Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by JackSparrowJive, Jun 7, 2013.
Pike dying in the comics than showing up in the movie with no explanationj.
Pike died in the comics? That's news to me.
I was talking to Mr. Bennet.
Spoiler: Into Darkness
- Kirk going to Starfleet Academy with John Harrison
- Spock getting over his issues over Vulcan's destruction and the death of his mother in the comics when he he's still dealing with it in the film.
- Kirk meeting Carol Marcus in the comics set before Into Darkness.
- Kirk learning about Admiral Marcus is a bad guy in the comics and forgetting this in Into Darkness
- And the big one the comics adapting Space Seed
^Missing the point. I just found the phrasing odd because dialogue is the main way information is conveyed in comics and film (since narration seems to have fallen out of favor in both media these days).
I don't think it is fair to blame the fans as if they were the ones who invented this notion of canon and them applied it to the franchise. This invention belongs to the TPTB.
Yes, fans didn't invent the concept of a Trek canon. However, fans can be blamed for misunderstanding what canon actually is & misusing the term on a constant basis.
Exactly. Fans mistake "canon" for "continuity." They aren't the same thing.
Not really. "TPTB" generally don't have to worry about the question of canon, because what they create is automatically canon. That's simply what the word means. Historically, it's only been fans who have had any reason to worry about the question of what stories were and weren't part of the canon. Originally, of course, canon was a religious term referring to the writings that were officially approved by the church as the genuine word of God, as opposed to the apocrypha, alternate texts that don't mesh with the church-approved ones. Apparently it was Sherlock Holmes fans who first applied the term to distinguishing the core writings of Arthur Conan Doyle from Holmes pastiches (i.e. fanfic) by other authors.
The idea that canon is something imposed by "TPTB" dates back to Roddenberry's 1989 memo where he tried to define what was and wasn't counted as part of Star Trek canon as he saw it, including the omission of the animated series from the list. That created the perception among fans that canon was something specifically dictated by the creators and defined by what it excluded. But contrary to what fans have assumed for the past couple of decades, that memo didn't represent standard operating procedure for all creators. Heck, Roddenberry's successors didn't even continue to honor the memo after he died. There's also been Lucasfilm's attempt to define formal "levels of canon" for Star Wars tie-ins, but of course those so-called "canonical" books have been freely ignored and contradicted by actual new canon, because it was erroneous for Lucasfilm to use the word "canon" that way in the first place. Canon simply means the core work by the original creators, or their inheritors. Anything parallel or supplemental done by other creators, any tie-in running alongside the main work, is not part of the canon. That's not a value judgment, not a condemnation, merely an acknowledgment of distinct categories and their distinct natures.
The Star Wars canon is fairly intact despite the prequels and the Clone Wars.
Star Wars canon is a muddled mess because of the prequels and Clone Wars. It doesn't help that Lucas took some things introduced in the EU, like Coruscant and Kashykk while blatantly contradicting other things.
^That's just the point -- that it's a mistake to equate canon with continuity, and it was misleading for Lucasfilm to use the label "canon" to describe its tie-ins. As with any other franchise, Lucasfilm has been free to draw on elements of its tie-ins or contradict them as it saw fit. There's really nothing unusual about that -- fictional franchises have been borrowing ideas from their tie-ins since the Superman comics borrowed characters like Jimmy Olsen and Perry White from the 1940s radio series and gave Superman the power of flight like in the animated shorts. Indeed, I expect there are probably much older examples. But of course they've only borrowed some elements and otherwise struck their own course.
And that's the natural way for it to happen -- different creative works inspiring and cross-pollinating each other. The problem comes from the attitude that canon represents some kind of barrier intended to isolate different works from one another, that canon and not-canon need to be aggressively segregated and forbidden from interacting lest people be -- gasp! -- confused. This is the damage done by the '89 Roddenberry memo, because that was what popularized the notion of canon defined in terms of what it excludes and rejects. Whereas Lucasfilm went with a deceptively broad definition of canon that suffered from being overly inclusive to the point that the label became meaningless. They both complicated the idea of canon far more than it needed to be, especially since they pulled in conflicting directions.
The Star Wars EU is directly based on the way Star Trek did it. See this comment from George Lucas:
I don't read that stuff. I haven't read any of the novels. I don't know anything about that world. That's a different world than my world. But I do try to keep it consistent. The way I do it now is they have a Star Wars Encyclopedia. So if I come up with a name or something else, I look it up and see if it has already been used. When I said [other people] could make their own Star Wars stories, we decided that, like Star Trek, we would have two universes: My universe and then this other one. They try to make their universe as consistent with mine as possible, but obviously they get enthusiastic and want to go off in other directions.
Yes, but that's different from what they used to say. Back when the tie-ins were the only new SW content in town, they could stay as consistent with canon as they wanted, and thus they put forth the notion that they represented a sort of secondary level of canon. But once Lucas actually started making new Star Wars, then naturally, of course, he considered what he created to be distinct from and preemptive of any alternative interpretations of his creation done without his direct involvement. As the creator of the franchise, he was entitled to make it the way he wanted and not be bound by what others had done based on his work -- though of course he was free to borrow useful elements from it if he so wished.
You see the same process with Trek, going both ways. In the '80s, when there was little new Trek content, the novels and comics were able to develop their own ongoing continuities (though distinct from each other). But when new Trek shows came along, they overrode the books and took the lead in defining new continuity, and the tie-ins' brief was pretty much to follow their lead and stay out of their way. And now that there aren't new shows or Prime-universe movies being made, the books are again free to build their own ongoing continuity -- whereas meanwhile the comics are attempting to do a continuity that's consistent with the ongoing movie series but finding themselves contradicted by it despite their best efforts.
And you see it with other franchises. The Buffy comics done during the series got contradicted all the time by the show, but now the show is gone and the comics are supervised by Whedon and count as canon. The Babylon 5 novels published during the run of the show, which Straczynski tried to oversee and keep canonical, all ended up being mostly apocryphal because he wasn't able to oversee both the show and the books directly at the same time; but the novel trilogies that came out after the show, which he personally plotted and shepherded through the writing process, were indeed canonical.
This is what needs to be understood. The determiners of canon aren't some studio board handing down regulations; they're the creators of the work itself. Canon simply means the original output of the core creators -- or their inheritors, in the case of a legacy franchise like Trek, Doctor Who, or future Star Wars installments. Anything that other people do in parallel, that the creators or showrunners have only limited control over, is by definition not canon because they're not the ones making it. They can try to treat the supplemental material as part of the canon, try to supervise it closely enough to keep it consistent, but as we've seen in cases like Star Wars, B5, and now the Abramsverse comics, it usually ends up being contradicted anyway.
Really? How many books re complelty noncanon because of what happened post 99?
Just off the top of my head, there was a bit of a controversy a few years back when Clone Wars completely ignored everything about the Mandalorians established in the EU.
It doesn't really matter. Thanks to JJ Abrams, Bad robot, and Disney, Star Wars VII will probably erase 95% of the post-Jedi EU within the opening sequence (unless there is a tme-traveling Romulan that kills Padme and Anakin after the twins are born or something and thereby erases 150%).
They said that about the prequels too.
On the topic of the use of "canon" as synonymous with "continuity" in fandom circles: To be fair, if a large subculture of people use a word with a given new definition in such a way that the intended meaning communicated by that word is understood by everyone within that subculture, then hasn't the definition of that word simply shifted as a subculture-specific jargon term, diverging from the original term as language always does? Couldn't it be that fandom isn't using the word "canon" wrong per se, but is simply using it as a jargon term within their subculture as a derivation of its original meaning outside fandom?
^Which would be fine if it didn't still simultaneously have a different meaning, leading people to confuse or conflate the two meanings and arrive at some gross misconceptions about how canon works -- like the idea that it's something imposed on both creators and audiences by some nebulously defined higher authority. The problem is that the word is used in multiple different ways at once and that obfuscates the issue.
Separate names with a comma.