He’s been called one of Star Trek’s greatest villains. And now, after stealing the spotlight in this summer’s Star Trek Into Darkess he’s coming to comics.
Launched last week, Star Trek: Khan is a five-issue series that follows Khan out of the events of Star Trek Into Darkness exploring both what happens next for the super-human enigma as well as going in-depth, for the first time, into his origins as the one-time ruler of Earth. Series writer Mike Johnson worked hand-in-hand with Star Trek Into Darkness movie writer/producer Roberto Orci to make complete and canon to the movie series, essentially forming a sequel/spin-off for Khan.
Johnson, who has been the primary writer for IDW’s Star Trek comics since 2009, is joined by True Blood artist Claudia Balboni to tell this origin story for Khan Noonien singh, from his birth to the Eugenics Wars and on through to his first meeting with Admiral Marcus and Section 31. For more, Newsarama talked with Johnson just as the series debuted.
Newsarama: Mike, what can you tell us about the story of Star Trek: Khan?
Mike Johnson: The series will show the origin of Khan from his childhood up until we see him in Star Trek Into Darkness. It covers close to three hundred years of history (although he spent a large portion of that in cozy suspended animation.)
Nrama: The Eugenics Wars has always been teased in the shows, movies and novels – will you be going into it here?
Johnson: Definitely! Comics give us the opportunity to show events that we haven’t seen portrayed visually, but have only heard about. There just wasn’t the time (or the budget) to show it all on the big screen. Khan’s life could fill multiple movies just on its own. So we will see the Eugenics Wars, what part Khan played in them, and how they led to him leaving Earth on the Botany Bay.
Nrama: Will we get to meet Khan’s fellow genetically-engineered superhumans?
Johnson: We will. We know from established canon that there were other augmented humans who rose to power just like Khan did, each of them ruling their own corner of the globe, and we will meet them in this series.
Nrama: So just who are the big players in this beside Khan?
Johnson: The first big player we meet is the scientist who developed the Augment program and is primarily responsible for the direction of Khan’s early life. We’ll meet the other Augment rulers in issue #2 and #3, and then we shift to the future and bring in Admiral Alex Marcus.
Nrama: This might be an odd question, but I have to ask – Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation’s inventor was named Noonien Soong. Khan’s full name is Khan Noonien Singh. Any chance we could get some kind of hint on that connection?
Johnson: Great question. It turns out the name “Noonien” was in honor of an old friend of Gene Rodenberry’s, and was used twice in Trek history, but there is no story connection between the two. But you never know!
Nrama: Let’s go to the beginning – where does this series start, in that very first page?
Johnson: We are in San Francisco a few months after the end of Star Trek Into Darkness, when Khan is put on trial for doing very bad things.
Nrama: So this takes place both before and after Star Trek Into Darkness?
Johnson: Yes. We will be jumping back and forth between Khan’s trial in the future and the events in the past.
Nrama: In the “Space Seed” episode of the original Star Trek series we saw a look at that version of Khan. Will you be using that as reference at all for this?
Johnson: Absolutely. We are mining both “Space Seed” and “Wrath of Khan” for every little detail we can given that they are the primary canon sources for everything Khan.
Nrama: know Paramount is pretty tight about what they allow in continuity, so how are you working to make it work within the framework of this summer’s movie and also his appearance in the original television series?
Johnson: CBS and Paramount have been great partners going all the way back to when we started on the “new timeline” comics in 2008, prior to the first movie. We all work hard to ensure that the comics honor what’s come before without contradicting things.
Nrama: How would you describe your consultation with Star Trek producer/screenwriter Robert Orci on this minsieries in particular?
Johnson: Bob is a fantastic supporter of the comics, and really champions their ability to expand on the things we saw in the movies. I bounce my plots off him and he weighs in with thoughts that inevitably make my dopey ideas better. He always encourages me to make it my own and not play it safe. So if you hate anything in the comics, blame me, not him!