The Star Wars vs Star Trek debate has been going on for decades now. Which franchise is better? Which characters resonate better? It has been going on for the better part of four decades, but now, thanks to J.J. Abrams taking over the Star Wars franchise, we are now in a peculiar environment where one person is now in charge of both beloved franchises. He’s one lucky guy; he gets to play in not just one, but two sandboxes that most people would only dream of!
I love both franchises, but if I had to pick a side, it would have to be Star Trek. I found the characters overall to be much more believable and relatable to me. The situations they found themselves in had more real world significance. The characters are also tested more, which is what you would expect in the real world. This isn’t surprising given that Star Trek at its best takes real world events and themes and transplants them successfully in the realm of science fiction.
Star Wars on the other hand, although spectacular entertainment, never really had the same emotional resonance for me. Luke, Han and Leia weren’t all that real to me. My appreciation of Star Wars resides in its spectacular execution; it’s just a really well told story with wonderfully rich visuals and exciting sequences. The philosophical and mythological aspects never grabbed me at any fundamental level.
Upon learning that J.J. Abrams was taking over the Star Wars franchise, my immediate reaction was to think that he was as good a person as any to take over from Granddaddy George Lucas. He has a sensibility for the material. He knows how to make it work. The only think he misses is real depth in storytelling. Although his reinterpretation of the Star Trek franchise was nothing short of awesome, and it was exactly what the franchise needed after so many television series and films flogged it to death, it was unfortunately light on depth in character and story. I still think it’ll be great though.
The bigger significance of Abrams taking over Star Wars is that for the first time, one person is in charge of both beloved franchises. Abrams is basically having his cake and eating it too! Does this mean there will be no more raging Star Wars vs Star Trek debates? Who knows, but at least these franchises should continue to deliver some quality entertainment from a filmmaker who has reverence for the material in question.