Is the new Star Trek movie part of the original series canon or a reboot? According to a recent interview with Robert Orci, the answer may be "both." But why does "canon" matter, anyway?
Talking to TrekMovie, Orci - one of the scriptwriters of next year's movie - explained that time travel explains away the changes between the Trek we know and the one we're about to meet:
It is the reason why some things are different, but not everything is different. Not everything is inconsistent with what might have actually happened, in canon. Some of the things that seem that they are totally different, I will argue, once the film comes out, fall well within what could have been the non-time travel version of this movie... [Whether or not fans believe these are "different" versions of the familiar characters] depends on whether or not you believe in nature or nurture and how much you believe in, for lack of a better word, their souls. I would argue that for the characters, their true nature does not change. Our motto for this movie was ’same ship, different day.’
Leaving aside the terrible pun - and, really, that was an appalling pun - part of me is left wondering why such efforts have been made to ensure this connection to the original continuity, as opposed to just creating a straight-ahead reboot, a la Battlestar Galactica or the Batman movies (Orci goes on to explain that the new movie's Enterprise crew exists in an alternate timeline to the original series, due to the time traveling, meaning that there's no kind of "Well, everything can go back to the ways of Shatner" at stake). Are Trek fans that married to the continuity instead of the characters and/or concept that that's the only way that they'd accept a revamp?