Live long and, with the Force, prosper
By Chandler Walter, Contributor
It’s a hard call to make, choosing between two of the most beloved sci-fi epics of all time—but a call must be made, a line must be drawn, and I am firmly on the side of Star Wars > Star Trek.
I am not actually arguing that Star Wars is the better of the two (“better” being a degree determined by enjoyment, personal affection, and a whole slew of other, unmeasurable factors), but rather that Star Wars is, without a doubt in my mind, the greater of the two titans of intergalactic mischief.
What it comes down to, for me at least, is this: We would not even be having this debate if it were not for Star Wars.
Sure, Star Trek was a great show—it broke racial and gender barriers, and it boldly went where no TV show had gone before. But it just does not have the same cultural or social impacts that Star Wars carried with it.
Star Wars brought science fiction to the masses. I can’t claim to have been around to take a straw poll back in the ’60s or ’70s, but I seriously doubt that Star Trek had the same massive appeal that Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie would bring to the big screen as of 1977.
The success of Star Wars at the box office showed movie-goers and big-budget producers alike that stories set in space, or other dimensions, or in the future, weren’t just some gimmick that only appealed to a niche audience, but rather that there was an entire galaxy of potential to be explored in the science fiction genre.
It is hard to weigh the two properly, seeing as Star Trek, even with all its spinoff full-length films, is at its core a series of television shows, while Star Wars, even with all its canonical books, TV shows, and fanfics, is at heart a series of stories told on the big screen, but that’s simply what we’re working with. A successful series of movies has a greater potential to influence society, culture, and humanity that a TV show ever could, and that’s exactly what Star Wars has accomplished time and time again.
I mean, come on—whenever Star Wars releases a new installment to the saga, it is a ground-breaking event, whereas Star Trek’s latest is hardly comparable.
Still enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but not nearly on the same tier.