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Old September 7 2012, 02:12 PM   #75
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Re: Star Trek V's canon status

Methos wrote: View Post
I do enjoy discussions about canon and continuity, as sometimes people do forget how important have a solid continuity for any series is... People would soon be up in arms if half way through an series of Voyager, the writers suddenly decided to change the fact Warp Drives needed Deuterium to run, changing it to converting the waste products from the crew / mess hall into energy instead... So i think people should be respectful of what writers work on, both for a long time series built continuity, and for what is decided is and isn't canon...
That's a valid point of view, but the key is not to define it with too much granularity. Canon is about broad strokes, not details. Different creators may be nominally depicting their creations as parts of a shared continuity, but they're always going to have differences in how they interpret the details of that hypothetical reality, in the same way that any two artists painting the same model or landscape will produce differing results. Those decades of prior continuity that we choose to perceive as a uniform reality are actually fraught with self-contradiction. It's just been mentioned in a thread in the Trek Literature forum that if you read old fan publications from back when TMP or TWOK first came out, you'd find that some fans denounced them as non-canonical or alternate-reality because of their differences in detail from TOS. When TNG came along, there was a lot of resistance from TOS fans (and actors!) to accepting it as "real" Star Trek, and it was years before fandom really embraced it as a genuine part of the whole. Every new incarnation of ST is a different interpretation with variances from what came before, and the only reason most of us look back on ST as a uniform whole today is because we learned to forgive or gloss over the inconsistencies that were initially denounced as incompatible with canon. Because ultimately we recognized that they were still representing the same imagined reality at the core, even if they differed in some of the specifics of how they portrayed it.

So yes, you should respect what came before, but that doesn't mean slavishly duplicating every tiny detail, because what came before has never been perfectly consistent on that level of detail anyway. (TOS itself was wildly inconsistent about lots of details, because its writers were making up the universe as they went along. Are they Vulcans or Vulcanians? Does the Enterprise work for Space Central, UESPA, or Star Fleet?) Respect for continuity means respecting the broad strokes and the overall spirit of the universe. It means not diverging too far from what's come before, but a certain amount of flexibility in the details of the interpretation is the prerogative of every artist.
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