Beware of spoilers for the second issue below.
Similar to 2009’s “Countdown” miniseries, the four issue “Countdown to Darkness” is designed to serve as a direct prequel to the May 17 release and is written by the film’s writer/producer Roberto Orci alongside regular IDW “Star Trek” writer Mike Johnson. Although the events depicted in the book are considered to be canonical, there’s no guarantee that any specific plot elements will play out on the big screen. After all, the original “Countdown” included “Star Trek: The Next Generation” characters and, despite being a prequel, was set in the future, following the events that led to Eric Bana’s Nero traveling back to the 23rd century.
“Countdown to Darkness” follows the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise on a mission to the planet Phaedus IV where, hoping to learn how an alien race acquired advanced technology, Kirk comes face to face with a man familiar to Trekkies: Captain Robert April.
1. The ship we saw in the 2009 film was not the first Enterprise
In what would appear to be a bit of retroactive continuity, “Countdown to Darkness” suggests that the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 is not the first ship to bear that name. This is not necessarily a surprise to fans of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” which followed the adventures of the experimental vessel NX-01. Referenced in the 2009 film and set prior to Nero’s alteration of history, “Enterprise” should, in theory, be the only “Star Trek” series still canonical in the new timeline. Launched in 2151, however, the NX-01 would be more than 100 years old by the time of the events in the 2009 film and, visually, its design is quite different from the one shown in the pages of “Countdown to Darkness.”
“April’s ship was decommissioned two years ago,” Kirk says in the comic. “I got the new one.”
Since the Pine’s Kirk spent three years at Starfleet Academy, this suggests that an Enterprise was in service even during the construction of the NCC-1701 shown in the 2009 film.
2. Robert April seems to have a connection to Carol Marcus
In the new issue, April explains his mysterious history and describes a close bond that he had with his former first officer: a man named Alex Marcus. Time will tell for certain, but it’s a good bet that that’s a reference to the father of Carol Marcus, played by Alice Eve in the upcoming film.
3. Harry Mudd is a Bajoran woman?!
Odds are this surprise will stay within the pages of “Countdown” and won’t make to the big screen, but the second issue introduces a new character in the form of Bajoran rogue calling herself Mudd. That’s surely a reference to Harcourt Fenton “Harry” Mudd, a comical conman played by Roger C. Carmel in the original series episodes “Mudd’s Women” and “I, Mudd” as well as in the animated series’ “Mudd’s Passion.”
As for what any of these clues mean for Star Trek Into Darkness, we’ll have to wait until May to be sure. In the meantime, however, share your theories below!