At long last, Star Trek fans will be able to experience a definitive tale set in the final days of the Starship Enterprise's original mission thanks to IDW Publishing's new comic book series Star Trek: Year Five, which is set to launch in April.
Star Trek: Year Five will center around the final year of the Enterprise's five-year mission from 1966's Star Trek: The Original Series. More specifically, the comic will explore the feelings of each member of the Enterprise's original crew as the ship makes its return to Earth.
As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Star Trek: Year Five is set to be written by a rotating team of talent, with the series' first arc being written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing (Green Arrow, Gotham City Garage) and illustrated by Stephen Thompson (Star Trek: New Frontier - Turnaround). Subsequent storylines will then be penned by the likes of Brandon Easton (Star Trek: Waypoint), Jody Houser (Star Wars: Thrawn, Mother Panic) and Jim McCann (Hawkeye: Blindspot).
Lanzing described the series as a "vital, hard-hitting, character-focused look at Captain Kirk on his last year in command." The writer went on to explain that Kirk's actions in the comic will " have huge ripple effects, from the outbreak of war in the Alpha Quadrant to an unprecedented strain of trust with Spock. We'll turn a mirror on modern society, just as [the original television series] did in the 1960s, and go boldly towards meaningful, heartfelt stories."
"With Year Five, we don't just want to thrill - we want to channel the power of [franchise creator Gene] Roddenberry's original vision, to tell a story about the future that illuminates our present," Kelly added.
Fans who watched the original Star Trek television series never got to see the conclusion to the Enterprise's initial exploration-based mission, as the show was canceled in 1969 after three seasons. Granted, Year Five isn't the first time the attempt at filling fans in on what happened during the missing two years.
For instance, 1973's Star Trek: The Animated Series has long been presumed to take place after the events of The Original Series. Additionally, while non-canon, the 2013 fan-made web series Star Trek Continues was made with CBS's blessing and even had several Star Trek alumni contributing to the project.
That being said, Year Five will be the first official, extended story arc to be definitively set around the time the five-year mission was coming to an end, with Lanzing assuring that the comic will have "a beginning, a game-changing middle and a definite end."
To emphasize the importance of Year Five, the cover of the comics first issue was painted by Greg Hildebrandt, which marks the first time the legendary artist has worked on an official Star Trek project in his 60+ year career.
A lifelong fan of the franchise, Hildebrandt explained that he "admired the social, moral and political statements that were obvious in Gene Roddenberry's plot lines... It was an honor to paint this cover art of the original cast. Having painted Trek before, it was a kick for me at 80 years old."