WC13: Johnson on IDW's "Star Trek: Into Darkness" Epilogue, "After Darkness"

At WonderCon Anaheim, IDW Publishing announced the "Star Trek: After Darkness" storyline, an epilogue to the J.J. Abram's film "Star Trek: Into Darkness." "After Darkness" is published as part of IDW's ongoing "Star Trek" title in issues #21-23, featuring regular series writer Mike Johnson and artist group Stellar Labs.

"After Darkness" addresses the fallout from both the film "Star Trek: Into Darkness" and IDW's own "Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness" miniseries. "Into Darkness" is the sequel to the blockbuster 2009 film "Star Trek" which saw reimagined younger versions of the original crew of the USS Enterprise take on insane Romulan terrorist Nero. Spoilers relating to "Into Darkness" have been minimal, despite the film's release date under two months away.

Mike Johnson spoke with CBR News about "After Darkness," revealing what he could about the highly secretive project, including screenwriter Roberto Orci's involvement and what it's like to work under such highly secretive conditions.

CBR News: What's the basic plot for "Star Trek: After Darkness?"

Mike Johnson: Unfortunately I can't say much, but I can say that people (both familiar and unfamiliar) travel to a place (both familiar and unfamiliar) very far away where their loyalties are tested and their lives are at risk.

Is the "After Darkness" comic book storyline a direct follow-up to this summer's "Into Darkness" movie?

It is indeed. The comic story picks up a few days after the movie ends, then jumps ahead about a week. The storyline address the fallout from both the film and the prequel miniseries "Countdown to Darkness." The hope is that the prequel, the movie and the ongoing series tell one big epic story that continues into the months to come.

Is the status quo aboard the Enterprise different in "After Darkness" than in your series "Countdown to Darkness?"

Yes, I can tell you that in the movie you'll see -- [SPOILERS REDACTED BY SPACE NINJAS].

What relationships or themes are explored in "After Darkness?"

Family. Duty. Wonder. Love. Lust. Xeno-geophysics.

Do we get to see actor Benedict Cumberbatch's character in "After Darkness?"

No, Sherlock Holmes isn't in this story. NICE TRY.

So what can you tell us about this project?

I can tell you the story is being overseen by Bob Orci, the biggest and most knowledgeable "Trek" fan among the movie's writer/producers, so it's as close to a seamless transition from movie to comic book as can be. Bob guides what direction the story takes and helps ensure it doesn't veer too far from the direction established in the movie.

Can you talk about the artwork in "After Darkness?"

The art is by Stellar Labs, the same very talented group who created the art for the "Mirror Universe" story in issues #15 & #16. The pages they are turning out are gorgeous.

Do you have any indication of where the franchise might head in a third film?

I don't, but I hope we see whales at some point.

What's it like working under such secretive conditions? Do your peers bug you for movie spoilers?

It's fun to frustrate friends and family with evasive answers, but most of all I'm just looking forward to everyone seeing the movie so we can all talk about it. The biggest problem I have is watching every word I say so I don't accidentally spill any beans. Suffice it to say that they are awesome, epic beans.

"Star Trek: After Darkness" begins in "Star Trek" #21, available this summer from IDW Publishing. "Star Trek: Into Darkness" hits theatres May 17.

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