Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by King Daniel Beyond, Jul 17, 2012.
Exactly. Exactly. The fans -- the people who obsess the most about canon -- are the ones it affects the least, because they're free to include or exclude anything they want from their personal continuity. And the people who create new canon are free to retcon, reinvent, or disregard parts of the old. The only people who are actually limited by canon are the tie-in authors like me, since we have to stay consistent with it no matter what it does.
Sounds like a pretty definitive walkback. Should we maybe change the thread title?
The only things that are currently viewed as canon by CBS and Paramount are the five Trek series and the feature films (although the new movie will supposedly take place completely in the nuUniverse, but the nuUniverse's origins were from the canon Prime universe). There are also "official" publications, such as the various Encyclopedias, Chronologies, and Technical manuals put out by the Trek production personnel at the time, which are still considered official. TAS is a gray area because it's not officially canon although small parts of it appear in the regular series.
Now, with that said, whoever is currently in charge of Trek (which would be Paramount/JJ Abrams, and CBS, although they're doing nothing with it), or if the reigns were given to someone else in the future, it would be they who determine what's canon or not. Which means that if said person(s) all of a sudden declare that TNG isn't canon anymore and create a series that flatly contradicts everything we saw in TNG, then they would be fully within their rights to do so. Does that mean that we fans can no longer enjoy watching TNG now that its place in the canon is gone? Hell no. But as far as TPTB are concerned, it's now meaningless to them.
This is why Abrams made a nuUniverse instead of a complete reboot. He wanted to acknowledge and respect the 40+ years of Trek history even though he had to create something anew to be able to tell new stories without being bogged down by past canon.
Published materials are not canon.
I didn't say they were canon; I said they were official.
Which means they mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.
By the way, KingDaniel, what's your source for that Orci quote you posted before?
EDIT: Never mind, I found it. It's comment #102 in the TrekMovie article.
What it means is that anyone writing scripts for Trek shows and movies (or novels too) can use the information in those sources, or the sources themselves could affect what someone writes, as opposed to using a source like the FASA Next Generation Officer's Manual from 1988, which is considered unofficial and invalid toward the present canon.
^Technically, all "official" means is that Paramount licensed the publisher to print it. Nothing more should be read into it than that.
Really, it's a mistake to think that sticking labels on things lets you define or understand them. The noteworthy thing about the Chronology, Encyclopedia, etc. wasn't about some label, it was the fact that they were written by members of the shows' production staff. Which means that they were (mostly) accurate as to the content of the shows at the time and the thinking of at least some members of the show's creative staff, so were as close to the source as one could hope from a tie-in reference book; but of course, they were not binding on future canon and have subsequently been contradicted in some respects.
I don't really see where Oci's first comment during the interview actually made any difference. That pretty much seemed to be the approach they taking were from the beginning.
So in other words, this thread is totally unneccesary.
I'm very glad the Lit-verse doesn't have to start bending towards the storyline of Countdown. I'm sure everything the current writers/editors come up with will be far better.
What I find humorous is that this supposed prequel comic to the '09 movie contained several things that the movie itself contradicted.
Well, to be fair, that's hard to avoid for a tie-in that comes out before the film itself. Things can be changed in the film's editing or post-production process after it's too late to alter the tie-in. Not to mention that the filmmakers would've been very busy actually making the film and wouldn't have been able to ride constant herd on the comic to make sure everything was perfect.
Not quite. Richard Arnold penned some official memos and "ST Communicator" columns that said that the ST Office didn't consider TAS to be canon, but that was after Filmation was wound down and sold off - and during a time when DC Fontana, the showrunner of TAS on Gene's behalf, was suing him for co-creatorship of TNG.
During the 70s, there was no such reaction to TAS - and I once read an interview in which GR joked that he once tried to coerce Majel Barrett into doing a live-action M'Ress dual role cameo in ST:TMP.
No, he was referring only to aspects of his novelization that did not appear onscreen.
He was also said to have considered "parts of ST V to be 'apocryphal'." He went into a coma before making a similar determination on ST VI, although he did comment negatively on its script.
But the rest of the production team began ignoring aspects of them from the moment she left. And she was fine with that.
Because the canon debate really only started when Richard Arnold attempted to find a measurable/predictable stance to quell those more rabid fans who used to berate Roddenberry for not exploiting aspects of ST created by others without his consultation: ie. challenging him at conventions, and in letters, as to why Romulans weren't being called "Rihannsu" (as suggested in novels by Diane Duane), or why Kirk didn't just blast the Klingons with dreadnought battle cruisers (from the Franz Joseph designs and the war-heavy "Starfleet Battles" RPGs).
Which is debatable by other fans - and is sure to make the creators bristle.
False. "Official" or "unofficial" merely refers to whether or not the publisher has been licensed by Star Trek's owners to create the work they created.
Someone writing scripts for a Star Trek show or movie has always had the option of using information from a licensed non-canonical novel or other work of fiction, because CBS (and, before them, Paramount) has always retained the copyright on them. Hence why ST09 established Uhura's first name as "Nyota" and Kirk's parents' names as "George" and "Winona" (from the novels); why the starbase in the remastered version of "The Ultimate Computer" was based on the Starbase 47 design from the Star Trek: Vanguard novels; why things like the ushaan from an RPG manual were used in ENT's "United" and "The Aenar." Etc.
^Sulu's first name Hikaru came from the novels too, from Vonda N. McIntyre's The Entropy Effect. She also coined George and Winona's first names in Enterprise: The First Adventure. "Nyota" originally didn't come from a novel, but from William Rotsler's Star Trek II Biographies, and maybe from fan materials by Rotsler before that.
As with the canon situation, the "official" status of the reference works by the Okudas et al. was something that really only had an effect on tie-in authors. As a rule, we've been obligated to treat the material in the Chronology, Encyclopedia, and tech manuals as authoritative (a better word than "official") unless later canon contradicts it (or earlier canon, in the case of typos like the Encyclopedia's "Neela Daren" for Nella Daren). But the actual makers of the shows were free to use or ignore material from the reference books as they saw fit, which is why the Moriarty episodes gave a completely different explanation for how holodecks work than the TNG Tech Manual had, and why First Contact conflicted with the first-edition Chronology's conjectural dating and ship design for Cochrane's first warp flight.
Yes, I'm aware of that. That's why I used qualifiers ("can use" instead of "must use," "could affect" instead of "will affect," etc.) I know Trek scriptwriters are not obligated to use the official sources, but they are welcome to. My point was that info from a non-licensed Trek publication such as the FASA Officer's Manual or FJ's Tech Manual couldn't be used as a resource.
What you think (or I think for that matter) really isn't relevant to what's canon or not.
That's completely untrue. As I said before, canon is not some kind of restriction that's imposed on the shows' makers by some higher authority. It's something they determine for themselves. They can include whatever they feel like. The writers of Enterprise based their Andorian culture on stuff from an RPG sourcebook, as Therin already said. And illustrations from the FJ Technical Manual were used as viewscreen graphics in the first few Trek movies, although that wasn't so much "declaring them canon" as just saving themselves work by using existing artwork that was close enough.
It's also completely untrue to call those books "non-licensed." Of course they were licensed. The Tech Manual was published by Ballantine, which held the license for ST nonfiction (and TAS fiction) at the time, and FASA was licensed to publish Trek gaming material. It's all licensed, but that has absolutely nothing to do with whether the showrunners would or could draw on it as a resource. It just means that the publisher has the studio's permission to publish tie-in material, in exchange for splitting the profits with them. That's all.
I'm talking about using them now, not in the past when they were licensed at the time. A new Trek series can't use one of FJ's designs because they'd have to get permission from his estate and make royalty payments, right? And they couldn't use, say, the character of Koren Anastas from the FASA book for the same reason, yes?
Separate names with a comma.