diverges significantly from the original story. The last movie was the butterfly. This series builds up to the hurricane that is the next movie…the stories will depart further and further from the original series. We will use a few original series concepts as jumping off points, but the new timeline is moving in a radically different direction.

This could lead in all sorts of different directions. If the timeline keeps deviating more and more from the "prime" one, then any situations and characters from TOS could appear wildly different in this timeline, which would explain why Cumberbatch’s character may be from canon (as writer Bob Orci said in recent TrekMovie interview), but may behave in a much different way than his "prime" counterpart.

Latest issue of Star Trek comics (#10) showed most divergence in timeline yet

Khan who?

Near the end of the interview, Johnson gets asked about a certain genetic superman – and we don’t learn much:

Nrama: Any chance we’ll see Khan soon?
Johnson: Who?
Nrama: Right. Well let me rephrase… when you do get around to telling a story about Khan, will his appearance tie into the movie sequel?
Johnson: You’re breaking up.
Nrama: Well, you can’t blame me for asking, can you?
Johnson: Nope, I can’t.

Interpret that any way you like…

The rest of the interview, which goes into more detail about the series and about other hints leading up to the new film, can be found here.


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Really digging the tie and the character development.

That explains why they couldn’t/wouldn’t use Spock Prime’s line of ‘It’s the timeline attempting to heal itself’ in the 2009 movie. Obviously the timeline is not attempting to heal itself at all.

Sounds like Khanfirmation to me.

Maybe its still Mitchell but he doesn’t get GOD like powers in the new timeline?

Well, I sincerely hope they ditch the whole Spock/Uhura thing altogether. It’s not that it really bothered me but it felt like the most unneccessary element in the whole 2009 movie.

4. Craiger

Have you even read ONE issue of the comics??? Mitchell was dealt with in the very first issue!

And I hope they DON’T ditch the whole Spock/Uhura thing because it opened up so many possibilities for drama and character development that have not been explored in quite this way. Hooray for not trying to recreate the trinity this time around…but for developing relationships that more complex and more interesting because they are more complex.

I like how the comics have sort of veered off from the original episodes. There was a scene @ the end of Archons that had me interested, sound’s like Starfleet Command isn’t too happy w/ nuKirk’s antics.

Yeah get rid of that romance for sure. They had a chance to make something good and they blew it. It’s more about Kirk and Spock’s friendship any way. And NEEDS MORE BONES.

Ok, looking at the stories being told in the comics (and the apparent nod of approval that the stories like up between the 2009 and 2013 movies), does that mean events like ‘The Doomsday Machine’ or other 2nd TOS season episodes will have already happened or not? or, perhaps in other terms, is the comic planning to do a TDDM comic before the next movie comes out? with all our collective talk about Khan, looking at the rate of comics coming out before the 2013 movie’s release, does the comic book publisher have the time to release a story on The Bounty Bay, thus possibly eliminating a Khan/Eugenics story for the movie (again, assuming that comics continue to enjoy that Cannon Stamp of approval)?

6. Anthony Thompson

Have YOU read that comic that deals with Mitchell? Did you see the ending?

@11. Mitchell was dead at the end of the issue, no…? What’re you trying to get at…?

# 11 MP~

The comic left it wide open for a sequel. I’d find it hard to believe a simple phaser would’ve killed him at that stage in his ‘evolution’ anyway….

And I still think Cumberbatch would make be far superior as Mitchell than as Khan Noonian Singh (who, IMO, is not as interesting a character as Mitchell). Tin-plated tyrants are a dime a dozen in pop culture (James Bond villains, for example). But a ‘good guy’ who is turned into a demi-god against his will? Infinite possibilities. Especially if he is a friend of the lead character….

Edit on #13

Meant to say “would be far superior as Mitchell.” Brain farting again….

@3 … Agreed.

No I didn’t read the comic with Mitchell. Not into comics that much. Allthough the Dr. Who crossover kind of intreages me.

@13. Actually, that seems contrived, giving a young Kirk his very own Q….

To me it wouldn’t make sense for it to be MItchell because they would have to spend part of the movie explaining what happened in the comic and that they thought he was dead, then find him alive somehow and deal with him again.


Not necessarily. In ST ’09, they glossed over a significant number of details highlighted in the Countdown comics that preceded the movie. They basically used Prime Spock’s mind meld with Kirk as a way of explaining what happened in the comics, but the comics went into far more detail.

A flashback, or some other film device could be used to explain what happened to Mitchell to casual fans and diehards could read the comic. All the episodes are only 2 issues and for the most part, they’ve been a great continuation of the new universe.

I’d say that the destruction of Vulcan is a bit more than a butterfly.

The comics are interesting — and they’re getting better. The archons one points to some interesting, er, developments in starfleet…

The ending to the comic version of WNMHGB was much different to the TOS version. I don’t want to give any spoilers… you guys should take a look at it. Since Bob Orci said that these comics are canon… there might be something there.

I hate this comics/novel are canon thing they have going on right now. This is Star Trek not Star Wars damnit!

21 – Care to elaborate? I wont read the comics, but am interested in these “developments” you speak of..

Mike Johnson’s evasiveness on the topic of Khan is further proof that Khan is in the sequel. There’s a reason for that. J.J Abrams won’t allow anyone to even mention Khan.

Gary Mitchell is dead. If you’re going to use the logic that his superpowers could bring him back from the dead, you’d have to say the same for his Prime Universe counterpart who was buried in a plot under a giant boulder. The original Mitchell did not come back.

What ever nuggets have been planted in the Comics. They sure don’t amount to much, because not a single soul has even brought forth a theory using the info in the Comic Books..

26: what I gather from reading comments here and the reviews of the comics is that there’s a conspiracy afoot in starfleet.

could be a clue to a plot point in the next film.. we know mr orci loves his conspiracies..

Why has nobody pointed out the resemblance between Benedict Cumberbatch and Crewman Green from The Man Trap?:

Waitaminute. We know in the prime universe, that in 2254, young Spock, lieutenant to Captain Pike… was a *smiling* with fascination Vulcan… who also was startled enough to yell “The women!”. I think Quinto’s Spock of 2258 wasn’t that far removed from the injured Spock we met in The Cage.

Cumberbatch=Kevin Riley

Who’s going to be the brave writer who takes on how different the 24th Century becomes? The possibilities are endless…

Where are all the clues in the comic books?

Khan? or not Khan?…………….still ongoing……..whatever…….maybe until the end of the summer….. or not……………………………………………………………………… 2013

;-) :-)

I suspect no Khan but Joachim. The Botany Bay is discovered but Khan has either died at some point in their 200 year journey or he dies as they attempt to revive him. With their leader gone, Joachim steps up and events take a decidedly different turn.

I was hoping for a new and original Star Trek story that in no way relied on an established villain. If the comics are any indication we’re looking at a new spin on an old story. Not necessarily a rehash but not entirely fresh or new either.

I’m trying to avoid spoilers. They’re not bad, the comics (especially the most recent ones) — and can be read in an ipod/iPhone app.

Okay. Sales pitch over. Here goes. Spoilers away!

Starting now…


Kirk decides, on his own, to investigate legends of a missing starship (I guess his acadamy roommate stayed up at night with a flashlight under his face telling slightly lame stories) — this leads him to a society of mind-controlled zombies, except during festival etc…. this we know, right?

But in this case, according to one lovely female colonist who finds Kirk, everyone on the planet is human and descended from crew members of the U.S.S. Archon, and they’re controlled, yes, by Landru. Landru’s still an AI device, designed by (according to Kirk’s source) the evil starfleet Dr. Landru, who did mind-control experiments on people. When the archon’s crew tried to resist, Landru pulled the ship into the atmosphere, or something. And then the zombie-colonists made a nice little medieval-ish village. Crew gets chased, Landru forces the Enterprise out of teh sky with heat rays, or something… Kirk has to decide what to do before the ship’s destroyed. Does the Prime Directive apply to a starfleet colony?

Long story, slightly less long: Scotty beams out Landru, the colonists are cut off from Landru but now rudderless, Kirk calls Pike, asks for Starfleet shrinks to come in and help the Archon descendants adjust to not being zombies, and Pike tells Kirk, via comm, (slightly paraphrased) “Good job, but maybe next time, check with me before just waking up one morning and deciding to check out the legend of a missing ship, without orders to do so. Kay, bud?”

Pike logs off Skype, and then…

Mysterious disembodied voice says, more or less, that he’s been listening and that “Kirk and those pesky kids have interfered in our plans one time too many, bwahahahah”. Okay, not quite. But he does say that Kirk screwed with the decades-long Landru experiment, and that erasing the existence of the Archon from records took a lot of time and hard work, you know. Oh, yeah, and next time Kirk screws up, Pike’s losing his disabled parking pass.

…And then the next one’s about tribbles (with fantastic art).

Spock and Uhura was at a major mistake

and didn’t belong in the 1st film or any that

precede it. A very bad ark – quite quirky!

May the villain be: Doctor Stavos Keniculus!

RDR is right. This is further proof that Cumby is playing Khan. Bummer.


Reacting to possible SPOILERS from the comic so beware below:

Lets say the comic sets up the new movie. Then I hope this isn’t going to be one of those stories of rogue Star Fleet officers up to no good. They have done that too often across all the series. And Kirk’s mentor being part of it is a cliche for movies in general.

I don’t mind if they reuse characters we’ve seen since Nero’s incursion didn’t change everything. But lets hope the movie is novel in the challenge it poses to the heroes. Something new and exciting is what Trek should be.

Anybody ever notice that the only people who cared for the Spock/Uhura thing are women, many/most of which are new fans? My guess is by design, just like how everyone hates Keenser except little kids IE exactly who it’s marketed towards.

I noticed slightly more emotionalism in NuSpock, but I just attributed it to how Quinto played him. Next spring can’t come soon enough!

Please don’t bring doctor who in.

I have no problem with the Spock/Uhura romance.

I know it’s science fiction but having Zoe Saldana on board the ship with no one interested in her would be way too far a stretch for the imagination.

Once again surprised to see Trekkies/Trekkers acting as if they missed the one where Spock died, followed by the one in which he lived again, as well as the one in which Kirk died, followed by the one in which he lived again. Why bother arguing that Mitchell, despite having become ‘even’ more God-like than our heroes, can’t possibly be resurrected?


Where is the picture of the alien on the right from? Is there some production video of the new star trek that I missed?

Because the only people that will care are the ones who read the comic.

I like the writing of the new comics…maybe they can make that Lazurus story make more sense this time around. I’m tired of the wide open, animated style art tho…wish we could be something with more crosshatching and details in the inks. Have IDW asked Gordon Purcell or Jerome Moore to work on a few issues?

@ 6 Anthony Thompson

Just because Mitchell was was killed in the comic does not mean he will stay dead. Does anyone realise this is science fiction? That anything can happen?

If they wanted to bring Mitchell back, they would find a reasonable way to do it.

But I’m not sure it’s Mitchell. Or Khan.

I am beginning to think Cumberbatch could be Roger Corby.

Or Garth (and with his powers he could make himself look younger).

Possibly Gary Seven.

Lazarus….Hmmmm…..I kind of like that idea…..Cumberbatch could be Lazurus????? Hum….


Not at all. I’m a guy and while I’m not writing fan fiction I think the Uhura/Spock relationship was a very good addition to the story. It gives Uhura aka Zoe Saldana more of a reason to be in scenes, instead of being a background prop like Chekov. Which is a good thing, because both the actor and character have potential. It also gives more opportunities for the conflicting sides of Spock to come to the fore.

The chief value of Spock as a character is his difference from humans, his lack of emotion. It lets us see ourselves from a different perspective, and maybe learn something. For this reason, I hope it is true that Spock evolves to become less emotional in future films.

34: thanks Jack!

“Anybody ever notice that the only people who cared for the Spock/Uhura thing are women, many/most of which are new fans?”

Some women did not care for the romance.

I did.

Mr. Abrams seemed to love the Spock/Uhura “thing”, as well.

At least, that was my impression….especially while listening to the DVD commentary of the Star Trek 2009 movie….

And, you are right; he’s somewhat of a new fan of the franchise:
(If link not authorized here, google “J.J. Abrams not a fan of Star Trek”)

But, who am I to hold that against him?

After all, he finally came to his senses; NOW he appears to be a fan.
Furthermore, on a very personal note, I love the fact that the person who brought my beloved TOS crew back , in a satisfying manner to me, is a self-avowed Star Wars fan.

His inability to get to like Star Trek in the past is probably matched
by my numerous failed attempts at really liking a saga (Star Wars) which has developed into a worldwide phenomenon.

Mr. Abrams, should you be reading this, don’t hold it against me, you know… “IDIC”…and, all that good stuff…