Star Trek V's canon status

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

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But he didn't tell Kirk who his father was either. And it's not just "oh, I have a brother who never comes around for a visit." It's "I have a brother who's shamed our people and our family and is an outcast and renegade and we disowned him so he technically isn't part of my family anymore." We know Spock is an intensely private person, and Vulcans have a strict sense of family propriety. Even bringing up Sybok's existence and acknowledging the relationship would've been violating custom. Even on Earth we have instances of families who've disowned members and refused to acknowledge their existence.

    Besides, Spock only knew Sybok in his youth. We can safely assume that Sybok was banished before Spock turned seven, since he wasn't in evidence in "Yesteryear." So he would be a distant memory at best, not something Spock would normally give any thought to.

    Anyway, the movie offered several explanations for why Spock never brought it up. "I do not often think of the past." "I do not have a brother... I have a half-brother." "I was not prepared to discuss matters of a personal nature." All that is perfectly in character for Spock. If Kirk or McCoy ever asked if he had brothers or sisters, he would've rationalized that technically Sybok wasn't a brother but a half-brother, and felt he could honestly answer "no" and allow them to misinterpret, thus sparing him from having to address a deeply uncomfortable and shameful subject that had no relevance to his adult life.


    But as I said, that was what was out of continuity, not ST V. Throughout TOS, Kirk was portrayed as someone who was able to look past his anger and soldierly aggression and strive to make peace when the opportunity arose. TUC's introduction of this deep-seated racism against Klingons was a radical retcon, unlike anything we'd ever seen in James Kirk's character for the 26 previous years. It's the exception, so it's bizarre to treat it as the rule.


    I gather that the word for Shatner's eye color is "hazel."
     
  2. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Which seems a bit wonky to me on its own. Kirk doesn't know his own first officer and best friend is the son of the Vulcan Ambassador to the Federation. This little tidbit never came up when he was reviewing the personnel files? Or did Kirk just take over from Pike without once checking out the senior staff? Sarek is too high profile for it to be a real secret. But fine, it could have been a secret to everyone else on board, but not Kirk. Of course, that leaves Shatner out of the sting, which could have been an issue.

    It was simply a dramatic hook to hang the episode's teaser on, but it's wacky for Kirk not to know and, frankly, inappropriate for him to ask Spock if he wants to visit his folks in front of visiting dignitaries. I would have bought it if Kirk walked off camera with Sarek and Amanda, leaving Bones to say "well Spock, now that you have some time on your hands, why not beam down and visit your parents?" Then Spock's line remains the same and we get the big dramatic fade out. Later, Bones can be cranky at Kirk for not telling him.

    Huff puff, that was longer than I anticipated. Slid off topic there for a sec. Sorry.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Again, we know Vulcans are intensely private. And Sarek and Spock hadn't acknowledged that they were related to each other for 18 years prior to the episode. I suppose it's possible that Spock had the "family" fields in his personnel records put under a privacy seal.
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Does canon vs. non-canon really matter in the home video era? I own it and can watch it whenever I want.
     
  5. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    And Spock didn't tell Kirk about his engagement to T'Pring, about ponn farr, about Leila Kalomi, and (later on) about that business with the katras. Or about his secret peace negotiations with the Klingons.

    If Trek is consistent about one thing, it's that Vulcans are awfully tight-lipped about personal matters!
     
  6. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    I just attribute Kirk's loathing Klingons in Trek 6 to brooding over David's death. After all, he mentions this point in the movie while dictating a personal log. Maybe not much time has passed between the events of Trek 4 and Trek 5, while considerably more time has elapsed between 5 and 6. That gap has given Kirk time to reflect and then brood over the loss of David, thus turning his opinion about Klingons personal and very bitter.

    Maybe not a perfect explanation, but it suits me well enough.

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This and the fact that he's retiring and the Klingons took away the only positive thing to come out of his personal life. Plus, these thoughts are private thoughts that were only expressed openly to Spock. He was operating in a far different capacity when being cordial to the Klingons in The Final Frontier.
     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Richard Arnold, on behalf of Roddenberry's Star Trek Office at Paramount frequently described "Star Trek canon" as anything "live-action onscreen, produced by Desilu or Paramount", meaning that licensed comics and novels, novelizations (even GR's), unfilmed script fragments, RPG manuals, fact books, Filmation's TAS or even live-action material filmed for exclusive use in video board games, computer games, studio tour attractions, the official website, or the "Star Trek Experience" were not canonical, even though they may have featured original cast members or sets. He was dismissed before he could make a ruling on "director's edition" home videos, since these created an alternative "onscreen" version to a previously canonical work.

    No joke. Roddenberry was quoted as saying that he "considered parts of ST V to be apocryphal", but he never actually specified exactly what parts. Based on previous comments, he probably meant Sarek having another son, Sybok, prior to the birth of Spock, and McCoy mercy killing his own father. (Based on GR's early reactions to the shooting script of ST VI, he probably also would have ruled out Valeris - originally Saavik - and Cartwright betraying their oaths to Starfleet. And Kirk hating Klingons.)

    But that doesn't mean he couldn't be overruled by any future decree by Paramount, Berman, Abrams or Bad Robot. As "creative consultant" on the movies, GR had to be offered every version of scripts for comments, but no one had to listen to him.

    Fans are free to believe what they like. The "What is canon?" ruling only ever affected the creators of licensed tie-in material, anyway; such material has to reflect current canonicity at the time of publication.

    During the years of TOS in TV production, DC Fontana was entrusted with keeping tabs on the evolution of Vulcan traditions, as new insights were developing from each script. DC wrote an early memo to the writers about what she felt was a necessity to keep the character of Spock fresh and unique: that they refrain from introducing siblings. Not a canonical factoid, of course, because it was never filmed in live-action, but a production office agreement.
     
  9. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    'Home video era'?!! And hello to you out there in the 1980s too! :p
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    :lol:
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, by current definitions (remember, Roddenberry's definitions ceased to apply when he died over two decades ago, so it's rather odd that fans are still up in arms about them), if it's onscreen, then it's part of the canon.

    And again, canon is not, has never been, and never will be about telling the audience what they can or can't watch/believe/enjoy. That's a myth and a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept. After all, it's all fictional anyway, none of it more real than any other part. Although the term "canon" comes from religion and implies that texts outside canon should not be read at all, it's silly to apply that same dogmatism or exclusionism to a fictional canon. If you enjoy a story, you should be able to enjoy it just as well whether it's part of the official/original continuity or an apocryphal tale.

    I like to say that if canon is history, then tie-ins are historical fiction. They're stories that aren't a documented part of the "real" history, but that potentially could have happened within it -- at least until some new "discovery" is made (in some new episode or movie) that proves they couldn't. And it's not like watching TV or movies is a history course where you have to get the right answers on a final exam. It's strictly recreational. I'm sure there are plenty of people who enjoy reading both historical nonfiction and historical fiction. If you enjoy history, then both can be valuable. You may know that the latter probably didn't happen, but it can still be entertaining to believe it could have happened, and at least it can give you the pleasure of imagining yourself in the historical setting you enjoy.

    And of course, unlike real history, canon is just as imaginary as the tie-ins derived from it, so that makes the distinction even less worth making a fuss over.
     
  12. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As an aside, if you have a TNG writer's guide, you'll see some of what in STV Gene and others considered apocryphal. Shakaree, or however you spell it, was pretty much tossed out as a joke.
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Which edition, though? ST V wasn't on movie screens till June 1989 - and TNG had been airing since September 1987.
     
  14. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    the name or the concept? The name was just a riff on Sean Connery, and the concept is no more or less absurd than it was in "way to Eden," so I wonder why that would be seen as a joke specifically.
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    The TNG episode, "The Nth Degree", managed to pay homage to ST V by featuring the Cytherians and making them resemble the God Entity of Shakaree. It wasn't clearly linked in the script but, according to Richard Arnold, the God Entity was possibly a rogue, imprisoned Cytherian.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012
  16. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Didn't know that. Cool, thanks for the info.
     
  17. Romulus Prime

    Romulus Prime Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Nekkid Uhura is NOT CANON.

    :rofl:
     
  18. starburst

    starburst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It was a Star Trek movie, which means it is canon no matter what anyone said later, until Paramount start selling box sets without it then it is a canon Star Trek film. If you discount one you may as well discount all of the films and TV episodes at will.
     
  19. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    IIRC, in the ST V comic adaptation, she pulls a phaser on Sybok's minions - and friends wanted to know, "Where did she hide that?"
     
  20. Romulus Prime

    Romulus Prime Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    LMFAO

    :rommie: