Overheard debates: Star Wars versus Star Trek. Who wins?

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 at 11:54 PM
Overheard debates: Star Wars versus Star Trek. Who wins? by Nathan Brennan & Erica Burkholder
Graphic: Hannah Flynn

There are many overheard debates in the Spectator office. This week, two editors take on the classic question of who owns the sci-fi genre. Star Wars or Star Trek.

Which franchise do you prefer? Why?

Nathan Brennan: Let’s just say, the force is with me. Always. I prefer Star Wars over Star Trek, any day. I grew up with the movies, and I love all the characters (that last statement isn’t true, Jar Jar Binks would beg to differ.) Overall, they have a lot more material to work with and build on, so they can get deeper in with the characters in a way some other franchises cannot with their movies and TV shows.

Erica Burkholder: Star Trek. Anton Yelchin’s (may he rest in peace) Chekov drew me into the 2009 movie, and I never looked back. Star Trek is about exploring, about keeping people free and about helping each other out. That’s what I want in things I watch, a reminder of who I should be.

Have you watched both of them? When did you first watch them?

NB: I first watched Star Wars as a young padawan, so I very much grew up with it. I only watched Star Trek when the movie came out in 2009, and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t have enough deep understanding of their characters to enjoy it thoroughly.

EB: I got into Star Wars first (my dad is a big fan and he got me into it as a kid), but unlike Nathan, once I watched the 2009 movie I got sucked in and delved deeper into the Star Trek world.

Which franchise do you think has had more influence on the world?

NB: Definitely Star Wars. If you mention classic villains, what’s the first name you think of? Darth Vader. The “Imperial March.” “No, I am your father.” Just classic moments in cinema, and billions of dollars later, and you have one of the most influential franchises of all time.

EB: Star Trek. I am aware of the fandom Star Wars has, but Star Trek changed the world. It gave us the first interracial kiss on television; it gave us the base of what most fandoms are today; and you can’t undo what it did just because you like another franchise better.

What is representation like in your preferred franchise?

NB: It’s getting better. With every trilogy, we bring in more and more of the universe, and in doing so, we get to see more diverse people and races alike.

EB: It’s been amazing. I’ve already brought up the first interracial kiss, and Sulu in the new movies is gay, a major step for mainstream sci-fi.

What television series is the best presented by your preferred franchise and how does it compare to the other?

NB: The best Star Wars series thus far is likely the “Clone Wars” series. I like “Rebels,” but “Clone Wars” is more consistently good. There’s plenty of character development, especially for the individual clones like Rex, and it make this series a logical extension of the stories set up by the movies. The addition of Ashoka to canon is one of their best decisions, and there’s more of a chance to like Anakin Skywalker, which makes this a wonderful series.

EB: This may cause controversy, but the original series is the best to me. I know that its special effects are horrible by today’s standards, but have you ever just sat down and watched any of the show? The storylines are amazing, (Mirror-verses and Greek Gods on abandoned planets? All while the crew fights to protect each other because they’re more than a crew, they’re family? Yes, please) and it reminds you how hopeful people were when we first went to space, along with how we should be that hopeful and helpful to others today.

What movie is the best provided by your franchise and how does it compare to the others?

NB: “Empire Strikes Back” is the ultimate classic of cinema and the crowning achievement of the franchise. Cementing its popularity in the community and in the world, “Empire” has endless amounts of foreshadowing and symbolism, and the iconic Darth Vader father reveal sets the bar high for future Star Wars movies and sci-fi alike.

EB: This is a tough question. It’s tied between the third movie in the reboot series, “Star Trek Beyond,” and the second of the original movie series, “Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan.” “Wrath of Khan” calls to me because people spent years thinking Spock was dead, and I know I would have lost it if that happened to me. Also Kirk screaming “Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!” is a very iconic scene. The latest Star Trek movie reminded the world that the Enterprise crew is a family and that they stick together, and I’ve never been happier for a movie (though I cried my eyes out after the dedications to Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin.)

Nathan Brennan | ae.spectator@gmail.com
Erica Burkholder | voices.spectator@gmail.com

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