Who decides what is canon, and what is not?
Bob Orci, co-writer of the JJ Abrams Star Trek and its upcoming sequel, has been speaking about the upcoming tie-in videogame, and addressing its relationship to canon:
True fans will tell you that canon is only what’s filmed. I’m not an authority on what is canon. However, I will tell you that this may be the first game that falls within the parameters of the people who are in charge of canon for now; the “supreme court,” as we call ourselves… this is the first time where the game itself is generated by the people who are deciding canon and we generated the game to fit within canon.
So, I suppose this means that, for example, if one of the characters has a stand-in voice over artist for the game, rather than one of the busy, expensive actors from the film, and the character therefore doesn’t sound quite sound right, then as far as canon is concerned, they had a bit of a cold during this plotline.
Okay, I’m taking it too far.
Or am I?
Orci was speaking to GamePro. His interview certainly makes the game sound compelling – at least, from a narrative point of view. There’s very little discussion of how it will actually play.
Here are some highlights, which also shed a dim, dappled light on the second film:
We would not allow a game to go out if it was not somehow a part of the continuity.
What’s great about the game is that it gets to show that middle step. You get to see Kirk and Spock in a way you’re not going to in the movie. They’re becoming friends; they’re going on adventures you’re not going to see in the movies. The game is giving you new insight into who they are.
We want to make sure that in a way the game is its own movie. I don’t want to give away who the villains are, but the people in the game might be people who end up in the movie. I like to think of the game as a movie we’ve might have done. We treat the game with the same respect. I can say that the villains are very much in canon.
We want to make sure that we’re true to what happened in the universe. The things I want to see a lot of the same things that happened in Star Trek, a lot of the same scenarios but I want see them in a new way. In the original series they met the doomsday machine. What would happen if they met it now?
What’s going to be different about this game is that it’s going to fit into our new universe. It’s going to fit into the Star Trek that we were lucky enough to generate, and it’s going to be a story that happens within that universe and that story is not going to be fan fiction. It’s going to be a story that fits into our movies, and fits into between the first two movies.
And there’s plenty more where that came from.
Now, I’d love to see a game that’s as narratively satisfying as a movie, and consistently so, yet still offers me everything I want from a game. I’m not naive enough to think this Star Trek tie-in is going to leap straight to that point, but it seems to be stretching for it, and if it gets as near as, say, Half Life or Deus Ex or The Ocarina of Time, then I’ll be pleased.
[Image at head of post by John Martz, excerpted from his work Trexels]