Star Trek canon has practically folded in on itself, with rebooted movies following a new timeline, and Discovery returning ten years before the old one. And despite some aesthetic choices, Discovery will largely ignore any sense of the J.J. Abrams films, as well as the franchise’s many books.

Discovery bosses Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman and showrunner Aaron Habert did their best to clear up the show’s place in canon from their TCA press tour panel, reiterating that Discovery takes place in the franchise’s original timeline, not the rebooted “Kelvin-verse” (despite trailer footage borrowing numerous visual flourishes). Not only that, but consider the litany of Trek books out the airlock, says Goldsman (via IGN):

We are considering the novels not to be canon, but we are aware of them. We are going to cross paths with components that Trek fans are familiar with. We are aware of the books if it’s useful, and if it doesn’t interfere with canon, we may pick from it. One interesting side note is we are publishing a series of books that actually are directly linked to this series.

Habert and Kurtzman overall spoke to the difficulty of operating within canon, but respecting its importance to the fans:

Habert: The aim is to not violate things that are very important to people. I think that so far we’ve found a way to balance it. If we sat there and worried about it and studied every single hour, it’s easy to choke. You have to push through.

Kurtzman: The writers room is a group of people with very different relationships to social media and to canon, and so it’s a constant debate about where the line is in terms of canon violation. … In that debate, there’s a kind of supreme court of debate that allows us to stay true to canon and also stretch the boundaries of it … The show has been made by people who are trying to protect that legacy.

Discovery will stream the first two episodes on CBS All-Access Sunday, September 24 (the first will air on CBS), pushing the second half of Season 1 to January 2018. We’ll likely see more from the new Star Trek soon, so stay tuned.

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