Well, it finally happened the other day. My six-year-old boy-child finally asked the question I’ve been dreading since we knew of his conception, “Mom, why do you like Star Trek better than Star Wars?”
Under my breath I mumbled something like, “Captain Jean-Luc Picard could kick Luke Skywalker’s whiny butt across the universe” before I cleared my throat and answered, “I think because I saw Star Trek long before I ever saw Star Wars. And I like the philosophy better.”
“What? What does that mean?”
“It means that I think Star Trek is about expanding the human horizon and experience and I think Star Wars is about the battle between good and evil.”
“Yeah, that’s why it is cool, mom.”
Sigh… My little Jedi knows nothing about the schism in science fiction fans, you know – Trekkies vs. The Force. Heck, even William Shatner and Carrie Fisher got into trouble with tribbles when they defended their respective corners of the universe.
There are rare hybrids – the fans of both dimensions – and my husband is one of these. But me? I saw Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in the movie theatre as a kid and then Episode I: The Phantom Menace as an adult and after watching that one, I flat out refused to see Episodes II or III until I bought them for my husband as a boxed set for a gift one year. Even then, I watched while reading a book or surfing the net or something. I’m not a special effects junkie and, frankly, found the characters and dialogue of the Star Wars franchise a bit flat. Although, I think there are parts of the original Star Trek series that are plain laughable, but I excuse it because there’s such an earnest quality to it.
It’s just that the future I want for humanity is one where we’ve conquered the petty human condition and created a society that looks outwards for exploration and aspiration. Could you imagine if the citizens of Earth conquered our collective xenophobia and found a way to honor each other? A world where one doesn’t need to strive for equality because it is implicit to existence?
I know that Star Wars holds a magical place in both my husband’s childhood and my son’s, but I really do have to say that I prefer Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future hands down – which isn’t fair, because Star Wars is apparently part of our past and not our future (A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…).
Wait a minute – if that’s the case, then perhaps it is possible for both Stars (Trek and Wars) to exist! We come from Star Wars and evolve into Star Trek. Yeah… I like that thought. We united the universe after defeating the evil empire in order to get to where we are now so we can go where no man has gone before in the future. I think that works!
Now where do those pesky Cylons fit in?