(written from a Production point of view)
Star Trek: Countdown is a four-issue series of comics from IDW Publishing. The series is a prequel tie-in to the 2009 film, Star Trek. It serves as both a lead up to the film and a continuation of the Star Trek: The Next Generation era. The story details the back-story of Nero, the Romulan villain of the film. It takes place in the year 2387, eight years after Star Trek Nemesis, and explains how Nero and Spock ended up in the 23rd century. The first issue was released in January 2009, with one more issue following each month through April 2009.
The series is written by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones, based on a story by Star Trek screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. David Messina is the artist for the series. The official description for the series reads as follows:
- 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!
The prequel connects the era of Star Trek: The Next Generation to the continuity of the film, inspired by "Unification I" and "Unification II". As such, familiar characters from the TNG era appear in the series. In addition to Nero, Spock from the 24th century, who was last seen in "Unification", is among the main characters of the series.  In 2010, the series was further connected to the film by its official comic-book retelling, where the scene in which Spock Prime mind-melds with young Kirk is shown as a collage which is an overview of the Countdown storyline.
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)
Publication history 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.  Although comic 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 is contradicted in a later film or TV episode.  He later implied it wasn't canon before outright stating, with encouragement from the interviewer, that it was.  
Johnson and co-writer Tim Jones work for Kurtzman and Orci at their production company, K/O Productions, and, being fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, they 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."  
The series ran for four issues, with one issue released each month from January through April 2009. According to IDW editor-in-chief Chris Ryall, the first issue of Star Trek: Countdown sold out within two weeks of its publication, despite the fact that more copies of the book were printed than originally intended.  Electronic versions of the comic books are available on the iPhone and iPod touch from iTunes. The third issue was the first comic to be released in stores and on the iPhone on the same day.  A trade paperback omnibus collecting all four issues was released on 7 April 2009, followed by a hardback release in October 2009.
Countdown was also published in issues 1 to 3 of Star Trek Comic. The first issue contained parts One and Two, issues 2 and 3 contained parts Three and Four, respectively.
- Written by:
- David Messina (#1-4)
- Color artists:
- Letter artists: