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Shikarnov May 30 2014 01:27 PM

Question for the Authors

I was about to run my mouth off in another thread (about STID's writing) when I figured I should stop and ask a question of those of you who actually earn their suppers in the Star Trek universe -- for which I thank you all, by the way (many late nights have been spent with your good work)...

Anyway, one of the common complaints from writers involved in Trek is that it's unduly difficult to write for the old universe without violating canon, and that's why we needed a reboot.

I'll grant that contradicting some obscure detail from the bowels of the Star Trek Encyclopedia is probably inevitable in any piece of work, but my question is this:

Is it really that difficult to write for the original timeline?

Christopher May 30 2014 01:49 PM

Re: Question for the Authors
I don't think it's about difficulty -- it's about freedom. The movie reboot went back in time to the TOS era, and we already know the future of the Prime-Universe versions of those characters and their world. So anyone telling stories in that timeframe in the Prime Universe would be limited in what they could do with the characters, since they couldn't tell any stories that would conflict with the known future. Starting over again gives them the freedom to tell bigger and more daring stories, stories that can stand on their own and form a cohesive whole of their own.

The novels have done the same thing where possible in the Prime continuity -- doing series set after the end of the TV series so we have freedom to change the characters and situations, or doing spinoffs featuring original characters. That way we don't have to reset everything to the status quo at the end. I think most of us prefer having that freedom when it's feasible. But novels about the TOS cast in the 23rd century are more limited, more episodic, generally more formulaic. There's only so much you can do with characters whose future is already set.

So once the decision was made by the filmmakers to go back to the original, most familiar and most popular incarnation of Trek -- the adventures of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest -- then the only option that would really give the filmmakers total creative freedom, as well as the opportunity to do the kind of big, worldshaking stories that modern movie blockbusters demand, was a continuity restart.

KRAD May 30 2014 03:45 PM

Re: Question for the Authors

Shikarnov wrote: (Post 9640528)
Anyway, one of the common complaints from writers involved in Trek is that it's unduly difficult to write for the old universe without violating canon, and that's why we needed a reboot.

It's not difficult at all, especially given how easy it is to look stuff up on the very same device that you're writing on.

Also, I'm curious -- I've never, ever heard the complaint you site from an actual writer of Star Trek scripts, books, stories, or comics. I've heard it from fans, lots of times, but never from actual writers. So if it's such a "common" complaint among "writers involved in Trek," can you please give me a few examples of actual writers who've made this complaint?

I'm not asking this to be snarky, I'm genuinely curious as to who's said that. :)

Shikarnov May 30 2014 05:18 PM

Re: Question for the Authors
First, thanks to both of you for your responses. I really appreciate your taking the time.

Keith: I just Googled for "kurtzman orci trek canon" and limited the results to 2007-2009. The results contain a myriad of interviews in which they're obviously dissembling (as expected when concealing a major plot point) but clearly indicating nonetheless that the decision to reboot was -- as Christopher mentioned above -- to afford themselves creative latitude.

Rick Berman talks about the difficulties in staying true to Canon in this interview. I can recall similar complaints from Brannon Braga during Voyager and explaining why Enterprise would be so liberating, although I can't seem to dig up any direct quotes while distracted by work.

Novelist David Mack notes the freedom he has with created characters -- the implication that he's limited with the established ones.


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