The Star Trek Canon

Quick Reference:
I.  Introduction
   A.  Areas of Disagreement
II.  Methods
   A.  The Epistemology of Epistemology
   B.  On Trek Ownership
         1.  Structure
              A.  Paramount History
              B.  Enterprise-Era Structure
              C.  Modern Structure
         2.  Rank
III.  The Star Trek Canon Policy
    A.  Early Statements on Canon
    B.  The Star Trek of Gene Roddenberry
         1.  Roddenberry, TOS3, and the Films
         2.  Roddenberry and Star Trek Novels
         3.  Star Trek After Roddenberry (DS9)
    C.  Current Statements
    D.  Specific Issues
         1.  Enterprise Canonicity
         2.  Star Trek Variants
              A.  Film Variants
              B.  Episode Variants
         3.  The Tech Manuals, Et Cetera
         4.  Regarding the ST:TMP Novelization
         5.  Ron Moore on the Jeri Taylor Novels
         6.  Hard Canon vs. Soft Canon
IV.  Conclusion
V.  Addenda
    A. Quote Resources
         1.  Quote Listings and References
    B. Objections
The Jeri Taylor Novels and Canon Policy Statements
         2. and Paramount Digital Entertainment 

Note:  Quotes not linked to in the text will be followed with a » symbol.   
This will open up a new window taking you to a quote list with full references.

I. Introduction

Determining the contents of the Star Trek canon was once a relatively simple affair.  Unlike Lucasfilm, Paramount put its canon policy in plain sight, though it could be a little vague regarding the minutiae.  Since 2005 the situation has become a bit more troublesome thanks to the Paramount split, but in general the old rules still seem to apply.  Thus, as with the Star Wars canon, we'll run through the Trek canon policy statements, paying attention to the age of the quote and the rank of the speaker so as to produce the best understanding of the policy available.

A Areas of Disagreement

Despite the relative simplicity of determining Trek canon pre-2005, there were some areas of confusion or, in some cases, disagreement.   While these were not so prevalent as to be considered fandom-wide civil wars a la Star Wars, they are worth mentioning.   One of the main areas of confusion revolved around the Sternbach/Okuda reference books such as the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, the Star Trek Encyclopedia, and so on.  Written by backstage personnel and described as "official", these works served to expand the TNG-era universe a bit and were long considered primary source material for Trek technology discussions and Vs. Debates. 

More modern disputes have revolved around the canonicity of Enterprise, a Trek prequel whose early episodes were guided by Brannon Braga, long considered to be an opponent of Trek continuity.   And, we'd be remiss for not mentioning a bit of a 'canon rebellion' still in play by some fans who reject the concept of canon (or specifically all canon produced after circa 1980) on the grounds that it steps on the toes of their preferred 70's-era Trek fandom speculations.

As of this writing in late 2006, questions regarding the various resurrections of The Original Series will soon be prevalent.  A television project to remaster TOS using digital effects work calls into question whether the Original Series of the 60's is canon, or if the new TOS is the preferred version.   Meanwhile, a movie project is also in the works.  But since these are now being done by separate companies who share the rights to the Star Trek brand, it's all too easy to imagine a fractured canon.


Of paramount importance in logical analysis is having and maintaining a consistent, logical methodology.  This is where many falter, for they apply varying standards at a whim.

A.  The Epistemology of Epistemology

We've received our information about the canon policy from many various sources.  Obviously the most trustworthy sources are those which are not only the most primary, but also the most well-considered.   For instance, a prepared statement by Roddenberry or Paramount has a bit more weight than an off-the-cuff remark, while an off-the-cuff remark recorded on video and replayed for all to see would have a bit more weight than a secondary source like a reporter's report of a statement.  (That latter is hearsay in a sense, but it's professional hearsay, given by people who are trained to give reliable reports of that nature, and who are frequently (if not usually) armed with recording devices to aid in the task.)   Last but not least, we should assume a reasonable amount of consistency in regards to individuals . . . to be sure, people can change their minds, but it hardly follows that people's opinions will flip-flop daily.

These distinctions would not generally be of great import, but application of the same logical rigor used for the Star Wars canon policy necessitates that one must be very thorough and very careful in order to try to cover, even in overview form, all the many claims made.   Fortunately, we can just apply common sense and logic to separate the wheat from the chaff.

BOn Trek Ownership

Over the past forty years Star Trek has been a work in progress.  Star Trek is one man's creation nurtured by thousands and enjoyed by millions.

Matters of individual rank are thus handled on a case-by-case basis, since even just listing the major players over the years would be daunting.  If that weren't enough, equally daunting is the history of Star Trek's ownership.   Until 2005, ownership basically boiled down to just saying "Paramount".  Now it's somewhat more interesting.

For those masochists desiring greater detail, we have the next section.

1.  Structure

When people say "Paramount" in regards to Star Trek, there could be any number of things they mean to refer to.   Even a simpler company structure as seen with Lucasfilm has met with a great deal of confusion over the years, and thus it comes as no surprise that the positively-byzantine structure and history of Paramount would cause error, vagueness, or what-have-you.

A.  Paramount History

The Original Series was shown on NBC and produced under the banner of Lucille Ball's Desilu Studios (which, incidentally, owned the old RKO production facilities), with licensing for early merchandise handled by Desilu Business Affairs.  Gulf & Western Industries (often "Gulf + Western") bought Desilu in 1967, and Desilu was eventually folded into Paramount Pictures, another Gulf & Western property acquired the year prior.   Gulf & Western then acquired Simon & Schuster in 1975, along with the division Pocket Books.

Eventually the diverse Gulf & Western conglomerate abandoned its non-entertainment holdings, refashioning itself as Paramount Communications in 1989.    The various subsidiary companies, including Paramount Pictures (for films) and Paramount Television (for TV, obviously), were under its wing.  Five years later, Paramount Communications was acquired by Viacom as part of its Viacom Entertainment Group. 

B.  Enterprise-Era Structure

Star Trek: Enterprise was made by Paramount Television, a subsidiary of Paramount Communications, which was a subsidiary of Viacom.  Paramount Television had a deal with UPN (the United Paramount Network, another Paramount Communications subsidiary) wherein UPN paid Paramount Television to air the show.  If a technical manual were to have been desired, then Paramount Television would have sold the license to Simon & Schuster, a subsidiary of Paramount Communications, which was a subsidiary of Viacom, via Viacom Consumer Products, Inc., a Viacom subsidiary, which handled the licensing for all things Paramount.

(Of course, lest things get too simple, there's also Lincoln Enterprises, Roddenberry's tiny family business, which has kept some minor licensing and merchandising authority regarding Star Trek since 1968.  There was a special arrangement with Viacom Consumer Products that somehow delineates which company does what, though suffice it to say that Lincoln gets the short end of the stick.  More on Lincoln here and here.)

Needless to say, it seems a rather inefficient methodology, but I suppose it worked for Viacom and Paramount somehow.  If you really want to get a headache, try thumbing through this list of over 900 Viacom subsidiaries and try to figure out the flowchart of what was under what and how.

Viacom, primarily via Paramount Communications, thus had final ownership of Star Trek (along with just about everything else under the sun, including Blockbuster, MTV, VH1, CBS, UPN, Spike TV, Showtime, and more).   However, per Viacom's website (1, 2) , Paramount Television ran the Star Trek franchise (and was thus the direct employer of Rick Berman, who runs said franchise), though other sites (such as Paramount Pictures affiliate (and Paramount Television Group company (1)) Paramount Digital Entertainment's point toward a copyright holder of Paramount Pictures.  This may have implied some shared rights between them, but since both were under Paramount Communications, then Paramount Communications was the basic controlling entity under Viacom.

C.  Modern Structure

In June 2005, Viacom announced that it was splitting up.   A new company called CBS Corp. would be formed, and the two companies would part ways.  Quoting from the entertainment magazine Variety:

Viacom Inc. [...] will house Paramount Pictures, the lucrative MTV Networks that were the heart of the old Viacom, Paramount Home Entertainment and Famous Music.

CBS Corp. [...] will include the CBS and UPN networks, Viacom TV stations, Infinity Broadcasting, Viacom Outdoor and the CBS, Paramount and King World TV production studios.

The noteworthy part of the above for our purposes was that Paramount Communications, previously our general Trek catch-all, was also being split.   Paramount Television went to CBS Corp., becoming CBS Paramount Television, a division of CBS Studios, Inc., whereas Paramount Pictures and Paramount Home Entertainment (the DVD guys) remained with Viacom.   CBS Paramount Television retained most rights to the Star Trek franchise, though Paramount Pictures continued plans for an eleventh Trek feature.  To some extent the two share some rights.

A whole other matter is the placement of Trek book licensing, formerly done via Viacom Consumer Products and given to Viacom subsidiary Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books imprint.  Judging by the comments at the bottom of a computer game announcement in 2006, CBS Enterprises, via unit CBS Consumer Products, now handles Trek licensing for CBS Paramount Television.  Simon & Schuster is also under the CBS Corporation, so little changed in that regard.  It remains to be seen how licensing regarding Viacom's Paramount Pictures Trek releases will be handled.

It's also worth noting here that there's a certain irony in the idea that CBS, which originally rejected Star Trek in favor of Lost in Space, now owns it.

2.  Rank

Despite the various corporate-ownership shenanigans over the years, for the most part there have only really been two people to ask about the Star Trek canon policy . . . Gene Roddenberry, and his hand-picked successor Rick Berman.   Even during the Roddenberry interregnum of the early- to mid-eighties when he was relegated to consultant on the TMP-era films, there were no known changes to the canon policy of Star Trek from what he'd decided during the TOS production era and even during the 1970's, when he continued to speak for the show (if even in an unofficial capacity, from Paramount's perspective).  That having been said, we do know that per Roddenberry in 1968, "Paramount Studios (formerly Desilu) is my partner in the Star Trek venture and I am not permitted to make unilateral decisions any more than they are."»  However, as there are no significant contrary indications to Roddenberry's statements, there is no cause for alarm.

After Berman, one would consider other Executive or Co-Executive Producers of the various shows, such as Michael Piller, Ira Steven Behr, Ron D. Moore, Manny Coto, Maurice Hurley, Jeri Taylor, Brannon Braga, and so on, followed by producers like Robert Hewitt Wolfe and D.C. Fontana.   Then there are the staff writers, other production staffers, and so on.

Of interest is the position of Richard Arnold.  While his only production title was simply "research consultant" for ST:TNG, Richard Arnold was the lone staffer (until the arrival of frequent TNG extra Guy Vardaman) of Paramount's "Star Trek Office".   He was largely considered the Trek archivist and served as Roddenberry's right-hand man on issues of Trek continuity and canon since the late 1970's.  He was also the so-called "ambassador of Star Trek" and served as the production's liaison to Pocket Books, helping Roddenberry shape the novels and keep them more or less uniform with Star Trek's philosophy and ideas.   He was, in effect, both Star Trek's version of Sansweet and Star Trek's version of Lucas Licensing's Publishing department.   As such, his statements receive a bit more weight than that of a mere "research consultant".

Also, it's worth noting that we can, unfortunately, make no particular quality-based distinctions in regards to rank.  You'll note that my list of executive or co-executive producers above appears to be in no particular order . . . in fact, it is an approximate spectrum of good to bad (based on what I know, and with a couple of people filling one spot due to a tie).   However, they are not ranked for the purposes of this page on that basis.

In the end, of course, the Star Trek canon policy would now be the decision of Viacom or CBS Corp.   Now that Trek continues and Berman is nowhere to be seen in the recent projects, there is no known go-to-guy for Trek canon. However, all significant policy statements have largely come from Star Trek production personnel, as opposed to anyone higher in the corporate structure, and this helps to simplify our task.

III.  The Star Trek Canon Policy

A.  Early Statements on Canon

As has been the case with Star Wars and other similar properties, at first there was no particular canon policy simply because there was so very little material to deal with in the first place.  And, of course, after the cancellation of the Original Series the idea that there might be a need for a policy someday would probably have seemed odd.  As Trek archivist Richard Arnold put it, Roddenberry "never really thought that there would be any more live Star Trek"».   In short, then, there were simply few to no public statements on Trek continuity.

As such, what few public statements were made . . . often at conventions and such . .  seem to have been disseminated among the fan population via fanzines and clubs, leaving them rather hard to track down via simple internet research.   Some statements are reported to have been made in various magazines like Starlog, but there is a certain difficulty in getting issues of old magazines published decades ago.

However, over the years we have gotten indications of some of the private statements.   For instance, the earliest fiction materials related to Star Trek were the James Blish adaptations of the episodes, with the first seven episodes appearing in 1967.   Given that this was before any home would've had the technology to record a broadcast television show, and that Blish did not work from the shooting scripts, it is little surprise that his novelizations deviated from the broadcasts rather significantly.  According to biographer David Alexander, Roddenberry found that quite irritating, recommending changes to Desilu Business Affairs as to how licensing should be handled.   

B.  The Star Trek of Gene Roddenberry

When it comes to rank, many would say that we should look no further than Gene Roddenberry.  Though Trek has technically been owned by others, he will always be the creator and, with TOS and TNG, was the man running the show.   Before his death in 1991, he appointed a successor to the leadership of the franchise in the form of Rick Berman.

1.  Roddenberry, the Third Season, and the Films

It's often reported that Roddenberry was largely absent for the third season of the Original Series, whether due to exhaustion or attempted licensing with Lincoln Enterprises or any number of other reasons claimed by all manner of people.   It is also known that Roddenberry only acted as consultant for most of the TOS-cast films . . . again, reports differ as to why.   Some claim Paramount shut him out, others claim strife between Paramount's producers and Roddenberry, and so on.  Roddenberry himself says in a letter to a Paramount executive (quoted on p. 517 of Star Trek Creator) that he had adopted a policy of rarely interfering with the film producers and directors.

While for the most part the canonicity of the entirety of TOS is generally assumed, we do have some interesting claims on the matter.   In 1991, Richard Arnold was asked if all of TOS was actually canon, since the questioner had heard it was just the first two seasons.   Arnold responded:

"There are some things we just can't explain, especially when it comes from the third season. So, _yes_, third season is canon up to the point of contradiction, or where it's just so 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, it's 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."»

Unfortunately, it isn't clear if Arnold is reporting actual canonicity or Roddenberry's personal taste.  After all, in a letter to Shatner and Bennett during the production of the fifth Star Trek film, Roddenberry wrote:

"Yes, I have commented on past film projects saying "This isn't Star Trek" and as you note we worked to make it the real thing." (Star Trek Creator, p. 525) 

That would certainly suggest that he accepted the canonicity of the prior Bennett films.   And, while Roddenberry certainly didn't revisit the content of each TOS episode, we've never really seen a direct statement from him that the third season of TOS is non-canon.  However, Roddenberry was probably willing to contradict it.    According to Paula Block of Viacom Consumer Products:

"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 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."

While all these comments are interesting, we quickly begin to arrive at a point wherein we can't get too specific with our analysis.   That is to say, we're coming up against a lot of mutually-contradictory evidence for Roddenberry's views based on hearsay of what he said.  It therefore wouldn't be prudent to dismiss the third season of TOS or any potentially-contradictory part of TOS on the grounds of what these other people claim.   As an example from the above, we have Roddenberry saying that he and Bennett worked to make the films real Star Trek versus Block saying that he didn't much consider them canon.  Which to believe?  Well, the Roddenberry letter is a tangible item, unfiltered through the recollections of one of two people talking in the office.   This is not to say that the hearsay is untrustworthy . . . merely that we cannot assign it equal or greater weight than what we know Roddenberry said.  The report from Block is thus a tantalizing possibility, but not something we can run with for any sort of well-considered analysis of his opinion.

(Also, perhaps most importantly in regards to the concepts of canon above, Roddenberry did say that "Paramount Studios (formerly Desilu) is my partner in the Star Trek venture and I am not permitted to make unilateral decisions any more than they are."» )

2.  Roddenberry and Star Trek Novels

Roddenberry got involved with the Star Trek novels fairly early on.  For instance, a poorly-written attempt at a juvenile novel from 1967 caused Roddenberry quite a bit of consternation.   He wrote the following letter to Desilu Business Affairs, as quoted on page 340 of Star Trek Creator:

"I think we must go on the assumption that Star Trek will continue on television for many years and is a valuable property worth protecting and I personally would rather blow a deal like this than see the property harmed.

I recommend strongly that in this deal and in all future book, magazine, or comic deals that we insist on enough advanced time for copy so that it can be checked over carefully.  I further recommend that we pick someone like Dorothy Fontana who has an excellent and broad grasp of this show, demand that all such future deals include some reasonable payment to make it worthwhile for Dorothy Fontana (or someone else connected with the show) to spend some time going over the material and guiding the writer and publishers away from technical inaccuracy or outright bad taste. [...] I really feel very strongly about it since my name is necessarily connected with any by-product of Star Trek." 

In early 1968 Roddenberry, per Alexander, had "sent in a five-page, single-spaced, typed critique of the reworked novel, which further illustrated how concerned he was with maintaining a certain level of quality in all Star Trek products."   However, over time Roddenberry got away from overseeing ""the damn books!" as he characterized them"(ibid., p. 484), though he did note the following in a 1982 letter:

"Yes, I dream of how nice it would be if I had been able to own it wholly and control all rights.  Many of the present Star Trek novels would never have appeared and probably none of them without some really extensive rewriting.  On the other hand, by giving the property my sole attention there would have been many novels I would have written, keeping the entire Star Trek property more cohesive.  Certainly it would have been fun to see Earth and Federation civilization of that century better explained.  But none of this was possible, as my attitude now is that it has probably worked out as well as it could have happened in this real world that I must live in.  And I am grateful for the talent of those who did write those books and stories.  Indeed, I am not past hoping that the entire experience is leading me toward something more important, even more more fulfilling."

(Of course, given that TNG was just five years away, his hopes were not unfounded.)

This distance between Roddenberry and the novels started to change in 1985, when the TOS-era Killing Time appeared, a novel written by a fan who was active in the so-called 'slash fiction' scene (a genre wherein mostly-female authors describe homosexual pairings between otherwise-thought-to-be-hetero males, such as in the frequent (some say original) case of "Kirk/Spock" slash-fic).   She had managed to keep a very strong erotic subtext between the Captain and his XO, one more brazen in earlier drafts.   This was largely excised by the Pocket Books editorial staff, but nonetheless a pre-edit version managed to get published before Roddenberry and others insisted on its recall.

Roddenberry was furious . . . not out of homophobia, but simply because these were his characters and his universe and it was being altered in a major way.   Soon thereafter the pre-production for TNG began in earnest, meaning that Roddenberry was officially back in the saddle, and, per Richard Arnold, Roddenberry decided that it was time to have some more control over the books again.     He was finally able to put someone in the sort of "production oversight" position he'd originally considered back in 1967, in the form of Richard Arnold.

For the TNG writers, Roddenberry made it clear that none of the novels were to be considered as valid sources of information about the universe of the new show.  According to Arnold (but in keeping with later statements from Trek staff):

"And as long as Gene Roddenberry is involved in it, he is the final word on what is Star Trek. So, for us here-- Ron Moore, Jeri Taylor, everybody who works on the show--Gene is the authority. And {...} he says that the books, and the games, and the comics and everything else, are not gospel, but are only additional Star Trek based on his Star Trek but not part of the actual Star Trek universe that _he_ created...they're just, you know, kinda fun to keep you occupied between episodes and between movies, whatever...but he does not want that to be considered to be sources of information for writers, working on this show, he doesn't want it to be considered part of the canon by anybody working on any other projects."»

Further, rules were sent by Roddenberry to Pocket Books about what could or could not occur in the novels, and in addition the novels were reviewed by Arnold and Roddenberry.    While Roddenberry's role declined in his final years, Arnold's position continued until shortly after Roddenberry's death.

This situation was mirrored in reference to Trek comic books and other genres as well.

3.  Star Trek After Roddenberry

Regarding the future of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry had this to say in a 1988 interview:

"I would hope there are bright young people, growing up all the time, who will bring to it levels and areas that were beyond me, and I don't feel jealous about that at all [...]  It'll go on, without any of us, and get better and better and better, because that's the . . . that really is the human condition.  It's to improve and improve."»

He felt that, regarding those future Trek adventures, people would say "'Oh, that Roddenberry, he was never this good'."   He phrased it differently in another interview, as quoted in 1993:

"There's a good chance that when I'm gone, others will come along and do so well that people will say, "Oh, that Roddenberry.  He was never this good."  But I will be pleased with that statement."»

A very similar statement was made by Roddenberry at a convention circa 1990.  As Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens so richly describe the scene:

"Several years later, at a STAR TREK convention in Los Angeles, about a year before his death, Gene Roddenberry spoke to the gathered fans about the future of STAR TREK.  He had seen his creation span generations of viewers, he had heard the fans of both The Original Series and the new debate the pros and cons of both, and though there had been no formal talks of a third series at this time, he spoke of how he perceived STAR TREK's future, after he was gone.

With a charm and sincerity that clearly came from a person who was used to studying human behavior from the perspective of one who looked into the future, Roddenberry said that he expected -- indeed, he hoped -- that in the years to come, new generations of fans would look at the new forms of STAR TREK being produced and say, "This is real STAR TREK.  Those other people back there at the beginning, they didn't do it half as well.""»

By July of 1991, he'd already handed the reins to the next generation.  As he noted to David Gerrold:

"Anyway, this is the way Star Trek is running itself now.  Stories are done solely under the guidance of Michael Piller and Rick Berman.  It is their responsibility now, and I could not possibly step in and violate that arrangement."»

One's opinion about the accuracy of his statements, or the performance by his hand-picked successors Piller and Berman, is irrelevant. The fact remains that Roddenberry saw Star Trek as an entity which would continue after he himself was long gone. Paramount has made sure that part has come true with the final seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation (completed after Roddenberry's death), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (a third series approved of in concept by Gene before his death according to the "Making of" DS9 book, p. 50), Star Trek: Voyager, and Enterprise.

Roddenberry and The Authorization of DS9

Susan Sackett, secretary of Gene Roddenberry since circa 1975, wrote a tell-all book about Roddenberry in which she makes a variety of claims about Roddenberry, many dubious.  One of the claims in the book is that Roddenberry specifically rejected an unspecified spin-off concept during the third season of TNG (1989-90).   That would be a peculiar time for such a notion, given that TNG had only barely found its own footing.   Some argue that this somehow overrides everyone else's statement that Roddenberry approved of the DS9 concept shortly before his death in 1991, during the early part of TNG's fifth season.

Beyond the fact that Roddenberry approved of post-Roddenberry Star Trek in concept during the years before his death in October 1991, the claim is specifically flawed in several aspects.  First, the development process for DS9 began in the summer of 1991 after Brandon Tartikoff asked for a new series which could be billed as being produced by those who made TNG.   When it was decided to make it a spin-off, development began in earnest.   Some details of what we know to be DS9 . . . a station, Bajor, a wormhole, and so on . . . appeared during the summer and fall of 1991, in preparation for the fall 1992 premiere.   There were thus a few months in which to get Roddenberry's approval, and all report that it was given (though reports of just how much of the concept he was given differ).

So, either (a) DS9 wasn't the same concept as that which was pursued during TNG3, or (b) Sackett is mistaken, and Berman and Piller actually had only one spin-off concept that they pursued during TNG, one which got Roddenberry's approval.

The alternative is to presume that someone is lying, and between out-of-work-secretary-who-decides-to-write-a-shock-book-get-a-check author Susan Sackett and talented writer, producer, and working philosopher with jobs lined up all day Michael Piller, I'd trust the latter sooner than the former.

However, some have argued against the idea that post-Roddenberry Trek adventures are canon, on the basis of a comment he is said to have made.  The quote appears in the short form of the authorized biography of Roddenberry, written by David Alexander:

"Gene rewrote virtually every Star Trek script for the first two seasons, often working around the clock, days at a time, to produce scripts that conformed to his view of what Star Trek was and could be. It was not unusual for Gene to be walking out of the studio in the morning as the actors were arriving.

As Gene used to say, "It isn’t Star Trek until I say it’s Star Trek." This ability to synthesize and improve input from others, adding his own special insights and touches, is best illustrated in the famous opening that set the tone for the series."»

There are those who attempt to claim that the "until I say" quote decanonizes much of Trek.  The adventures stricken from the list would include those seasons of TNG created after Roddenberry's death, all seven years of Deep Space Nine, all seven years of Voyager, the series Enterprise, and all of the TOS films he wasn't in firm control of, meaning everything after Star Trek: The Motion Picture.   (Even the most popular Trek film might have to be included, per a report that Yvonne Fern's book on Roddenberry features a quote wherein he states "but it's not Star Trek" regarding Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  (Other quotes differ.))

Those making such a claim are missing important points.  For starters, the context of the quote above places it well within the era of the production of TOS, and in regards to that production (after all, that was the period in time during which he had the authority to make the claim).  Second, his comments from the late 80's interview and early 90's convention make it clear that he did say post-Roddenberry Trek would be Trek.   Third, the fact that he picked successors, and approved the development of a series he must've known he wouldn't be working on (since by that point, it was already rare to see him at Paramount due to his illness, as per comments made by cast and crew), makes it clear that he intended for Trek adventures to continue, and to hopefully get better and better.

(Incidentally, those who argue for the decanonization of post-Roddenberry Trek are not limited to Vs. Debaters, though they use are the ones who attempt it most frequently.  However, in addition we have the aforementioned lunatic fringe of so-called Trek fans who deny all canon and consider everyone else sheep-brained fools for failing to also do so.   They attempt to use the "until I say" quote as some sort of defense of their "fanon", which includes TOS, TMP, and various fandom works such as FASA game materials and a few unauthorized publications.  They reject all other Trek out of hand for failing to subscribe to these materials.  

The irony of their attempted use of a Roddenberry canon quote to bolster their claim against Roddenberry-based canonicity goes right over their heads.)

C.  Current Statements

Paramount's main method of explaining the canon policy was via the official Star Trek website,, a relationship that CBS Paramount Television has maintained.  There are several policy-related comments on the site, beginning with the feature article "Introduction to Star Trek".  In the section on Star Trek: The Animated Series, we find the following:

"Although the Animated Adventures had an undeniable Star Trek-ness to them, they are not considered part of the Star Trek "canon," or accepted Trek storyline. Almost without exception, it is the live-action series and movies that are considered canon. However, some Star Trek "facts" are actually borrowed from the animated show, i.e. the name of the original U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 captain, Robert April; the surname for Spock's mother, Amanda "Grayson"; etc."»

And so, with the live-action series and movies being canon, we're left to ponder the "almost without exception".   The exception issue is discussed in a FAQ entry dating back to circa November 2000 in the answer to the question "What is considered Star Trek "canon"?":

"As a rule of thumb, the events that take place within the live action episodes and movies are canon, or official Star Trek facts. Story lines, characters, events, stardates, etc. that take place within the fictional novels, the Animated Adventures, and the various comic lines are not canon.

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule: the Jeri Taylor penned novels "Mosaic" and "Pathways." Many of the events in these two novels feature background details of the main Star Trek: Voyager characters. (Note: There are a few details from an episode of the Animated Adventures that have entered into the Star Trek canon. The episode "Yesteryear," written by D.C. Fontana, features some biographical background on Spock.)"»

(The same answer is given to the question "How do the Star Trek novels and comic books fit into the Star Trek universe?".   This is an impressive answer in a business sense, given that there have been 75 million Star Trek-related books sold over the years just by Pocket Books since 1979 (i.e. not even counting the original Bantam books, pre-Pocket publications, and unlicensed materials).

Thus, the two Taylor novels are the exceptions proving the rule, along with certain details from "Yesteryear"[TAS] and other Animated Series episodes.

Some would dispute the FAQ answer on the grounds that it is several years old.   However, the page was moved and kept in the redesign of 2003, reflected in the July 2003 date it has on the site.   The page was then updated sometime between June and October of 2004, made more specific via a new opening line of "There are only a couple of exceptions to this rule" (italics mine).  And it remains current on, now rebadged as a CBS Corporation site.

TAS References

Incidentally, Ron Moore said about the Animated Series:  "We don't consider it canon, but it's kinda cool to throw in the odd reference here and there."»

This includes the IKS Klothos from "The Time Trap", mentioned in "Once More Unto the Breach"[DSN7].  It's a D-5 Klingon ship (where D-5s were later shown in Enterprise), rendered as a questionably drawn D-7 . . . but in both cases it was commanded by Kor.   In "Broken Link"[DSN4] we have reference to Edosian orchids . . . the funny orange fellow Lt. Arex from TAS was from Edos.   Vulcan's Forge was mentioned in "Change of Heart"[DSN6] and on Enterprise.  Also, several concepts first shown in TAS were employed in later canon, including but not limited to an additional turbolift on the bridge (as seen in the TMP-era films) and the act of entering the warp nacelles ("The Catwalk"[ENT2] and "Eye of the Beholder"[TNG7]).  The holodeck concept also seems to have emerged in "The Practical Joker"[TAS].  (More information on TAS can be found here.)

Of course, make no mistake . . . since the canonicity of TAS is specifically disavowed by Paramount (reportedly per Roddenberry's old edict), then these events are only canon insofar as they were established in actual canon materials.

D.  Specific Issues

1.  Enterprise Canonicity

It was generally obvious to all that Enterprise was considered canon Trek, being that it was a live-action spin-off just like DS9 or TNG.  However, some have tried to dispute that.  Their primary argument revolved around the fact that it didn't have "Star Trek" in the title like the rest of the spin-off series.  Secondary to that, they maintained that the continuity violations and continuity-bending proved it to be an alternate timeline.   Brannon Braga, then "first officer" of the franchise, disagrees with the alternate timeline view:

"Yes, it is definitely a prequel. It's not an alternate timeline, of course not."»

As for the lack of "Star Trek" in the title . . . well, the third season involved a slight modification to the opening sequence:  


However, one area that remains in dispute is the canonicity of the final episode of Enterprise, "These Are The Voyages".   This aspect of Enterprise canonicity is believed to be a valid concern, and the topic is under official review by ST-v-SW.Net.

2.  Star Trek Variants

There is one continuing mystery regarding the Trek canon.  Though different versions of the Star Wars films exist, there is no question as to which is to be considered as the canon version.   This has, unfortunately, not been the case with Star Trek . . . Paramount has kept quiet about which is the correct version of events.

A.  Film Variants

The most well-known example of a multiple-version Trek film is Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Not only was there the original theatrical release, but there have been various VHS videos featuring different versions (one with an additional 17 minutes worth of movie).  Then, in 2001 a new Director's Edition appeared, which was a near-total retooling of the movie featuring changes to the special effects, dialogue, and editing.  Similarly, Star Trek II has a number of different cuts, including the theatrical release, an ABC-TV version, at least one VHS version, and a new Director's Edition version from 2002 (albeit one which was not so different as the 2001 TMP:DE was from TMP).

At this time, there is no official statement as to which version of the film is to be considered canon, if even only one can be.  However, one would imagine it rather telling that's DVD Section is only selling the Director's Edition of TMP, the Director's Edition of TWoK, and Special Collector's Editions of the others.   It is presumed for the time being, then, that these are considered the canon versions.   However, without an explicit statement, the notion that we should ignore the earlier versions feels wrong.   As such, non-contradictory info from the earlier versions of the films is also accepted where applicable.

Thus, the V'Ger cloud was only 2 AU in diameter and not 82, Peter Preston was indeed Scotty's nephew (implying a sister), and so on.

B.  Episode Variants

On the flip side of the coin, there are different versions of various episodes.  Since the original run of TOS, for instance, television programming has added several minutes per hour for advertisements.  Thus, syndicated TOS episodes are several minutes shorter than their first-run counterparts.   Similarly, TNG-era two-hour episodes were split into two one-hour episodes for syndication, requiring cuts so that the additional credits could be played.

In both cases, the original full-length episode is assumed to take precedence over the chopped version.

As of 2006, a new remastered version of the Original Series is being created.   Enhanced with new digital effects, this high-definition version of the 1960's show will be aired via syndication prior to an eventual high-definition DVD release.  It is not known whether the original or this special edition is to be considered canon.   However, given that the new version is intended to help Star Trek retain its longevity, and that the changes are supposedly going to be minimal (i.e. largely mere duplication of the 1960's effects), it is likely that the new version is to be the official version of TOS from now on.

3.  The Tech Manuals, Et Cetera

Left out of the above Paramount statements are mentions of the Star Trek "non-fiction" . . . technical manuals, blueprints, and so on.   These are discussed elsewhere on . . . after plugging the Sternbach/Okuda tech manuals and blueprints as "excellent reference guides", they say:

"There have been earlier versions of technical manuals, including "Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise" (Shane Johnson) and the "Star Trek Starfleet Technical Manual" (Franz Joseph), but these books, although fun to read, were not written by production personnel and are not considered 'canon.'"»

Several things make it tempting to conclude from the above that the production staffer Technical Manuals are canon.  After all, they are contrasted with non-canon works, works which are implied to be non-canon because they weren't written by production personnel (though elements of Franz Joseph's work did show up in the films and are thus canon, and were even displayed at the Smithsonian alongside the TOS Enterprise filming model).   Further -- unlike the novels, TAS, and comics -- they are not expressly stated as being non-canon.  

However, drawing the conclusion of canonicity from those ideas is a logically invalid presumption.  You see, we have the suggestion that what is not written by production personnel is not canon as a result.  This can be represented as a logical statement . . . "If not-Production then not-Canon".   So, what if it IS production personnel?  Does that mean it's not not-Canon?   Alas, no . . . that would be denying the antecedent, a logical fallacy (more on that here).   However, it's worth noting that this is often what an author precisely intends the reader to think.   We can, however, accept the contrapositive of the statement . . . if a work is canon, then it is written by production personnel.  That takes us no further toward the idea that the Tech Manuals might count, however, since logic isn't a maze.   You'll always end up in the same place.   

Thus, a strict adherence to reason requires us to accept that, since they are not specifically listed as exceptions to the rule, they must also fall victim to it.


Note that the strictly-canon viewpoint requires that certain concepts be left by the wayside, such as various starship class-names never spoken or seen printed on-screen.  However, for ease of identification, I would accept the class-names as given via official publications or backstage use, like "New Orleans" or "Akira".  Note as well that no arguments are to be based on that sort of thing . . . if a ship were labelled behind the scenes as the "Whoop-Ass Class", for instance, it would not follow that the ships of that class were warships.

However, the authors of the TNG Tech Manual referred to the work as "pretty official", and Roddenberry's introduction to it seemed supportive of the notion that it explained the background of the show.   Furthermore, reports of statements made by people like Richard Arnold seem to suggest that as of the writing of the Tech Manuals, they were considered canon.   Unfortunately, we find no confirmation of this in the official Paramount statements.   Thus, strict interpretation must leave it by the wayside, and this interpretation is supported by numerous other sources.  Ron D. Moore (former TNG scribe and later the Co-Executive Producer of DS9) stated several times in various 1998 chat sessions and message board postings that none of the books were canon:

"None of the books should be considered canon."»

"We consider only the filmed episodes (and movies) to be canon for our purposes. We do use things like the Encylopedia, the Chronology, the Technical Manual etc. for reference, but unless it was explicitly mentioned on screen, we won't feel bound by anything stated even in those books."»

"You have to remember that things like CD-ROMs and the various "official" manuals put out by Paramount are not done in conjunction with the writing/producing staffs and that the authors are usually simply extrapolating information based on what's actually been seen on screen."»

An alternative viewpoint was presented in early 2005 by Harry Lang, Senior Director at Viacom Consumer Products in the Interactive division.  Lang, working at the time with the creators of the Star Trek Online game, stated that the technical manuals and Star Trek Encyclopedia were canon on the grounds that they were (a) written by Trek production staff and (b) reporting on the contents of the canon (though, in the case of the technical manuals, the tech manual set "expands a little").

This viewpoint might've served as a clarification of the FAQ if we'd had no other information.  However, thanks to the statements by Ron D. Moore, it is clear that Mr. Lang had simply made the logical leaps which the FAQ seems to point toward.  Moore, as an executive producer for the show, takes precedence.


Speaking of the books, the Star Trek Chronology lists various dates for events throughout the saga, such as an Enterprise NCC-1701 commission date of 2245.  As far as the shows and movies go there is nothing in support of this particular date, though it should be noted that most other important Chronology dates work out extremely well (in part because the writers of later-canon used the Chronology for date-fixing purposes).  This means, then, that the first time we see the Enterprise in "The Cage" would be 2254ish (judging by Spock's comments from "The Menagerie").

However, Gene Roddenberry did express that he wanted the Enterprise to be a ship with "some history", and evidently suggested that the Chronology authors include Captain Robert April to fill in some extra pre-Captain Pike time. lists that among canon fact.  This pushes the Enterprise history back to 2245 (and fits in rather nicely with certain other details).   Last but not least, the detail was to be included on a monitor in "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" by ENT producer Mike Sussman, proving that the concept is still current among the production staff.

CanonWars happily defers to the creator, owners, and producers of Star Trek on that point.

4.  Regarding the ST:TMP Novelization

Some have been trying to insist that the TMP novelization should be considered canon. To be fair, they make a strong argument . . . after all, Roddenberry wrote the thing, and Jeri Taylor's Voyager novels have been canonized by Paramount.   However, the concept is flawed for multiple reasons.

1.  The underlying theory of the claim above is that production staffer authorship makes for novel canonicity.  However, that underlying concept is not reflected in the Paramount statements.  Jeri Taylor's novels were canonized according to Paramount, but other novels written by production staff were not, including (but not limited to):


The Ashes of Eden,
The Return,
Dark Victory, etc.
William Shatner
(with Judith Reeves-Stevens & Garfield Reeves-Stevens)
Shatner, besides playing Kirk, also has story and directing credit on Star Trek V.
The Tears of the Singers
TOS #19
Melinda Snodgrass Snodgrass was a staff writer on TNG, with writer credit on five episodes of the second and third season.
Vulcan's Glory
TOS #44 
D.C. Fontana Fontana is a Trek legend who has been all over Trek like white on rice.  She's worked on TOS, TAS, and TNG.
The Fearful Summons
TOS #74 
Denny Martin Flynn One of the writers of the screenplay for Star Trek VI.
Encounter at Farpoint David Gerrold Gerrold wrote for TOS and TAS, and is best remembered for the tribbles.
Unification Jeri Taylor Yes, this is the same Jeri Taylor.
Legends of the Ferengi Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe Behr took over DS9 after Piller's departure as Executive Producer, and Wolfe was a staff writer.
A Stitch in Time
DS9 #27 
Andrew J. Robinson Garak.

Note that one could also include the works of Diane Duane, one of the two credited writers of "Where No One Has Gone Before"[TNG1].  I don't even know how many Star Trek books she's written, but it's a large number.  Similarly, with Enterprise's fourth season Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens joined the writing staff.  The two have written approximately one zillion Trek novels, none of which are considered canon.

Obviously, mere production staffer authorship is not Paramount's criteria for canonizing novels, just as it is not their criteria for canonizing technical manuals (since, of course, they don't).  

Judging by the paragraph in which Taylor's novels are canonized, the works for which exceptions are made must include important biographical details of major characters.  That would explain why "Yesteryear" gets special recognition  whereas "Bem" does not . . . the former is a huge biography episode, whereas the latter is important only for one word, "Tiberius", used again in Star Trek VI.   However, even if the supposition regarding biography is correct, that does not imply that we can assume canonicity for other heavily-biographical works.  Only Paramount gets to dictate the canon.

2.  Further, there is no indication at all that Roddenberry considered his written work canon.  Roddenberry had every opportunity to include the concepts from that book in the later Star Trek canon. To be sure, he was somewhat out of the loop in reference to the TOS films (starting with TWoK), but TNG was his baby.  If he'd wanted telepathic "new humans", the "Mind Control Wars" of the 21st Century, Starfleet mental transceivers, Earth's population largely underground, the downgrading of Kirk's heroics, and so on . . . he could've quite easily put them in TNG. He never did.  Couple that with the Paramount policy which excludes the TMP novel, and it looks like the TMP novel just isn't canon.

(This is probably a good thing, by the way, since it is possible to derive positively absurd values for Constitution Class reactor power from the novel of TMP, as noted by reader "Tulkas".)

Further, there is a pretty official quote to the effect that Roddenberry considered his own novel non-canon.  In a 1991 interview, Trek archivist Richard Arnold said:

"The novelization that Gene wrote himself, of Star Trek: the Motion Picture, he does not consider canon either, because he also went off on tangents [...]  he certainly had some fun with it himself, filling in parts of the puzzle [...] but he doesn't want even that used for canon, because otherwise, where do you draw the line? Which books are accepted and which aren't?"»

As such, we have it on good authority that the TMP novelization is to be ignored.

5.  Ron D. Moore on the Jeri Taylor Novels

"None of the books should be considered canon"», said Ron D. Moore.  While Moore seems to confirm the modern FAQ's take on the matter of the Tech Manuals and similar works, he also seems to contradict the Paramount statements about the Jeri Taylor novels which are considered canon.

However, this presents little problem.  There wouldn't have been much need for the staff of DS9 to pay close attention to the in-house Voyager background materials, especially given that the two writing camps were known to be quite separated.    Unlike those of TNG and DS9, there was little contact between DS9 and VOY.   Indeed, Ron D. Moore was astonished, to say the least, by the differences in the environment when he moved over to Voyager after the end of DS9's run, and he quickly departed the production (1, 2).  Further, since Jeri Taylor canonized those novels, then her position as Executive Producer on Voyager allows for the pulling of rank, especially regarding Voyager-specific materials.

6.  Hard Canon vs. Soft Canon

We have one statement which suggests that there may be some layering of canon in Trek, albeit not so distinct as the well-known Star Wars variety.  During the final season of Enterprise, Mike Sussman hastily slapped together some biographical text for a screen that was to appear in an episode.  Not expecting it to be legible when broadcast, Sussman did not clear the text with the rest of the writing and production staff.   Fans quickly grabbed HDTV screencaps and read the text, which to Sussman's horror was shown at nearly full-screen, and he noted that the freeze-frame crowd would definitely be able to read it.  But, Sussman later said that this information ought not be considered "hard canon".

To be sure, this was not a new concept overall.  Freeze-framing TNG episodes could oftentimes result in people seeing things that weren't supposed to be "real" in Trek.  There are numerous cases where a close-up on some monitor full of text or background item might show some joke by the post-production team.  As examples, the dedication plaque of most starships from the Excelsior on up refers to Admiral Gene Roddenberry and other production staff members.  A screen from "Galaxy's Child"[TNG4] shows that among the list of engineering computer files is a heading "Tonight on HBO".  A DS9 screen showing ships that have visited the station mentioned the C-57-D, commanded by JJ Adams (presumably resupplying after having visited the Forbidden Planet).  A screen from "Redemption, Pt. II"[TNG5] shows Data performing vital research in the "Journal of the Institute For Unauthorized Experiments" (which presumably was the operating authority for the Darwin Genetic Research Station from "Unnatural Selection[TNG2]).  These and other examples would amuse the freeze-frame crowd that Sussman acknowledges, but such people would generally ignore these jokes, and put a lesser level of importance on freeze-frame screens anyway in the event of contradiction.

Sussman basically confirms this idea, but at the same time gives us reasons to do so . . . the lack of oversight by the executive producers, producers, and writers, and the intended lack of (or near-lack of) legibility on-screen. 

On that first reason, however, hangs a great deal.  One enduring question in Vs. Debates is whether the dialog or the visuals take precedence in the case of conflict.  The rule of thumb in the Vs. Debate is to take the visuals.   However, this is not necessarily the view of the keepers of the Star Trek canon.  Ron Moore, for instance, was surprised to hear that the Defiant had landing gear on the Master Systems Display in Engineering.  On the other hand, when later asked if the Defiant would ever land on screen he simply said it was a pricey effect and probably wouldn't be done . . . not that the ship didn't have them.  

And, of course, there's the tale of the end of "A Call To Arms"[DSN5].   The writers and producers intended for the DS9 regulars, who'd just had to abandon the station, to simply be shown joining up with the fleet in the Defiant.   The visual effects department, however, showed the Federation fleet heading straight back toward DS9 with the Defiant leading the way, looking for all the world like the whole fleet was about to go beat the hell out of the Dominion most immediately.   Hence the hasty rewrite of the opening of the sixth season, wherein we see a shattered Federation fleet limping back to Federation space.

In short, the dialog vs. visuals idea is still a bit hairy either way. 

IV.  Conclusion

Thus, we find that the Star Trek canon is made up entirely of the materials from each of the live-action television series (TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT) and the ten films, along with the two Voyager background novels of Jeri Taylor.  The new high-definition TOS (the Enhanced Original Series, or EOS)

V.  Addenda 

The research above is based on a great deal of material, arguments, and so on.   Some of that appears below.

A.  Quote Resources

In the end, understanding the canon policy comes down to seeing the canon policy quotes, defined for our purposes as definitions of the canon and interrelationships with other levels.  Here are some links to further information on every quote known to exist.

1.  Quote Listings and References

You can find all known canon-related quotes below, including full references and links to the origin of each quote where available.  

B.  Objections

1.  The Jeri Taylor Novels and Canon Policy Statements

According to hearsay from certain Vs. Debaters, a fellow named John Ordover denied the canonicity of any book.  John Ordover was the Senior Editor over at Simon & Schuster for their licensed Star Trek fiction novels published under the Pocket Books imprint.  ("Non-fiction" such as the Technical Manuals was handled by Margaret Clark, Senior Editor of Star Trek "Trade" books.)   This hearsay was seemingly confirmed in November 2005 when Marco Palmieri (replacement for the departed Ordover) and various Trek novel authors stated that without exception, no books are canon.

This is naturally of some import given two of the novels of Jeri Taylor which she canonized, and whose canonicity is confirmed on   Indeed, Marco Palmieri's statement directly contradicts the statement which explicitly states that those two of Taylor's multiple novels were exceptions.

Incidentally, regarding Ordover, Vs. Debaters claimed that John Ordover of Simon & Schuster should be considered a higher authority on Paramount's canon policy than Paramount's because, in addition to working for Pocket Books, he received writing credit for an episode of DS9 ("Starship Down"[DSN4])  and got story credit for another episode ("It's Only a Paper Moon"[DSN7]).  Both of those facts, it is claimed, require an intimate knowledge of the canon policy of Trek as determined by its makers and owners.

However, not only do those who are making the claim get the facts wrong, but the underlying argument makes little sense.

First, these Vs. Debaters have manufactured data regarding Ordover, apparently trying to bolster the standing of his words.   Mike Wong, on his StarDestroyer.Net canon page, lists Ordover as "senior editor" of the non-existent "Paramount Novels", and he's maintained this claim since September 2003 despite having been corrected on it.   In reality, Ordover is just a guy working for a licensee.

(It's interesting to note, though, that this same fellow who supposedly knows the canon policy so intimately (one wherein the books don't count) would trouble himself to check and see if there were any plans to use Commander Shelby from "Best of Both Worlds"[TNG], and reportedly ask the producers of DS9 not to contradict what he and his fellow licensees were doing with Shelby in the novels.   Unfortunately the DS9 people forgot once, leading to some apologies.  But why would it matter?   Of course, judging by Richard Arnold's comments, they'd have never gotten away with even asking in the Roddenberry era.)

Second, in 1997 John Ordover implicitly confirmed the canonicity of Mosaic in publicly available forums:

"Do you know if any other ST novels will be accepted as 'canon' (like Mosaic)?

JohnOrdover: Not at this time."»

(The follow-on Jeri Taylor book Pathways was not published until the following year.)  This contrasts greatly with what he is claimed to have said via e-mails to pro-Wars debaters in 2000.

Third, the stories he pitched and got the writing credit for were quite different than the aired episodes, as often happened.   Credits, after all, do not always imply what they seem to imply.   As related in the DS9 Companion, the story Ordover and Mack pitched for "Starship Down" (and received writing credit for) was of the damaged Defiant sinking in an alien sea, with Odo sinking down after them to rescue the crew before the water crushed the ship.  Of course, the real "Starship Down" involved a battle in the depths of a gas giant.   The core story of the crew trapped in small groups is what remained, though those events were also modified.    As for "...Paper Moon" which Ordover pitched, Ordover's version (based loosely on Casablanca) was a multi-thread tale to be set entirely in Quark's Bar, the only establishment open during a Bajoran holiday . . . hardly the same as the tale of a shell-shocked Nog recovering from emotional wounds by immersing himself in the Vic Fontaine holoprogram.  Weird differences like this are just the way that TV credits work, a fact about which anti-Trek debaters are unaware.

Finally, there was no "You Must Know the Canon Policy!" pre-requisite for pitching a story.  Obviously, Ordover couldn't have pitched a sequel to one of the novels he had edited (for legal reasons if nothing else), but beyond that it was as much "open season" for him as it would've been for anyone.  And that's anyone, literally.  In March 1994, according to the Writer's Guild of America Journal, DS9 and TNG were the only two series which accepted pitches from writers without agents . . . Michael Piller had started that during TNG's third season.  Some of the best stories of both series resulted from such pitches, with the natural "tweaking" by the production staff.  The trick was simply pitching something that the producers would actually like and buy.   (It's actually a rather sad thing that such pitching was later disallowed, since even the best writing team only has a finite number of ideas.  George Lucas, one of the most successful filmmakers of the century, ran out of "superweapon" ideas after only one movie.)

In short, the inherent problem behind the use of Ordover is one which is common to Vs. Debaters.   The identity of the person is ignored in favor of what they say (or can be said to have said).   Thus, matters of rank utterly escape attention, enabling any passing Joe to have a say.   That's just not how it works.  As Tim Gaskill of reportedly put it, "John Ordover doesn't work on the show and isn't employed by Paramount directly. He is employed by Pocket Books, one of Paramount's biggest licensees. Sure, John has some say, but the buck does not stop with him."

In order to distinguish truth from fiction regarding the Jeri Taylor novels, we need to consider the rank issues a bit further.   Obviously for our purposes Ordover (and now Palmieri) are about as high as you can go insofar as Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books is concerned.   Further up the chain (and crossing the company line boundary) would be Paula Block, the Senior Director of Licensed Publishing for Viacom Consumer Products, the Viacom company which handled Paramount's licensing before 2005, and now presumably working for CBS Consumer Products, a unit of CBS Enterprises.

(Given that we're talking about a publishing department in a licensing company, Paula Block is thus Sue Rostoni with a touch of Lucy Wilson, if we were going to compare to the Star Wars setup.   The connection from Paula Block to the Star Trek production offices is unclear, though she does recount past episodes of consultation with Gene Roddenberry and office staff under Rick Berman.  However, Block has also made it clear that changes in the directives given to licensees originated within VCP at times.  As such, directives of VCP origin cannot be said to be identical to the opinions within the Star Trek production offices, just as is the case in the Star Wars setup.)

For a time it wasn't known what Viacom Consumer Products itself had to say on the matter . . . all I'd found online is a quote by Block which agreed that TAS isn't canon since Roddenberry said so, but of course Roddenberry wouldn't have had anything to say about books published years after his death.   Harry Lang of the VCP Interactive division did state that the Taylor novels were canon, though I would assume he's below Block in importance in this context.

Then in December 2005 the matter was resolved.   Yours truly asked the following on TrekBBS:

"According to Jon Ordover and Marco Palmieri, none of the Star Trek books are canon. However, non-Pocket resources still list two of Jeri Taylor's several novels (Mosaic and Pathways) as being canon, and Jeri Taylor and Jon Ordover in older interviews confirmed that she intended them to be canon.

Assuming for the moment that they aren't held as canon by Paramount or VCP now, how would such a change come about? I see a few possibilities:

A. Viacom Consumer Products received a directive from Paramount Communications or Berman or what-have-you which explicitly decanonized the materials.
B. Viacom Consumer Products received a directive from Paramount Communications or Berman or what-have-you that did not specifically include the novels as canon.
C. At Viacom Consumer Products, the books were considered to have been decanonized after Taylor's departure.
D. At Viacom Consumer Products, the books were considered to have been decanonized after certain events in Voyager seemed to contradict the novels.

Paula Block basically picked a mix of options C and D:

"While Jeri Taylor was actively involved with Star Trek, we allowed the licensees to treat her two books as quasi-canon for their projects (because the folks at Voyager weren't likely to contradict them in their episodes). And that worked pretty well for a while. After she left Voyager, however, the other writers on the show pretty much did what they wanted (I doubt they ever read her books), so the books eventually stopped being even quasi-canon."

"The only reason Jeri Taylor's books were considered quasi-canon for a while was because licensees really wanted some sort of background structure they could utilize for the Voyager characters (they find it hard to accept statements like "Well, they haven't established that on the show yet..."). So we (by this I mean VCP and folks in Rick Berman's office, whom I consulted with) let them consider Jeri's stuff quasi-canon."»

In other words, according to Paula Block the canonicity of Jeri Taylor's two Voyager novels was merely a quasi-canonicity based solely on the need for licensees to have further information on the Voyager characters, a quasi-canonicity confirmed and authorized by unknown people in Rick Berman's office.   This suggests that Block seemed to be unaware of Taylor's explicit canonizing of her own works.   Further, it would probably imply that Berman's people were at least broadly aware of the Taylor's acts of canonization, though somehow the full measure of the information didn't get passed on.

In short, confusing as it might seem, the books were canon and "quasi-canon" simultaneously, depending on where you directed the question . . . Exec Producer Taylor canonized them herself, while at the same time VCP (under pressure from licensees and with permission from Berman's office) considered them quasi-canon for licensees.   Thus there was a 'top-down' canonicity directed from the highest levels of production, and a 'bottom-up' "quasi-canonicity" that appeared under pressure from Trek book creators.  Somehow VCP was unaware or unconcerned with the top-down declaration of canonicity, though of course Ordover seemed to be aware of it at some point.

Next, and perhaps most importantly, Block makes it clear that the decanonization (or 'de-quasi-canonization') was a decision made solely at the discretion of Block and VCP.   That is to say, the works had been officially considered quasi-canon by VCP with this having been confirmed by Berman's people.  But then some time later Block and VCP . . . under the perception that Taylor's works were being ignored by Voyager writing staff . . . chose in-house to stop considering the works to have any canonicity at all.

In other words, all Pocket Books and VCP statements rejecting the canonicity of Jeri Taylor's Voyager novels are based on the fact that the work is no longer considered quasi-canon by Pocket Books and VCP.   This means that of the two canonizations (Taylor's and VCP's), only the quasi-canonicity has ever been rescinded.   There is no evidence of the Taylor canonicity being removed by Berman or Voyager executive production staff post-Taylor, and indeed the statements (current to 2006) on the official web presence for Trek ( confirm that the works are still considered canon.

Of course some have sought to challenge as well . . . 

2. and Paramount Digital Entertainment

It was also claimed by some that Richard Arnold denounced as a mere licensee, a licensing tie-in product no different than a licensed magazine or a Pocket Books publication.   This would have the result of making canon policy statements from of no more consequence than statements made by the makers of Star Trek trading cards, Pocket Books personnel, and other such parties.

Truth be told, this concept never even really occurred to me.   Just as is run by Lucas Online, is run by Paramount Digital Entertainment.   I simply always assumed that these "maintained by" groups simply referred to the basements where the geeks with HTML skills were kept.   This is supported by the fact that even the main company websites like and were run by Lucas Online and Paramount Digital Entertainment, respectively.   (Further, Pocket Books info on the internet is on the website of Simon & Schuster at, maintained by Simon & Schuster Online, though, and not Simon & Schuster itself.)

To be sure, PDE were the guys who maintained, but there was no evidence to suggest that there was a licensing agreement in place.  The site itself read "This site and its contents TM & © 2005 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved."   This is different than we saw with, say, Star Trek: The Magazine, a licensed publication.  On the June 1999 edition I happen to own it simply says "Officially authorized by Paramount Pictures" and, inside, "STAR TREK and All Related Elements ™, ® & © 1999 Paramount Pictures.  All Rights Reserved."  In legalese, there's no apparent claim by Paramount Pictures as to the contents of Star Trek: The Magazine beyond their trademarks and copyrighted material . . . whereas with, they're claiming the whole thing as their own.   In short, the legalese ran contrary to the idea.

It's also worth noting that in December 2005 Paula Block confirmed my reasoning, stating "PDE is not a licensee. They're a division of Paramount."»  She also noted that Tim Gaskill was a "Star Trek expert" who used to work for her at VCP, implying that he would be in a unique position to be aware of both the Paramount and the old VCP position on canon.

Further, after the Viacom split, the site was taken over by CBS Corp. and CBS Paramount Television.  The Privacy Policy page now contains the following:  "As of January 1, 2006, this Web site ("Web Site") is owned and operated by CBS Paramount Television, a division of CBS Studios, Inc.".   As such, even if the PDE claim had been correct once (which it wasn't), the claim would be incorrect now.  CBS Paramount Television, keepers of the canon, are the guys running the show at via division CBS Digital Media.