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Gene-Roddenberry-And-George-Lucas

Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas shake hands

I’ve just got back from a Star Trek convention in London and felt inspired to write an article on why Star Trek and Star Wars should stand side by side not at arm’s length. I’m proud to call myself a Star wars fan and also a Star Trek fan.

Ever since I was a child, and particularly with the advent of the internet, the two franchises have generally been seen as two camps. Either you’re a Star Wars fan or a Star Trek fan. You can’t be in both camps is the general consensus with fans. I’ve seen fans at comic cons get quite irate explaining why their love for their chosen franchise is better than the other one. This could be seen as just passionate and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there is definitely a more serious side to the fan base and sometimes a little ugly. On The Bearded Trio site which I created and help run I cover Star Wars and Star Trek.  I’ve had emails from Star Wars fans asking why I have Star Trek material on my site and that I should stop. I’ve even been called a traitor. I’m always happy to explain that I love both Star Wars and Star Trek equally and the two are in my opinion closer than most people think.

Yes there are huge differences between the two. That part is obvious. Star Wars is set in another galaxy while Star Trek is set in ours. One can be described as science fantasy while the other is science fiction or even a space opera. I’ve had Fans approach me and explain that the two are completely separate and one never needed the other.
But in reality if we look at the history of the two franchises they’ve definitely needed each other. Let’s first look at Star Wars needing the federation. Without Star Trek, Star Wars would have had great difficulty in taking off. George Lucas himself said in the Trek Nation documentary:

‘Star Trek softened up the entertainment arena so that Star Wars could come along and stand on its shoulders.’

‘There was an effective group of people in the beginning who accepted it… that it wasn’t that far out. For the studios it was way far out, [they said] ‘what is this?’ but there was a fanbase out there – primarily the Star Trek fanbase -who understood sci-fi, understood visual sci-fi, and was ready for something like [Star Wars] to be in the feature arena.’

George Lucas considers himself a ‘Trekkie’ according to the book ‘Skywalking: The Life And Films Of George Lucas’ and has cited Star Trek as his inspiration for working with sci-fi. He also finds hypothetical “war” scenarios distasteful.

Well if it’s good enough for the creator of Star Wars then it’s good enough for me.

george-lucas-leonard-nimoy-2014-530x353

George Lucas and Leonard Nimoy

Looking at the flip side of the coin and why Star Trek needed Star Wars we have to go back to the release of Star Wars in 1977. The huge success of the movie saw Paramount scrambling to bring their Star Trek back and ride on the success of Star Wars. Initial plans were to bring it back to TV called Star Trek: Phase Two but this was scrapped in favour of a movie. Leonard Nimoy who played Spock said himself on the documentary ‘Star Trek: The Captain’s Summit’ ‘we all owe a big thanks to George Lucas.’

Without Star Wars in 1977 it’s conceivable that Star Trek would have been destined to re-runs of the original series on TV and nothing more.

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek admitted he liked Star Wars on the Trek Nation documentary.

“I like Star Wars. It was young King Arthur growing up, slay-slaying the evil emperor finally. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of entertainment.”

Again if it’s good enough for Gene its good enough for me.

Behind the scenes the two franchises have crossed paths. Industrial Light & Magic helped bring the magic of Star Trek to the big screen. Who can forget that magical Genesis scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan?

J.J. Abrams was called upon to direct Star Wars VII after displaying his ability with a huge franchise and directing two Star Trek movies.

Perhaps it’s only natural to be pigeon-holed into one camp or the other. I’ve seen it in other fandoms too. Back in the eighties I had a Sinclair Spectrum computer. Instantly it was assumed I hated the Commodore 64 by my friends in school as that was the assumption in those days. I didn’t, I loved both. That still continues today with the Xbox and Playstation. Pepsi and Coca Cola, Android or iOS or even cats and dogs. Friendly rivalry is healthy but I also think there is nothing wrong with loving both if the quality is there and when it comes to Star Trek and Star Wars it’s definitely there. So I have no issues with showing my love for the two. They are both important to me and both act as a comfort blanket. The only problem is choosing which one to watch.

Thank you George and thank you Gene.

Live long and prosper, may the Force be with you all

Rob Wainfur

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5 Comments

  1. birdonabird
    October 12, 2014 at 09:59 Reply

    I think it’s funny when people act as if you have to choose. I can’t think of any other fandom like that. I admittedly tie more closely to Star Wars presumably because I had more of a penchant for fantasy in my younger days. But Star Trek was a staple of my childhood as well, and I saw all the new films in theatres with no less enthusiasm. And of course they’ve spent decades informing each other; they wouldn’t be what they are now without the other.

  2. Aaron Harris
    October 12, 2014 at 13:02 Reply

    Excellent blog Rob!!! You can definitely enjoy both franchises equally. I know that personally cause during the dark times of my Star Wars fandom, it was Star Trek I turned too. I enjoyed the movies, the TV shows, novels. Anything I could get my hands on I was reading and enjoying. I was even building the bridge of the Enterprise out of legos to act out my own fan fictions. Now that my Star Wars fandom has reawakened, Star Trek hasn’t taken a second seat. I still love watching episodes of The Next Generation on BBC America. I still watch the movies anytime they are on. The missions of Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway and Archer mean as much to me as the saga of the Skywalkers. I will go as far to say that if not for my Star Trek fandom, my Star Wars fandom may not of have reawakened as fervent as it has. Thank you for the excellent blog!

    FYI, I’m so jealous you made it to Destination Star Trek! Hope you had fun!!!

    May the Force be with you….and live long and prosper!

  3. Brian McVickar
    October 13, 2014 at 17:18 Reply

    I’ve been a fan both Wars and Trek for as long as I can remember and never had a problem. Sometimes I’m in the mood for one, sometimes the other, why do I have to hitch my wagon to just one sci-fi series? Just because they both have “Star” in the title? Are Doctor Who fans unable to also enjoy Star Wars? It’s a pretty silly debate.

  4. Pam Bruchwalski
    October 13, 2014 at 20:21 Reply

    Great blog entry! I have never, ever understood why Star Trek and Star Wars “had” to be at odds. I’ve always loved them both, and to me, it makes sense that the mind and heart of one who loves one would love the other. Live long and prosper in a galaxy far, far away…

  5. Melinda
    October 15, 2014 at 19:45 Reply

    “The only problem is choosing which one to watch.” … only if they happen to be on at the same time. 😉

    I hope you had an awesome time at the ST convention, Rob! 🙂

    I’m with you. While I consider myself more a fan of Star Wars than Star Trek, I like the latter very much. I grew up on the original series with Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Mr. Scott, and during the void when we didn’t have much in the way of Star Wars, I had Star Trek: The Next Generation and Voyager to turn to. (Say what you will, but I liked Captain Janway’s no-nonsense approach to leading her crew. Then, there was the fact that a WOMAN commanded a Star Fleet starship! Pretty darn impressive! 🙂 ) I never got into Deep Space Nine, but I know individuals who were loyal fans.

    I don’t understand the divide some fans of both franchises create. Both franchises got generationS to dream, to imagine, to set their sights on the stars. We’ve all benefited from this simple fact. 🙂

    I wonder what the conversation between Yoda and Mr. Spock would sound like … 😉

    MTFBWY 🙂

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