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Battlefied Universe: Star Trek vs. Star Wars (BLOG)

What happens when your kid asks you to pick your favorite star saga? How would you answer that one?

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?

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Stephen Schmidt February 15, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I think I read somewhere that George Lucas considers Star Wars a parallel universe to our own, so it's not really our past he's talking about in that intro, but someone else's? It's so far far away it doesn't really matter. Star Trek on the other hand is supposed to actually happen, just in the future. So that's how Kirk ended up being from Iowa and Luke is from Tatooine.
Stephen Schmidt February 15, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Also, I'd say I think Empire Strike's Back is the best movie from either franchise. As Lucas has slowly worked to ruin Star Wars, however, Star Trek has started to look better and better in comparison.
Courtenay Baker-Olinger February 15, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I do appreciate The Empire Strikes Back as the strongest of the films. Let's not even talk about Start Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country...
Stephen Schmidt February 15, 2012 at 07:08 PM
I thought Star Trek VI was alright, even with Christopher Plummer's Klingon captain constantly quoting Shakespeare for no discernible reason.
Lucas Shepherd February 15, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Courtenay, did you like the JJ Abrams Star Trek film? Or did you watch it with a book in hand or while surfing the net or something? I thought it was pretty sweet, except for the whole Spock time travel thing got a little confusing and distracting.
Courtenay Baker-Olinger February 15, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I did enjoy the JJ Abrams Star Trek film. I thought it was a well-paced homage to the original series that still created it's own identity. I found it very entertaining to watch different actors tackle some pretty well-established roles and relationships. My favorite part about the Star Trek movies with the original cast are the comedic moments ("Colorful metaphor" anyone?) and thought that Abrams got that spot-on.
Stephen Schmidt February 15, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Parallel universes are sort of a cheesy sci-fi writing trick, but I understand that they had to do it to break out of the stifling Star Trek canon that would only hinder creativity.
B.A. Morelli February 15, 2012 at 10:45 PM
No question. Star Wars is the better series, although I love the scene in Wrath of Khan with the killer worms.
Alison Gowans February 16, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I've only seen the newest Star Trek movie. If I want to watch the old ones, should I go in chronological order, or do you have recommendations for favorites I should start with?
Courtenay Baker-Olinger February 16, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Hmmm... If you go in order, you'll be able to watch how the technical stuff improves with each one. You'll also see how important the relationships between the characters is. My favorites are Star Trek IV and Star Trek:First Contact. Have fun!
Stephen Schmidt February 16, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Best Star Trek movies in order (IMO): Star Trek 2: Wrath of KHAAAAN Star Trek 4: The One with the Whales Start Trek 8: The One with the Borg Star Trek 6: Original Cast Signs Off The not so good ones: Star Trek 1: Somewhat hokey, but also the most true Sci-fi of all of them Star Trek 3: Spock in Puberty, Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon Star Trek 5: Spock's Brother is Space God? Star Trek 7: Transition to Next Generation. Also, meh. Everything After 8: You can probably stop at 8 and not miss much.

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