During this missive, I am going to attempt to prove to you why Star Trek is better than Star Wars. But first we need to come up with a name for Star Wars fans. Trek already has ‘Trekkies’ or ‘Trekkers’ as they prefer to be called to be taken more seriously. But what are the Star Wars fans called? I’ve decided to go with ‘Warsers’. I considered just ‘Wookies’ for awhile, but felt that wasn’t really in the tradition of ‘Trekkers’.
Also, my focus is going to be on the original crew. I’m not a TNG (that's 'The Next Generation' for the uninitiated) guy. I never bought into Picard, Riker and the rest. There was always something more exciting and fun with the original trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. And you Warsers should be happy since I’ll only be drawing on 3 seasons and 6 films (3 films, let’s be honest here).
5. Whiny Kid vs. The Living Embodiment of Sex Panther
In Luke Skywalker we have young whiny kid. Who wants nothing more to explore the galaxy, and ditch his one bantha town. In between tantrums because he can’t hit the local Toshi’s to grab some power converters, and getting jealous of one of the smoothest mf’ers in the galaxy because he wants to make out with his own sister, Luke is the pinnacle of late 70’s sensitivity and androgyny. Who would you rather follow into battle?
On the flip side, Captain Kirk is a man driven by duty and the urge explore the universe, ignoring the prime directive whenever he deems it appropriate. Or a super hot alien girl. And that’s the difference. It’s as if Han Solo was our central character. Charming, brilliant, and dangerous. And he shoots first.
4. Better Space Fights
Let’s start with this. What was the name of the first Space Shuttle? Was it the ‘X Wing’? ‘Millennium Falcon’? Granted it never orbited the planet, but it was still named after the legendary NCC-1701. Now is the Death Star bad ass? Yes. So much so that it recently sparked an online petition to the White House to actually be built. But the Enterprise WAS built. Well, sorta’.
But that’s not even the point. The Enterprise versus the Reliant. The Enterprise versus a Romulan Bird of Prey (that can even fire when cloaked!). The Enterprise versus the big grey thing from ‘Into Darkness’. Star Trek is at its best when it fully embraces its naval theme, ala Start Trek II and VI. Can the Enterprise maneuver like an X-Wing, no. Can it make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. Come on now. Warp drive…
Are the dog fight scenes exciting? Yes. Redundant? Possibly. Plus there’s no exhaust port in the Enterprise that will blow up that magnificent marvel of engineering. And there’s regality to her. The Enterprise is a majestic ship. I would put the final act of Khan versus any of the ship battles in all of the Star Wars films.
Lucas’ galaxy dominated by the Aryan race is troublesome. It’s as if Drax’s plan ultimately succeeded. (That’s the film version of Moonraker, not the novel) It’s white folks as far as the eye can see. If not, then it’s cuddly animals, ala the wookie and ewok. The lone brother (can I use that term?) is Lando Calrissian. Does he run an entire city? Yes. But he can’t even get one on the ground. They stick him in as far away from the planet’s surface as possible. And he’s the only minority even there.
So how does Lucas rectify this situation? With the prequels, and does it horribly. Who doesn’t look back upon the Neimodians of the Trade Federation and their stereotypical greed, and cowardice, and Asian accents fondly? I’m surprised they weren’t wearing Stars of David as well to drive home the greed trait. Is this on purpose with malice? Of course not. It’s an over simplified reaction to a fair, if not ultimately meaningless charge. This still didn’t stop me from bringing it up.
Roddenbury’s and Trek’s answer?
Boom! First inter-racial kiss on television (even if they didn’t technically smooch). Minorities and women play a much larger role in the Trek universe, but it’s not without its problems. Uhura’s dresses in both iterations of the series is troublesome, a fact rectified by Abrams in ‘Into Darkness’, that he subsequently undercuts immediately with Alice Eve in her skivvies. But as a whole, the Trek universe embraces diversity in every known corner of the galaxy. Star Wars merely shoe horns it in, embarrassingly so at times.
Star Wars, what the hell happened? Midichlorians? So it’s NOT a mythical religion? It’s a biological ability, like telepathy, or pooping? Trek doesn’t really have the mythology Star Wars has. So I was tempted to just call it a wash. Tempted. But then Lucas decides to just re-write the entire thing. And don’t give me ‘Abrams did the same thing’. His reboot, not prequel mind you, backs itself up by using the time travel plot device to open up a myriad of possibilities for existingTrek adventures and characters, while not, how can I put this artfully, taking a big taco bell sized bowel movement all over every thing that came before. He can now update all of them for a new generation, without destroying their beloved, or perhaps even despised, pasts.
Plus Trek has the United Federation of Planets. A galaxy spanning force for peace, when Kirk isn’t blowing things up or violating the Prime Directive. Imagine the U.N. with some balls and nothing but good folks on the Security Council. No hocus pocus, or whatever Warsers are calling it now. Because it clearly isn’t ‘The Force’ I remember.
1. The Message of the Films
Star Wars is a soap opera in space. A kid’s fairy tale set in a distant past in a galaxy relatively far away. Trek is the future. Our future. Roddenbury and crew tackled some heady issues during its television run, and again with the film series. Star Wars never attempts to reach for the lofty heights that Trek does. There’s no existential crisis, no questioning of man’s role in the universe, no pursuit of mankind’s greater purpose. Nope, just a surfer dude from a small, two sun planet with Daddy issues.