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Star Trek: Countdown Writers Discuss Passing the Next Generation Torch

Star Trek: Countdown Writers Discuss Passing the Next Generation Torch” width=”560″/>

Writers Tim Jones and Mike Johnson talk about their prequel comic book to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot and share their concept for an ongoing Wesley Crusher comic series.

Q: How closely did you work with Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci to write the prequel comic?

MJ: We were working on the comic literally in the same place the movie script was written. We had access to the footage to make sure the story we were telling was in line with the movie. And the story we told in Countdown really grew out of the script that Bob and Alex wrote. We fill in things that you don’t see in the movie, but are a part of the story nonetheless.

Q: How essential do you think the comic is to understanding the movie?

TJ: People who haven’t read the comic are going to be lost. They should go to Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com immediately.

MJ: They should probably buy a couple copies, just in case they lose one.

TJ: One for them, and one for their friend to hold in case they accidentally spill coffee on theirs. [Laughs]

MJ: There wasn’t going to be another Next Generation movie before this one, but we’re all huge fans of The Next Generation. And we wanted to do something that tied those two casts together again.

And when you see the movie you’ll see exactly how the comic sets that up. It was really an opportunity to hand the baton back to the beginning.

Q: Did you feel any responsibility to rectify Star Trek: Nemesis, which most fans disliked?

TJ: Absolutely, although we wouldn’t want to use the word “rectify.” But definitely, the sad fact that they were not going to make another Next Gen movie gave us an impetus to go back to those characters and let everybody knows that Star Trek still loves them.

MJ: I’m a Nemesis defender. I think Nemesis gets a lot of grief. There’s a lot in there, and they took some risks. This was more an opportunity to revisit them again because there wasn’t going to be another movie. We were working with Paramount and CBS to make sure the choices we made for what happens to the characters — like Data becoming Captain of the Enterprise — stayed consistent with what you’d seen in the movies and the show.

Q: One of the big surprises in the comic is that Data is alive after dying in Nemesis. Are you planning to explain exactly how he was resurrected as his brother, B-4?

MJ: We’d like to revisit that. We’d like to show exactly how Data became Captain, how he came back as B-4. We touched on it in Countdown, but the story was really about Nero’s history. So we definitely want to go back and explore those hints that we dropped, and we’re talking to our publisher about doing some more comics.

Q: Which of you is the bigger Trek fan?

MJ: We talk about it on a sliding Trek fan scale. Bob Orci is a 10 or an 11. Tim is like a 9.5. I’m a 7.5 to an 8. But we all grew up with the same Trek experiences. We were at the right age when Wrath of Khan hit theaters and bowled us all over.

Q: Did you ever have to keep yourselves from Trekking out too much when you were writing the comic?

MJ: I think we had more freedom in the comic than the movie had.

TJ: We were OK to Trek it out a little more, because not too many non-fans are going to pick up a prequel comic. You’re either a comic geek or a Trek nerd, so we Trekked it out full tilt.

Q: What aspect of the comic was your favorite to write?

TJ: My favorite thing was writing Leonard Nimoy’s Spock. That’s touching some pretty holy material for me.

MJ: I liked writing Data. I love Data so much, and it was just great to try to capture his cadence — the unique way that he talks.

Q: Did anything you wanted to include in the comic end up on the cutting room floor?

TJ: Not really. We figured out how to get everything important together. Nothing was left out, except for maybe Wesley Crusher’s story. But there’s a whole book to do with that.

Q: The Adventures of Wesley Crusher?

MJ: The Decline and Fall and Rebirth of Wesley Crusher.

Q: Those issues will fly off shelves.

MJ: Everyone will follow the Crusher.

TJ: Make it so.

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