SDCC '08 - More Trek From John Byrne at IDW

At San Diego Comic-Con, there's a clear Star Trek presence this year for the first time in many, helped along by the teaser image from next year's J.J. Abrams' film being used on the streetpost SDCC banners, as well as new Trek art being showcased at the IDW Publishing booth.

In addition to his upcoming Star Trek: Romulans: The Hollow Crown two-issue comic from IDW Publishing, John Byrne will continue to dwell in the Star Trek universe with his 2009 series with the working title of Crew, which looks at the shakedown mission of an early Federation starship and features many familiar faces throughout.

The veteran writer/artist is also working on a follow-up to his Assignment: Earth series featuring the time-traveling secret agent Gary Seven and his assistants, Roberta Lincoln and Isis.

IDW will also present an epic tale that leads into the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek movie due next summer. Abrams and screenwriter Roberto Orci will contribute to the comic book story, too.

In the meantime, we spoke briefly with Byrne about his new Star Trek projects.

Newsarama: Hi, John. You are really be living and breathing Star Trek thee days. First, the Alien Spotlight on the Romulans, then Assignment: Earth, and soon a sequel to the Romulans one-shot called The Hollow Crown starting in September, and another new series scheduled for 2009 called Crew?

John Byrne: Crew is a working title. I hope to come up with something more descriptive of the particular nature of the series. Also, there's a kind of sequel to the sequel, more Romulans, in the lineup. Probably more Assignment: Earth, too.

NRAMA: We’ll get to Crew and others in a short while. Let's start with The Hollow Crown first, shall we? It's the "first of several sequels"?

JB: If two is "several". Revisiting the Romulans opened up some other ideas using the same, or roughly the same, cast.

NRAMA: In our earlier interview, you described the Romulans as "Vulcans with emotions." However, with The Hollow Crown two-parter, it looks like you're adding the Klingons as well. How would you describe the The Original Series-era Klingons now?

JB: The TOS Klingons were unabashed creeps. They cheat, they lie, they murder. That there is any sense of "honor" in them is an elusive concept at best.

NRAMA: What can you tell us about the Romulans/Klingon "alliance" at this point in Trek history?

JB: It comes about for the simplest reason: the Romulans have something the Klingons want. Along the way, one prominent Klingon begins to view the alliance entirely thru the lens of his own agenda, beyond what the Klingon rulers have in mind.

NRAMA: Can you tell us more about a character called Kloor? Somebody else actually mistook him for General Chang from the Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Is he the series’ antagonist?

JB: I have a few "familiar faces" among the Klingons, and several unfamiliar ones. Kloor is one of the unfamiliar ones. (It struck me as a bit odd that some folk would assume him to be Chang. In a martial race like the Klingons, it's most unlikely Chang would have been the only one ever to be bald with a bad eye!)

NRAMA: Just who is the protagonist in the story anyway? I understand that James T. Kirk will only make a cameo appearance, right?

JB: Less than a cameo. The story is told, as with the first issue, entirely through the view of Romulan and Klingon characters, mostly the former.

NRAMA: Moving on to Crew, it's a five-parter, right?

JB: Five or six. Still working that out.

NRAMA: And it'll feature some familiar faces. Just how familiar are they going to be? Will they be from the Jonathan Archer era or Captain Pike days? Or are you telling stories centering on Kirk and his crew?

JB: The familiar faces in Crew will be from the Pike days, unless you count the animated series as canonical.

NRAMA: Will you be introducing new characters to the Star Trek lore?

JB: There will be new crew members, of course. The period in which I am working does not provide enough established characters for a sufficiently broad view of the action.

NRAMA: You also said that there’s a possibility of more Assignment: Earth stories. Care to tease?

JB: As I finished up the first one, I mentioned to Chris Ryall that I almost wished it was ongoing. He said "We can always do another one!" That was immediately appealing. As it stands, if I do more Assignment: Earth, I will take the same approach I did with my Generations series at DC, with the second series taking place over the same span of time covered by the first.

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