In the end, comic fan’s resistance to IDW Publishing’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2” miniseries turned out to be futile. The book that mixed two of pop-culture’s greatest properties ended up being a massive seller and a critical success for IDW Publishing earlier this year.
Written by Scott and David Tipton and painted by J.K. Woodward, “Assimilation2” featured the Matt Smith incarnation of Doctor Who teaming up with Captain Jean Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Together, they take on the combined might of two eerily similar enemies: “Trek’s” Borg and “Who’s” Cybermen.
In advance of the final collected edition of “Assimilation2” in January, Scott and David Tipton spoke to Comic Book Resources about the miniseries and discussed how this series connects to other “Star Trek” and “Doctor Who” comics, fan reaction to the series, striking a balance between sci-fiction and science-fantasy and much more.
CBR News: Scott and David, for those who didn’t read “Assimilation2” as it was coming out, what’s the basic premise?
Scott Tipton: Essentially, the Doctor and his companions find themselves in an unfamiliar universe in which the Borg and the Cybermen have teamed up, and cataclysm ensues, with the Doctor teaming up with Captain Picard and the Enterprise crew to face the threat!
Were you surprised by the success of “Assimilation2” when it came out?
David Tipton: We were very pleased! We had an excellent team that worked on “Assimilation2,” and we think the work we put into it really paid off.
Who’s the bigger badder bad guy: the Cybermen or the Borg?
Scott: Come on, you know we can’t take sides! The Borg are a little spookier, but the Cybermen have an air of inevitability about them that’s equally creepy.
Are there any plans for a sequel to “Assimilation2?”
Scott: Nothing concrete at this time, but we have plenty of ideas should fortune smile upon us once more. (Although I think J.K. Woodward probably needs a little breather…)
Now that it’s all over, will the events of “Assimilation2” spill over in to any of the other “Doctor Who” or “Star Trek” books?
David: No, there’s not a direct connection between Assimilation2 and any other projects at this time.
Scott: We thought it was important that “Assimilation2” stand alone. It’s a big event, and it kind of deserves its own breathing room.
Were there any plot elements or characters you wanted to work in to the story but couldn’t because of space or time constrictions, or maybe even because the licensors wouldn’t sign off?
Scott: Honestly, no. We managed to squeeze in all of our big ideas and character moments from our initial pitch to CBS and the BBC, and even expand on a few. Including some we never thought would be approved, like getting to use Captain Kirk and the Fourth Doctor.
“Star Trek” or “Doctor Who” — which universe do you enjoy playing around in more?
Scott: “Star Trek” comes a little easier, just because we’ve been working on that universe for so long, but the many different television series and films do make for a lot more to keep track of, compared to” “Doctor Who,” which is more of a single unbroken line.
How has the fan reaction been? Both “Star Trek” and “Doctor Who” fans are a devoted, vocal bunch.
Scott: The fans have been nothing but great on this. As soon as the series was announced, there was almost no negative feedback — everyone was excited. And as we’ve done convention and bookstore signings over the course of the year, everyone has been super-friendly and complimentary. I think it comes through that we love both these properties and are trying to do right by both.
Now that it’s all wrapped up and immortalized in two trade collections, what are your final thoughts looking back on “Assimilation2?”
David: We’re very appreciative of the positive reaction towards “Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2!” We’re very grateful for the success of the project, and we’d like to extend some special thanks to the artists, J.K. Woodward and Gordon Purcell, who did a fantastic job.
Scott: Most definitely. As hard as we worked on these scripts, J.K. and Gordon always brought more to the table, raised their game, and forced us to always raise ours. We’re delighted so many Trek fans and Whovians enjoyed it.
How closely did you work with representatives from the Trek property and Doctor Who property when creating “Assimilation2?”
David: Our editor, Denton Tipton, did a great job of facilitating our interactions with the licensors on “Assimilation2.” The representatives from both CBS and the BBC were very helpful and valuable resources for this project. As you can imagine, creating a story that fits with the elaborate and well-established canon for both “Star Trek” and “Doctor Who” was no small challenge.
IDW has released some amazing collected editions in the past, with their “IDW Limited” and “Artist’s Editions” springing to mind. Any plans for an “ultimate edition” of “Assimilation2” down the road?
Scott: Man, I really hope so! I want one!
How would you describe the differences in attitude and style between writing a “Star Trek” story and writing a “Doctor Who” story? Did “Assimilation2” lean more one way than the other when combining the two?
Scott: We’ve said before that “Doctor Who” tends to be more “science-fantasy” as compared to “Star Trek’s” “science fiction.” I think by the nature of the story, with the Doctor and the Ponds coming aboard the Enterprise, it might have tilted a little bit more toward the Trek side, but we always tried very hard to keep it as balanced as possible.
David: We tried to strike a balance for purposes of the crossover. I wouldn’t really say that it leans more one way than the other.
What were some of your favorite scenes from “Assimilation2?”
Scott: I have a soft spot for the more emotional scenes, I’ll confess, like Amy trying to convince Picard to listen to the Doctor, or the Doctor confessing to Amy and Rory that he was lying to Picard in order to spare him pain. But I think my absolute favorite moment was the sequence of the Doctor taking Picard into the future to show him the horrible futures in store if they didn’t act. I really felt like we got the tone right there.
Which character did each of you enjoy writing the most?
Scott: The Doctor was the most fun to write, while coming back to Picard after being away for a while was like putting on a pair of comfortable shoes. I also really liked writing some of the unexpected relationships like Amy and Dr. Crusher, or Rory and Worf.
David: Riker, Data, and the Doctor were all particular favorites. These three have important interactions throughout the series.
Why do you think the concepts of both “Doctor Who” and “Star Trek” have been able to last for 50 years?
Scott: I think both share a single attribute that sets them apart from so much other dystopic science fiction: hope. “Star Trek” is all about hope, in the belief in a future without war, without poverty, without ignorance or greed. And in “Doctor Who” you have a protagonist who never loses hope, and whose companions never lose hope in him.Â And like I’ve said before, hope is the best reason to keep tuning in week after week.
“Star Trek The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation2” volume 2 from IDW Publishing goes on sale in January.