(written from a Production point of view)
Star Trek: Countdown is a four-issue comics miniseries, published by IDW Publishing and released in 2009. Written by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones, based on a story by screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the series is a prequel to the film Star Trek, detailing the back-story of Nero. It takes place in the year 2387, eight years after Star Trek Nemesis, and connects the era of Star Trek: The Next Generation to the continuity of the film (inspired by "Unification I" and "Unification II"), and explains how Nero and Spock ended up in the 23rd century.
A trade paperback collection was released in April 2009, shortly after the last issue of the series, followed by a hardback release in October 2009; the series was also collected in the first volume of the Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection in January 2017.
- Solicitation blurb
- The countdown to the motion picture event of 2009 begins here, in the exclusive comics prequel to STAR TREK, the upcoming blockbuster film from Paramount Pictures! JJ Abrams, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman present the origin of Nero, the mysterious Romulan who will ultimately threaten the survival of the entire universe. Don't miss this story that brings STAR TREK back to the big screen!
- Written by:
- David Messina (#1-4)
- Color artists:
- Letter artists:
Background information Edit
- Countdown came about after Anthony Pascale of TrekMovie kept asking the film's writers, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, to create a means for the characters of The Next Generation to "pass the baton" back to the characters of Star Trek: The Original Series. 
- Johnson and co-writer Tim Jones worked for Kurtzman and Orci at their production company, K/O Productions, and, being fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, were asked to come up with a way to honor The Next Generation while connecting it with the new movie. Orci, Kurtzman, and J.J. Abrams provided direction for the comic, while Orci supervised the project. Johnson and Jones were permitted to read parts of the script and watch parts of the film in order to write the comic, particularly those parts which dealt with Nero.  
- According to Johnson, every scene Nero has in the film fed into the comic book, while the comic gives much more subtext to his scenes. The writers chose to give his Romulan crew informal dialogue to reflect they are miners, not politicians or warriors. Although it involves characters from The Next Generation, the main purpose of the comic was to explain Nero's motives in the film, to show the character's journey "from a proud Romulan patriot to a murderous arch villain."  
- According to IDW editor-in-chief Chris Ryall, the first issue of the series sold out within two weeks of its publication, despite the fact that more copies of the book were printed than originally intended. 
- Digital editions of the issues were released through iTunes. The third issue was the first comic to be released in stores and in digital format on the same day. 
- Countdown was republished in issues 1-3 of Star Trek Comic. The first issue contained parts One and Two, issues 2 and 3 contained parts Three and Four, respectively.
- Although co-writer Mike Johnson considers Countdown to be canon, Orci stated he was in no position to declare whether it was, though he felt it could be considered canon unless it was contradicted in a later film or TV episode.  He later implied it wasn't canon before stating, with encouragement from the interviewer, that it was.  
- The 2010 comic-book adaptation of the film contains further connections to this series; the scene in which Spock Prime mind-melds with young Kirk is portrayed as a collage overview of the Countdown story line.
- Star Trek Online follows the continuity of this comic, although altering the meaning of a few details, such as Worf's rank of general being a temporary commission. Game developers have said that they intervened to ensure that the comic's story only destroyed the Prime timeline version of Romulus, not other planets such as Vulcan and Earth.(citation needed • edit)