Next year, we’re going to see the ramifications of what Jean-Luc Picard has been up to since Star Trek: Nemesis in his very own, self-titled series. But before that, we need to actually see what he’s been up to, and we’re gonna get a glimpse in the form of an upcoming novel and comic book series.
Announced at Star Trek Las Vegas yesterday, two Picard prequels will begin paving the way for CBS All Access’ incoming streaming service starting this fall. Writer Mike Johnson and Picard Producer Kirsten Beyer will kick off Picard-prequelitis with Star Trek: Picard—Countdown, a three-part comic series from IDW beginning this November that... well, we don’t really know much more about it.
A press statement provided by CBS notes that Countdown—not to be confused with the 2009 IDW series Star Trek: Countdown, which set the stage for the destruction of Romulus ahead of the 2009 Star Trek movie reboot, and also featured an older, wiser, post-Nemesis Picard—will revolve around “a mission that would go on to change the life” of Jean-Luc, which is presumably the same mission that leads to him quitting Starfleet ahead of the show. As if there weren’t enough parallels to that 2009 comic series already, it’s been heavily implied that the cause for Picard’s exit is indeed going to be a rescue mission in the wake of Romulus being destroyed by a nearby star going supernova, as first glimpsed in the prime-timeline flashback portions of J.J. Abrams’ movie reboot.
If Countdown is going to be Picard-centric, the novel set to come after it in early 2020 will instead lean more on introducing the new faces the older Jean-Luc will encounter in the upcoming show. Penned by Una McCormack and published by Simon & Schuster, The Last Best Hope—set to launch in February—will serve as a direct lead-in to the show, paving the way to get to know the new characters of the series (and perhaps a few of those familiar faces that we now know are cropping up too).
Star Trek tie-in media has always been in an interesting state of flux—unlike the deeply enmeshed relationship the extraneous material of something like Star Wars has with the main canon of its own universe, especially under Disney’s auspices, it’s always been, well, exactly that: extraneous. Ready to be overruled by a TV show or a movie at a moment’s notice. That’s even applied as recently as the Discovery tie-in material, with novels and comics offering insight that the show itself would then go on to occasionally override. Given the focus on these new Picard extras as deliberate lead-ins and important context to the show itself, it’ll be interesting to see if that remains the case here.
Either way, both Countdown and The Last Best Hope will serve as easy ways to while away the time before Star Trek: Picard itself hits All Access sometime early next year.
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