Right now, only Q could tell us if there will ever be a fourth movie set in the Kelvin Timeline. Star Trek Beyond, which only gets better with repeated viewings, tees everything up for further adventures, but it's also the perfect high note with which to conclude this particular version of events for our beloved crew of the Enterprise.
Conclude, that is, in live-action form. What you may not be aware of is that the story of the “new” Kirk, Spock and Bones is zooming right along in a top-notch comic series from IDW Publishing called Boldly Go. Its fourth issue is about to hit stores, but its first three issues are still very much available from all the usual vendors in both electronic and dead-tree form. And it's got the same high energy, upbeat vibe of Justin Lin's outstanding summer hit.
Here are the five best things that you are missing out on if you aren't reading this series.
5 – New Vulcan
Boldly Go takes place in the pockets of the sped-up construction montage of the new Enterprise at the end of Beyond. Everyone doesn't just stand there holding cocktails as the ship was being rebuilt. Captain Kirk, for example, takes a commission as acting Captain on the USS Endeavour, bringing Bones with him.
It's neat to see our gang on a different ship, but the best is seeing Uhura and Spock … on vacation?
We meet up with them just kinda chilling on New Vulcan, a desert planet where Spock wears a cool black cloak and Uhura does her hair-up in a fairly T'Pring-ish fashion. Their holiday is cut short, though, when Uhura, who likes to check long-range scans even during a sabbatical, translates some troubling transmissions. Alas, her first sip of Sarek's Plomeek Soup is delayed for another day.
4 – Different Timeline, Same Villains
The signal that Uhura unscrambles is a repeated phrase: one that we fans have known now for decades. Resistance Is Futile!
Finally, the existential threat of the Picard era meets up with Kirk, and for reasons that are quite pleasing for fans who have embraced the comics as canon. If you turn back in your textbooks to the Countdown series that preceded Star Trek (2009), we saw how Nero's Romulan mining ship, the Narada, was retrofitted with Borg nanoprobes. (The Tal Shiar had been experimenting with Borg technology they somehow acquired.)
When the Narada zipped through the wormhole (destroying the Kelvin and creating a split in the timeline) the “early” appearance of Borg tech so deep in the Alpha Quadrant sent out a ping. And now those dastardly Cubes and Spheres are flying in to answer the call.
3 – Sulu's Family
One of the more remarkable things in Beyond was learning more, if only in a few shots, about Lt. Sulu's daughter (who, of course, we saw on the bridge of the Enterprise-B in Star Trek Generations.)
Our favorite helmsman is spending this in-between time deployed on the Concord, and since it was only supposed to be a quick six months, his husband and daughter joined him. This familial side of Trek is definitely a tweak of what was depicted in The Original Series in the 1960s, to say nothing of the “no big deal” attitude about same-sex relationships. All seems well... until the Concord is attacked by the Borg and Sulu's partner and child get “taken” by the Collective. Much like in Beyond, where the shot of a worried Doug Jung at the Yorktown helped raise the emotional stakes of Krall's invasion, the drive to keep Sulu's family safe is at the center of Boldly Go.
2 – Poor Captain Terrell
This guy can't catch a break in any timeline. The captain of the Reliant, who stumbled upon the Botany Bay in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (and dematerialized himself with a phaser rather than betray Captain Kirk at the behest of the gross Ceti Eel burrowing in his brain) is at the helm of the Concord here. And his ship gets completely torn apart by the Borg.
Terrell isn't given the dignity of going down with his ship, though. He is soon fully assimilated and ready to bring havoc and destruction to his Federation colleagues. By the end of Issue 3, I'm sorry to report, it seems very unlikely that we'll be seeing a Locutus-back-into-Picard style rescue here.
1 – Commander Valas
Now that I've set the stage for the fast-paced story it's time to discuss my favorite new character. Thus far she is mostly a side player, but I suspect she'll take center stage a bit more down the line. (At least I hope so.)
With Spock smooching under the desert stars on New Vulcan, Captain Kirk's got a new Number One. In a radical move, Boldly Go introduces us to the first Romulan member of Starfleet, a tough-as-nails woman named Commander Valas.
With fiery red hair and ears as pointy as Spock's, Valas makes a big impression on Kirk when he assumes that she is going to disagree with one of his not-exactly-regulation decisions. She not only supports him, but actually recommends they break the rules at Warp 8 instead of Warp 7.
Kirk would never get involved romantically with someone with whom he serves so closely. But this is only a temporary gig. And the dilithium is definitely heating up in their matter/antimatter intermix chamber. Part of me wonders just how bold this series will actually go.
Jordan Hoffman is a writer, critic and lapsed filmmaker living in New York City. His work can be seen on Film.com, ScreenCrush and Badass Digest. On his BLOG, Jordan has reviewed all 727 Trek episodes and films, most of the comics and some of the novels. Hoffman is also the host of Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast, from CBS Radio, CBS Local Digital Media and CBS Consumer Products. Engage is available via Play.it/StarTrek, iTunes and StarTrek.com, with new episodes released weekly.