Scott and David Tipton, the sibling writing team responsible for "Deep Space Nine: Fool's Gold" and "Spock: Reflections" return to the Original Series era with "Star Trek: Burden of Knowledge," a four-issue miniseries from IDW Publishing. With Federica Manfredi on art, the Tiptons take Captain Kirk and the classic Enterprise crew on a journey that tests both their bravery and their diplomacy, with each issue standing alone yet building to a larger story. CBR News spoke with Scott Tipton about the series arriving in stores on June 30. In the debut issue of "Burden of Knowledge," Captain James T. Kirk, Spock and Doctor McCoy travel to Mygdalus, where a highly-advanced civilization have forged an apparent utopia of perfected nature, miraculous medical technology and benign rule. The Mydalians' petitions for Federation membership, however, have stalled due to some jealously guarded secrets, hidden truths that could sabotage the Enterprise crew's mission.
"Our intention with this series was to return to the classic feel of the original 1960s series, to tell a series of exciting, thought-provoking adventures of Captain Kirk and his crew that also happen to tackle some current issues of the day, but in a fun and subtle way," Tipton said of the new miniseries. "Essentially, in our minds, this was a new season of 'Classic Trek,' just maybe with a slightly bigger special-effects budget."
As to what the "Burden of Knowledge" title refers to and who bears that burden, Tipton is playing his cards close to the vest. "What I will say is that there's a common conceptual theme running through all four stories, both in the individual adventures and the overall story arc."
Though each issue of the miniseries can be read as a done-in-one story (the solicitations for issues #1 and #2 describe very different themes and locales), there is a larger underlying plot to "Burden of Knowledge," Tipton told CBR. "We always try and make every issue we write an enjoyable single-issue reading experience on its own, but the series will definitely be building to something bigger, there's no question about that. You'll be seeing some all-new worlds and alien races, as well as a few familiar faces!"
Scott and David Tipton have now written stories in several periods or incarnations of the Star Trek universe, including Original Series, "Next Generation," "Deep Space Nine" and the new film continuity with "Spock: Reflections." CBR asked whether, when developing a new series, the brothers first imagine an interesting story and then consider which cast best suits its tone and feel or whether discussions begin with a crew in mind, with the details of their adventure following. "It definitely has to come organically from the characters first. After all, Kirk handles a situation much differently than, say, Picard or Sisko, so you have to enter into it knowing that you're writing a 'Classic'-era story or a 'Next Gen'-era story," Tipton answered. "And even though it's the same Trek 'universe,' there are still different rules to be observed in a 'Classic' story as opposed to a 'Next Gen' story, so yes, the specific series you're writing has to come first. Besides, each show had its own specific flavor that we really work hard to capture. (Take a look at our recent 'Deep Space Nine' series to see what we mean!)"
Enjoying the continuum or "small c" continuity of the "Star Trek" universe as a whole, Tipton noted that the several franchises have maintained a clarity of purpose even as the tones and focus have shifted from one series to the next. "The beauty of working in this universe that Gene Roddenberry and his talented crew of writers and producers created is that you get the best of both worlds (no pun intended for Borg fans)," Tipton said. "You have this amazing tapestry of over four decades' worth of episodes and films to draw from, which is a fantastic resource for a writer. But within that, you have very distinct styles and moods for the individual series, which allows you to explore the different emotional facets for each. As for progression, things got a little more sophisticated as the various series went on, but it always stayed true to Roddenberry's original vision of a hopeful future, and that's something we always try to keep in mind."