Star Trek Guide

Star Trek's Original Movie Timeline is Finally About To Make Sense

In one of the most infamous cancellations in television history, Star Trek: The Original Series unceremoniously ended in 1969 after only three seasons. Die-hard fans felt betrayed as the show’s opening had promised a “five year mission.” That meant there were two full years of exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life that loyal viewers would never get to see. Until now. With 2008’s Star Trek: Year Four and the ongoing Star Trek: Year Five, IDW Publishing has begun the work of concluding a legendary journey too long left in limbo. As the final twelve issues are released, what previously unexplained changes take place in the last few months of the five year mission? And will the events of the first feature film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, finally make more sense?

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Star Trek: Year Five #13 and #14 find Kirk, Spock, McCoy and crew arriving to a hero’s welcome at Starbase 212. Having literally saved the universe on more than one occasion, the Enterprise prepares to embark on the final leg of its historic mission. As is usually the case, however, there is little time to relax. A rogue Klingon bird-of-prey decloaks and demands James T. Kirk be immediately surrendered or it will self-destruct and take Starfleet’s armada with it. Naturally, Kirk gives himself up.

Meanwhile, Spock and McCoy discover that a traitorous admiral is conducting medical experiments on injured Starfleet crewmen. The mismatched duo must uncover the conspiracy before the admiral kills them both and blames it on the Klingons. The comics read like a lost episode of The Original Series. However, the art reveals sleek new starships manned by crewmen in modern white uniforms, and portrays an aging Enterprise and crew. While the foundation is being laid, there are still a host of questions to be answered in the remaining issues leading up to Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Fans have speculated about the conclusion of the five year mission since The Original Series was cancelled in 1969. Some consider the two seasons of ’73-‘74’s Star Trek: The Animated Series to be the final two years, while many Trekkies deny it being canon entirely. Other dissatisfied followers have taken matters into their own hands and produced fan-fiction series such as Star Trek Continues and Star Trek New Voyages. But the IDW creative team of writers, Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, and artists, Kieran McKeown, Sivlia Califano, and Stephen Thompson have rendered what feels like the most accurate spiritual continuation of the beloved sci-fi television show.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in 1979 and revealed a myriad of changes to the Star Trek universe and its characters. The Enterprise returns from deep space and begins an exhaustive refit. Kirk is promoted to admiral, and the young Will Decker (son of Matt Decker from “The Doomsday Machine”) is promoted to captain of the Enterprise. Spock returns to Vulcan to further pursue logic, and McCoy retires. But how will Year Five progress to that point? Will Spock and McCoy stop the traitorous admiral’s evil experiments, but become so jaded with Starfleet’s sins that they are compelled to leave? Perhaps Kirk is promoted to replace the aforementioned traitor, and Will Decker inherits Kirk’s old job. However IDW decides to do it, Star Trek: Year Five is a worthy entry into the Star Trek mythos and will finally make sense of years of continuity confusion.

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