So how important is canon, then?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Trekkie27, Aug 13, 2020.

  1. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Of course, in the case of real-life canons, adherents may split into different traditions or denominations which accept different parts of the body of work as their own canon while rejecting certain parts that are accepted as canon by the other traditions. And their connections with the original creators of the works may be questionable in some cases.

    Kor
     
  2. BK613

    BK613 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's worth noting that the fans* that created the Sherlock Holmes canon lists a century ago also were divided. Some felt that the stories that followed the plunge at the Falls were not part of the canon and others did.

    *(And yes, the Holmes canon lists were created by fans and scholars, not the author or the estate. And they basically played the same games that we do, treating the stories as a real history of the characters and discussing the inconsistencies and anachronisms as fans of franchises do today.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2021
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  3. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's literally the opposite of what canon means. Going back to the term's biblical roots, I'm sure not everyone was thrilled that King Henry VIII rewrote the bible for his own personal reasons.

    Canon is not a measure of quality, which is subjective anyway. That's why "Threshold" and "Vox Sola" are canon and the novels Prime Directive, A Stitch in Time and The Final Reflection aren't.
     
  4. Bork359

    Bork359 Lieutenant Newbie

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    Wikipedia: In fiction, canon is the material accepted as officially part of the story in an individual universe of that story by its fan base. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction.

    Therefore, it's a democratic process among fans to decide what is and isn't cannon, not a definition of intellectual property ownership.

    I'm getting the impression that the word cannon is one of those charged political words that means different things to different people, and that when used it evokes an emotional and biased response that tends to impede honest debate instead of fostering it. In situations like that, I find it helpful to ignore the term itself and focus more on definitions that we can agree on.

    Sequels written by the original author are always cannon. Fan fiction is never cannon. Properties that are passed on decade after decade to different creators? It depends on whether it's accepted as "official" by the fan base. What makes a work worthy of acceptance? Consistency in characterization, in theme, in tone, and in internal logic, as well as the property being legally owned or licensed by whoever is creating it. The creator or the company putting something out does not get to decide unilaterally whether the crap their feeding us will be considered worthy and respectful enough to the previous work to be allowed into cannon just because they own it.
     
  5. 1001001

    1001001 Do You Really Wanna Taste It? Moderator

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    Far be it from me to argue with Wikipedia (:rolleyes:) but the idea that "canon" is up to a vote of viewers is ridiculous.
     
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    Neither Roddenberry nor Lucas were making entertainment for free.

    Yeah, no. You’re welcome to your interpretations of the material, but the IP holder decides what is “canon”.
     
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  7. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But Star Trek was never any of that even when Gene the Great was guiding the show by His Divine Hand. Early TOS is constantly changing the name of the organization that the characters work for, the nation they serve, even what century it takes place in.
     
  8. at Quark's

    at Quark's Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I use an extremely simple definition of 'canon'. To me if it's shown (or told) in one of the 'official' Star trek products, it's 'canon' (unless of course the scene is clearly a dream or an alternate timeline or some such thing), regardless of whether it contradicts something else in 'canon'. (Personally, I'd even accept only the series and movies as such, though I know there are other products (e.g. reference manuals) labeled canon as well).

    That said, to me personally using heavyweight terms such as 'canon' for what, to me, is nothing more than a work of fiction created for entertainment has always felt slightly ridiculous. But I can understand it's actually a different matter for the producers or those aspiring to write for the franchise.
     
  9. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, indeed. That Wikipedia definition is more the definition of absurdity. highlighting wishful thinking than the real world function.
     
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  10. 1001001

    1001001 Do You Really Wanna Taste It? Moderator

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    Yeah, I was wondering which Trekkie made that edit...

    :lol:
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    I have one simple rule for canon: fuck canon, just tell me entertaining stories.
     
  12. Bork359

    Bork359 Lieutenant Newbie

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    You don't like wikipedia, how about Merriam-Webster? Canon: A sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works.

    It's really difficult to argue with people when they don't even agree with the definition of the thing being debated. You guys are giving up your power as fans way too easily, happily accepting whatever sludge is shoved down your throats by whatever corporation happens to own the IP, narrative integrity be damned.

    But fine, let's say canon is simply whatever we're being told is "official" by the current owner if the IP. In that case, cannon means NOTHING. That "canon" is simply a skin suit that can be bought and sold, and used by any hack creator with corporate backing as a way to disguise their mediocre, unspired, and/or insulting story as a genuine part of an already beloved universe with a built in fan base. It's nothing but a cheap commodity. The Ferengi would love that definition.
     
  13. 1001001

    1001001 Do You Really Wanna Taste It? Moderator

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    Canon is what's on screen. Period.

    Whether it's any good or not, is up to the individual viewer.

    It's also not worth getting upset about.
     
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  14. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    Welcome to Star Trek, and the real world.
     
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  15. Bork359

    Bork359 Lieutenant Newbie

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    Not my Star Trek. I refuse to bow to my corporate overlords. Discovery and Picard are NOT Star Trek.
     
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    Your Star Trek can be whatever you want it to be, it just isn’t binding on anyone else.

    I can agree they aren’t very good Star Trek. But CBS owns the IP, and they’ve decided that they are Star Trek.
     
  17. 1001001

    1001001 Do You Really Wanna Taste It? Moderator

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    :lol:
     
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  18. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    Just a by-the-by... it doesn’t say who it has to be accepted by...

    And you seem to miss the sanctioned part. The two shows are sanctioned by CBS.
     
  19. Bork359

    Bork359 Lieutenant Newbie

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    Fine, call it canon. What Kurtzman has done to Star Trek, and what Johnson did to Star Wars, it's all canon. Yay. It's also, shameful, cheap, hackneyed, disrespectful, and plain old disappointing.

    I am genuinely depressed that Star Trek, a series that more than any other represented the best and most aspirational aspects of humanity have been taken to such a dark, violent, and politicized place. I feel like I have a right to be disappointed. I feel that it's wrong for a company to hire some hack writer to stomp all over a rich established fantasy universe and alter it perminanty in ways that would have Roddenberry rolling over in his grave.

    Maybe it's silly getting emotional over something like this. If I can't find sympathetic ears on a Star Trek forum, perhaps the fan base actually has moved somewhere completely different and unrecognizable. Maybe I'm an old man shouting into the wind. If so, that really. fucking. sucks.
     
  20. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I like canon and it helps the franchise flow a lot more smoothly and logically for me. That said, this "capitalist" interpretation nonsense is just ridiculous. The IP owner and creators get to decide what's official and what is apocryphal and we don't except in our own personal head canon, and no company is going to listen to MY idea of what I consider official.