Starlog 4: Star Trek Canon

Check out this post if you haven’t read about my Star Trek course I’m taking yet!

In the current unit, I’ve been asked: In your opinion, what are the benefits of adhering to canon? What creative potential exists in jumping off from it? Where has Star Trek (or other similar franchises) done it well or poorly?

Personally, I think adhering to canon is a wonderful thing. Fans like to feel like authorities on their favorite show, and being familiar with the various rules of a given fictional world allow them to do that. The “rules” that canon sets forth also serve to make the franchise feel more real and allows fans to take it more seriously.

As a writer, I can also see a great benefit for those who create new episodes and movies. Canon gives them a place to start from, a world they can dive into where histories and characters are already established. I know from my personal experience that when it comes to writing a series, it’s much harder to write the first story than it is the fifth. Canon also creates a challenge for writers to find new spaces within that megatext to create stories.

I think Star Trek has done a wonderful job with this. Yes, there are some things that can be debated, such as the changing appearance of the Klingons throughout the different series, but that’s also part of the fun. Some of the time gaps that hadn’t previously been addressed before have a matrix laid down by that previous canon for the writers to bounce off of and explore. The trekkies flocking to conventions (when we’re not living in a pandemic, of course) are doing it because they take the show seriously and want to know more. They’ve become attached to these characters and this universe, and there’s no greater proof than that.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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