By Michael Pineda
When it comes to science fiction, one of the greatest debates of our time centers around which is superior, Star Wars or Star Trek.
That debate seems relevant at this time given we are coming off May 4 and the release of Star Trek: Brave New Worlds a day later. Talk about two powers colliding.
I was one of those blessed to have seen the first Star Wars in the movie theater. I also fell asleep during the first Star Trek movie in theaters. To this day, I have no idea how it ends. I simply trusted my first impression.
The Star Trek movies improved with time, for the most part. Trekkies are fiercely loyal to the original show that set a new standard from 1966 to 1969.
There have been other notable contributions to science fiction, but they pale in comparison to these two iconic stories.
But how do the two really compare?
In their purest form, the stories revolve around two characters who have been orphaned, Capt. James T. Kirk and Luke Skywalker. Both can be impetuous at times. Luke would go on to botch his Jedi University and there was that little fall in love with his sister thing working against him.
Advantage: Captain Kirk.
As far as Princess Leia Organa is concerned, the closest thing Star Trek has in terms of competition is Lt. Nyota Uhura.
Some quick research indicates Uhura was voted one of the Top 50 sexiest characters of the science-fiction game, but she never had a gold bikini.
Advantage: Princess Leia.
Every show must have a side kick and this is a real debate. Han Solo was a half-witted, scruffy-looking, nerf-herder who vaulted into immortality on the cloud city of Bespin. When Leia revealed her love, he simply looked and replied, “I know.” How gangster is that?
Spock, on the other hand, had the Vulcan ears. He also had the catchphrase, “Live long and prosper.”
Don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure who is safer to stay at home.
In space as in high school, transportation counts. The Starship Enterprise is iconic. There is a force field, photon torpedoes and you can always beam in and out. That is a solid advantage.
On the other hand, how would it stand up against TIE Fighters and X-Wing fighters? Would it really want to stand up against an Imperial Star Destroyer which takes care of the Death Star’s light work? To be honest, the Enterprise wouldn’t have enough horsepower to take on the Millennium Falcon, which made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.
Advantage: Star Wars ships
When you have good guys, you must have villains. In Star Trek, there are Klingons and Romulans. Both have superior athletic skill sets and are highly motivated. They just never seem to get the big win.
Khan is a villain that also stands out. Boasting athleticism and intelligence, he gave Kirk fits. It took a real team effort to take him down.
On the other hand, you have storm troopers. They get their fair share of wins, although you have to take their marksmanship into question at times. Where the Empire had a true advantage was in leadership. Darth Vader and the emperor posed a formidable foe. You can pit every villain from Star Trek and you would have a tough time matching up.
Finally, there are the story lines. In Star Trek, you have a crew visiting worlds where no man has gone before. It is a mission of peace and discovery that sometimes ends up with Captain Kirk needing a new ship.
In Star Wars, you have a universe at war. For some reason, everything seems to evolve around a desert planet. Anakin and Luke Skywalker, Jabba the Hutt and C-3PO all hail from Tantooine. Even Obi-Wan Kenobi and Boba Fett took up residence. It was so popular, both Star Wars 4 and Star Wars 7 adopted a similar story line.
It would seem a possible win for Star Trek, but Star Wars marketing is too strong to overcome.
Advantage: Star Wars.
Summing it up, Star Trek is a nice show. With the movies, the even-numbered ones starting with Wrath of Khan were a step in the right direction. And I did not hate what J.J. Abrams did with the last three installments. In fact, the latest versions of Star Trek were superior to the Star Wars movies outside of Rogue One.
But nothing tops Star Wars IV, A New Beginning and Star Wars V, The Empire Strikes Back. That is the hill I will die on.