One of the four Star Trek: Discovery panels at Star Trek Las Vegas on Wednesday was dedicated to the show’s extended universe in print. On stage were Discovery writer and Trek novelist Kirsten Beyer, IDW Group Editor Sarah Gaydos, Pocket Books editor Ed Schlesinger, comic book writer Mike Johnson, and author David Mack. Together they spoke at length about tighter integration between the show and the novels and comics.
Beyer will be spearheading this integration effort, a first for the Trek franchise, which historically hasn’t really concerned itself with having any kind of cohesion among various media. She believes it will help expand the show’s universe:
We want to be able to take the story opportunities that we’re just frankly not going to have time to cover in the show, and go as deep into those into the various formats as we can. It’s not that you have to read these stories to understand everything, but the story will be incredibly enhanced if you do.
Desperate Hours – a prequel novel to Discovery
The first Discovery spinoff will be David Mack’s novel Desperate Hours, set for release September 26th, two days after the show’s premiere. Mack worked in concert with Beyer and Discovery’s writing staff to make the story cohesive with the show, and revealed who came up with the premise for the book:
They have kept me in the loop throughout the season with all the scripts and the story development. There were a few false starts, but eventually it allowed us to collaboratively create this story, which by the way sprung from a direct request by Bryan Fuller, the co-creator of Star Trek: Discovery – he basically asked that we write a book on this basic premise.
The book is a prequel set a year before Discovery, and one year after the Enterprise visits Talos IV in “The Cage.” Here is the official synopsis:
Aboard the Starship Shenzhou, Lieutenant Michael Burnham, a human woman raised and educated among Vulcans, is promoted to acting first officer. But if she wants to keep the job, she must prove to Captain Philippa Georgiou that she deserves to have it.
She gets her chance when the Shenzhou must protect a Federation colony that is under attack by an ancient alien vessel that has surfaced from the deepest fathoms of the planet’s dark, uncharted sea. As the menace from this mysterious vessel grows stronger, Starfleet declares the colony expendable in the name of halting the threat. To save thousands of innocent lives, Burnham must infiltrate the alien ship. But to do so she needs to face the truth of her troubled past, and seek the aid of a man she has tried to avoid her entire life — until now.
Mack said that finding a balance between Discovery‘s new sensibility and remaining faithful to Trek’s past is challenging. In that spirit, he indicates that we might see a familiar face or two:
There may also be a situation where, when the crisis on the planet gets out of hand, help needs to be rendered by another Federation starship with which fans may have a passing familiarity.
Dayton Ward writing 2nd Discovery novel
They also announced the second novel will be written by Dayton Ward, who joined the panel. His book will be set 10 years before the events of the show and will be out in early 2018.
First Discovery Comic series tells T’Kuvma story
Discovery will make its four-color debut in early October, when IDW publishes the first part of a 4-issue mini-series about T’Kuvma, written by Kirsten Beyer along with Mike Johnson, with art by Tony Shasheen.
Mike Johnson described the T’Kuvma series saying:
We’re building out the characters in the Klingon world with these comics, and we can’t wait to show you.”
Gaydos also praised the new era of collaboration:
The access we’re getting to the show to create these comics that are integral to fleshing out the backstories of the characters is unheard of, and I do a lot of licensed comics.”
More IDW mini-series to come
And the T’Kuvma series is just the start for Star Trek: Discovery comics. Editor Sarah Gaydos says that instead of doing a single ongoing series for Discovery (like Star Trek: Boldly Go) they are currently planning to handle the show with series of mini-series which will allow them do “targeted stories on some different subjects.” Mike Johnson said they are currently batting around ideas for the next 4-issue mini-series.
Does all of this collaboration mean that the novels and comics are now part of the franchise canon? Yes and no, says Beyer:
Because of the collaborative nature of this process, we’re able to go farther, take bigger risks. The danger is that, in the future, somebody will come upon with an amazing story idea that would incompatible with what we’ve already established and just like always, the series is going to take priority. But the hope is that we can carve out these places that are safe and that we can continue to protect because as much as possible we want this to be one integrated universe…we’re doing what we can to make sure these stories all fit together moving forward.
Kirsten also noted that the stories they do in the books and the comics are briefed back to the writing staff so “the stories we created get integrated into their brains.”
More Star Trek Las Vegas Coverage
Interview: Sam Vartholomeos and Wilson Cruz
Interview: Mary Chieffo And Kenneth Mitchell
Panel: Actors Discuss Different Klingon Houses In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ + First Image of Kol Revealed
Panel: Writers Talk Technobabble, Timelines And How ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Is Telling Our War Story
And there is more to come all week long.
I wonder whether Mack will address the disparity in the uniforms between Pike’s crew and the Shenzou in the new book
I hope they don’t. Just forget about Pike…
@Lgnd — agree with the sentiment about explaining the uniforms. But I don’t think we need to necessarily forget about Pike if he makes sense to a storyline — and he just might given that Spock has a relationship of some sort with a central DISC character. What everyone needs to get over is this idea that visual canon needs to be reconciled — art direction of a film should have little to no bearing on canon. Yes it can impact canon in a general way, but it shouldn’t affect the minutia. Berman did the franchise a huge disservice when he green lit episodes that focused on the disparity between the 1960s and 1990s, and then dealt a death blow when he devoted four episodes to the origins of the ridge-less Klingons. That’s fan pandering pure and simple and does nothing to advance canon, it only bogs it down in the stuff of “nerdy” fan debates once limited to convention floors of America once a year. Granted novels aren’t canon, so this might be an area where such trvial things could be explored, but seriously … why? Again, doing so only fans the flames of unrest among the base unnecessarily.
I disagree. Those were a few of ENT’s best episodes.
And some of us are excited for Discovery, support it, but still would like the uniform discrepancy not there. They are not mutually exclusive.
And Jeffrey Hunter was awesome as Pike.
4 episodes? The Klingon Arc in ENTERPRISE, was TWO episodes. You call it fan pandering? I call it a clever way through storytelling to explain the differences. And it was a good 2-parter.
Disagreed with everything you said.
Maybe instead of separate badges for assignments they have separate uniforms?
The Shenzou and the Discovery seem to have the same uniforms, so I doubt it.
Easy. The Enterprise commander was phasing in the new uniform on his ship. Uniform changes happen all the time both in Star Trek and in real life. Uniforms are always phased in over time. In fact, I can point out in Star Trek canon where an older uniform was still in use after there was a uniform change. Many times there are different iterations of uniforms before the final uniform is approved for use.
Uniforms are never pushed out instantly, especially in a force as large as Starfleet.
I just retired from 22 years in the Army and had 4 different field uniform designs that I wore. And the phasing in of a new uniform takes years, during which both uniforms are worn.
Yes, I’ve said this one before. Im a canon junkie but we have to be reasonable. The TOS style could be a trial run of new uniforms. They could be casual varients allowed to be worn. Who knows. But it really doesnt matter.
Now I WOULD like, if we see the Enterprise or Defiant or whatever, that they use similar to TOS uniforms.
I like the tease of a familar ship showing up. Whats ship have we seen? Enterprise, Defiant, Reliant…excelsior was brand new so probably not. I bet they give us a Constitution Class that is NOT the Enterprise.
But I REALLY hope they dont just do that willy nilly. If you feature that ship, spend the time and money and care to create a modern version that will become iconic. Not just a cheapo ship of the week rendering.
There’s nothing to explain. It’s common for military and paramilitary organizations to have different uniforms for different branches or missions.
“Beyer will be spearheading this integration effort, a first for the Trek franchise, which historically hasn’t really concerned itself with having any kind of cohesion between various media. She believes it will help expand the show’s universe:”
I always thought the Kelvin timeline comics from IDW were canon. Hell, both the video game & the Mudd storyline from the comics were referenced in Star Trek Into Darkness!
Anyway, I am glad for more product. I just hope both the comic and the novels are good.
Only the TV shows and movies (the filmed product) are canonical, but it’s still great to hear that the TV production staff are aware of what’s being done in the books (and that the story-premise for the first novel came directly from Bryan Fuller himself).
You know what I like? I like all the PR, posters, panels, comic books, interviews, and reveals that iare being generated by CBS prior to launching Discovery. Why the hell couldn’t Paramount et al, do that with Beyond? It deserved so much better than it got.
I could not agree more.
@Gracie — simple: Paramount was hemorrhaging money, still is, and BEYOND went $35 million over budget. As it is they spent over $100mm on marketing, which is pretty standard for a film that size, and every extra junket and panel costs the studio money to travel their stars and producers to it. Since Paramount and CBS weren’t partners on it thanks to Abrams obstinate refusal to co-operate with CBS on marketing, there was no reason for CBS to step in and invest in it.
Well Beyond did try a little when they had that ‘fan event’ and showed the second trailer. But I agree they should’ve done more, ESPECIALLY since the film got delayed that gave them the chance to build the marketing up. Didn’t happen and sadly the film bombed.
As for Discovery it is pretty amazing a month or two ago we were whining how there is no news and now every time I come here there is some actual info to tell. The media campaign is now full on. Thats how Discovery should’ve been, full on media events and not just the usual red carpet premieres. Yeah they really blew it and it cost them, literally.
You meant, thats how Beyond should have been, right?
This seems like a good way to explore some of the characters’ back stories for those that would like the information while not bogging down the main storyline. For those that read everything it will enrich the story for those that don’t…no real consequences. It’s an idea that’s worked well for the tie-in IDW Star Trek comics they have out now for the kelvin timeline. As a fan of those I will be checking out this writing to see what I think.
I’m glad that IDW is doing miniseries of Discovery, and I hope that they break out characters for side stories. And I’d love to see some other good IDW artist like Gordon Purcell and JK Woodward get to draw some of these!
“The novels and comics are canon until they’re not,” as we’ve heard since 2009, is another way of saying that they’re not canon, but they’re attempting to be as consistent as possible with established (on-screen) canon.