Is “Star Trek V” Really Canon?

William Shatner starred and directed ‘Star Trek V’

Paramount William Shatner starred and directed ‘Star Trek V’

Fans of science fiction and of “Star Trek” have a lot of choices today. While Paramount+ continues to crank out new Trek, which will fulfill the wish of former CBS boss Les Moonves. His plan was to make their streaming service the spot to display the “family jewels” and drive viewership.

Amazon has “The Expanse,” and Netflix just unveiled their new — and final season of “Lost In Space.” Disney+ has big plans for continuing “Star Wars” stories in the future; many of their Marvel titles have a sci-fi edge to them as well. The upcoming “Iron Wars” series comes to mind first. 

Those television viewers who are lucky enough to have Apple TV+ have been able to watch something new and exciting unfold. The new series “Foundation” is now airing (or streaming) on the network and is based on the series of space opera novels by Isaac Asimov. These stories were thought to be “unfilmable” are now available to stream every Friday. 


‘The Foundation’ Is Not Like the Books


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Even though showrunner David Goyer gives fans a spectacular vision for what “Foundation” looks like as a series, many say that the “unfilmable” story still hasn’t been filmed. Gizmodo’s Rob Bricken writes that “all the generic sci-fi action is directly counter to what made the ‘Foundation’ series so beloved.”

Even though “Foundation” has been renewed for a second season by Apple TV+, many fans are lamenting the fact that it “bears very little resemblance to the source material.” Fans of “The Hobbit” books said the same thing of the trilogy of films created by Peter Jackson. 

These arguments are a little odd for Trek fans, as the opposite is true for their franchise. Instead of taking their direction from a novel or comic book, what is on screen is canon. “Star Trek” television series is the official canon. What happened on the shows is considered what ‘actually happened in the “Star Trek Universe.”


Shooting the ‘Star Trek’ Canon


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According to Ex Astris Scientia, a very reputable Trek fan site, “canon” is meant to represent “official Star Trek facts.” They cite a few quotes from StarTrek.com from 2006, stating that all Trek movies, TV shows, one episode of “The Animated Series,” and two novels written by Jeri Taylor were the “official canon.” 

Ex Astris also shared that these definitions from CBS / Paramount changed as the years passed. So the writers of Ex Astris gave extensive detailed reasons for what they considered canon and non-canon Trek stories. 

This is an issue today as “Star Trek: Lower Decks” is said to be officially canon, and they reference many characters and situations from “The Animated Series,” which was not considered canon (until 2007). Even the upcoming children’s show “Star Trek: Prodigy” is supposed to be official canon

Fans trying to keep track of all this might find it confusing, and that’s easy to understand. Even the Creator himself went back and forth on what was “officially canon” and not.

According to Screen Rant, Roddenberry decided that “The Animated Series” should not be canon after “The Next Generation” started to air in 1988. Writer Dusty Stowe said that Roddenberry “was in the middle of losing most of his power over the franchise he built.” Stowe added that this change was probably just a “power move than anything creatively motivated.”

“The Animated Series” was put back in the good graces of canon-dom in 2007, according to StarTrek.com. But there was an even bigger whale that Roddenberry wanted to skewer.


Roddenberry Hated ‘Star Trek V’


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It’s no secret that “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” was a commercial and critical flop, but what not be as well known is that Roddenberry disliked the film. As many have suggested — including writer Joey Paur — Roddenberry might have hated “Star Trek V” because it was very similar to his story “The God Thing,” which eventually was published as a book.

According to Mark A. Altman and Ed Gross’ “The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek,” reports that Roddenberry “vociferously denounced [the film] throughout its production.”

Screen Rant’s Stowe wrote that Roddenberry thought “Star Trek V” was “essentially so embarrassingly bad it should be struck from canon.”

William Shatner, who both starred and directed “Star Trek V” has maintained for years that if the budget had been there for him, the film would have been much better. That was one of the many compromises on the film which he now regrets.

Thanks to Altman and Gross’ reporting, fans know exactly what the Creator thought of “Star Trek V”:

“I would not have done it that way,” Roddenberry said. “I suggested the idea that saved it in a small way — let what they find to be a powerful alien who thought it was God. Originally, the alien was God, a very bad idea. No one person made it terrible, and no one wanted it to be terrible.”


Star Trek V is Canon


Star Trek V The Final Frontier – Opening Scene With Kirk & Spock & McCoyThe Opening scene in which we see Captain Kirk attempting to climb El Capitan, Spock distracts him and he takes a fall McCoy is not amused. All credit goes to Paramount Pictures.2016-08-04T19:00:06Z

Even the fans, writers, and even Gene Roddenberry didn’t care for “Star Trek V,” it is still officially canon. While Spock’s half-brother, Sybok, has not appeared in any films or shows since he could pop up. Ex Astris concedes that “it is very unlikely that the movie will ever be officially removed from the canon.”

As one fan correctly surmised: “They still sell it, so it’s about as canon as anything else in Trek.”

READ NEXT: What Exactly Was ‘Armus’ From ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation?’


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