IDW Publishing are bringing out a comic, Assimilation2, set in ST:TNG (presumably the TNG in the timeline prior to the events of the 2009 movie) featuring the 11th Doctor.

Is the canon of these two universes at all compatible? Both feature a lot of time travel, so we've seen the development of humanity through many centuries in the future. Are there direct contradictions that make it impossible for these two universes to merge, without some sort of trick like having the Doctor come from an alternate universe? Or, given the vast spread of time, is it possible that the events of the Star Trek stories have taken place between Doctor Who stories?

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    Re "presumably the TNG timeline prior to the events of the 2009 movie": That timeline still exists as-is. The picture on the cover is of the Enterprise D, so this takes place prior to the events of the film Star Trek: Generations.
    – user1027
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 1:43
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    I have heard the theory that the planet the Guardian of Forever is on is actually Gallifrey. And even if not, it does sound kinda like Gallifreyan technology to me...
    – Izkata
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 2:17
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    Well when you can travel in space and time consistency is somehow less important. So if they don't fit I'm sure it could be retcon'd somehow
    – Zachary K
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 17:53
  • FWIW, the Trek canon could be said to be situated in the Sherlock Holmes canon or vice versa (depending on whether you go by conflicting statements from a TOS movie vs a TNG episode), so there is a precedent for this sort of thing. In STVI Spock attributes a famous Sherlock Holmes quotation to "an ancestor of mine," (presumably on the human side.) This would situate Trek in the Holmes canon--and was surely a jest thrown in by noted Holmesian writer/director Nicholas Meyer toward that end. However, in later TNG episodes Sherlock Holmes is explicitly called out as a "fictional detective." Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 21:57
  • @Ryan Norbauer - What TOS movie or TNG episode suggests Sherlock Holmes was anything other than a popular fictional character in the Trek universe?
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 16:54

5 Answers 5


First there's the issue of canon itself. In Trek, that's limited to what happens on screen. In Doctor Who, that's quite different and, honestly, the focus in Doctor Who is much more on telling entertaining stories than on maintaining continuity. That creates one issue, where one has a rigid continuity and the other doesn't.

At first glance, it seems possible the two could fit together, but on closer inspection, there are enough inconsistencies to show they cannot share the same canon.

I looked at timelines for both shows, one for Trek and one for Doctor Who. What surprised me was that it wasn't as easy to jump right in and find as many contradictory events as I wanted to find. Both seem to follow the same timeline in terms of when humans spread out to the stars.

I was going to also say there was no Eugenics War in Doctor Who, but that doesn't really hold water, since that was in the 1990s and that has been unofficially (as in "wink, wink, nudge, nudge") moved up since it conflicts with reality. That makes the Eugenics wars a not-useful plot point in proving incompatibility.

Some events may seem to dovetail, for instance, There's The Dalek Invasion of Earth (where Daleks invade Earth) in 2164, which would be right after the series Enterprise. You can't really prove they don't fit there, since we don't know for sure that there was no invasion of Earth after the series finished. But we do know that, by that time, the Federation was growing, so it's unlike Earth would be alone and needing to fight off the Daleks by itself if there were such an invasion.

There's also the issue that the world, as pictured in The Dalek Invasion of Earth is one without starships like the Enterprise and, considering that it would be so soon after the Xindi attacked Earth, the planet would certainly be able to do more from space to defend itself as seen in the story with the Doctor.

This, alone, should prove canon involving The Doctor violates Trek canon (or the other way around), since it provides two vastly different views of the same time period in Earth's future.

I did find that, in Doctor Who, there is The Waters of Mars, which is about the end of the first permanent colony on Mars. This takes place in 2059, during the "post atomic horror" in Trek. This was not a time, in Trek, when humans were reaching out to settle colonies on other planets and during the story in Doctor Who, there was enough communication with Earth to present the picture of a society that was not dealing with the aftermath of a terrible war. In fact, when the Doctor visits Earth to take one character back, Earth looks quite calm.

Also, there are no indications in either universe of the major threats in the other universe. For instance, Starfleet has never made reference of the Daleks or Cybermen, but they are major threats in many eras. The Doctor has never dealt with The Borg, in spite of having been around in the same approximate time.

So, while it's hard to prove, there are enough contradictory views of what was going on around Earth at the same time to prove the shows do not share canon. It's easiest to find this if one examines the 22nd century on both timelines.

  • "looks quite calm" -- as in devoid of humans. The postatomic horror could be caused by neutron bombs, which would result in a peaceful looking world, just without animals (including humans).
    – bitmask
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 0:31

Star Trek is a show in the Doctor Who canon. There are references in a few episodes. The one that comes to mind right now is Closing Time. A character is teleported to a ship and says it is like a Star Trek thing. This would mean Star Trek is fiction in the Who universe. If it had taken place in the Who universe, they could have used the Land of Fiction. Fictional beings are real there, so the Star Trek crew could be there. Due to the comic taking place in the Trek universe this has been thrown out. That would mean the crossover will most likely be a alternate universe thing.


When two companies take their flagship products and combine the results, what is produced is very rarely canon work, simply because for the two universes to combine in their new medium, conventions and/or expectations have to be changed to explain why the two had never met before.

In the case of Star Trek, the primary medium is on film. In the case of Doctor Who, there are a variety of medium with various states of what is considered canon. In this case, they are being turn into comics so the likelihood of anything being produce there as canon is very slim. It is a different medium with a different expectation of how to present the material.

That said, why would we care if the product IS canon?

The two companies are doing this, first and foremost, as an opportunity to make money, so it is certain they don't necessarily care if the two products have EVER shared a universe, timeline, or dimensional-continuity.

And that matters less than you would think, considering both products (yes, ugly as it is, they are in this instance, products) have a history of traveling outside of their own timelines, universes, dimensions, parallel worlds, continuities, realities, you get the idea, doing whatever it takes to make a great story.

So if the Borg, a terrible threat in the Federation universe, should connect with the universe of the Cybermen (which at this point is not the main Doctor Who universe, anyway, but where the parallel Doctor and Rose live) and the two threats should come together in a third non-canon universe where they are either both in existence or have somehow never managed to coincide, no matter how complicated their two stories might have to be, THEY WILL BE MADE TO WORK.

It is not a stretch to say the Doctor and indeed the Gallifreyans have never been seen by the Federation. The Federation is still discovering the galaxy and has seen less than a full quarter of it. If these Gallifreyans are anything like ours, they are either trapped in their own private pocket hell, timelocked for all eternity by the Doctor, and the Doctor has for whatever reason abandoned Earth (perhaps he decided Earth no longer needed his support, or maybe he has been away a long time from our point of view and for him its just been a few weekends --he's a TIMELORD, he can always go back and catch up on whatever he has missed) or perhaps these Gallifreyans were not such a mess and their cultural directive to avoid primitive species is in effect.

Whatever the reason for the two of them having never crossed paths will be less interesting than what happens when they do. These are two of the seminal space operas, born within a few years of each other, taking radically different approaches to showing the future and humanity's place in it.

What the real hope is, the writers will be able to combine the two approaches to problem solving and create a solution that is both Star Trek in its goal to explore and understand and Whovian in its appreciation for the wonders of the Universe. For them to pull this collaboration off, they may have to pull out all the stops which may turn canon on its ear. It's okay, I think both properties are robust enough. They can handle it.


There was actually a Doctor Who comic named Assimilation2 which was a crossover between Star Trek: TNG and Doctor Who in which the Borg have an alliance with the Cybermen. The Cybermen then turn on the Borg who are then helped by Piccard and the Doctor to destroy all the Cybermen. The Borg then try to assimilate the Tardis but fail. The comic has 8 issues.

  • Thanks for the answer, and welcome to Sci-fi @ StackExchange. A tip: Adding references would be nice.
    – Mufasa
    Commented Jan 30, 2019 at 22:17
  • Isn't this comic what the question is asking about? Commented Jan 30, 2019 at 23:21

They don't have to be "compatible". The comic doesn't mean that their universes are merging.

From Wikipedia, emphasis mine:

Meanwhile, the TARDIS, with the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond, and Rory Williams inside, somehow crosses between universes and lands on the holodeck of the Enterprise-D.

In other words, the Doctor travels from his universe to the Star Trek universe. It doesn't matter if the universes are "incompatible" since the premise of the comic book does not say that the Doctor Who and Star Trek universes have always been the same, or are the same now. They're still separate universes.

This idea of crossing between universes or entering a new shared universe is a pretty common trope in crossover comics like this.

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