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Old 04-24-2008, 09:12 AM
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Default Canon-Important? Not Important? or ????

Okay, I looked around for a general discussion on canon issues. While canon seems to creep into just about every discussion, I failed to find a thread that addressed it as an issue itself. For this, I'm not interested in questions like "Will this movie honor canon?" or "Did Enterprise Destroy Canon?" but the questions like "What constitutes canon?" and "Is it ever okay to ignore canon?"

Just incase someone is unfamiliar with the term, "canon" in a fan type discussion means the "truth" of the universe being discussed. In Harry Potter discussions, "canon" is easily defined as "written in the books, written by JK Rowling or said by JK Rowling".

In Star Trek, the definition isn't so easy. The simplest definition might be "What was shown on screen" but there are obviously loads of Trek stories, catalogues, books and authorities out there who've gone beyond that.

I'll start out by saying that good, respectful adherence to canon is a bit like pornography. It's hard to define, but I know it when I see it.

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-24-2008, 09:25 AM
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Hmmmm, anything on film? Or. ok'd by GR?
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Old 04-24-2008, 09:35 AM
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From what I understand, "canon" in Trek was established by GR himself. My knowledge of how he came about determining what is canon is lacking, but I do believe the definitives he said were:

1. Anything on screen is canon.
2. Anything in book form is not canon (except for one book he did allow...I always forget which).
3. TAS is not canon.

Personally, I see it as more of "loose" rules.
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Old 04-24-2008, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Damage75 View Post
From what I understand, "canon" in Trek was established by GR himself. My knowledge of how he came about determining what is canon is lacking, but I do believe the definitives he said were:

1. Anything on screen is canon.
2. Anything in book form is not canon (except for one book he did allow...I always forget which).
3. TAS is not canon.

Personally, I see it as more of "loose" rules.
Ok, don't forget the parts of Treks 2,3,4, and espeically 5 he didn't like. By Trek 6 he was really too sick to gripe a whole lot.

Paramount considers the Okuda refrence books canon, I look at them more like Wikpedia. Yeah the info is 85-90% correct, but you still have to judge it on your own.

And of course THIS is a canon..
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:07 AM
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What a difference an "n" makes...

I think the introduction of the Okudas is a good launching point for this discussion. "Canon" in Star Trek is often taken to levels that seem extreme to me. Thus, a timeline written by people who worked on the sets for Next Generation is now accepted as a "writer's bible" by the very network that owns the property rights to the franchise.

I question much about the Okudas power over canon.

To me, if it didn't make it to the screen, then it's fair game for writers to play with. More than that, Star Trek itself has always shown a bit of disregard for canon. This is particularly noticable whenever Next Gen has gone to the movies.

To some extent, that doesn't bother me. If the story is good enough then the fact that there are deviations from canon isn't going to anger me. However, when the writers are simply lazy and the digression from canon is not integral to the story, or could easily have been explained with a line of dialogue, I get irked. An example is in Generations when Dr. Crusher says:
Quote:
He's an El-Aurian... over three hundred years old. He lost his entire family when the Borg destroyed his world. Soran escaped with a handful of other refugees aboard a ship called the Lakul.
I get irked. How hard would it have been to insert the words "what we now know was" in that sentence? "He lost his entire family when what we now know was the Borg destroyed his world"...adheres to canon as established in Next Gen perfectly. Without those words though, it violates canon because humanity's first knowledge of the Borg came in Next Gen. To me that's lazy.

A lot of Star Trek "canon" involves technology and to me, that's very borderline. For one thing, as our technology has changed since 1968, so has our expectation of what future technology will look like. It would be ridiculous to stick to the concept of a paper computer printout (complete with the little keystroke noises) when we know that a) most things are never printed out and b) printers don't have little keys. For another thing, most of what is considered technological canon is, in fact, off screen writings by fans trying to construct a "history" for the things shown on screen.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
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Ok, don't forget the parts of Treks 2,3,4, and espeically 5 he didn't like. By Trek 6 he was really too sick to gripe a whole lot.
Jesus, he picked what parts of movies were canon!?!? Guess it's his right..it was his baby! Seems rather ridiculous though...

Quote:
Paramount considers the Okuda refrence books canon, I look at them more like Wikpedia. Yeah the info is 85-90% correct, but you still have to judge it on your own.
Good analogy. And you bring up a point I have wondered about...you say "Paramount" considers the book canon. The first person to dictate canon was GR...did he give his blessing to Paramount to decide what is canon? Who decides what is canon now? Just curious....

Quote:
And of course THIS is a canon..
I should have made a bet on "How long will it take Zardoz to make a "cannon" reference". I would have won HUGE. LOL.

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizadolots View Post
I think the introduction of the Okudas is a good launching point for this discussion. "Canon" in Star Trek is often taken to levels that seem extreme to me. Thus, a timeline written by people who worked on the sets for Next Generation is now accepted as a "writer's bible" by the very network that owns the property rights to the franchise.
That partly answers it for me. So, whoever owns the rights gets to dictate canon?

Quote:
I question much about the Okudas power over canon.
And I much about Zardoz's power over "cannon".

Quote:
A lot of Star Trek "canon" involves technology and to me, that's very borderline. For one thing, as our technology has changed since 1968, so has our expectation of what future technology will look like. It would be ridiculous to stick to the concept of a paper computer printout (complete with the little keystroke noises) when we know that a) most things are never printed out and b) printers don't have little keys. For another thing, most of what is considered technological canon is, in fact, off screen writings by fans trying to construct a "history" for the things shown on screen.
I agree. The one I point to is Spock's line in "Balance of Power" when he says there were "no ship to ship visuals". We have that today!

This is where I would like to offer up the idea that canon can be seen as more of an "interpretation" of Trek. We can easily see Spock's line meaning "no ship to ship visuals between the Romulans and ourselves".
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:27 AM
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I believe GR defined canon for TREK as that which was aired on screen. I believe he may have not included the animated series in that statement. I personally do not have many gripes concerning canon. I do not look too much into single statements by characters or even what is defined in manuals. The "no ship to ship visuals" by Spock was an obvious bad line. If I remember correctly he was reffering to the technology available. If he had simply been reffering to the fact there was no visual contact with the Romulans, than that statement would be accurate (I may need help remembering what the context of that staement was). The romulans did not want anyone to see them so they blocked visuals, even if the capablity existed. Either way I think they are small mistakes and should not be worthy of too much debate.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizadolots View Post
What a difference an "n" makes...

I think the introduction of the Okudas is a good launching point for this discussion. "Canon" in Star Trek is often taken to levels that seem extreme to me. Thus, a timeline written by people who worked on the sets for Next Generation is now accepted as a "writer's bible" by the very network that owns the property rights to the franchise.

I question much about the Okudas power over canon.

To me, if it didn't make it to the screen, then it's fair game for writers to play with. More than that, Star Trek itself has always shown a bit of disregard for canon. This is particularly noticable whenever Next Gen has gone to the movies.

To some extent, that doesn't bother me. If the story is good enough then the fact that there are deviations from canon isn't going to anger me. However, when the writers are simply lazy and the digression from canon is not integral to the story, or could easily have been explained with a line of dialogue, I get irked. An example is in Generations when Dr. Crusher says: I get irked. How hard would it have been to insert the words "what we now know was" in that sentence? "He lost his entire family when what we now know was the Borg destroyed his world"...adheres to canon as established in Next Gen perfectly. Without those words though, it violates canon because humanity's first knowledge of the Borg came in Next Gen. To me that's lazy.

A lot of Star Trek "canon" involves technology and to me, that's very borderline. For one thing, as our technology has changed since 1968, so has our expectation of what future technology will look like. It would be ridiculous to stick to the concept of a paper computer printout (complete with the little keystroke noises) when we know that a) most things are never printed out and b) printers don't have little keys. For another thing, most of what is considered technological canon is, in fact, off screen writings by fans trying to construct a "history" for the things shown on screen.
I agree.

The El-Aurians (Guinan's Race) were never supposed to have a name, but got one in GEN. They were supposed to be mysterious, and it was repeated over and over in every Guinan episode, that was part of the appeal of the charater.

They still could have had Soren without killing off the whole concept of the race.

That Borg line has allways bothered me too. But in context she seemed to be making an assumption in that line.

On the technology front, so much of what we have is based on ideas from Trek. Flat computer screens, TNG. Flip Phones, TOS, Talking computers (for the impared in real life)TOS, Medical machine noises-TOS, and on and on.

I allways like the ENT look because it made a bridge inbetwen the technology of FC and TOS. It looked primitive to TOS without recreating the 1960's.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damage75 View Post
I should have made a bet on "How long will it take Zardoz to make a "cannon" reference". I would have won HUGE. LOL.
You knew it was coming!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Damage75 View Post
This is where I would like to offer up the idea that canon can be seen as more of an "interpretation" of Trek. We can easily see Spock's line meaning "no ship to ship visuals between the Romulans and ourselves".
We've talked about this before. No ship to ship visuals can be as simple as incompatable visual software. Makes the line true.

Also discussed the "Atomics" in another thread. No distinction was made to who had them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zardoz
Ok, don't forget the parts of Treks 2,3,4, and espeically 5 he didn't like. By Trek 6 he was really too sick to gripe a whole lot.

Jesus, he picked what parts of movies were canon!?!? Guess it's his right..it was his baby! Seems rather ridiculous though...


This came from the fact he got left out by Paramount after TMP. he was the one who leaked Spock's death to the public during TWOK filming. Actually he never owned any rights to Trek. He had the oppertunity in the mid-70's to buy them for $100,000, but chose not to. It was "Sour grapes" on GR's part.

GR was just a figurehead, a promo tool for the trek films.

Nick Myer, once after getting a gripe letter from Gene on Trek 6, said "Ok, give back every dime you've gotten from Trek as a consultant, and I'll lsiten to you."

Quote:
Paramount considers the Okuda refrence books canon, I look at them more like Wikpedia. Yeah the info is 85-90% correct, but you still have to judge it on your own.
Good analogy. And you bring up a point I have wondered about...you say "Paramount" considers the book canon. The first person to dictate canon was GR...did he give his blessing to Paramount to decide what is canon? Who decides what is canon now? Just curious....

Paramount owns Trek. GR, not his family have no claim upon it. I guess Paramount and whomever it decides, gets to choose canon.
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Old 04-24-2008, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizadolots View Post
I'll start out by saying that good, respectful adherence to canon is a bit like pornography. It's hard to define, but I know it when I see it.
I think that by now, this assessment is likely most accurate:

1) Canon was never clearly defined from the start, since even GR changed his mind or contradicted himself. If "hard canon" was a fluid concept at best, even within the mind which had the vision of this fictional universe, then expecting canon to become more clearly defined as decades and story variations roll out is not entirely logical, as it were.

2) Pretty much every fan will have their own standards and preferences for what is canon and what isn't, and that subjectivity is also not going to be 'unified' into objectivity with a restart of the film franchise.

Given how canon-savvy Orci and Lindelof are, and given their comments on production, I assume that established canon will be largely observed in the new film, but not slavishly so.

I'd expect some new interpretations or variations on some canon points to better tell the larger story they created, as Orci has pretty much said will happen.

In short, STAR TREK canon will only get deeper and more complex with new stories arriving. The day such complications and debates die will be the day TREK dies, and likely no one here wants that.
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