Star Trek V's canon status

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by sonak, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I heard a reference to TFF being "stricken" from canon. My view was that whatever was on the screen for Trek was canon, but then TAS was onscreen and not canon.


    So was it a joke about TFF? I know Roddenberry made that comment about it being "apocraphyl," but what's the real official status of TFF?

    It's never been referenced since the movie as far as I know.
     
  2. LOKAI of CHERON

    LOKAI of CHERON Commodore Commodore

    I'm sure various producers have made statements to the effect any filmed, edited and broadcast Trek is canon. Any other sources can not be proclaimed such unless ratified on screen.

    TAS is definitely a somewhat sticky wicket though!
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Gene Rodenberry considered STV apocryphal. He felt the same way about STVI (he believed his future humans were beyond the racism they display in the film) but since that was reasonably popular, no-one questions it's canonicity.

    The Animated Series has been referenced a few times in live-action Treks, most notably STXI, which essentially remade some scenes from "Yesteryear"

    If CBS wanted STV or any other part of Trek truly decanonized, it would be GONE, in the manner of the Star Wars Holiday Special. Making money is far more important to them than what bits "really happened" and what didn't.
     
  4. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    See, questions like this are the reason the recent Star Trek movie spent 80 percent of its time trying to explain why canon was no longer binding.
    It's like DC Comics having to totally reinvent its universe every 20 years.
    Star Trek isn't some religion. There is no council of cardinals making vital decisions about whether interpreting Kirk 2:16 means you have to eat worms on Friday.
    "Canon?" Come on.
    Star Trek V is a movie. A 90 minute story. Like it or don't like it.
    This canon stuff is nothing but a time-waster that brutally detracts from the things that actually matter: story, plot, acting, production values. You know: art.
     
  5. LOKAI of CHERON

    LOKAI of CHERON Commodore Commodore

    Without taking things too seriously, it's sometimes fun to bat the ball about issues like this though. I think obsessive zealotry is limited to a very small percentage of fandom.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    When the original creator/producer of a franchise is still alive and overseeing the productions, it's easy to define canon: it's what the creator/producer says it is (as in the case of Star Wars), and usually what the creator/producer is directly involved in making or overseeing (as in the case of the Whedon-supervised Buffy, Angel, Serenity, and Dollhouse comics or the JMS-supervised Babylon 5 novels and comics). When Roddenberry was alive, he decided to exclude certain things from canon, including the animated series, at least portions of ST V, and aspects of TOS such as the smooth Klingon foreheads (he insisted they'd always been bumpy and the show had simply been unable to represent them accurately). At the time, he was entitled to make that choice.

    However, once the original creator died, defining canon became less straightforward. Canon is the original body of work as distinct from derivative works by other creators in other media, but what happens when the franchise becomes a multimedia creation by multiple people? Basically the definition changes depends on who's in charge at the time. Roddenberry's exclusionistic definitions of canon essentially died with him two decades ago; subsequent creators of canon Trek have felt free to include references to TAS, and no tie-in authors have been prohibited from referencing TAS or ST V. Essentially they are regarded as at least broadly canonical.

    Here's the thing, though: canon is more about the aggregate than the details. Any long-running canon, especially from multiple hands, is going to contradict or ignore parts of itself as new creators reinterpret the work or correct their past mistakes. Roddenberry himself retconned "The Cage"'s "lasers" into phasers when he decided calling them lasers had been a mistake -- which is why it was not a canon violation for Enterprise to use phase pistols, since Roddenberry would've been the first to say a prequel shouldn't call them lasers. All Trek productions have ignored "The Alternative Factor"'s problematical treatment of antimatter and dilithium (which itself contradicted earlier episodes), and Voyager's own producers declared "Threshold" apocryphal. DS9 and VGR both contradicted ST V and "The Magicks of Megas-tu" on the question of how long it would take to cross the galaxy or reach its center.

    So yes, the works as a whole are counted as part of the canon, but no, that doesn't mean that every line, event, or detail in those works is absolute gospel truth. The idea that any of this really happened is just make-believe, so it's easy enough to pretend that some part of it actually didn't happen the way it was shown onscreen. Roddenberry himself, in his introduction to the ST:TMP novelization, explained away the parts of TOS he didn't care for by pretending he was a 23rd-century entertainment producer who'd adapted the "real" adventures of the Enterprise into fiction but made some mistakes and taken some dramatic liberties in doing so. So yes, these adventures happened, but maybe not in exactly the way they were shown. You can treat TAS and ST V the same way -- they happened, except for the parts that were later contradicted.
     
  7. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    I just personally ignore the stuff that contradicts the well established stuff, including TFF, where such massive contradictions included the Enterprise reaching the centre of the galaxy within a day, Spock having a brother, Kirk seemingly making his peace with the Klingons and any other not mentioned instances of character annihilation.
     
  8. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ What's contradictory about Spock having a half brother or Kirk making peace with the Klingons?
     
  9. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    THIS. 100 TIMES. THIS.

    It's story that matters. Canon be damned.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think Sybok was the best thing about ST V, and his existence doesn't contradict anything elsewhere in canon, so I have no problem accepting that aspect. And Kirk's tolerant attitude toward the Klingons in TFF was far more in character than his ugly bigotry in TUC (which Shatner himself was reluctant to play because it was out of character), so I have no problem there. As for the travel time, there are only four near-consecutive lines in the entire film that reference "the center of the galaxy" at all, so all you have to do is ignore maybe 20-30 seconds of the film and the rest works okay.
     
  11. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    As I've written before: when I hear the word "canon," I reach for my phaser.

    But, for the record, I've referenced the events of ST V in various novels. Nobody at Paramount ever objected.

    But, of course, the books aren't "canon" so we're heading down the rabbit-hole here . . . . .
     
  12. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    The last new Star Trek episode came out in 2005. They're still making new books!:)
     
  13. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have no difficulty with TFF having happened. Spock's Brain, on the other hand...
     
  14. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^Agree.;)
     
  15. Peter Q Taggart

    Peter Q Taggart Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Since none of it ever REALLY happened, canon is what you want it to be. Liked a particular novel or comic book? Then it happened. Was it contradicted by something said in a later movie or tv episode, but you liked the book better? Ignore the episode and enjoy the book. NONE of it really happened anyway.
     
  16. Valin

    Valin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Agreed. The original series wasn't obsessed with canon; it just tried to tell good, interesting stories.

    One of the reasons that Trekkies/Trekkers have been mocked (perhaps, rightly so), is due to the obsession with canon that some fans exhibit.
     
  17. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    The fact that Kirk seemed to hate the Klingons again in Star Trek 6 is a big contradiction and why did Spock never mention he had a brother in the past?
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, that's not what the word canon means. You're referring to personal continuity, and a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that's what the word "canon" refers to, but that's completely wrong. The word "canon" comes from religious usage and refers to official Church-approved texts, specifically as opposed to texts that people not affiliated with the Church might want to believe in but that the Church doesn't count. Those texts are apocrypha, not canon.

    So "canon," in a fictional context, doesn't mean "what I think is true." It's not a value judgment or a declaration of "rightness." It simply refers to the core body of work from the original creators, as distinct from derivative works. Saying that individual preference can be called "canon" is like saying that personal tastes in food can be called USDA regulations. It's misusing the vocabulary. Yes, you are absolutely free to define your personal continuity however you want; you're completely right about that. But "canon" is the wrong term to use for that concept, because it means something completely different, despite how constantly the fans get it wrong.


    But then, doesn't that mean the problem is with ST VI rather than ST V? You can't blame a film for contradicting something that didn't exist yet.


    Are you kidding? First off, Spock is an intensely private person. He didn't even tell his best friends who his father was until he came aboard the Enterprise. So there's certainly precedent. Second, Sybok was an embarrassment to the family and was essentially disowned/excommunicated. Spock would not have volunteered the information without need.

    Besides, Kirk never mentioned he had a son until TWOK; why aren't you complaining about that?
     
  19. los2188

    los2188 Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think Spock having a half brother is a bad thing or that there's anything wrong with it, but I think it's more of a common sense sort of thing. If Spock and Kirk are best friends, chances are that the subject of having any brothers or sisters would come up at some point in a 30 plus year friendship much like me and my two best buds that I've know for 25 plus years. At least that's my take on it. As far as the Kirk making peace with the Klingons, I think given Kirk's comments about Klingons, "let them die" and so forth is what some people have issues with. I appreciate consistency in movies, but the truth of the matter is that you can pick apart any movie no matter what. I just prefer to enjoy the movie instead of worrying about how Nu Kirk has blue eyes, while Kirk prime has greenish brown eyes.
     
  20. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    I didn't have a problem with the trip to the center of the galaxy in TFF. TOS ships were much faster than their TNG era counterparts. In Obsession, the Enterprise followed the cloud creature over 1000 light years from Argus X to Tycho IV and still had time to make it's rendezvous with the Yorktown.

    in That Which Survives they're thrown 990.7 light years and Spock simply orders the ship to return to the Kalandan Outpost without any mention of how it would take years or decades. Granted, they make the return trip much faster than planned due to the engines running wild but not so fast that the ship is torn apart before Scotty can fix things.


    "Can you give me warp eight?"
    "Aye, sir. And maybe a wee bit more. I'll sit on the warp engines myself and nurse them."

    Based on the speeds we saw, the center of that Galaxy wasn't decades distant in the TOS era.