Alex Kurtzman on the Fine Line Between Adding to, and Staying True to, Star Trek's Canon

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Danja, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. Danja

    Danja Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Alex Kurtzman on "Canon" ...
     
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  2. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No real surprises here. :shrug:
     
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  3. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    Sounds right to me.
     
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  4. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nothing wrong with that. Canon should be a guideline, It shouldn't be followed to the letter.
     
  5. Danja

    Danja Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    As much as some people would have it otherwise ... :shifty:
     
  6. StewMc

    StewMc Commodore Commodore

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    The quote the OP gives appears to be comments made by the writer of the website and not actually by Kurtzman...
     
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  7. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Here's the direct quote from Alex Kurtzman. I'll bold the key parts and also underline what's most critical.

    Cutting and pasting:
    • "... I actually think somewhere between what I’m saying and what you’re saying is the truth. We really do spend a lot of time talking a lot about canon and there are people in the writers’ room specifically to tell us where we’re stepping on the line of violation. I did actually note at one point when I was asked about the graphic novels and comics that after 50-plus years it’s literally impossible to stay entirely consistent with canon because there have been very dry years in Star Trek and very full years and so many different writers have attempted to fill in the gaps in the dry years of what happened to beloved characters in the absence of a show driving those answers, they end up inventing things and we end up being faced with whether to call that canon. But it’s always a conversation.
    • I will agree with you, though, that the best version of the story needs to be the driver. But what’s the best version of a story is an entirely subjective thing. That’s why we have so many different voices in the writers room with so many different points of view. You want to write a nuanced story to get as many different voices as possible to represent how they feel about different ideas. A big part of my process is listening to the other writers. With Trek, you want to go out and beta-test ideas. But as soon as you do that you’ll get 50 percent of people telling you they love it and 50 percent saying you should be strung up and killed. At a certain point you need to follow your own internal compass, but you don’t want to do it in a vacuum — that’s very dangerous — so we hire people to express what they think Star Trek means, and where we’re violating canon and what we can invent within the grey area.
    • So, yes, we want to stay true to canon, but we’re also doing a lot of new invention that has nothing to do with canon. There’s a lot of conversation online like, “Why don’t you start with new things? Why do you have to look back?” And the answer is, “We can do both.” We have to do both. Star Trek has always done both."
    End of Quotation.

    He's specifically talking about tie-in products such as novels, comics, games, etc. Maybe even popular theories that have caught on in fandom over the decades.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  8. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If someone was so worried about being consistent with 50+ years of Star Trek canon, then all they had to do was have their show take place in an alternate universe. Instead they chose a much sillier way to adhere to ‘canon.’
     
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  9. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    Or ACTUALLY WATCH Star Trek and realize it in itself has NEVER BEEN 100% consistent internally, and that goes for EVERY incarnation from TOS - ST: D.
     
  10. TPezz

    TPezz Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Because that worked so well for the Kelvin universe :rommie:
     
  11. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    To be fair - two of the three Kelivin based films are the highest grossing Star Trek theatrical films even after adjusting for inflation, (and the one Kelvin film that did under perform still did better then the final two TNG based theatrical films); so from a business standpoint the answer would be: "Yes, it in fact worked out very well for Paramount." -- Just saying. ;)
     
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  12. yotsuya

    yotsuya Captain Captain

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    Well, that is not true. The exact order depends on whether you want to talk about domestic or worldwide box office. TMP is the # 2 film either way. Domestically the 2009 film was #1, worldwide Into Darkness was #1. But TMP was hands down the most profitable. And when you consider the standing sets and the extra Phase II development budget they rolled into the film (that wasn't actually part of the film) it gets even more impressive. Star Trek II had the lowest budget of all of them (and the highest profit margin). And when you look at Domesitic, Star Trek IV is the #3 film and worldwide it was Into Darkness. And when you consider how many more screens the new movies open on, their performance is not quite as impressive as the first 4 films back in 79-86. The percent profit for ST 2, 3, and 4 are all over 80% where the new films are 60% or less.
     
  13. yotsuya

    yotsuya Captain Captain

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    Well... how internally consistent do you want? Every TOS era setting has been 100% consistent with the uniforms, sets, and models. Sure there are some story points that very and some sets were redesigned, but every time they went back to portray that era, they started with the originals. Every time. So in comparison, Discovery didn't even try. Kurtzman is basically admitting Discovery is a reboot. That is what you can do in a reboot, retell the original story in a different way. This directly relates to how Hollywood portrays history or adapts books. They either do it really well or really bad. Discovery is the really bad way. Sure that can result in some fantastic stories, like Braveheart, but that does't make them history, just as it doesn't mean that Discovery is really part of the older Trek canon. As far as I'm concerned, that stopped with the 2009 Kelvin universe. This interview with Kurtzman just reinforces that with me. They put their story higher than the original and I have yet to see how their story benefits from that.
     
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  14. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    Let me preface this by stating I watcghed TOS first run (starting witjh S3 in 1969 - I was 6):

    TOS has not been consistent with the models (I'm talking the original version, not the Remastered version); and hell right off the bat you have Pike's crew with Lasers and not Phasers and WNMHGB has the Pike era Bridge set and viewcreen (it was the 4th episode broadcast in the 1st season) - so yeah, please tell me again how TOS was "always visually consistent".

    Then there's the various 'time frame' differences - IE TOS S1 - "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" and "Space Seed" have TOS about 200 years in the future, while TOS S1 - "The Squire of Gothos" has it 700 years in the Future, and if you look at the date given by Apollo as in how long he's waited compared to the Greek era on Earth, TOS is a couple of millennia in the future.

    As for TNG - given how HEAVILY it's retconned a lot of TOS, I'd call it the first reboot. And even it took a season to finally/definitely place WHERE it was in the 24th century. In the piklot, Data gives the year of his graduating class and by that the pilot should be taking place in the early 24th century (circa 2330 or so) - and it's not until the TNG S1 Episode "The Neutral Zone" where Data explicitly states the date as 2364 that they pin it down and seen to use that date going forward from there.

    Then - in the first Season we have Worf claiming he was raised by a Human Starfleet officer on the planet Galt - a farming colony, and even mentions he started Starfleet Academy with his brother (who showed up way later in S7); but Worf does mention his brother hated the Acedemy life, resigned and RETURNED to Galt.

    I mention all this because then in TNG S4 - "Familiy" (and going forward) - suddenly Worf was raised ON EARTH <-- And earth anecdotes for young Worf continue past TNG - "Family"....

    I could go on and on to the other series, but yeah, sorry - Trek HAS NEVER been 100% internally consistent from day one; and to try and even claim "well, it's been close..." is laughable too because I could give you MANY MORE EXAMPLES from practically every TV/filmed incarnation <--- And again I say this as someone who loves Trek (especially TOS which is still the BEST in carnation hands down) and has watched everything - excluding ST: VOY <--- I couldn't take it past "The 37's", but that's me.) ;)
     
  15. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There’s a difference between not remembering every little nuance from 50+ years of Star Trek history, and deliberately changing and retconning things. And before anyone starts whining about a 2019 show not having the same production values as a 1966 show...DON’T MAKE IT A PREQUEL TO SAID SHOW.

    Not sure what you’re talking about. It worked great for the Kelvin universe.
     
  16. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    /yawn...GR retconned a lot of TOS for TNG, but no onewent particularly crazy. Retconning is retconning. Why is it okay n one instance but nowhere else? And as I've shown in various examples (and could provide more) - EVERY Star Trek series has retconned itself during its run anyway.

    Now, does that mean I'm happy about every change made by ST: D? No. That said, i'm not going to crucify a production team for not using set blueprints and designs from 50+ years ago.

    Hell, I can't wait to see the TNG crowd loose it once they realize that (for flashbacks); stuff may not look exactly like it did in 1987.
     
  17. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The original article had Alex Kurtzman talking about tie-in media. Tie-in media doesn't need to be adhered to, it's just an added bonus if it's incorporated into filmed Star Trek or taken into account.

    The pre-existing TV series and films are something else. But when it comes to novels, comics, and games from the across half a century, picking and choosing is the way to go. Lest trying to choose between a Bantam novel in '70s or Pocket Books continuity in the '80s. To say nothing about DC and Marvel, let alone Gold Key. Then there's good old FASA.

    Fan since 1991. I didn't throw up my arms in disgust when the Klingon bridge changed between TSFS and TVH. I didn't give a shit when the make-up for the Trill changed from "The Host" to DS9. And I'm not going to make a big deal about early-TNG referring to the Morgana Quadrant. All of those are deliberate changes made by the same creative teams. We're expected to forgive those but we can't forgive Discovery? That's a double-standard and it only exists because DSC is one of the current series. And one thing I've learned over the past almost 30 years is that the newest incarnation is always the "worst". Unless it happens to be "the best since Khan!" So there you go.

    There's a silver lining to DSC making changes that people who aren't too fond of the changes should take note of. One day, some future series -- produced under another regime -- might make changes to what Discovery itself has done or depicted.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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  18. yotsuya

    yotsuya Captain Captain

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    I said visually consistent. If you watch TOS in production order (the only right way to do it in my opinion) then the changes to the sets make perfect sense and the ship is upgraded over time. The rest of what you are talking about are little things that just about ever TV series or movie series out there has issues with. Even book series with a single author. So I call BS on using that to support Discovery being just an extension of those small variations. The differences from Discovery to the rest of Trek are not small, they are huge. They are reboot huge. And those early inconsistencies led to them having a way to keep track of those things so they didn't keep making the same mistakes. They did a good job of it. But you take that care of the past and compare it to what Discovery has done and the only conclusion you can come to is reboot. I don't consider Discovery true to anything at the core of TOS or TNG. It is what Roddenberry didn't want to do.
     
  19. Masiral

    Masiral Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Such tiny little things...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. yotsuya

    yotsuya Captain Captain

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    Yes... and if you take in all of the old canon (TOS through ENT) that is explained. Though by Star Trek VI, we had seen Klingons with severe ridges and ridges that would have been invisible with hair. They went back and addressed it to clear things up. Though I still love it when Worf said they don't talk about it in Trials and Tribbleations (where they went back to TOS and had ridgeless Klingons). And the only two faults I have with that entire episode are the color of Sisko's tunic and the lower dome of the Enterprise saucer. The rest is beautifully accurate. Compare that to the bald Klingons with 4 nostrils and a ship of the dead for a culture that doesn't value the body once it is dead. Lots of huge inconsistencies that don't need to be there.