Canon would refer to the body of works related to a particular subject and considered proper history and continuity to series. The Doom series may contain more than one canon based on storylines of various reboot universes.
See also Timeline.
In case of Doom there are very few official comments that relate to canon or discuss canon directly. Sometimes official positions are contradictory or changes over time (or retcone are made).
As such there are a number of fan theories as to what comprises canon or what is not canon these can only be considered Fanon as their is very little as far as confirmation on what is canon.
In addition the Doom series has received a number of spinoffs and reboots throughout its life as well as tie ins.
Each reboot could be considered separate canons or alternate universes as part of a multiverse (Quake Arena backstory for example, Arena Eternal outside time and space, with heroes from various “alternate universes”).
Tom Hall and John Romero have confirmed that several ID series are in fact connected. Doom Marine is a Blazkowicz descended from Commander Keen, and William J. Blazkowicz before him (this does not apply to the MachineGames reboot universe however which follows its own universe with an alternate history for B.J. and a different family tree). This is also mentioned in Doom RPG series as well. See ID multiverse timeline.
In both Doom RPG and Doom 3 boxset the hero for most of the games is alluded to be the same hero in Doom 1-3 (and the RPG series). However, the exact order of the series is not entirely clear. With some interpretations placing Doom 3 as a sequel after first two games, and others as a prequel. A number of sources would support the idea that original Doom series takes place almost a century before Doom 3.
Quake Champions brings back Doom (Quake III Arena), now listed as Doom Slayer, and mentions his pet Daisy confirming a link between Doom 2016 and Doom 1. Doom Slayer also comes with his uniforms from Doom 2016 (Praetor Suit), Doom Classic (Doomguy), Quake Arena (Arena), and Doom 3 (Doom Marine), and biography details that links all the games together.
The game also brings new MachineGames William Blazkowicz from his “universe” to the Arena Eternal (the place outside of time and space).
The Fanon tends to argue against the veracity of some of these sources, assigning different levels of theorized canonicity to the various references. But for most part ID’s internal position is not known.
Levels of Canon
- Developer Commentary: Occasional discussions on what is canon in developers minds, but it is rarely touched upon.
- Games: These are generally considered to be primary canon, or may comprise more than one canon.
- Manuals: Generally considered canon, but may have contradictions with later rereleases of games. Not all the manuals agree with each other, sometimes being replaced with new manuals with alternate information in later releases of games.
- Websites: These come and go, and are not often maintained and erased from the internet after a few years. Information is usually quite official, but only a few broken backups may remain.
- Id Multiverse/Universe: This is compromised of crossover material and confirmed 'shared universe/multiverse' of other iD games. These are confirmed by iD developers, and tied into some of the games such as Quake Champions.
- Novels: These are generally not considered canon, and often tell an alternate version of the games they are based on, with directly conflicting details, or character names. Doom and Doom II and spinoff novels in particular deviate much from the game's official storylines. However, the Doom 3 novels positon is not clear and while it mirrors Doom 3, it might also be a prequel to the game as well (it takes place several years and months before Doom 3). Certain details from the two books have been incorporated and influenced material in other games such as Doom RPG.
- Movie/Novelization: This canonicity of this source is unknown. On one hand it takes place in an era largely not covered in other sources (Late 2020s-1250s, see Film timeline), and thus could be seen as a prequel (to Doom 3, and taking place after original Doom series and Final Doom). On the other hand, its sort of a generic story, highly influenced by Doom 3's story. Almost a retelling without a proper demonic invasion (just humans mutating into monstrous creatures). But the novel might hint at very early invasions in ancient Mar's history.
- Wolfenstein, Commander Keen, and Doom are connected according to Tom Hall.
- Wolfenstein RPG and Doom RPGs include crossover material with a number of ID series and each other.
- Doom II RPG and Doom Resurrection have references to each other.
- There are some crossover material between Doom, Doom 3, Doom (2016) and Quake Arena III, Quake Champions. The latter also has crossover with MachineGames Wolfenstein universe.
- Doom RPG and Doom 3 novels share details.
- The protagonist of the Doom 3 novels shares the same last name as the main character in Quake II (although there is no known direct connection between the two).
- There are crossover elements in R.A.G.E. such as Mixom corporation. However the game is likely in a parallel universe where earth asteroid hit earth on August 23, 2029, and main character wakes up 108 years later in 2135 which is only a few years before Doom 3/4 which are each set roughly in 2145-2149. Based on what is known about earth in Doom series its unlikely its as bad off as it was in Rage 10-20 years before.
- Doom 2016 and Doom 3 are likely in alternate earth universes, although the same Marine apparently travelled through time and space to both according to Quake Champions, and info in Doom 2016.
- A comic in Quake for Saturn included and adventure following Quake Marines Dank and Scud run into the Doom Marine during their adventures. Assuming that Quake took place between 2008 and 2108, he'd either have had to have time travelled, interdimensional traveled, or the date would have to be set closer to the original Doom Timeline in the early 2020s.
- Although Doom 3 is said to be in same universe as Doom I and II (and Doom RPG) it is unknown if it is a prequel or a sequel in some fashion. Quake Champions is not clear, but just includes elements of the story in the back information for Doom Slayer. The backstory for the Marine/Slayer is similar to manual prologue in Doom 1, however assuming that Doom took place in early 21st century (as per SNES and novels), then Doom 3 would have to occur in the far future (almost 120 years later) which would have problems with Doom 64 (unless Doom 64 was after Doom 3 and Doom RPG), but this would require for Doom Marine to have gone into stasis at some point on Earth most likely, before returning Mars. Doom 64 is implied in Doom 2016 and even more strongly in Quake Champions to be events that lead up to 2016 game.
- Keel in Quake Champions appears to be based on Revenants.