Star Trek canon

The Star Trek canon is the set of all canonical material in the Star Trek universe. The official Star Trek website defines canon as comprising the television series and feature films of the franchise.[1]

Canon within Star Trek

. . . Star Trek canon . . .

As a rule, all Star Trek television series that aired are considered part of the canon.[2]

This policy does not make clear which version of the series is the canonical one. For example, the remastered episodes of the original series, released in 2006, present several visual differences from the episodes originally aired.[3]

Gene Roddenberry was something of a revisionist when it came to canonicity. People who worked with Roddenberry remember that he used to handle canonicity not on a series-by-series basis nor an episode-by-episode basis, but point by point. If he changed his mind on something, or if a fact in one episode contradicted what he considered to be a more important fact in another episode, he had no problem declaring that specific point not canonical.

See, people can easily catch us, and say “well, wait a minute, in ‘Balance of Terror‘, they knew that the Romulans had a cloaking device, and then in ‘The Enterprise Incident‘, they don’t know anything about cloaking devices, but they’re gonna steal this one because it’s obviously just been developed, so how the hell do you explain that?” We can’t. There are some things we just can’t explain, especially when it comes from the third season. So, yes, third season is canon [sic] up to the point of contradiction, or where it’s just so bad… you know, we kind of cringe when people ask us, “well, what happened in ‘Plato’s Stepchildren‘, and ‘And the Children Shall Lead‘, and ‘Spock’s Brain‘, and so on—it’s like, please, he wasn’t even producing it at that point. But, generally, [the canon is] the original series, not really the animated, the first movie to a certain extent, the rest of the films in certain aspects but not in all… I know that it’s very difficult to understand. It literally is point by point. I sometimes do not know how he’s going to answer a question when I go into his office, I really do not always know, and—and I know it better probably than anybody, what it is that Gene likes and doesn’t like.[4]
— Richard Arnold, 1991

Another thing that makes canon a little confusing. Gene R. himself had a habit of decanonizing things. He didn’t like the way the animated series turned out, so he proclaimed that it was not canon. He also didn’t like a lot of the movies. So he didn’t much consider them canon either. And – okay, I’m really going to scare you with this one – after he got TNG [Star Trek: The Next Generation] going, he… well… he sort of decided that some of The Original Series wasn’t canon either. I had a discussion with him once, where I cited a couple things that were very clearly canon in The Original Series, and he told me he didn’t think that way anymore, and that he now thought of TNG as canon wherever there was conflict between the two. He admitted it was revisionist thinking, but so be it.[5]
— Paula Block, 2005

Additionally, David Gerrold, in an interview about Star Trek: The Animated Series, commented on Roddenberry’s parsimony and how it originally affected the Star Treks canon:

Arguments about “canon” are silly. I always felt that Star Trek Animated was part of Star Trek because Gene Roddenberry accepted the paycheck for it and put his name on the credits. And D. C. Fontana—and all the other writers involved—busted their butts to make it the best Star Trek they could. But this whole business of “canon” really originated with Gene’s errand boy. Gene liked giving people titles instead of raises, so the errand boy got named “archivist” and apparently it went to his head. Gene handed him the responsibility of answering all fan questions, silly or otherwise, and he apparently let that go to his head.[6]

. . . Star Trek canon . . .

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. . . Star Trek canon . . .

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