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. Tough question, and dammit, no easy answer. For a escapist blast, I’d have to lean towards the Wars, but for a more intelligent outing, Trek takes the prize. I think both franchises offer much to a variety of audiences, and comparisons are going to range depending on a persons mood, hatred of Jar Jar Binks, or love of the copious TV iterations of Roddenberry’s creation.

    I guess if I HAD to nail it down, I’d go with Trek because it’s the “larger” of the franchises as far as scope and execution (although Disney’s new Star Wars plans are truly exciting) and I just love seeing the Enterprise in action.

    • I dont know how I feel about the “Movie Every Year” thing. That really feels like a recipee to be rushed. We’ll see. The LotR movies did it well. The Matrix movies and the Pirates movies not so much.

      LOL. Points for being the first to mention Jar Jar Binks, Rodney. :D

  2. I had to vote Star Trek. I loved loved loved Star Wars until the new movies came out. Now it just is a point of frustration. On the other hand, I spent much of my youth watching Star Trek. The original and Next Generation crews are like old friends to me. I love them so much. So while it was painful, I had to vote Star Trek.

    • Yup, that’s right where I’m at. I would have answered Star Wars in a heartbeat until the prequels and the CGI redos… now it’s kind of a coin flip for me.

      Its like you say, I spent so much time with the original and Next Generation casts that I have a really strong affection for them!! :o

  3. Oh, its not really even close actually. I mean I love me some Star Wars, no question, but Trek was formative. I grew up with Trek, I aspired to Trek. I do what I do and am who I am because of Star Trek, and honestly it has nothing to do with the movies. The movies came along way after those engrams had been formed. You know how theres a book called “everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten”? Well, everything I needed to know I learned from Star Trek, the Original Series. In 1968 (at the tender age of 4) I actually remember watching Star Trek on it’s first run. It was the very first “appointment TV”. We (my whole family) sat around a tiny B&W tv, with my dad getting up every 10 minutes to adjust the rabbit ears. And later the re-runs were the only thing which could get us to sit still at the dinner table. Star Trek was my first convention, my first ‘cosplay’ (a term which didn’t exist at that time), and also was integral to my losing my virginity (…and no power in the ‘verse will get me to tell that story. No power in the ‘verse.) My mom still loves to tell people that when I was very small I used to ask my barber to cut my hair ‘Like Captain Kirk’. And now, working at NASA, Star Trek is a cultural touchstone in a way that Star Wars could never be. No engineer, no scientist, no astronaut, no physicist, astronomer or even TV editor would list Star Wars as being one of the reasons they’re there, but MOST of them will happily add Star Trek as one of the things that got them there.

    Taking nothing away from Star Wars, which as a 13 year old boy in 1977 I thought was the apex of all things cool, but its not even close.

    Warp factor 8 Mr. Sulu. Thatta way.

    • “and no power in the ‘verse will get me to tell that story. No power in the ‘verse” Donnnn’t worry. We’re all grateful you stopped when you did 8O

      I hear you, Star Wars was more that thing in my youth. The movies, the toys, I went as Han Solo to a college Halloween party. Thankfully, that’s where it ends for me 8O.

      Little Gelf was quite a Trekkie though, that’s pretty cool. :D

  4. I’m gonna go with Star Wars (surprise, surprise). ;) Han Solo was my hero when I was a kid, and Empire Strikes Back remains my all-time favorite movie. But, I’ve also gained a deeper respect for Star Trek as I’ve gotten older. And J.J. Abrams has been luring me closer to the dark side with his Trek films. ;)

    • It’s not a total surprise, but you have been proclaiming your admiration for the first Abrams Trek film quite a bit, so it might have had a chance…

      At the end of the day though, no, not surprised you chose Star Wars, Ash ;)

  5. Not sure what’s left to contribute after 138 comments, lol, but here’s what I think.

    I find the whole Trek vs. Wars thing to be really bizarre. They’re two franchises that are in totally different genres. They both have lots of marketing behind them, with toys, shows, etc., but they really have nothing to do with each other outside of that. It’s kind of like comparing Red Dwarf with Battlestar Galactica or something. Yea, they both take place in space, and………….uhh……that’s about it.

    But since it was asked, Star Wars can be fun for what it is, which is fantasy escapism. I happen to think most of the movies aren’t that good outside of Empire, but cases can be made for ep. IV and VI, at least in part.

    Star Trek, on the other hand, is traditionally about envisioning a future where humanity got over being the shitty bastards we are right now. It examines moral and ethical dilemmas and asks the viewer to mentally participate and engage their mind. That’s the kind of stuff I gravitate toward, so my answer would be that Star Trek is better than Star Wars in just about every way imaginable. That’s not to say there’s nothing to like about Star Wars, but in a head-to-head comparison, it’s kind of unfair.

    Then again, Star Wars has the holiday special, which Star Trek will never be able to live down….errr, boast about.

    • “Not sure what’s left to contribute after 138 comments” – Comment 139? LOL

      LOL at bringing up the Star Wars Holdiay special, I actually thought about bringing that up in the “Tale of the Tape” :D

      You’re right about the utopian aspect of Trek being a huge selling point, especially with the original series, where racism was much more prominent than it is today in this country 8O

      The comparisons between the two isnt that bizarre though… they’re both sci fi properties with a lot of outer space going on, and they both start with “Star”. People are gonna compare. :|

  6. Trek all the way! No disrespect to Wars. Both have a different philosophy and originate in a different era, however the messages in Star Trek were more entertaining to me.

  7. A Great Debate indeed Fogs.

    Although i enjoy Star Trek a lot, my choice would be Star Wars.

    Here are their strenghts in terms of Entertainment value.

    Star trek
    -well organized and behaved federation
    -intelligent dialogue
    -plenty of lessons in humanity
    -the Technological advancements and Technical terminology
    -the use of science and the outer space : portals, black holes, gamma rays, etc..
    -Spock’s character
    - the design of the Enterprise flight deck
    -the Borg
    -Ricardo Montalban as Khan
    -plenty of movies and tv episodes

    Star Wars
    - some words of wisdom
    - a few valuable lessons in humanity
    - Wide variety of Technological advancements
    -Wide Variety of Space Ships in different sizes
    - Wide variety of Settings or Planet Habitations – ex: Dagobah, Tatooine, Corrruscant, Icy planet, Cloud City, Death Star, etc..
    - Wide variety of characters/personalities of all sorts (who can count them?)
    -Wider variety of combat methods- the power of the force, sabers, dog fights, etc..
    -Wider variety of spectacular action sequences
    - Perhaps the most intense and largest scale conflict between Father and Son portrayed on screen.
    -Powerful endings and climactic moments (particularly in episodes 4, 5, 6)
    - Ongoing conflict between the underdog rebels and the empire
    - The Jedi Order (strong references to Samurai)
    - the omnipotent Force and its use for good and bad.

    Fogs, i am sorry about getting carried away.

    This the only post i have seen debating the topic.

    but i will leave you with this: If Hollywood would be symbolized by a huge palace, The Star Wars franchise would represent one of the Giant Pillars upfront, that keep the building standing. Star Trek would be one of the medium-sized precious monuments kept inside.

    • Glad to see Ricardo Montalban in the plus column for Star Trek Martin :D Dont worry about getting carried away, I enjoy that… it’s a sign that people are getting “into” the discussions we have here. That’s what its all about!!

      It’s a great list of bullet points on either side, I’m sure it could even be expanded, or we could add a negative column too, like Jar Jar and Medicholorians for Star Wars :roll:

      I’ll focus my response on that last sentence though. I agree in part – if we were to focus on the movies, then, absolutely, you’re right. But if we add in the tv shows, Star Trek gains near equal footing. That original series is a beloved classic, as is TNG. Combined with the solid movie franchise, I think it measures up to Star Wars quite nicely. Let’s use our poll here as way of illustration… Star Wars isn’t exaclty killing Trek after 100 votes or so :|

      Nice break down though buddy, I like the breakdown of the comaprative virtues! :D

      • Great picture there of Ricardo and his crew, Fogs.

        and Thank you for understanding about getting carried away. i sometimes enjoy it too when discussing favored topics like Science fiction.

        Yes, like any or most films, they have their weaknesses. JarJar is one. The Medicholorians is slowly occuring to me as another.

        About your second to last paragraph, you are right.
        But
        one would think that after all the numerous Trek episodes and movies, that they could have surpassed the success of 6 Star War movies by now.

        Your poll says that they haven’t even come too close.

        At the end of the day Fogs, please allow me to ask this hypothetical question:

        If every voter in this poll were standing at a movie theater where there was a surprise one day showing for a New Star Wars movie and a New Star Trek movie, and each one only had money for one movie ticket.

        Which one, do you think they would go for?

        I have a feeling that some of the Star Trek voters here would sway at that moment- Simply because they know how great a Star Wars film can be.

        just my opinion Fogs, out of enthusiasm for the topic.

      • You’re right, that’s a good way to illustrate things. I’d go to the New Star Wars movie, too. It’s not a perfect argument, because we are talking about comparing things that have passed (those hypothetical movies wouldnt feature either franchise in their prime, that time has gone by…), but it does illustrate the difference in appeal pretty well.

  8. I do not believe the epic bromance of Kirk and Spock can be equaled, but that is simply my opinion ;) I also prefer the lighter atmosphere of Trek over the ominous tone of Wars, and yes that’s the opposite of what I’d usually say, but space cinema is different. If you’re out in a crazy scary place, I appreciate cracking a joke now and then!

    • Mmmmm… Star Wars had some humor along the way, too, though. The droids were definitely there for humor beats, I’d say.

      But the tone was definitely lighter in Trek. No doubt about it.

      I think the Han/Luke bromance is a pretty good one too though Livi! They could give Kirk/Spock a run for their money I believe! :D

  9. Trek. Trek does almost everything Star Wars does, and does it better. Star Wars has Darth Vader, and more alien Aliens. That’s about it.

    While Star Trek is actually Science Fiction, it has episodes/movies that are more fantasy/adventure, like Star Wars, that (in my opinion) do the job just as well. Trek was more influential and formative. Star Wars really only broke ground in Merchandising. It merely contributed to the advent of the Summer Blockbuster that Jaws started. All of it’s work is derivative of already popular works, whereas Trek brought forth some really original ideas and Sci-Fi standards to the public eye.

    I’m only making these comparisons ’cause you’ve got the gun to my head, right now, though. This is really like comparing Sea Horses and Sea Lions, because they’re both in the water and have “Sea” in their name.

    • Well, yeah, so… that’s why people are always comparing the two! I take Sea Lions, presonally, they’re bigger and can be trained, but… that may just be me. :D

      Star Wars was derivative, no doubt about it. LOL. There was a video I saw once that compared the dogfight scene in “Star Wars” (the one where Han and Luke shoot tie fighters from the milenium falcon) to a WWII dogfight scene and it was almost exactly the same note for note. LOL 8O Of course, like a lot of derivative works, it should get credit for the mix and for what it brings new to the table!

      It’s as good a rationale as any for picking one over the other. ;)

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  11. Definitely have to go with Star Wars here (and I’m not even really a fanboy of that either, especially not in comparison to some…some that may be on this very page even).

    For me Star Wars is just the better franchise, though. Better written, it’s a much more intelligent and fantastically epic saga. Not to mention, Hans Solo beats Kirk or anybody else Trek can offer up, hands down. And to add to that Darth Vader is the greatest sci-fi villain there is.

    • Darth Vader WAS the greatest sci-fi villain ever… until we got his backstory, and then I had problems erasing it from my mind. :( %#^$&*@ George Lucas.

      I dont know that Star Wars is more intelligent than Trek, in fact that’s probably one of the attributes most people see in Trek, but it definitely is more “Fantastically Epic”. Especially if you focus on the first three movies!

      • I don’t count the prequel trilogy when talking about Star Wars in general lol.

        And “intelligent” might not be the proper word there. Maybe more “profound”, more of a saga with depth and narrative layers.

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