J.J. Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek franchise is only two movies in at this point, but so far we’ve seen surprisingly little of the broad state of the galaxy in the alternate timeline. The first movie showed us Vulcan — before destroying it — and the second jumped straight to re-introducing Trek’s most iconic villain, Khan. There are strong rumors that the Klingons will be the primary antagonists in Star Trek 3, and tensions between the Federation and that warrior race were at the heart of Star Trek Into Darkness‘ storyline. So far, however, all we’ve seen of them was essentially an extended cameo via action sequence in that film. The same could be said for the new timeline’s Romulans — Nero and his crew were certainly troublesome to the young crew of the Enterprise, but they were from an entirely different future, so they don’t really count. Now both of those key Trek races will be in the spotlight in a four-part comic arc entitled “The Khitomer Conflict.”
Loyal Trekkies will likely recognize that name. The planet Khitomer played a key role in both Star Trek VI and episodes of The Next Generation. It’s where the alliance between the Federation and the Klingons was forged, and later was the site of a Romulan sneak attack on the Klingon colony. Both of those events occurred much later in the original Trek timeline than Abrams’ films have reached (Into Darkness unfolds during the year 2259), but the in-canon Trek comic from IDW Publishing already has war brewing between the Klingon and Romulan empires. Here’s the official synopsis for the four-part comic event:
War breaks out across the stars as the Klingon and Romulan Empires fight for supremacy, with the Enterprise caught in the middle! Don’t miss this epic all-new story set after the events of the blockbuster movie STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, overseen by STAR TREK writer/producer Roberto Orci!
IDW’s Stat Trek comics have been exploring the new timeline from the get-go, with the miniseries Star Trek: Countdown miniseries exploring in detail the events that resulted in Spock and Nero’s crew being tossed back in time and skewing off an alternate reality in the first place. In the aftermath of Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek film, the comic has continued telling stories set in the new timeline, including alternate versions of Original Series episodes such as “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and “The Return of the Archons.” Another miniseries, Countdown to Darkness explored the events leading up to this past spring’s Star Trek Into Darkness. Overseen by Trek writer Roberto Orci, the comics are a fun way to see how the events of the series play out in this reality, without having to devote an entire movie just to retelling an earlier story. (Successfully or not, Into Darkness did at least tell a different Khan story.)
The Khitomer Conflict kicks off tomorrow when issue #25 of the Star Trek comic hits shelves. Given how the comic series has been used in relation to the accompanying movies, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the events in this story arc give us some major hints about what territory Star Trek 3 will explore.