The return of Q continues in IDW Publishing’s “Star Trek” #36, featuring part 2 of “The Q Gambit” by writer Mike Johnson and artist Tony Shasteen. In “The Q Gambit,” classic “Next Generation” omnipotent being Q hops into the JJ Abrams “Star Trek” universe and his usual brand of chaos ensues, including bringing Kirk and company face-to-face with “Star Trek” crews from the main timeline such as “Deep Space Nine.”
In a discussion with CBR News, Johnson explained how Q lands in the rebooted Abrams “Trek” universe, hinting at more classic characters on their way to the new continuity — including Captain Picard — and sharing how events in the comic may end up impacting the third film.
CBR News: What’s been going on in “Star Trek?” What’s “The Q Gambit” about?
Mike Johnson: The Enterprise took off from Earth at the end of “Star Trek Into Darkness” and we are now on a five-year mission of discovery into the far reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy.
The gambit in the title refers not to Q throwing energy-powered playing cards at people. It refers to Q’s desire to teach James T. Kirk a lesson — namely that there are indeed no-win scenarios.
Why did you decide to bring dimension-hopping Q back now? And how does Q come to be in the J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” universe?
I love the character so much, and it’s a chance to use a classic “Trek” adversary to show how this new, younger crew is both similar and different in their reactions to things. It’s a chance to show Q interacting with Kirk and Spock for the first time, and the fun that results.
The idea is that Q is the same across all timelines here in our three-dimensional space. From his vantage point, he saw Nimoy-Spock and Nero arrive in the new timeline, which piqued his curiosity. So he comes to visit and have a little fun with his old friend, the human race.
How do Spock and Kirk each view Q?
Q immediately strikes an emotional chord in Kirk. Who is this guy, how did he get on my ship, what does he want, and how do I get him to go away? For Spock, Q is more a phenomenon to be studied. He presents an interesting puzzle for Spock’s logical mind to understand and hopefully solve, for the benefit of the crew.
Do you view Q as a trickster god, a bully, a clown or something else entirely? Is he good or evil?
I think he’s a combination of all those things. He would say that “good” and “evil” are simply primitive constructs invented by our monkey-brains to cope with the universe. He obviously has a sense of humor, but he has a huge ego, too. His complexity makes him a great character to write.
Will this story see the Abrams crew interacting with characters from the classic continuity?
Yes, indeed — although they will be the classic characters as they exist in the new timeline. Specifically, the “Deep Space Nine” cast, which gives us a chance to see the future of the new timeline decades after the events of the new movies. We also have a Picard cameo in the first part of the story to get the ball rolling.
Speaking of the Abrams crew, will Jean-Luc meet Kirk at some point?
I can’t say anything without spoiling what’s coming up. But the idea of a crossover between the two casts is a good one!
When you’re writing the series between movies, are there a lot of checks and balances with “Star Trek” film screenwriter Robert Orci? Are there characters and concepts he either doesn’t want touched or wants handled a specific way for inclusion in future films?
Bob’s a great creative godfather to the series. I run things past him to make sure it won’t conflict with his plans, but overall he loves that comics can do things the movies can’t given the limitations of time and budget. Wacky concepts, re-visiting old favorite characters, showing how events of classic episodes play out in the new timeline.
The plan is for the comics series to tie into and lead up to the next movie in cool ways that most licensed books don’t get the chance to do. And that the movie will be awesome.
“Star Trek” #36 by Mike Johnson and Tony is available now.
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