Examples of canon violations

I’d heard this criticism before I saw the movie (it was my in-flight movie, or I’d never have seen it at all), but it’s not quite correct. At the climax of the film, it’s briefly explained that the computer-chip controlled brains of the real women are placed in robot bodies.

This doesn’t make a lot of sense and it seems a pretty obvious case of two versions of a script being slapped together, but it’s not an outright contradiction.

All I know is, as a second-grader at the time, it confused the heck out of me when Sondra showed up. When even young children pick up on the error, it’s pretty bad.

I watched a rerun of the Mary Tyler Moore Show where Rhoda has to deal with her younger, cuter, perfect sister “Debbie” getting married before she does. However, when Rhoda gets her own show, Debbie is not mentioned and nowhere to be found–instead, she’s been replaced by Brenda, who is not married or “perfect” at all.

As an aside although I enjoyed it otherwise the first book was ruined for me by a plot-point. One of the characters daughter is aging backwards, when we first meet them she’s a babe in arms. Its repeatedly stated that if he doesn’t find a solution that she will ‘disappear’ when she reaches the age she was born, ie: vanish into nothingness as she gets smaller and less developed. Now I don’t know about the author but I believe babies don’t magically pop into existence the instant they’re born. Perhaps he meant the day of her conception, but thats not how the story is written or described.

Another science fiction author also made a similar odd mistake/use of words. In his latest book Iain M. Banks described one of the characters being born prematurely, firstly her mother is described as being ‘heavily pregnant’ and then that she was almost too small to see when she was born. Again even allowing for hyperbole those two statements are mutually contradictory.

And, of course, Brenda grew up to be Marge Simpson.

Is cannon simply a word for continuity errror?

“Canon” is the word for the official continuity.

I think some of the items listed in this thread are simple continuity errors (someone said something in episode 5 of season 1 that was contradicted by what someone else said in episode 2 of season 9). A canon violation would be a significant contradiction of a central, well-established “fact” about the characters or settings (as if three years into the series Ricky Ricardo starts talking about his childhood in Puerto Rico, or Scotty is shown shoveling coal into the burners of the Enterprise).

Is her mother still alive and capable of handling a pregnancy? If the daughter can’t age backwards into an in-utero environment she probably would die. Okay, not exactly from the moment of birth, but certainly the odds are going to be against her for every moment she’s aging backwards from that point on, and eventually - without a uterus or appropriate substitute - she’s going to regress to ‘non-viable’.

I haven’t read the book, obviously, but it sounds interesting.

I see so canon is a major plot, like when Lucy Carmichael calls her son Jimmy instead of Jerry that is a continuity error.

Does Doris Day qualify, seems like every year they changed the format. I don’t know if that’s a canon error or a format change. Jack Benny was like that too, it was almost like each show was written into itself and they started over anew.

I’m not familiar with either The Doris Day Show or The Jack Benny Show other than having seen a few episodes of each, but I would say that a wholesale format change would not be a canon error, it would be a change of canon.

The use of the word canon to describe acknowledged works of fiction is somewhat problematic. In an older and more formal sense, canon refers to religious works held to be authoritative as scripture within a given community. Thus, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, and mainstream Protestantism have different but overlapping canon, which have been reinforced by centuries of ecclesiastical authority.

With fiction, it gets a little messier. Sometimes it’s easy, as with Sherlock Holmes: anything written by Arthur Conan Doyle is canon; anything not, isn’t. But with a corporate or collaboritive work, things get messy. In the Star Wars universe, the movies are considered canon. Works in the “Extended Universe” (e.g., novels) are considered canon unless they are later contradicted by the movies. (Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, one of the most popular SW novels, is an example of something that has been de-canonized.) In Star Trek, films and various live-action TV series are canon, books are not, and a single episode of the animated series is. With Tolkien’s Middle-earth, some people would include anything fished out of the professor’s wastebasket for posthumous publication to be canon, while sensible people such as myself recognize only The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, with LOTR taking precedence in any case in which they contradict each other.

Which brings up one of my favorite examples of a ret-con. When Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, Gollum was a strange creature of undetermined origin who happened to own a ring of invisibility. In The Lord of the Rings, he became a Hobbit (or Hobbit-like creature) who was completely ensnared and twisted by an artifact of ancient evil. Realizing that the depiction of Gollum and his relation to the ring in the first book was incompatible with his conception of Smeagol and the Ring in the sequel, Tolkien came up with a brilliantly simple explanation.

Bilbo lied.

The Hobbit, you see, was taken from Bilbo’s own account of his adventures, before anyone knew of their true significance. So he did a little whitewashing. The Lord of the Rings, however, drew on later texts that were written after Bilbo had revealed the truth, which is related in the prologue.

For subsequent editions of The Hobbit, Tolkien rewrote encounter with Gollum and the ring to more closely mesh with LOTR.

Agreed, thats how it should have been written but (unless I’m remembering incorrectly) the author described her as getting smaller and smaller and vanishing into nothingness as she approached her date of birth, not becoming nonviable as she passed her date of birth and was outside the womb but still existant.

In the book she’s being carried around by her father, can’t remember where her mother was.

As I said I enjoyed the book otherwise but this plot point repeatedly destroyed my suspension of disbelief.

JACK BENNY was a comedy/variety show, it wasn’t intended to have any consistency in terms of what his house looked like, or who his dentist was (different actors whenever they needed a character) or what the vault looked like. But that’s pretty minor stuff. Asking for consistency in that is like asking for consistency in SNL skits; there’s no reason.

There was always continuity/consistency in terms of Jack’s on-screen personality (stingy, poor violinist, cheapskate, etc.) and the characters around him – Don Wilson as announcer, Mary as girlfriend, Dennis Day as singer. They always had consistent on-line personalities. A canon-violation would have been (say)an episode where Jack walks down the street handing out money, or where Dennis Day was a college professor; and that would never happen (not without some joke explanation.)

Recurring jokes (being 39 years old, driving a Maxwell, Mel Blanc’s wonderful “Si, Cy” routine, etc.) don’t count as “canon,” I don’t think.

Odd to not consider the Silmarillion canon. Tolkien spent most of his life working on it.

The Hobbit was not even in the same World as Silmarillion it only borrowed from it and had no set time period. It was not until the LotR that the Hobbit got anchored in time and place.

The original version of Bilbo getting the ring was suspect anyway. I have read it and I think Tolkien thinking about it is possibly what got him thinking that the Ring was more than just a Ring of Invisibility.

Tolkien did pull off his retcon very well.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea takes place after the U.S. Civil War. Professor Arronax first encounters Captain Nemo after falling overboard from the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln.

In the sequel, The Mysterious Island, the heroes escape from a Confederate P.O.W. camp. When they meet Captain Nemo, they mention having read Professor Arronax’s memoir of his adventures 15 years before.

The word “canon” has a number of different meanings, but I think it was used rather loosely in the OP. The OP seems to have just meant “major continuity errors and plot holes”.

Originally, the word “canon” applied to the texts that appear in the Bible. The Gospel of Luke is canon, but the Gospel of Thomas is not. The term later came to be used in literature (and eventually film) to mean something close to “the classics”, the great works that everyone is/should be familiar with and that other works will be judged against. Things like Hamlet, Faust, Don Quixote, The Odyssey, etc.

Almost anytime “canon” comes up on the Internet though, it’s in the sense of “what counts as ‘real’ within a particular fictional universe?” This may actually be closer to the original religious sense of the word. If there were a Bible of say Star Trek, what texts would be included? The various TV series and movies obviously, but do the novels count? Comic books? Video games? If one of the novels says that Captain Kirk’s favorite color is blue, is that “official” or should it carry no more weight than if some fan speculated about what his favorite color might be? (You wouldn’t believe the kinds of heated arguments people can have over things this trivial.)

It’s an established part of the Indiana Jones canon that Indy is afraid of snakes. It’s been mentioned multiple times in the movies, and the third one even reveals the origin of this phobia. This is a “fact” within the world of the story. If someone wrote an Indiana Jones novel in which Indy owned a pet grass snake named Buster, that could be called a canon violation. Even if some explanation for this was given (say Indy went to therapy to overcome his fear) then it would be contradicting the official storyline of the movies. Unless Lucas/Spielberg stated that the novels counted as “real” for the purposes of the extended Indiana Jones story, one wouldn’t expect Buster to show up in the next movie.

If the recent Indiana Jones movie had shown Indy with a new pet snake and didn’t explain why he wasn’t scared of them anymore, this would be a plot hole. The Indiana Jones movies are the canon of the Indiana Jones universe, so the problem wouldn’t be that the change wasn’t “official” but rather that it didn’t make any sense. If the movie included a scene where Indy thanked his therapist for helping him overcome his phobia, then it wouldn’t even be a plot hole. It would just be a new element of the story.

I’ve heard that the studio demanded a last minute rewrite because test audiences found the idea of all the women being killed & replaced with robots too depressing.
Galactica 1980, the abomination of a spinoff of the original Battlestar Galactica has a huge continuity in it’s very premise & title. G80 was set 30 years after TOS (they mention this in the pilot and a character who was a child in TOS appears as an adult man). The last episode of TOS featured Galactica recieving broadcasts of the moon landing (which occured in 1969). See the problem? For Galactica to have arrived at Earth in 1980 after a 30 year trip they’d have had to have recieved that broadcast in 1950, 19 years before it happened:smack:.

Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan:

In the Wrath of Khan, Chekov encounters Khan and is recognized by him. However, in the Original Series episode, Space Seed, which took place in the first season, Chekov was not yet a part of the crew.

Various non-canon explanations have been put forth, such as Chekov was a member of the crew, but not assigned to Alpha Shift, or Chekov was assigned to escort Khan and his followers to exile on Ceti Alpha V. But Khan director Nicholas Meyer admitted to getting it wrong, but defended it by noting that even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was guilty of inconsistencies in his Sherlock Holmes novels.

This complaint always annoys me. Kirk’s Enterprise had over 400 officers and crew. There were maybe 10 posts on the bridge. Of COURSE we didn’t see everybody. Add to that the fact that there’s no episode in which anyone says “Welcome to the ship, Mr. Chekov! You’re so lucky, getting such a plum posting as your very first assignment out of the academy!” and there’s no reason not to assume we JUST DIDN’T SEE HIM.

In a similar vein, the fact that we never saw or heard evidence of bathroom use doesn’t mean there wasn’t one. Just that the show was Star Trek, not All in the Family.

I’ll reluctantly concede your point. After all, we never saw Lt. McGivers before. That doesn’t mean she was not there before. She was introduced as having been on the crew all along.

But Nicholas Meyer didn’t explain it away. He admitted to not knowing that Chekov didn’t appear until season 2, and admitted to Chekov being recognized by Khan as a continuity error. If it hadn’t been incorrect, it wouldn’t need to be retconned.

By the way, I never did let that spoil my enjoyment of The Wrath of Khan, which remains one of my favorite movies of all time.

And I’d say that Mr. Meyer explained something that didn’t need explaining. It works just as well to say Chekov had just graduated from the Academy and was asigned to the graveyard shift, members of which were always shooed away from the bridge whenever the ship was near a planet or another vessel.