The Great Debates: Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Trek Vs Star Wars

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Undeniably these two franchises are the biggest sci-fi franchises in pop culture history. Both heavily involve space travel and sci-fi concepts, and the fact that the both have the word “Star” in their names invited comparisons right from the beginning. This is truly a debate that’s been around for decades, and with the opening of a new chapter in one of the sagas this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to revisit it.

Click through to read the tale of the tape!!

Star Trek

Gene_RoddenberryCreator: Gene Roddenberry

First Year of Existence: 1966 (TV)

First Movie: “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” 1979

Television Series: 5: The Original Series (1966–1969), The Next Generation (1987–1994), Deep Space Nine (1993–1999), Voyager (1995–2001), Enterprise (2001–2005)

Animated Series: 1: Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973–1974)

star_trek_ii_the_wrath_of_khan_ver2Total Number of Movies: 12: “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979), “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982), “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984), “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986), “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” (1989), “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991), “Star Trek: Generations” (1994),  “Star Trek: First Contact” (1996), “Star Trek: Insurrection” (1998), “Star Trek: Nemesis” (2002), “Star Trek” (2009), “Star Trek: Into Darkness” (2013)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross of Films: $1,495,393,272

Video Games: 76

star trek tosStar Trek is a franchise that has seen several successful iterations, both on tv and in film. It has spanned nearly fifty years (47), and is still going strong. The torch has passed from show to show and cast to cast, and because of that, it’s still earning itself new generations of fans.

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Star Wars

George-LucasCreator: George Lucas

First Year of Existence: 1977

First Movie: “Star Wars” 1977

Television Series: None

Animated Series: 4: Star Wars: Droids (1985-1986), Star Wars: Ewoks (1985-1986), Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003-2005), Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-current)
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empire_strikes_back_ver2Total Number of Movies: 7 “Star Wars” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), “Return of the Jedi” (1983), “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (1999), “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” (2002), “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (2005), “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (Animated, 2008)
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Cumulative Worldwide Gross of Films: $4,382,359,868
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Video Games: Over 100

star-wars-castThe “Star Wars” franchise is viewed (at this point) as two distinct trilogies. The original trilogy, which is a widely beloved, pop culture cornerstone, and the “prequels”, which, although financially successful, are widely reviled by most fans. With the sale of Lucasarts to Disney, however, fans literally have “A New Hope”.

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So there you have it folks! Some of the measurables in these two enormous franchises!

Which will you pick? Will it be a galaxy far, far away, or will you boldly go where no man has gone before? The choice is yours!

Let’s hear it!

STvSWHUU

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164 thoughts on “The Great Debates: Star Trek or Star Wars?

  1. This isn’t a hard question for me, “Star Trek”, by a mile, not even close. “Star Wars” can be entertaining, “Empire…” I find to be, close to a great film, but it’s all just action, and it’s not far evolved from “Buck Rogers…” serials, and such, it’s basically a well-visual effected variation on that, and it’s fun, but there isn’t really another level to it.

    “Star Trek” on the other hand, is the grand metaphor, for a journey into the mind, and endless possibilities that they can’t encounter, as well as, representing a depiction of the human race (as well as other, eh species, I guess is the word), that is not only evolved from us, but is still continuous evolving, and trying to better themselves. It’s a show about thought, not action (At least not until J.J. Abrams got ahold of it, and ruined that.) Paceful, classical, yet an infinite amount of logical and believable possibilities, can occur on “Star Trek”, not always good, granted. Not a fan of “DS9″ or-eh, “Enterprise”, or some of the lesser movies of course, but there’s so much more, to “Star Trek”, than “Star Wars”; quality-wise actually I wouldn’t compare the two, I don’t think there’s much similarities other than rabid cult fan bases. “Star Trek” has more in common with something “2001: A Space Odyssey” than “Star Wars”. Better quality, there’s more to it, to dive into and become enriched with. Yeah, gotta go with “Star Trek”, overall far better.

    • Star Trek is great, no doubt, but cmon, you cant really say Empire isnt far evolved from Buck Rogers serials can you? 8O Theyre quantum leaps ahead of that stuff man, there’s absolutely no comparison! 8O

      I will completely agree with you though about the Trek series. I wish Abrams would return some of the “thought” to the films. I’m afraid I’ll have to settle for a fun action film though. Could be worse. :(

      • No, Smash, I don’t mind.

        As to, the Buck Rogers reference, I didn’t mean that as an insult, and I do think “Star Wars” is a better version of those, and-maybe, there’s more to it in of itself, I think some note a Religious parable, which I never really cared for in “Star Wars”, but-. I’ll admit, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the “Star Wars” films, I liked them, wasn’t obsessed with them like others; I actually still haven’t seen, any of the last three films they did. I have a VHS copy of “The Phantom Menace” somewhere even, but it just, never intrigued enough honestly. The first three are good movies, I just don’t think they’re great; I think they were amazing to watch at the time. I think the big difference to me, is that Lucas’s vision is far more narrower than Roddenberry’s vision, yet still remained quite intricate, and filled with so many extra details, while “Star Wars”.

        “Star Trek” is an extraordinary story, told simply, while “Star Wars” was a simple story, told extraordinarily,

    • This is the easiest question I’ve been asked all week.
      Undoubtedly, it has to be, Star Wars. These are the droids I’m lookin’ for!

    • I don’t know if you can chalk it up to J.J. Abrams for ruining Trek with all the action. The most successful Trek films have all been pretty action packed. Wrath of Khan, The Undiscovered Country, First Contact…. The most successful is The Voyage Home, but that was keyed on the fish-out-of-water comedy (“Nuclear wessels!”) and hardly cerebral at all. As a result, I think J.J. was more or less following the tried and trued template of adapting the most successful Trek movies rather than following the brainier nature of the TV shows.

      (The two that followed the TV shows’ tone the most closely were The Motion Picture and Insurrection. You will not run into many people, Trek fans or otherwise, who have fond memories of either movie.)

      • The action content of the movies you compare Abrams Trek to pale in comparison in terms of action content. And I’d agree, I dont need them to redo “The Motion Picture” or “Insurrection”. But jeez, toss a Trekkie a bone, will ya JJ?

      • Well, you just found someone who holds Insurrection as the best TNG movie. Yes, it’s the closest to the show, and that’s what makes it so good.

      • :D There’s been some serious Star Trek talk here, I love it.

        I owe the Next Gen movies a rewatch. I’ve seen each of the original cast’s movies multiple times, but I’ve only seen Generations more than once from the Next Gen bunch :(

      • I’d say keep on skipping the Next Generation movies. While the cast of the original movies were easy transitions from the small to the big screen, the Next Generation guys — outside of Patrick Stewart — were not. They’re better off handling the more introspective plotlines of a TV series, not the grandiose action-packed perils required for a summer blockbuster.

        And even though Stewart is a bona fide movie actor, they kept sticking him in action roles. Like, most every movie he has to raid a weapons closet and go all Rambo. (Or in the last one, go dune buggying.) That’s not the Picard of the show. You know, the guy who showed honor and dignity while being tortured or played the stern ambassador to humanity when confronted with a god-like being like Q. Shoot, when Patrick Stewart was playing Professor X in the X-Men movies, he was way more Picard than he was in the Star Trek movies.

  2. I have to go with less ‘collective minded’ human species in Star Wars over Star Trek. I think SW is closer to the Firefly World that is more in line with my hearts true desire.

  3. You force us to choose and that is what makes the discussion interesting. I will simply say my answer is not to be interpreted as a dismissal of the other franchise in any way. I have deep emotional commitments to each. That said,

    Trek.

    I watched the original series when it was a first run program on NBC. I was devoted to it as a syndicated show and watched each episode repeatedly. The three main characters in Trek are more interesting human beings and face more diversity of choices than the characters in Star Wars. The action was not the focus of most Trek episodes which means despite it’s ponderousness, Star Trek The Motion Picture is closest to the original vision of the show than any of the other films. It’s just not a great film. The Three following films are the core group of movies that represent Trek on the big screen. They are not always as entertaining as the Star Wars films are, but they almost always touch my heart and spirit in a positive way.

    The J.J. Abrams reboot was the best film of 2009 in my opinion. It got the action right, it raised some intellectual issues, but mostly it restored the characters to a new generation of viewers. The New film is not quite as good (review is up), but it is very entertaining and it makes me want the next film now.

    • Thanks Richard. I’ll have to check out what you had to say later this weekend, once i get to put mine up.

      Meanwhile, I have to revisit Trek: The Motion Picture. I’m a sucker for all the movies, but I watch that one the least. I have a feeling its not as bad as I recall. :(

      I dont know if Id give Star Trek the best of 09, but it was pretty good. Not the greatest TREK movie, but a good flick.

  4. Star Trek forever. Star Wars is mildly entertaining, but something I can live without. It’s cowboys in space with lasers, where Star Trek offers a universe, filled with ideas and stuff that tickles your mind.

  5. I’m a huge fan of Star Trek. But my heart will always lie with Star Wars. A lot has to do with the fact that I connected with Star Wars at a young age and didn’t come to Star Trek until I was much older. I don’t know, I love both. But in the end my vote is with Star Wars.

    • I can relate to what you’re say, but I connected with them both early on. Of course, at first I thought of Star Trek mainly as a tv show and not a movie franchise…

      I’d have answered Star Wars in a heartbest, pre-prequels and before Lucas lost his mind, but nowadays? Its a closer call than most would think :(

  6. I have to go with Star Trek, it has a brain and big ideas and rarely disappoints. Star Wars is an opera and to say the least there are more bad films than good :(

    Live long and prosper \\// :D

  7. Star Trek has more bad movies than Star Wars has… it very nearly has more bad movies than Star Wars has movies, period. And I’m not sure that it even wins out percentage-wise…

    Plus, if we’re viewing whole franchises, that means we also have to throw in Voyager (especially “Threshold”, a Plan 9 level piece of sci-fi) and Enterprise. And truth to tell, I’m not all that keen on DS9 either.

    • The only really “bad” Trek movies are Final Frontier and Nemesis. That’s still one less than the three godawful Star Wars prequels. ST:The Motion Picture is slow but not bad. Generations and Insurrection are cheesy but also not really all that bad. The rest, I think, everyone agrees are classics. That’s five good Trek movies against three good Star Wars movies.

      • I think most of the Trek movies are good, but I think only Khan reached MTESS level (one day, one day) While all three original Star Wars ones did.

        CO – you’re the second person to mention “Threshold” today, LOL! Was it really THAT bad. I think you and Santo both agree it was… now I want to check it out!! :D

      • I know, I’m a little surprised that “Threshold” got mentioned twice myself. It’s totally beating out “A Night In Sickbay” and “Spock’s Brain” for worst Trek ever!

      • If Generations is just “cheesy” instead of bad, then Revenge of the Sith easily clears the bar. And TMP is lousy — it’s not competing with Sith, even, it’s competing with Phantom Menace and doesn’t fare well by the comparison. I’ll grant I’m just going on reputation for Insurrection, but it’s got a really low reputation. And most of the rest of the ST movies are generally regarded as “just OK”.

      • DeForrest Kelly acted his ass off in “Spock’s Brain”, which doesn’t save it from being the worst TOS episode, but does save it from being worse than “Threshold”.

  8. Wow, they’re neck and neck at the polls, why am I not surprised ahah! I actually picked Star Trek as the JJ Abrams ones now made me curious to check out the previous movies.

    • You know, I dont know if this is a knock on them or not, but its not too blasphemous… LOL You should certainly have checked out II, cause that really registered with Pop Cultur due to Khan, but aside from that, none of the other movies rose to the level where I’d throw stones at you for not having seen them… Like I would for the original Star Wars trilogy ;)

  9. My exposure to Star Trek is pretty limited…and the lows of Stars Wars are pretty damn low.

    Having said that….

    Star Wars.

    The original film and The Empire Strikes Back are awesome and I can’t imagine a world without them. Wrath of Khan, the best Trek film I’ve seen, is good, but I don’t need it like I need Empire.

    • The first three Star Wars films are incredible, there’s no doubt. But so are the first two Star Trek tv series. They’re Hall of fame TV. Add in the fact that there’s 12 decent to good movies, vs 3 great and 3 really bad movies, and I can see either side of this… probably one of the reasons why its still so close!! :o

  10. Two series I never got into. I have the 2009 Star Trek sitting at home, should probably give it a watch soon. I also wouldn’t mind revisiting the original Star Wars trilogy, as I haven’t seen any of them since I was a kid.

    • Wow, that’s almost as incredible as meeting someone who’s never seen them! (Theyre out there. ;) )

      I’m torn on people’s introduction to the world of Star Trek being the JJ Abrams movies. Seems so… wrong. LOL Anything is better than nothing though, I suppose Eric!

  11. Star Wars easily. Have never cared for Star Trek be it the shows or the movies. To be honest I much prefer the third “Star” franchise, Stargate, eventhough it sadly isn’t on the level of these two in terms of popularity.

  12. I’ll say Star Wars, but it’s a close thing. I’ve never immersed myself more heavily in a universe than I have the Star Wars universe.

    Just for fun, I’ve ranked my favorite Star Wars/Trek films in order of my favorites.

    1. The Empire Strikes Back

    2. Star Wars: A New Hope
    3. Return Of The Jedi
    4. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
    5. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
    6. Star Trek: First Contact

    7. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
    8. Revenge Of The Sith
    9. Star Trek I: The Motion Picture (Director’s Cut would be #6)
    10. The Phantom Menace
    11. Star Trek (Abrams)
    11. Star Trek Generations
    12. Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

    13. Star Trek: Insurrection
    14. Star Trek: Nemesis
    15. Attack Of The Clones
    16. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

    • That’s awesomely geeky. :D YOu have Undiscovered Country ahead of Khan, huh? Interesting…

      You’re giving V a bad rap though, It’s better than Attack of the Clones. Then again, so is getting stabbed in the eye. ;)

      • Actually, I watched ST:V again recently with very much an open mind. At it’s conclusion, it was just as bad as I remembered. As bad as Attack Of The Clones was (and it was very, very bad), it at least can be appreciated from an eye-candy level, and Ewan McGregor’s performance is decent.

  13. So do you remember I at one time said you need to see a film called Free Enterprise? You still need to see it. I won’t tell you which franchise is deemed superior in that crowd (though you can probably guess, but I don’t want to spoil a couple of good jokes for you). I pick Star Wars. I loved Star Trek the TV show when I was a kid but the movies just were never good enough to compete with the excitement of a new Star Wars film coming out. I also never got into the later Star Trek shows like Deep Space 9 or Next Generation.

    If we’re going to weighTV shows into the mix here. then I want my chance to blather fanatically about my favorite Sci Fi franchise, Dr. Who!

    • LOL “do you remember I at one time said you need to see a film called Free Enterprise?” I do. I had that movie for a couple of weeks at least and it never left the red envelope. :( (There needs to be a term for that)

      LOL. Love all the other franchises being brought up. No WAY I’m watching 4,000 years of Doctor Who though in order to be knowledgeable about it! 8O :D

      • I understand, re Who (this is sacrilege to say but the Tom Baker ones put me to sleep). I still haven’t seen Shawshank yet either, but my sister now bought me my own copy so I can put it off indefinitely. I know, I know, it’s a REALLY GOOD MOVIE! LOL.

      • Yeah, I hear you, I know you’re right. There really does need to be a good term for that dragging your heels to watch a particular movie or sending a movie back to netflix without seeing it.

  14. Hi, Fogs:

    ‘Star Wars’. Episodes 4 though 6. With ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (Episode 5) being the best of the three. Also the 2003-2005, Genndy Tartakovsky animated ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ series.

    ‘Star Trek’ was a 1960s sci-fi series no one wanted. Until Lucille Ball and Desilu Studios took and interest, supplied the sets and sound stages and NBC bought the pilot(s) and later series. Hasn’t transitioned well to film from the start.

    • Awww. No love for Trek from Jack. I would disagree, Trek has been great, and the movies… well, they’re not the greatest flicks in the world, but I wouldnt trade them in ;)

      Meanwhile, yeah, that Tartakovsky series was awesome. Best thing to come out of the prequels! :D Plus it got me into Samurai Jack!! :D

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