Interview: Writer Peter David Talks Trek for 'New Frontier' Miniseries

Interview: Writer Peter David Talks Trek for 'New Frontier' Miniseries
Cover art for IDW's 'Star Trek: Second Stage' initiative, featuring the five-part New Frontier miniseries 'Turnaround.'
(Image: © IDW.)

In 1997, “StarTrek” fans got something new.

That was the year that Pocket Books launched its “Star Trek: New Frontier”novel line, the first series of books not directly tied to an existingTrek franchise, or likewise, beholden to any specific Trek continuity. Theseries introduced a largely unknown cast, though there were cameos by knowncharacters as well as the presence of Lt. Commander (now Admiral) ElizabethShelby who first appeared in “Star Trek: The Next Generation’s” ‘The Best ofBoth Worlds’ episodes.

The originalidea for the series is credited to then-PocketBooks editor John Ordover, and writer Peter David has written every novelin the series, which at this point stands at just under 20. The books, andlater comics, revolve around a new starship - the USS Excalibur - and itscaptain Mackenzie Calhoun as they watch over a space sector in turmoil afterthe collapse of an alien empire.

This month, New Frontier comes to comics once again, as part of IDWPublishing’s “Star Trek: ‘Second Stage’” initiative for the property, withDavid at the helm. Joined by artist Stephen Thompson, David will officiallycontinue the stories of the USS Excalibur and Calhoun in a five-issue limitedseries entitled “Turnaround.”

“The advantage of playing in the Star Trek universe is that you have access tothat vast reservoir of possibilities, not to mention an existing audience base,”David told Newsarama [Full Interview]. “Thedisadvantage is that you really can't change any of the characters...exceptthat's not an issue in New Frontier. Characters can come and go, get married,get divorced, give birth, die. So it's really--no joke intended--the best ofboth worlds.”

“Turnaround”is the first New Frontier comic since “Double Time,” also penned by David,seven years ago and features a storyline drawn up especially for the newminiseries. It picks up where the last New Frontier novel, “Missing in Action,”left off, David said.

“When wefirst introduced New Frontier, we had a core cast of characters and they wereall on the Excalibur,” David said. “As time as progressed, a number of themhave moved on to different venues, as happens in life.”

Readerswill not only learn more about the evolution of New Frontier’s characters, butalso be treated to a mix of themes familiar to the series’ die-hard fans.

“Itfeatures the full range of seriousness and humor that is integral to NewFrontier, ranging from Calhoun witnessing the gut-wrenching and brutal death ofa key New Frontier cast member, to the mountainous Zak Kebron endeavoring toextract information from an unwilling individual by making him sit through aslide show of every vacation Kebron's family ever went on,” said David, addingthat the series will answer some of the series’ long-standing questions. “It'sa can't-miss for longtime New Frontier fans.”

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