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"Canon" and "Non-Canon
In science-fiction works, the term "canon" describes characters, events, and locales that are generated, recognized officially by the creators of the fictional universe, and shown to an audience in the context of a dramatized or written story. The term was originally a term used to differentiate heretical from accepted scripture in the Catholic Church.
A "non-canonical" story, in comparison, is not considered an official element of the storyline in a particular work of fiction, commonly a series of novels of a television program.
For fans of the work, identifying canonical stories, characters and the like can reduce the level of confusion in keeping track of storylines. Determining whether an officially-licensed work is canonical or not is often a point of debate for many fans of a show or story. Aside from that, the distinction is mainly important for the shows' writers who need to know what source material to use and can't be expected to know the details of dozens or possibly hundreds of novels.
The SF television show Babylon 5 is unique in that all published works are considered canonical by the series's creators. However, other shows such as Star Trek have many officially licensed stories (books and comics) that are considered non-canonical and whose story content is therefore sometimes contradicted by the aired episodes or theatrical films later. The Star Wars franchise generally attempts to unify its licensed novels and comics into the central movie storyline, but the movies are not bound by details established in the novels either; while they sometimes make references to novels or comics, they also contradict them in other places.
Aside from stories, "official" sources are another important resource. This refers to an approved document or piece of information that has been used collectively by the production staff of any series or movie as a starting point for writing and filming, but has (so far) been used only behind the scenes. This differentiates it from canonical information, which has made its way to the screen for the viewing audience. Since this information has not appeared on screen, writers and other production staff are free to violate official sources if they believe a story could benefit from it, and viewers should therefore not grant it the level of reliability of canon information. Jane Espenson described one such official source as "quasi-canon."
What's Canonical in Battlestar Galactica?
Battlestar Wiki recognizes all content from any aired episodes (including the Battlestar Galactica 2003 Miniseries and, at present, Galactica 1980) from the Original Series, the Re-imagined Series, Caprica, and Blood and Chrome, interviews and podcasts from cast and crew, and publicity information from the Sci Fi Channel as canonical unless otherwise retconned or retracted by the official sources.
Battlestar Wiki is an encyclopedia for all officially-licensed Battlestar properties, aired or printed, canonical or non-canonical. Thus, to prevent non-canonical storylines (from comics and novels) from conflicting with canonical aired information while fulfilling the wiki's mission of chronicling all officially-licensed stories, Battlestar Wiki marks articles with non-canonical characters, events and situations in accordance with its separate continuity policy.
- Anders, Charlie Jane (24 January 2010). Detailed Map Of Battlestar Galactica's Twelve Colonies (backup available on Archive.org) . Retrieved on 29 January 2011.