‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ Goes Manga, But Will Picard Lose The Captain’s Chair?

The first volume of TokyoPop’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation” manga hits shelves tomorrow (April 15), featuring a set of stories that put the spotlight on Jean-Luc Picard’s starship Enterprise and crew. Among the “TNG” storytellers is “The Spirit” co-producer (and comics scribe) F.J. DeSanto, who focused his tale on Picard’s first officer, Will Riker, and the aftermath of the memorable story arc “Best Of Both Worlds,” in which Picard is abducted and assimilated by the robotic Borg.

“I was interested in the idea that Picard, as Locutus, had been responsible for the death of thousands and is simply allowed back in the Captain’s chair seemingly without question,” DeSanto told MTV News. “One thing I noticed after watching the episodes again was how the subplot of Riker being ready to assume his own command was completely dropped and never addressed again. This was one of the greatest unanswered questions in the ’Next Gen’ universe.”

According to DeSanto, who makes his first foray into the manga world with this project, the decision to go with the “Next Generation” cast instead of the original “Star Trek” series’ crew had more to do with the upcoming movie than a personal preference for Picard’s team. Having initially pitched stories involving the original “Star Trek” crew, the studio’s reluctance to greenlight stories about James T. Kirk and Spock prompted him to try his hand with the “Next Generation” of Starfleet characters.

“[Will] Riker is my favorite Next Gen character, so I started researching him,” said DeSanto. “After going through his background, I realized how complex Riker was and I wanted to try and bring something new to him that would be memorable and respectful of the character. He’s cool and tough, yet loyal and someone the crew looks up to, and that was something I wanted to explore.”

As for where his story will fit in the greater “Star Trek” canon, DeSanto said he hopes to carve out his own niche in the beloved science-fiction series’ mythology.

“I’m hoping this fills in some blanks for fans of ’TNG,'” said DeSanto. “I’ve tried to be as true to the universe and characters as possible, so maybe they will read this and appreciate my attempt at answering these questions for them.”

TokyoPop’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation” Manga (Vol. 1) will hit shelves tomorrow, April 15. You can check out a preview of DeSanto’s story at ComiXology.

Let’s hear it, “Trek” fans — what do you think of DeSanto’s decision to tackle this chapter in “Star Trek” lore?