Dayton Ward‘s Thoughts on Canon
By Dayton Ward http://www.daytonward.com
“Canon,” for the purposes of Star Trek, is simply the body of work which the creators of Star Trek (episodes and films) decide they’re going to observe and with which they’re going to remain consistent, and to which licensees such as novel and comic book publishers, video game creators, and so on are required also to remain consistent. This, generally, means that the “Star Trek canon” constitutes the films and episodes, and nothing else. Such a definition is not at all an opinion on the quality of material, be it a movie, novel, game adventure, or whatever. It’s simply a practical consideration, particularly in Trek‘s case, given the sheer amount of material to be considered. That definition can broaden or even be narrowed, of course, depending on the whim of whoever’s at the helm of new Star Trek, but the “onscreen stuff only” mantra has tended to serve such people rather well to this point.
Now, if you’re not somebody producing a Star Trek movie or television episode, or creating an officially-licensed tie-in product, none of that matters, nor should it matter.
What a lot of folks tend to think of as “personal canon” when including aspects of novels, comics, games, etc. is really more a “personal continuity,” and that’s a whole other thing. I know it sounds like picking nits, but again, when we’re talking about canon, we mean the stuff the people who own and make Star Trek movies and TV will consider as “being real.”
As fans, we have far more latitude so far as enjoying our Trek goes. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a fan deciding that events from a book or the Star Trek Online game “really happened” to their Star Trek characters, and disregarding those tales they don’t like. Example: as a fan, I absolutely loathe the TOS episode “And the Children Shall Lead,” and so far as I’m concerned, it NEVER. HAPPENED. Contrast this with my personal view that the events of the Star Trek: Vanguard novel series DID happen. Oh yeah, that’s right; I said it. It’s all real, at least in my head, and I write those stories with an eye toward having them fit into the actual Star Trek canon as seamlessly as possible.
As a fan? I get to make that choice for my own enjoyment. I don’t need the approval of some guy in a Hollywood office to make
that call. I just don’t expect the folks at CBS to oblige my quirkiness. On the other hand, when I’m wearing my “Trek writer” hat my desires take a back seat, as I know in the back of my brain that the events of any episode will always have precedence over anything I write for a novel, so far as the actual, observed Star Trek canon is concerned. That’s just the way it is.
At least, until I’m in charge of the universe and everything in it, including you.
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He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.