So, I just watched the Supernatural 200th episode, which did their annual 4th wall breaking fandom episode. However, they brought up some interesting aspects of canon that I thought I would use as my post today.
My partner and I have some differences of opinion on where canon ends and other things begin. He’s a writer, so he has a very specific opinion of the scripts of his favorite shows and movies. He doesn’t believe that anything beyond the words on the page counts as canon. This is definitely one, if very extreme, interpretation of canon.
I’m a bit different about my favorite shows. I do agree that the scripts are canon, but I also think that you can safely fill in common sense items that aren’t explicitly stated in the scripts and consider those to be canon as well. You can assume basic aspects about traveling, for instance, in between episodes. I will sometimes assume aspects of character motivation from the subtext as well.
I write and read Supernatural fanfiction, and I’m funny because I get kind of particular about finding things that fit correctly and effectively into canon. When people take too many liberties, it makes me crazy. It doesn’t feel like the same story. I prefer fanfiction that fills in the blanks or adds a story to an open space. Even though my personal fanfiction has a Mary Sue-like (but not a classic Mary Sue) character, I’m still picky about the fact that most of her interaction with the boys is silent or inbetween show scenes. At one point I even make a note about how her character was “left out of the books” so that she fits into the fiction within the fiction. Yeah, I’m like that.
My partner is completely against fanfiction. He firmly believes that if it wasn’t written down, it simply doesn’t exist. There is no way to “fill in the blanks” for him. Anything outside of canon doesn’t count. Sometimes this makes for crazy arguments about character motivations. I see the shows we watch completely differently than he does because I fill in, sometimes in an almost subconscious way, aspects of the characters or the world. I think that this improves the experience. He thinks I am an apologist. Maybe I am, but I kind of like it that way.
Now, of course, this doesn’t even get into the complications of canon beyond the shows/movies such as books, comics, interviews with creators and actors, etc. Still, it definitely shows how people can interpret the same thing in different ways, and why our fandoms are so strongly opinionated about every little but of canon in our worlds.