It’s an ancient rivalry: Star Trek versus Star Wars. But though both franchises have their merits, and both have their fans, only one can be the best, and that one is Star Trek. Here are seven reasons why.
Reason One: There is more of Star Trek than Star Wars.
What with Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space 9, Enterprise, and soon-to-be-12 movies, the total runtime of all canon Star Trek material is over 22 days. Star Wars has three movies—six, if you count the prequels. The total runtime of all six movies is less than 14 hours. Though both franchises also boast a healthy extended universe in the form of novels, comics, and games, Star Trek handily beats Star Wars in screen time by more than 21 days. Let me rephrase that. Star Trek has over 37 times the material available for your viewing pleasure than Star Wars does. That is pretty much unbeatable.
Reason Two: Star Trek came first, and it looks like it’ll last longer.
The Star Trek franchise has the wonderful ability to both summon tremendous nostalgia and still produce sexy new stuff. To compare with Star Wars, the original Star Trek series debuted in 1966, and A New Hope came eleven years later in 1977. The Revenge of the Sith came out in 2006 and has a respectable 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, but in 2009 Star Trek starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto was released, and that holds an impressive Rotten-Tomatoes 95%. But wait, there’s more! There is a highly anticipated sequel to Star Trek coming out next year, which will have Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain. Squee!
Reason Three: Time travel!
Pop quiz! In Star Trek, has time travel been used to:
- Save whales
- Meet Mark Twain
- Rescue Earth from the Borg
- All of the above.
Spoiler alert: the answer is ‘d.’ If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home for the whales, The Next Generation episode “Time’s Arrow” for Mark Twain, and Star Trek: First Contact for the Borg. If you do know what I’m talking about, pop some popcorn and watch them anyway. You’re in for a treat either way.
Reason Four: Star Trek has more non—or part—human main characters.
Worf. Data. B’Elanna. T’pol. Kes. Seven of Nine. Q. And most prominently, Spock. Star Trek explores the mentality and inner lives of aliens far more than Star Wars ever did. We can’t even understand what Chewbacca and R2D2 are saying in the Star Wars films, but Star Trek gives loads of time to its alien and half-alien characters to develop their characters. A prime example (haha, get it? Prime?) is the reboot Star Trek, in which we get some delicious insight into Spock’s backstory. Most of Star Wars’ examples of non-human characters (excluding Yoda, may he rest in peace) speak in incomprehensible noises or are fat ugly crime lords.
Reason Five: Star Trek functions as an allegorical tool.
Gene Roddenberry’s original intent with Star Trek was to purposefully discuss issues and ideas that were cloaked in the allegory of futuristic space exploration. Though Roddenberry died in 1991, his tradition has been handed down through all of the series. Star Trek has discussed racism, homosexuality, death, AIDS, sentience, and more, and though it was sometimes heavy-handed or overdone, they often made for interesting discussions on the morality of characters’ actions.
Reason Six: Star Trek is geekier than Star Wars.
If you’ve seen Star Wars, congrats. You’re a normal member of society. However, if you are into Star Trek, you are part of a special community of people who share a deep bond. The geekier, the better! Not everyone has the stomach for a wriggling plate of gagh (live Klingon serpent worms, yum), but if you do, you can hobnob with the best of the geeks.
Reason Seven: Jar Jar Binks.
So live long and prosper, Trekkies. Let’s go re-watch The Wrath of Khan!
Where do you fall in the Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate?