Paper Moon wrote:
And what is canon has changed some over time; I remember distinctly reading a few years ago on StarTrek.com that The Powers That Be had decided that TAS was to be considered canon, whereas before it had not. (Only making this connection now, but that decision might have been to allow ENT season 5 to feature the Kzinti.)
No, it happened much earlier than that. The decision to disregard TAS was made by Gene Roddenberry himself, and he was the only one really invested in it. Once he died, nobody else producing Trek was particularly motivated to enforce it, and you started seeing the odd TAS reference show up, like mentions of Spock's "Yesteryear" backstory in "Unification," the Klothos
getting a namecheck in DS9, etc.
Now, arguably Roddenberry could've made a case at the time for TAS not being canonical, because it was the one Trek screen incarnation that had been produced by a licensed outside studio, Filmation Associates, rather than by Desilu/Paramount (although Paramount and Roddenberry's Norway Corporation were production partners). Thus it could've been defined as a licensed tie-in rather than part of the core franchise. But I don't think there's much incentive to define it that way anymore, since it's been referenced in various later productions, it's been released on home video alongside all the other series, it's fully incorporated into StarTrek.com and Memory Alpha, etc. Plus of course we now have the current film series also produced by an outside studio, Bad Robot.
Regarding the OP's question: my personal hope is that, were the current "novel-primeverse," in a post-Destiny Typhon Pact-era, to be irreparably contradicted by a new addition to canon, I would hope that the licensing people would have a change of heart, allow the current novel continuity to continue on its own, perhaps with fewer books, and start a new continuity with the new material integrated into that. It might mean having to include a brief timeline at the beginning of each novel, just so that the reader knows which 'line they're in, but I doubt that would be a real problem.
It is an interesting thought, that Trek tie-ins could follow the precedent of Transformers
media and embrace the concept of a multiverse to allow the various different continuities to coexist. We also see similar things in DC and Marvel Comics, which in at least some cases treat the realities of their various film and TV adaptations as parallel worlds within the multiverse (for instance, the Young Justice
TV series takes place on DC's Earth-16, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Earth-199999 in Marvel's system). And we now do officially have two canonical Star Trek
timelines, Prime and Abrams, plus the literary precedent of the Mirror
and Myriad Universes
series. (I'm not counting alternative prose continuities like the Shatnerverse and Crucible
, because those weren't overtly alternate realities, just alternate story directions, and they were still consistent with canon, unlike the possibility we're considering here.)