Wars or Trek?
The question is a tough one for die-hard fans of each franchise (and a heartbreaking one for those of us with one foot planted firmly in each camp)
But now that J.J. Abrams has signed on as producer for new films in both franchises, the question may become more muddled than polarizing.
With a focus on characters and relationships, it’s hard to argue that Star Trek didn’t pave the way for character-driven science fiction shows to follow.
What’s more, the characters were relatable through their flaws. In a TV and movie universe that’s near utopia (with no need for money and no worries about food thanks to replicators), the characters still act like people — with all their pettiness and nobility and perfect imperfection.
Another aspect to Star Trek that has earned it such a dedicated following is the fact that its main characters are on a mission of curiosity. Not war, though they certainly do have to act against a backdrop of war occasionally in their adventures.
Their goal, as everyone is familiar with from the opening credits of the first two series, is to seek out new life and new civilizations. Not to take over, but to learn about them and by doing so, perhaps learn a little something about themselves.
Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat: Episodes I through III never happened.
Also, Han shot first.
Now that that’s out of the way: Star Wars is fun. It is adventure, it is swashbuckling, and yet it teaches important lessons, too.
Lessons about how our choices affect more than just ourselves; they can send ripples through generations to come. Lessons about tolerance, about sacrifice, and about compassion — even in a world at war with unimaginable evil.
It’s a space opera, yes, with plenty to keep kids of all ages entertained. But it’s also a story about how a guy who thought he was nobody turned out to be the most important person in the universe. How that same guy stood up to pure evil…and exposed its humanity.
Where Star Trek showed us a future utopia where race, sexual orientation, and planet of origin were things to be embraced, Star Wars showed us a different possible future. A future in which daily life is considerably harder, in which powerful forces seek to enslave the masses…and a future in which the common man stands up anyway, and overcomes.
The debate, of course, will rage on.
Both franchises have large, dedicated followings that aren’t afraid to let the world know that their beloved characters are better.
Both franchises have been cash cows for their respective creators, raking in television, movie, and merchandising revenues until it’s difficult to tell who’s made more money.
The good news is, that generous income means that there will be plenty more for fans of both franchises to love. Star Trek 3 has been announced, and Star Wars Episode VII (now under the umbrella of Walt Disney Pictures) is in pre-production.
The future is bright for sci fi. Live long and prosper…and may the Force be with you.
About the Author: Freelance writer Angie Mansfield is a die-hard geek who couldn’t choose between these two franchises…so she argued the merits of both. Her work covers a variety of topics of interest to consumers and small business owners, including Steve Wynn.