SDCC '08 - Star Trek Without a Blueprint Panel

Star Trek Without a Blueprint

A fairly packed room at the San Diego Comic-Con Thursday came to see faces both old and new to the evolution of Star Trek from TV and film to comics and novels. A full panel of writers and editors were on hand to answer questions and tease a little of what's ahead for the Star trek universe.

Pocket Books had the major announcement and news with the "Destiny" series of books aimed for this fall. Since the J.J. Abrams directed new feature film was supposed to debut this Christmas, editor Margaret Clark said that the 23rd Century would be 'walled off' for the time being and the 24th century would be brought into conflict on an epic movie scale.

Taking a picture from 'Ships of the Line', a book of starship illustrations from a line of calendars, they found an image of the starship Columbia from the Enterprise series crashed on a planet in what was listed as the Gamma Quadrant. The blurb on the picture said that this wreckage was found 200 years later and with this, they created what was to be the backbone of the "Destiny" series. Spanning both the 22nd and the 24th centuries, all the captains from Picard on up and their crews will be seen in this epic that promises to change the face of the Federation forever.

David Mack, the writer of this series as well as many other Star Trek novels (the Vanguard series, Starfleet Corps of Engineers novels, and more), will be heading out this project that was described simply as all past Borg encounters have been nothing but incidents, this will be a full-scale Borg invasion. Destiny will last through three novels starting in September with Gods of Night. This event will last all through December and have a wide-spread fallout that will leave only 11 starships behind and it was let slip that DS9's Ezri Dax will get a field commission to Captain on a new ship shown through the novels.

Writers were enthusiastic to tell of the destruction and scope of this novel series to an equally eager audience. Andy Mangels, a man who's been writing for Star trek for over 15 years in a variety of mediums, from novels to comics to packaging copy) was able to let slip that plot points for this new arc will be dropped in his novel, Kobayashi Maru due out in August, so the ball will get rolling early.

The reins of Star Trek editorial were handed over from Andrew Harris to Andy Schmidt, whose new office is barely even furnished. He spoke of talks with Pocket Books to use material from their novels and perhaps even create a cohesive continuity between the two mediums. fans were excited to hear about a possible Titan comic book or even an Excelsior comic based on the adventures of Captain Sulu. Mangels, someone who helped create most of the characters created to fill in Riker's ship's ranks, said he would love to see them in another medium.

IDW went on to announce that there was going to be a second Alien Spotlight series, focusing on the Ferengi, the Klingons and, interestingly enough, the Q. They'll also be doing their own Mirror Universe story, Star Trek: the Last Generation, which will be set during the 'TNG' era of Trek. Captain Sulu of the aforementioned Excelsior will make an appearance as the plot will center on the Klingon occupation of Earth and Picard leading a resistance against the conquering Klingon Warlords.

The burning question was eventually asked of the panel of how the new J.J. Abrams movie would affect them and their writing. Were these veterans and fans excited or nervous for its release? Most replied positively,

Wil Wheaton felt the movie wouldn't have an impact at all on the comics and novels that have been there for years, noting that they were still selling strong with "Enterprise was stinking up television". When he was first asked to write for Tokyopop, there was a fear that manga fans themselves would actively dislike bringing in an already established fan base to an already established fan base, but the books have done well enough to warrant three volumes. As someone who has a lot invested in Star trek himself, Wheaton felt he couldn't spend too much time worrying about it and remained positive, though he hopes it doesn't suck. "After all, we live in a post-Phantom Menace world," he noted to the audience who reacted with a mixture of groans and applause.

Wheaton also won the 'best laugh of the panel' as when a fan asked if there would be any focus or attention on a class war in Star Trek between the haves and the have-nots before the more utopian era of what we see on the screen today, Wheaton noted that "it's a little known fact that Wesley Crusher was directly responsible for that."

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