Home > Culture, Movies, Television > Star Wars vs. Star Trek

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

Damn, it’s been a while since I posted anything. What was the last thing I ranted about? Something about a girl who could fly? Then again it’s not like I blog on a consistently frequent basis anyways. Life has this pesky tendency of, you know, happening. Anyways, a lot of shit has happened since then. Caitlyn Jenner won “Woman of the Year” some how, we lost David Bowie, it’s now 2016, and Donald Trump is still leading the polls disturbingly enough. Oh, and something else occurred too…

force-awakens-title-poster

Sorry, just think that segway couldn’t have been put into words. The Force has awakened with Star Wars Ep. VII, which hit theatres back in December 2015, finally washing away the disgusting aftertaste left behind by 15 years of Jar Jar Binks, agonizing dialogue, an over saturation of CGI and blue screen,  and general George Lucas fuckery. As Han solo said to his beloved co-pilot when they burst into the Millennium Falcon, “Chewie, we’re home!”

Around that same time, the trailer for Star Trek Beyond warped it’s way online and started making its rounds. With J.J. Abrams now preoccupied with Star Wars, the captain’s chair has been handed over to Fast & Furious director Justin Lin. Whether or not we’ll see Vin Diesel as the new Picard in future Trek movies (cuz they’re both bald), only time will tell.

So with these two big space sagas stepping back on the scene, the non-geeky are bound to get some of the splash-back from our hot sticky nerdgasms, and that’s when we’ll start to hear Star Wars and Star Trek used in the same sentence as  if they’re one and the same. For decades there’s been this rivalry between trekkies and Star Wars fans. Sure, both franchises feature aliens and (for the most part) are set in space. But the similarity ends there. The two are technically different genres, and in terms of plot, character, and themes, the two don’t really have much in common.

Star Trek = Sci-fi

Star Trek can boast itself as true science fiction. Although far fetched, it at least makes an attempt to base itself on real universe physics. Many things from beaming technology to warp drives are based on actual, albeit fictionalized, scientific principles. In fact, NASA was actually working on a real life warp drive of their own.

Maturer themes could also be found throughout the Star Trek sagas, especially the adventures of Big Daddy K, known to his comrades as Captain James T. Kirk. I mean come on, this was the dude who performed the first interracial kiss on American television in a time when jungle fever was practically taboo. Groundbreaking things like this are what cemented Star Trek in our culture; not to mention that many episodes were essentially far flung allegories for current political disputes, racial tensions/civil rights issues, and philosophical discussions concerning what it means to be a person. This contrasts Star Trek to Star Wars, the latter being more heavily marketed towards kids. The purpose behind Gene Roddenbery’s vision was about the exploration; encountering exotic new civilizations and examining the cultural rifts while learning about ourselves.   In short, it’s a story about us, or at least what we might become.

Star Wars = Fantasy

The space opera set “long ago in a galaxy far, far away” on the other hand has more in common with the Harry Potter series than it does with Star Trek.  They both both feature magic and wizards for God’s sake, something you would seldom see in a sci-fi story. Star Wars also reuses the classic tropes that are characteristic of traditional fantasy stories. We start with a young protagonist who must heed a call to adventure, he’s guided by an old sage-like figure,  he overcomes obstacles, masters some type of skill, and uses it to defeat the enemy, which is typically some type of dark lord, and the Star Wars fits that profile perfectly. And let’s not forget the fact that the series centres around humans in a distant galaxy during an undisclosed period in the past, and offers no explanation on how they frigging got there. Fantasy.

The themes dealt with in fantasy epics are typically simpler than the complex speculations we see in sci-fi.  Star Wars is your classic tale of good vs. evil with a heavy focus on exciting action sequences. Characters are pretty much archetypes who embody a particular idea. For example, Obi-Wan would represent the aforementioned sage.  Meanwhile, Star Trek had more grey area, even with it’s villains, and had a lot more talking, debating, and science mumbo jumbo, at least before Abrams came along Starwarsafied the whole thing, replacing the science with more pew! pew! pew!

 

Storm Trooper v. Red Shirt

Sure it can be argued that science fiction and fantasy are two sides of the same coin, but that’s the very reason why Star Trek/Wars need not be competitors, rivals, or two rappers who got beef. Each franchise is geared towards a slightly different purpose: Star Trek enlightens while Star Wars entertains. So it all depends on what you’re in the mood for. Yes, they have the same setting and similar elements such as aliens, but the same can be said about Braveheart and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Both are set in medieval Europe and feature dudes fighting with swords, but you don’t really see people lumping them in the same category now do you? I didn’t think so.

 

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Categories: Culture, Movies, Television
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