'Star Trek: Year Five' to Explore Hidden Chapter of Enterprise History

The comic book from IDW Publishing will look at the final year of the crew's original mission.
Greg Hildebrandt/IDW Publishing

The voyage is almost over.

The Hollywood Reporter can exclusively reveal that IDW Publishing is launching a major new Star Trek comic book series, titled Star Trek: Year Five, which will tell the story of the final year of the Enterprise’s original five-year mission to seek out new life and new civilizations. As Starfleet’s flagship returns home, the series will investigate how each member of the iconic crew feels about the uncertain future that awaits them as they reach Earth.

The series will be written by a rotating team of talent, with a writer’s room made up of Brandon Easton, Jody Houser, Jim McCann and the team of Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing. The latter two will be responsible for the opening arc of the series, to be illustrated by Stephen Thompson.

Lanzing called the series “a vital, hard-hitting, character-focused look at Captain Kirk on his last year in command” in a statement about the series, promising that Kirk’s actions in the series “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.”

Kelly agreed, adding, “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.”

This isn’t the first time that the end of the five-year mission — the first three years of which form the three seasons of the original Star Trek television series — have been featured in Trek fiction; indeed, the animated series of 1973-1974 is assumed to be set during the final two years of that mission. However, Year Five will be the first extended storyline set definitively during the conclusion of the original mission, and the series has, according to landing, “a beginning, a game-changing middle, and a definite end.”

The importance of the new series is underscored by the fact that the first issue features an unexpected first: legendary illustrator Greg Hildebrandt working on Star Trek for the first time in a career that’s spanned 60 years.

A fan of the franchise since its 1966 debut on television, Hildebrandt said in a statement 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.”

The new series, produced under license from CBS Consumer Products, launches in April.