. . . or, "Yet Another Roddenberry Quote on Trek Post-Roddenberry"

Even to this day, some try to claim a lack of canonicity for post-Roddenberry Trek on the grounds of a statement from the TOS days in which Roddenberry stated "It's not Star Trek until I say it's Star Trek." As the argument goes, it was not possible for him to decide on whether things were Star Trek after his death, some 25 years after the old statement, ergo everything after his death is not canon.

Of course, this ignored the obvious torch-passing to Berman, along with assorted later comments which clearly showed he wanted Trek to go on after his death. But nonetheless, certain people insist on the statement from the 60's at the expense of everything to the contrary.

Now there's yet another quote to add to the pile. This one comes from TrekMovie.com, in an article by Jon Tenuto:

Blast from the past: Gene foresees Trek future
I also happen to have just come across an interesting Star Trek Communicator interview with Gene Roddenberry from 1989 where he talks to Dan Madsen about the TNG’s 3rd season and the future of the TV and film franchise following the disappointment of Star Trek V. Roddenberry was concerned STV would be the last for the TOS crew, but hoped they would get one more (and it turns out they did with Star Trek VI two years later). He also said he could ‘definitely foresee’ that the Next Gen crew would also head off to the big screen, but also later stated that the TOS and TNG crews should ‘absolutely not ever’ be mixed (which is exactly what happened with the first TNG film Star Trek Generations). The quote I found most interesting was regarding the general future of the franchise. Here is what Gene said 18 years ago:

"I feel that we’ve got such good people in Hollywood, and will in future as well, that I would be happy to have a Star Trek come on in 15 or 20 years where people say, "Now that is good! That makes Roddenberry look like nothing!" And that would please me!"

And so still, the fact remains that Roddenberry saw Star Trek as an entity which would continue after he himself was long gone.


IDW Comics Interviews

Original Trek and TAS writer Dorothy ("D.C.") Fontana and CCCP's Paula Block have been asked some additional questions on canon, as reported by TrekMovie.com.

PAULA BLOCK: “Canon” in the sense that I use it is a very important tool. It only gets muddled when people try to incorporate licensed products into “canon”—and I know a lot of the fans really like to do that. Sorry, guys—not trying to rain on your parade. There’s a lot of bickering about it among fans, but in its purest sense, it’s really pretty simple: Canon is Star Trek continuity as presented on TV and Movie screens. Licensed products like books and comics aren’t part of that continuity, so they aren’t canon. And that’s that. Part of my job in licensing is to keep track of TV and Movie continuity, so I can help direct licensees in their creation of licensed products. It gets a little tricky because it’s constantly evolving, and over the years, Star Trek’s various producers and scriptwriters haven’t always kept track of/remembered/cared about what’s come before.

IDW: In today’s world, especially in a property like Star Trek, that has seen stories told in movies, TV episodes, novels, comic books, video games, e-books and even Internet-based fan media, too, the question of what constitutes “canon” is very much an ongoing debate. The episode you wrote for Star Trek: the Animated Series, “Yesteryear,” is the only one that contains material that is considered canon. What makes it canonical while the others aren’t?

DOROTHY FONTANA: I suppose "canon" means what Gene Roddenberry decided it was. Remember, we were making it up as we went along on the original series (and on the animated one, too). We had a research company to keep us on the straight and narrow as to science, projected science based on known science, science fiction references (we didn’t want to step on anyone’s exclusive ideas in movies, other TV shows, or printed work). They also helped prevent contradictions and common reference errors. So the so-called canon evolved in its own way and its own time. For whatever reason, Gene Roddenberry apparently didn’t take the animated series seriously (no pun intended), although we worked very hard to do original STAR TREK stories and concepts at all times in the animated series. What freed us there was the fact that we could do environments and aliens without the constraints of sets, makeup and costumes that would have been difficult to do in live action. The research company also worked on this series, again to keep us within rules we had set up in the original series and to keep references in terms of science/science fiction etc. accurate.

IDW: And a follow-up to that question, what does “canon” mean to you? Do fans put too great an emphasis on what is canon instead of just what makes a good story?

DOROTHY FONTANA: I like a good story— but there are certain basic ground rules established which I don’t think can be easily tossed aside. I really hated it when one of the features (STAR TREK V) came up with a half brother for Spock when I had always insisted he had no other siblings. But I guess it isn’t "canon" if I wrote it. Go figure.


Pretty Cool, Rather Flattering

It seems that my years of research on the topic of Star Trek canon not only bore fruit on CanonWars.com, but have made their way elsewhere as well.

A recent revision to the "Star Trek canon" page on Wikipedia leans quite heavily on that research. From references to the Roddenberry quotes I recalled and tracked down from the 1988 "One Generation to the Next" TV special, to the old Richard Arnold material I finally found after a lot of searching for any quotes by the guy, and to all the more mundane references, CanonWars was clearly the one-stop shop.

As well it should've been. ;)

That said, there was one area in which the Wiki author improved upon things. In some cases, there has been live-action Trek that was not released in television or movie form . . . for example, the "Star Trek: Borg" live-action segments of "Star Trek: The Experience" at the Las Vegas Hilton feature Voyager actors reprising their roles in a Star Trek story.

Since it was live-action Trek and not a fan-film type thing, some might've been left to wonder if it had validity. The answer would logically be "no" . . . though well-produced, it is licensed material much like the Pocket Books novels.