Take a sneak peek at new 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture — Echoes' comic series out May 17 (exclusive)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Echoes #1
Art from "Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Echoes" #1. (Image credit: IDW)

Remember the first time you ever watched the first "Star Trek" movie and nearly fell asleep during Kirk and Scotty's endless inspection of the U.S.S. Enterprise sequence? 

Since director Robert Wise's majestic and cerebral feature film "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" hit theaters in 1979, "Star Trek's" momentous leap onto the big screen has risen in estimation as a near-miss masterpiece.

Now, prolific Hollywood screenwriter, producer, and comic book writer Marc Guggenheim (CW's "Arrow" and DC's "Legends of Tomorrow," "Green Lantern," "Trollhunters") is launching back to the far future with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture— Echoes," a fresh five-issue miseries from IDW Publishing that's set just after the planet-saving V'ger crisis of Paramount's original movie.

Joining Guggenheim in this nostalgic creative endeavor are Russian illustrator Oleg Chudakov and acclaimed colorist DC Alonso, all collaborating on a plotline centering around alt-universe versions of the intrepid starship's familiar crew. 

Cover art for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Echoes" #1 (Image credit: IDW)

Here's the official synopsis:

"Echoes" pits the venerated Captain James T. Kirk and his crew against enemies both terrifying and shockingly familiar! When a space anomaly thrusts a criminal mastermind — pursued by a very determined pilot on a mission — into our universe, the Enterprise must stop them from unintentionally starting a war with the Romulans and unleashing a superweapon of foreign technology into the system. But things get infinitely more complicated when these newcomers to our reality remove their helmets, revealing that they're doppelgängers of our beloved heroes!

Space.com interviewed Guggenheim to hear the writer's thoughts on creating an original story rooted in the 1979 classic. Though not exactly his initial trek into creator Gene Roddenberry's hallowed science fiction territory, it does represent Guggenheim's first long-form story arc for "Star Trek" comics and he admits to having enjoyed working on this comic book iteration. 

Cover art for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Echoes" #1 (Image credit: IDW)

Space.com: Why was this the perfect time to travel back into the "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" timeline in a new comic series and what did that iconic film mean to you?

Marc Guggenheim: I'm particularly bad at being commercial and reading the marketplace. I just wanted to do it because 'movie' "Trek" was my "Star Trek." When I was growing up in New York, "Star Trek" was syndicated and my dad would watch episodes and I'd watch pieces of them with him. But when "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" came out I saw it in a theater and was completely entranced by it. It's very different in terms of pace from the "Star Wars" movies. There's a grandeur and a scope and this incredible Jerry Goldsmith score that's simply spectacular.  

And at the end of the day you can't beat the casting. That dynamic between Kirk, Spock and Bones McCoy can't be beat. Then "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" remains one of my all-time favorite films. Between those two movies, that's what got me into "Star Trek."

In talking with IDW about doing a "Star Trek" story, Heather Antos, the senior editor, asked me if I had any interest in "The Original Series" crew. I asked if she'd be okay with me pitching something set in the movie timeline and she said absolutely. I chose "The Motion Picture" period because it's so unexamined compared to a lot of other "Trek" stories, and one that I have a great deal of nostalgia and affection for.

Space.com: Was it always your intention to center your story around the character of Nyota Uhura being that Nichelle Nichols passed away last year?

Guggenheim: I actually pitched IDW and Paramount several loglines and each story I picked had different focuses. It just so happened they picked the one that became "Echoes." And maybe they chose it because of Nichelle, who knows. But regardless, it was very serendipitous in terms of the timing. 

Space.com: How do Oleg Chudakov's artwork and DC Alonso's vibrant colors enhance your storytelling and elevate the "Star Trek" material even further?

Guggenheim: Very rarely have I worked on a series where there's been such a great match between the artist and the colorist. Oleg and DC are just working in synch with each other and it is unbelievable. Oleg is doing what I think a comic book should do. It has to look and feel like a comic book. It can't look like still frames of a movie or a tv show. Oleg has embraced the comic book identity of it, while at the same time, the characters look like the characters, the ships look like the ships.  But at the same time it feels like a "Star Trek" comic book, which is really what it wants to be.

I was simply blown away by DC's colors. It's an incredibly rendered approach. The colors are not flat, there's shaping, there's modeling, and texturing in every panel. How DC is bringing out all the best qualities of Oleg's art is mind-bending to me. When the colors first came in I couldn't believe what I was looking at. I was also thrilled because it looks different from other "Trek" comics currently being published. It has its own visual identity, which is wonderful. I'm very happy with how the book has been coming together. The art alone makes it worth picking up!

Cover art for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Echoes" #1 (Image credit: IDW)

"Star Trek: The Motion Picture—Echoes #1" docks in comic book shops on May 17, 2023 with multiple variant covers including Cover A from Jake Bartok, Cover B by series artist Oleg Chudakov, and incentive variants from Luke Sparrow and Rod Reis.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.

  • Mergatroid
    Maybe the people writing this didn't watch The Voyage Home, but the language on the one comic panel showed me all I need to know. I won't buy this or read it in any way. They obviously never read anything by Roddenberry or watched the movies or they would know swearing isn't a thing in Star Trek.
    Something the authors of the "new Trek" don't get as well.
    Not interested in trash.