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Old 01-09-2009, 10:55 PM
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Default Canon Debate - Does it exist & is Canon important to you?

What is canon for you? Everyone seems to have their own opinion of what is and is not, which I think is great.

Star Trek canon is usually defined as comprising the television series ten motion pictures, and excluding everything else. However, this definition is not set in stone, but that the notion of what constitutes canon in Star Trek is fluid, open to interpretation and debate.

It has been noted that Gene Roddenberry was something of a revisionist when it came to canon. People who worked with Roddenberry remember that he used to handle canon not on a series-by-series basis nor an episode-by-episode basis, but point by point. If he changed his mind on something, or if a fact in one episode contradicted what he considered to be a more important fact in another episode, he had no problem declaring that specific point non-canon.

Based on the amount of creative control Roddenberry exerted over the first seasons of Star Trek, some people argue that only Roddenberry-approved material should be considered canon. Such an approach would eliminate from canon anything Roddenberry didn't like, as well as everything made after his death, including the movies and TV series. However, Roddenberry himself pre-emptively rebuked such an attitude. He had hoped that Star Trek would go on after his death. As Star Trek was constantly improved by each following generation, he expected people to look back upon its humble beginnings as just that, the simple beginnings of something much bigger and better. Roddenberry clearly never intended Star Trek to be limited to his work, but to include all the hopefully superior work of future generations.

Another factor that contributes to blur the line between canon and non-canon is the fact that some writers like to include elements from popular non-canon works into canon episodes or films. ST:XI appears to be doing this with the writers tie in Comic book mini-series and their including elements from their favorite novels and other sources.

I'm curious to find out what others include in their "Canon" or if it matters to them at all. I myself never gave it much thought before becoming a member of this forum. But I'm a fan and not a fanatic, so my canon is that I accept pretty much everything that has the name Star Trek on it.

So what is included in what you consider canon: Live action TV series, The animated series, feature films, Star Trek fan productions like the ST:Phase II webisodes, fictional novels, TV episode and film novelizations, ST video games, the Star Trek: The Experience attraction in Las Vegas, reference books and what ever else I didn't think of to mention.

Last edited by Sybock : 01-09-2009 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:24 AM
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First of all, I really don't like the term "canon," because of the religious connotation; I don't see Star Trek as a religion. I prefer the phrase "Official Continuity."

The theory I have come to accept (which is my own & of course not binding on anyone else) is that anything produced or published by, or under license from Paramount or CBS as Star Trek fiction is part of the Official Continuity, unless & until it is directly contradicted by an on-screen fact or reference in one of the TV series or films. This would include the animated series, the novels, comics, etc., all of which were officially licensed products. I know it's a pretty broad definition, but I don't think it's unreasonable. If it has the "seal of approval" of the copyright owner, it should be accepted as part of the official universe.

There was a time when I thought only those episodes or films that were approved by Gene Roddenberry were part of the Official Continuity, but I came to believe that he was a bit too exclusive about it. I know it was his creation, but he also acknowledged that many others made it what it was. It has been enhanced by so many great writers, artists, etc., that it seems wrong to dismiss any of them as "not really part of Star Trek."
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:01 AM
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*I'm curious to find out what others include in their "Canon" or if it matters to them at all. I myself never gave it much thought before becoming a member of this forum. But I'm a fan and not a fanatic, so my canon is that I accept pretty much everything that has the name Star Trek on it.*
Interesting and admirable attitude.
To me, it matters not a whit.

The term "canon" is not used without the metaphorical religious connection unjustly. In fact it didn't even exist as a term that applied to Trek until the "great revolution".

Going through the process of how a fantasy universe's history came to be of such seeming significance to today's world is another tale best told 'round the fireplace. It's a sad tale, so lots of s'mores are required.

It involves newfangled (and expensive as all get out) things called VHS recorders, a funny comic company named Gold Key, a technical manual at times both lauded and demonized, crazy things called conventions, a publication titled the Star Trek Concordance, a book titled the Making of Star Trek, a few sparse novels, mimeographs (can you believe it?) and no friggin' hint of the internet. Shocking! I know.
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:41 AM
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After months of threads on the matter, I think everyone should just be left to their own canon, because it's impossible to get any two fans to fully agree on what they hold as such.
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:47 AM
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Canon go BOOM!

Okay, I'm dopey, I know! Seriously, though, my two pennies about "canon", or as you both have said more accurately, continutity, is that in Star Trek TOS itself, there have been instances where "The Gene" himself said that he wished some episodes could be striken from the record (paraphrasing). As so HILLARIOUSLY done in another thread, the SHOUTING SPOCK in the the pilot, "The Cage", goes against the continuity and consistancy of the character known as Spoke, but it is Spock. Also, the episode utilized the term "Time Warp Factor", so why would a ship need to sling shot around the sun to break the time barrier? The resolution of the latter is, of course, to explain it away by writing.

So, in my humble opinion, since there are many examples of continuity glitches in TOS, let alone the other incarnations in the Trek Universe, what is important is the spirit of Trek and her characters. In this new movie, we are learning what makes a man a man, and the difference between a Captain and a legend. James T. Kirk was a regular joe first. We all, today, are made of what we were yesterday. Who we become tomorrow is determined by how chained we are to yesterday. So the film may portray our hero as a bit of a rebellious, head-strong jerk at first, but this early stage of his journey of him becoming a man is a part of the "human adventure" that has not be explored to date. Reading comments by Lenoard Nimoy about how Zachary Quinto is expanding the character of Spock in, to quote Mr. Nimoy, "delcious ways" (http://www.trektoday.com/news/090109_02.shtml) also signals a new expansion of the Trek magic. Different actors have portrayed Shakespear's "Othello", and different producers and directors have put their own spin on the story, but ultimately, does Iago still spin "O's" head against the fair Desdimona (sp)? If so, at the end of the movie, the pay off (if well written) is worth it and we get it.

Does the Big E have two nacelles on pylons rising in a V formation from the engineering hull? Does she have a neck rising from that hull to meet a saucer section? Then, for my tastes, that's the Enterprise, regardless of the shape of the engineering hull, if the nacelles glow red, or if her pharsers are on strips or turrets. But there must be a Kirk. There must be a Spock. There must be a Uhura (rrr-ROWL!)...Oops! Sorry! Bones...Mr. Scott...Chekov...Sulu...Mr. Imagwannabite T. Dust-Redshirt...and optimism: These are the essentials of Trek. If we get these characters with a great story, then we will have memorable Trek. Heck, if we have limited "pew-pew", but great character developement, I'd be satisfied (Battlestar Galactica, anyone? ).

So looking forward to this movie! (Ramble Mode disengaged.)
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin View Post
After months of threads on the matter, I think everyone should just be left to their own canon, because it's impossible to get any two fans to fully agree on what they hold as such.
I'm not actually asking anyone to agree. I probably shouldn't have put the word "Debate" in the title. What I'm asking is what is your "canon" because I am curious to see the different opinions and maybe discover facts I did not know.

I agree, there has been months and months of threads on this subject. The difference (I hope) about this thread is I don't want fans to argue but simply state their position on this subject. I have learned absolutely nothing from those other threads except that some people enjoy conflict.

So, I respect your opinion that everyone should be left to their own canon but I hope people will share theirs with others in this thread without bashing others beliefs.
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybock View Post
I'm not actually asking anyone to agree. I probably shouldn't have put the word "Debate" in the title. What I'm asking is what is your "canon" because I am curious to see the different opinions and maybe discover facts I did not know.

I agree, there has been months and months of threads on this subject. The difference (I hope) about this thread is I don't want fans to argue but simply state their position on this subject. I have learned absolutely nothing from those other threads except that some people enjoy conflict.

So, I respect your opinion that everyone should be left to their own canon but I hope people will share theirs with others in this thread without bashing others beliefs.
Personally, I take - only the aired material (except TAS) as being part of the 'official' universe. I take none of the novels (even movie novelisations), none of the fan stuff, zero from anything else.

The Chronologies, Technical manuals and Encylopedia's have useful reference value until aired material contradicts and thus supercedes it.
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:23 PM
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canon does exist and it IS important to me. Anything that has aired on TV or been onscreen in a movie is the simple definition, but to me it is NOT that simple. Since there have been tons of minor contradictions in Trek on various topics I ignore those as details too small to care about.

We know what Picard's brother's name and his nephew's name as well. If some writer were too lazy to look up those details and created new names, I would get ticked off. We know many details like that, that are pretty clear and easy to look up. Whether Kirk can drive a car or why can Data remove his emotion chip when he can turn it off, those types of issues may be fun to debate, but they are not canon issues to me.
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:39 PM
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*I agree, there has been months and months of threads on this subject. The difference (I hope) about this thread is I don't want fans to argue but simply state their position on this subject.*
That's like saying "Abortion, your view?" - oh and no arguing.

*I have learned absolutely nothing from those other threads except that some people enjoy conflict.*
Gosh, I hope that wasn't aimed at me specifically.
I did express my view... canon is meaningless to me.

*...but I hope people will share theirs with others in this thread without bashing others beliefs.*
Not possible. Someone will take offense at another view. It's a certainty.

I will add... those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

You might have been better off with a straight poll if you were actually trying to learn something. What that is, I'm not sure. "Months and months" should have given you a good idea of what to expect.
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:46 PM
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I knew it was impossible to just say what you hold and not have another make a remark on it, hence my original idea that everyone should be left to their own opinion full stop.
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