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SYFY WIRE Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Exclusive: Writers behind IDW's new Star Trek: DS9 comic talk show's legacy

By Matthew Jackson
Star Trek DS9 TLAS 1 cover A

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is back this summer with an all-new comic book miniseries set in the midst of the Dominion War, and SYFY WIRE has some exclusive commentary from its writers to get you excited about what's to come. 

The first Deep Space Nine comic in more than a decade, Too Long a Sacrifice will follow everyone's favorite gruff shapeshifter, Constable Odo, as he investigates a series of terrorist attacks on the station which ignite at the worst possible time. The war raging around them has pushed everyone on Deep Space Nine to the edge already, and now these apparently unsolvable crimes have popped up. To get to the bottom of the attacks, Odo must dig deep into the ship's underworld and embrace what might become an unconventional investigation. 

Too Long a Sacrifice is written by Star Trek scribes David and Scott Tipton, who have a long history with the franchise including IDW Publishing's previous Deep Space Nine books, the Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover event, and much more. Joining them on this voyage is artist Greg Scott, best known for his contributions to books like Gotham Central and The X-Files: Year Zero, which makes him perfect for this blend of sci-fi and mystery. You can check out a four-page preview of the issue in the gallery below.

When it came time to tell the first new Deep Space Nine comics story in years, returning to a fan-favorite character seemed like a logical step for the Tiptons to take, and so we got a gripping new story that plunges Odo into the depths of the station he's tasked with protecting.

"Too Long a Sacrifice was conceived as a story with two points of particular interest: One, a closer look at the 'behind the scenes' aspect of Deep Space Nine (the ongoing underground trade and business that stays in the shadows, along with the station’s darker history dating back to the Cardassian occupation of Bajor), and two, a look at how the station would handle a series of seemingly unstoppable crimes," David Tipton explained to SYFY WIRE. "Odo is naturally the nexus for these themes: he has a long and unique history with the station and knows it better than perhaps anyone. Odo’s voice is an unusual one: he often communicates with grunts or short expressions, and we’ve enjoyed conveying that in this story."

In crafting a story that relies so heavily on Odo's unique point-of-view, the Tiptons drew comparisons between his outlook on the franchise and that of other legendary and beloved Star Trek outsiders. 

"So often in Star Trek, it’s the outsider characters who are the most popular, be it Spock or Data or in the case of DS9, Constable Odo," Scott Tipton said. "There’s something so compelling about looking at the human condition through the eyes of someone who can never truly understand it, but who finds themselves longing to. Combine that with René Auberjonois’ unmistakable voice and distinctively gruff inflections, and it’s no wonder that Odo is for so many the standout character of the series."

The Tiptons have been scripting Star Trek stories at IDW for well over a decade at this point, and they've worked in just about every era of the series, including Deep Space Nine. Their secret, if they have one, might be that they present a unified front in terms of their idea of what Star Trek should be at its best, though as with any Trek fans, they have different areas of expertise.

"Traditionally, that’s been the key to our collaboration, that we have very similar ideas about what makes a good Star Trek tale, so the concepts and the plotting come pretty easily for us," Scott Tipton explained. "This one is a bit unusual in that I consider David to be a bit more of a Deep Space Nine specialist than I am, so he’s been taking the lead a bit more on some of the character issues and dialogue choices, as well as making sure all our history is correct in terms of where we stand in the series’ continuity."

Every era of Star Trek has its own fandom, and those fandoms often converge and overlap even as each individual segment of the franchise is asserting its place as an important piece of the larger whole. In recent years, thanks in part to last year's 20th anniversary of its conclusion and the release of the documentary What We Left BehindDeep Space Nine in particular has seen renewed interest among both new and longtime Star Trek fans. For the Tiptons, who've written everything from Original Series-era Trek to Next Generation stories starring Q to Mirror Universe tales to wild crossovers, the enduring legacy of DS9 is as much about its reliance on longform storytelling depth as it is about its characters.

"When DS9 premiered and aired, it was in the middle of a Star Trek renaissance like no other: the success and finale of TNG, the new Trek films, the launch of Voyager. There was so much new and exciting going on in the world of Trek, I think Deep Space Nine kind of fell through the cracks a little bit," Scott Tipton explained. "And now, in today’s world of streaming, Deep Space Nine with its long story arcs and attention to character growth makes it supremely fit for binge-watching, as so many are discovering."

"Star Trek: The Next Generation took some initial steps towards long duration story arcs, but Deep Space Nine in its later years went all out on that, anticipating shifts that would soon be coming to television more broadly," added David Tipton. "I think over time viewers have grown to appreciate that aspect of Deep Space Nine, and in many ways DS9 is better suited now for today’s binge-oriented streaming viewing habits than it was back in the days of weekly television syndication, when missing an episode could make it difficult for you to keep up with the overall story. Another reason the show continues to attract viewers, I think, is that the show featured an extraordinary ensemble of actors who enabled that character-driven storytelling Scott mentions."

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Too Long a Sacrifice #1 arrives July 15 from IDW Publishing.