At Wondercon over the weekend, IDW held an “Inside the Writers’ Room” panel for their upcoming Star Trek: Year Five series, which provided some new insights into the comic title which launches later this month. They also announced a new Discovery tie-in. TrekMovie has a full report from the panel, with some additional details on both.
Telling the story of how the 5-year mission ended in Star Trek: Year Five
Later this month IDW launches Star Trek: Year Five, which is set to tell the untold story of the final year of the fabled 5-year mission from Star Trek: The Original Series. For this series, IDW is taking a page from how television shows are written by assembling a writers’ room, instead of having a single writer or team write the entire series, and some of those writers were at WonderCon to talk about what they have in store, along with editor Chase Marotz.
Co-showrunner (with Collin Kelly) Jackson Lanzing explained the approach:
Star Trek: Year Five functions like a writers’ room. We are going to be rotating each couple of issues to tell stories about things that would operate as a single [episodes] and take you through a season of television. It will be a lot more serialized than The Original Series was, while still hearkening back to what the episode-by-episode storytelling that we love from TOS.
Lanzing went on to talk about what the goal of the series is:
To me it is one of the greatest unanswered questions of Star Trek canon: how did the five-year mission end? How did we end up where we begin in Star Trek: The Motion Picture? How do these characters – the last time we saw them in season three – function so strongly as a family and so strongly as a crew. How do we then find them splintered – particularly with Spock – at the beginning of The Motion Picture?
As the series tells the end of the five-year mission, it will cover the USS Enterprise’s return to Earth. This provides a chance to pick up on and expand on some previous episodes from TOS. The first two episodes will involve a visit to a Tholian colony, getting a much closer look at the culture of the aliens first seen in “The Tholian Web,” which Lanzing describes as “an opportunity to dig into something deeply alien and deeply strange.”
Another pair of issues will revisit the planet Sigma Iotia II find out what the result was of McCoy leaving his communicator behind in “A Piece of the Action.” Lanzing said this was an example of how the series will “have an opportunity to stop by and take a look at a place where the initial solve didn’t work as well as we had hoped.”
The panel discussed how the team is going out of their way to ensure the series looks and feels like The Original Series. One of the key issues for them is getting Kirk, who as Kelly notes:
[Kirk] at this time in his career is more of a philosopher captain. He is a warrior, but he is a thinker. He is a man who is troubled. And he is also Shatner, so he demands the scene. He is counting lines.
Lanzing noted this issue of counting lines isn’t a joke, that many times they would give lines to Kirk even when they may have considered giving them to another character because “TOS ultimately lives and dies on the relationship between Kirk and Spock and Bones. That triumvirate is so ingrained.” Although he did say they will take the opportunity to explore the other characters for the show in new ways.
Another interesting feature of the series will be variant covers by artist J.J. Lendl. For each two-issue arc, he will do an episode poster cover and a travel poster cover.
Speaking to TrekMovie following the panel, editor Chase Marotz described Star Trek: Year Five as a “maxi-series” as opposed to a mini-series. The first run is planned to be twelve issues, which tells six two-issue stories structured like episodes from TOS. IDW is planning a second run of twelve to wrap up Star Trek: Year Five in 2020, which will bring Kirk’s five-year mission to a close.
Star Trek: Discovery mini-series announced
As the panel wrapped up, IDW editor Chase Marotz made a bit of a surprise announcement, revealing that in August IDW is launching a new mini-series tied into Star Trek: Discovery. During the panel, Marotz said he could not reveal anything about the story because the end of the second season has yet to wrap up, but he did say, “Prepare yourselves, this is going to be a fun one,” and that he is really excited about the initial work for the book.
Speaking to TrekMovie after the panel, Martotz said the Discovery mini-series will run for three issues, August-October. IDW will announce when it’s set in relation to the second season soon after the finale. He did say that it would be unlike the previous two Discovery mini-series, one of which was a prequel and the other was set in the Mirror Universe. Like those Discovery tie-ins, the new series is being written by Mike Johnson and Kirsten Beyer.
Original Hildebrandt painting for Year Five issue 1 up for auction
The original painting for the cover art for the first issue of Star Trek: Year Five by legendary sci-fi artist Greg Hildebrandt is going up for auction as part of Heritage Auctions’ April 23 Illustration Art Auction in Dallas. Heritage expects the 38-by-28-inch painting to sell for $10,000 to $15,000. You can place a bid yourself at HA.com. Also up for auction in the are Steven Chorney’s 1991 poster study for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (est. $1,000-$2,000) and Richard “Sparky” Moore’s Star Trek: Mission to Horatius book cover and interior illustrations (est. $800-$1,200).
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