“We have set a standard for ourselves of telling the best stories that we can in whatever medium we’re working in, across the board,” Beyer says. “And that never changes.”
Beyer’s co-author on Picard: No Man’s Land, Mike Johnson, doubles down on this assertion, saying, “When I was doing the Kelvin [comics] for IDW, that was the only Kelvin universe stuff out there in between the movies. Anyone working on a project thinks of it as canon, otherwise, you’re doing a disservice to yourself and the fans.”
He also points out that in numerous tie-in materials since 2009, there has been a close working relationship between the writers of the films and the TV shows, and those producing the comics and novels. “I’m not saying that any writer who doesn’t have direct communication is somehow lesser. But I had Bob Orci as a sounding board for the Kelvin comics, and now I have a similar benefit, given Kirsten’s involvement with her with the shows.
Like Beyer, Johnson has been writing Star Trek material for a very long time, starting with the popular IDW comic book series count downwhich created a kind of TNG-was prequel for the events of the 2009 film. Obviously, not all of the material from that comic has remained canon in the post-Picard It was, but at the time, the attempt was there to give the fans something that was specifically made for them. This philosophy extends to many of Johnson and Beyer’s other collaborations, including the Discovery prequel comic The Light of Kahless, the Mirror Universes sequel Discovery: Successionand the popular series Picard: Countdown, which not only shows Raffi and Jean-Luc during their Starfleet heyday but also elaborates on the origin story of Laris and Zhaban, including exactly how and why the came to work for Jean-Luc in the first place. The point is when it comes to extracurricular Star Trek action, Beyer and Johnson know their stuff.
This leads to what is perhaps their most ambitious project to date — No Man’s Land — a full-cast audio drama featuring the machinations of Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and Raffi (Michelle Hurd) in between the events of Star Trek: Picard seasons 1 and 2. While the story was being developed alongside the writing of season two, Beyer reveals that Ryan and Hurd recorded it just after they had finished filming the second season. So, if fans feel a synergy between what they see of Seven and Raffi in Picard season 2 and what they hear in No Man’s Land, that’s the goal. “We had the benefit of really knowing where season two was going and were able to make little adjustments as we went along in terms of tone,” Beyer explains. “We were really able to fine-tune it as season two was happening.”
To be clear, No Man’s Land iIt’s not an audiobook adapted from prose. This is an audio drama with a full cast — including Star Trek: Lower Decks‘ Fred Tatasciore in an entirely different role — and a plot that feels like a Star Trek film, or a big multi-part episode arc. Without spoiling it, the story concerns Seven, Raffi, and a crew of Fenris Rangers, in pursuit of a missing professor and a mysterious artifact which is also on the want-list for a Romulan warlord. For the most part, the action is removed from the Federation and Starfleet and allows us to experience the unique differences between what is going on in Fenris Ranger territory and the rest of the galaxy.