Dear J.J. Abrams: Star Wars is better than Star Trek.
Both are admittedly quintessential sci-fi series (which I both happen to like), and both are worthy of glamorous makeovers, but by so successfully taking on Star Trek, you've put a lot of pressure on yourself to make sure that the next Star Wars movie is even better.
Sure the lens flare every time someone turns on a lightsaber will take some getting used to, I believe that you (Abrams) offer a new hope (pun intended) to the Star Wars universe, capable of bringing a decent movie to a new generation of movie goers.
But it will be no easy task, and much is at stake, so in order to remind you of just how awesome Star Wars is, and why you should make an awesome Star Wars movie, here are 22 reasons why Star Wars is better than that last awesome sci-fi series you brought back to life, Star Trek.
Abrams, take note of the legacy you are carrying on. Everyone else, you may now engage in a debate in the comment sections and in your places of work that is likely to tear apart friendships, make enemies out of friends, and friends out of enemies. Go ahead, give into the Dark Side — they have the coolest ships anyway.
Do I really need to explain this one? While a boarding crew in Star Trek brings what I assume is an old Nokia phone that's more than likely "set to stun," a Jedi knight brings a more civilized weapon for a more civilized age, a glowing beam of light powered by a crystal encased in an elaborate hilt.
Coming in a variety of colors and styles, a lightsaber is able to cut through almost any material in the galaxy and deflect blaster shots and lightning (the super evil kind). A lightsaber also instantly makes whoever uses it at least 11 times cooler. Don't believe me? I don't recall Luke blowing up many Death Stars before getting a lightsaber.
In Star Trek, the Vulcans can pinch people's nervous systems in order to bring them down. In Star Wars, the Sith shoot lightning out of their finger tips! Basically a Vulcan's super power is the equivalent of a botched chiropractor visit, while a Sith can turn you into a singed pile of dust with nothing but his hands (and the dark side of the force obviously).
And while a well-placed blaster shot or a good cardio exercise can keep a Vulcan from getting close to your neck, you know what you need to stop force lightning? A lightsaber.
Star Trek has logic and stuff, but Star Wars has the Force, that mysterious form of power that only a select few are able to tune into and use to their advantage. Need to pick up the remote but don't want to get up from the couch? Use the Force pull. Need to get out that parking ticket? Use the legendary Jedi mind trick. Forgot your lightsaber at home and that Star Trek redshirt is getting ready to shoot you with his cellphone, er, phaser? Use Tutaminis to absorb the energy of his shot and then send him flying back with a good old push from the Force.
As long as you don't try to scientifically explain how the Force works (I'm looking at you George Lucas) and just leave it as that super cool mystical power, it's just cool. It also apparently helps you do triple back flips a lot.
These quasi-religious warriors and protectors of democracy, with their flowing robes and trusty swords made of light, are the epitome of manliness and virtue. Understanding and accepting of other cultures and views, patient in their dealings with others, selfless in their service, yet capable of carving their way through a crowd of droids and stormtroopers alike to protect those in need. A Jedi knight is the perfect role model.
Sure, being a space explorer going boldly where man has never been sounds exciting, but you're gonna have to call in the Jedi to solve things when Kirk "accidentally" messes things up and Spock is indisposed from pon farr?
Originally a highly force-sensitive species of red-skinned creatures living on the planet Korriban, the term Sith eventually became used to describe the followers of the Sith philosophy and religion, of following the Dark Side to gain greater power and freedom. More than a simple dark Jedi giving in to the temptation of the Dark Side of the Force, a true Sith is the ultimate bad guy in the sci-fi universe. Motivated by the desire of ultimate power, the Sith also have the unusual (unusual of sci-fi villains at least) of winning as often as they lose.
An ambitious Romulan admiral might orchestrate a political crisis near the Federation border in order to perhaps start a war and advance his own career, a Sith lord would orchestrate a plan that would take place over a millennia that involved destroying his opponents from the inside without them ever expecting it, bringing about the moral and political decay of society before striking from the shadows. If I had to pick, I would rather battle a Klingon than go up against the dark powers of a Sith.
Also, their synthetically powered red light sabers are extra awesome.
From the lonely wail of a twin ion engine to the locking of s-foils in attack formation, to doing the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs, Star Wars spacecraft rule the skies and stars of the geek universe.
Star Trek's USS Enterprise is no less iconic, with its warp drive technology taking its intrepid crew where man has never gone before, but I'm pretty sure she can't do the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs, or fly me safely though an asteroid belt when all the odds are telling me that I'll likely get as squished as those TIE fighters following me.
The Enterprise is iconic because it's in every single Star Trek film in some variation or another, but I'll take that super star destroyer and its lean arrowhead shape any day of the week (I just have to remember to intensify foreword firepower).
Jedi robes and pony tails, scoundrel jackets, Phase II battle armor, golden bikinis. Star Wars outdoes itself when it comes to costume design, making sure that its villains and heroes are remembered for their look just as much as they are for their lines. Darth Vader wouldn't be Darth Vader if he wasn't encased in his all-black power suit.
While Star Trek's one-piece jumpsuits are certainly easier to make for a Halloween costume, your typical Star Trek redshirt doesn't look half as cool as an Imperial Stormtrooper when it comes to being randomly gunned down without your character being developed.
Although this probably could have been classified as costume design, the aliens in Star Wars are just too awesome to be denied their own slide.
In the Star Trek universes, it turns out that all that separates humans from Vulcans is pointy ears and rigged foreheads. In Star Wars, even the little Jawa's look distinctly alien, with their small stature and glowing eyes. When Luke Skywalker enters that dingy cantina, he's confronted with a host of incredibly alien … well, aliens. From the bug-eyed to the rat-faced, from Wookies to Ponda Bubba. Star Wars takes the cake when it comes to awesome looking aliens.
Also, when it comes to green-skinned slave girls, Star Wars Twi'leks are clearly superior to Orions.
Go get your dictionary out. Look up "cool." See that picture of Han Solo in the definition box? No? Get a different dictionary, because Han Solo is as cool as cool gets.
He's a rogue, he's a scoundrel, breaking the law for a living and hanging out with some questionable associates. He's smug and suave, knows his role in life. But he's good at the end of the day, dependable, the kind of friend you want to have, and lives by his own code of honor.
He manages to defeat feared bounty hunter Boba Fett blind, manages to seduce a princess moments before being frozen in carbonite, and saves Luke from none-other than Darth Vader himself, thereby saving the galaxy by proxy.
Captain Kirk reads Han Solo stories at Scout camp and tries to be like him, Picard is uptight and follows the rules (though he does get bonus points for the accent). And if it ever came down to a fight, Han would win, because Han shoots first. Always.
The Great Pit of Carkoon once swallowed Boba Fett whole. After a week of terrible pain and suffering deep within the great beast's belly, it died and Fett flew out of its mouth.
So yeah, case closed.
Star Trek has the occasional local warlord, the rogue Romulan and the occasional Klingon warlord bent on creating havoc. Star Wars has a racist and totalitarian regime ruled by a pair of Sith overlords bent on twisting the galaxy to suit their own personal desires and ambitions … oh yeah, and the Empire actually wins most of the time instead of magically being thwarted at the last moment.
With their knack of creating overly expensive and gargantuan space stations capable of vaporizing planets (and then forgetting to put some boards up over that hole), vast armies, and potent arsenals, the Galactic Empire is the ultimate foe for anyone who enjoys not being oppressed. Following our band of ragtag rebels, Star Wars' Galactic Empire represents the ultimate and all-powerful opposition for us to hate.
The Empire is never truly defeated either, even after the death of the Emperor over Endor, the Empire carries on, eventually outliving the various republics set up by the successors to the Rebel Alliance.
From dog fighting with TIE fighters above the Death Star trench (Where is Biggs when you need him?) to capitol ships clashing above Coruscant, Star Wars is the king of space combat.
Based off of footage of World War II fighter pilots dogfighting with the enemy, Star Wars space combat is the best in the business, with the dog fighting lingo, and lasers flashing across the screen, the trench run to bring down the first Death Star set the bar for space dog fights. And the Battle above Endor is still the quintessential space battle.
Star Trek has ships, and it has lasers, but space combat in the Star Trek universe, even in JJ Abrams's reinvented universe and its upped special effects, fails to measure up. To quote Robert Ebert on the Wrath of Khan's battle sequence, it's a "particularly inept one that owes more to 'Captain Video' than to state-of-the-art special effects. I always love it when they give us spaceships capable of leaping across the universe, and then arm them with weapons so puny that a direct hit merely blows up a few control boards and knocks people off their feet."
What more needs to be said? A combat sequence well ahead of its time, in terms of effects and intensity, the Empire's assault on the rebel base had every kid staring wide-eyed as giant metal walkers blasted and crushed their way through the rebel defenses. No matter how many cables Wedge is able to tie around their legs, the Empire wins the day, leaving snow speeders burning out across the arctic landscape and the rebel trenches encased in smoke and fire.
Admit it, you've been humming the Star Wars theme song the entire time you've been reading this list. You probably didn't even notice it, but you were. That's how awesome the Star Wars theme song is. George Lucas himself has admitted that nabbing John Williams to create the epic score for his space opera was critical to the success of the films, and it's hard to see how he's wrong. Without the Imperial March, the Empire wouldn't have been half as menacing.
Star Trek has its own title theme, and the score for "Wrath of Kahn" stands up on its own two legs, but in the end it isn't half as iconic as the music of Star Wars. I actually had to look up the Star Trek theme as I was writing this, and I still ended up listening to the Imperial March instead.
The "Wrath of Khan" is almost universally recognized as not only the best Star Trek film, but one of the greatest sci-fi films ever. And it deserves its spot, with Ricardo Montalban's performance as Khan alone being worthy of cementing the film's status.
But while "Wrath of Khan" is great, "The Empire Strike Back" is still the king. The movie that made Darth Vader terrifying, the Battle of Hoth, Boba Fett, Lando, an even more scoundrel Han Solo. The darkest of the original trilogy, "Empire" takes the band of rebels we came to know and love in "A New Hope" and tortures them, freezes them, cuts off their hand and leaves them at the end of their rope at the edge of known space, and every single second of it is awesome.
Take a look at Rotten Tomatoes: "Wrath of Khan" holds an applause-worthy 90 percent approval rating. Know what holds a 96 percent? "Empire."
Guess which film the Library of Congress deemed worthy of storing in the National Film Registry? "Empire."
At each universes best, Star Wars still comes out ahead.
"The Phantom Menace," hands down the worst of the Star Wars films (JAR JAR!) at the very least entertains children with an awesome pod-racing scene and what many consider to be one of the cooler villain of Star Wars in the form of the horned Zabrack, Darth Maul. Oh, and Liam Neeson is awesome no matter how terrible the script.
"Star Trek V: The Final Frontier," just gives audiences the moral that pain is what makes us human and that we shouldn't go searching for God in the middle of the universe.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Star Trek V" gets a dismal 21 percent approval. "Phantom Menace," with all its terrible dialogue and Jar Jar, still manages a 57 percent approval rating. At its worst, Star Wars comes out ahead, according to the critics and the fans.
"Star Wars: A New Hope" set the bar for special effects, going bravely where no other film had yet managed to go. And while those 1977 graphics and effects may look dated now, they were a major step forward back then. Since then, and up to J.J. Abrams' take on the Star Trek universe in 2009, Star Wars has been one step ahead of Star Trek when it comes to immersing the audience into space battles and alien planets.
Star Wars is much more than the movies — it's thousands of comic books, dozens of games and hundreds of books. The fans have taken the Star Wars universe to the very beginning of the Jedi, to the wars between the Empire and the new Sith overlords of the galaxy more than a century after the rebel victory over Endor. Not all of it's been good, but then again a lot of it has been great. "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" remains not only one of the greatest video games ever, but one of the best Star Wars stories ever.
Whether dueling with Sith troopers 4,000 years before Luke Skywalker blew up the Death Star, or clearing out Trandoshan slavers on a Republic cruiser as a clone commando, or flipping through the story of Solo's descendants in comic book form, the Star Wars expanded universe offers massive amounts of content that Star Trek simply can't match.
"Never tell me the odds!" "The Force is strong with this one." "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away."
Sure, Star Trek has its fair share of memorable lines (if you don't randomly scream out "Kkkkkhhhhhaaaaannnnnn!" at least once a week, your life is sorely lacking) but Star Wars takes the cake if for no other reason than almost everybody under the sun recognizes a Star Wars quote when they hear one.
When I yell "Kkkkkkkhhhhhaaaaaannnn" in Wal-Mart because they're all out of chunky peanut butter, mothers just shield their children from me. When I do an entire skit in 7th grade drama class using nothing but Star Wars quotes, that blonde girl in the back stops listening to Arron Carter long enough to go, "Isn't that from Star Wars?"
Star Wars has the bigger fan base, and thus the bigger impact on society. While J.J. Abrams managed to introduce the younger generations to Star Trek, Star Wars doesn't have to be introduced, it's just there, always lurking in the background of pop culture.
While the Internet is rife with enclaves of Star Trek fans, and many a prominent scientist will geek out about Star Trek, in the end, Star Wars is the common man's "star" themed movie series.
A more measurable way to look at it; there are 12 Star Trek movies from the big screen. There are six Star Wars movies for the big screen (not counting "The Clone Wars," though I did enjoy that). Star Trek has managed $2,133,119,700 worldwide when adjusted for inflation for the entire series. Star Wars has made $4,277,000,000 worldwide when adjusted for inflation.
Because they really are that cool.
Once thought to be the galaxies greatest hope, he turned into its greatest enemy. Darth Vader, formerly Anakin Skywalker, is the true focus of Star Wars. The entire movie series is his rise, his fall and his redemption. The very sound of him breathing is instantly recognizable.
Darth Vader is the world's greatest villain — he's on a level Star Trek can't even touch. Sure Khan can give a dramatic speech over the communication screen. Darth Vader will literally choke you to death through one. He's also capable of wielding all those awesome force powers, and guess what, he has a lightsaber.
Hands down, any day of the week, anytime, anywhere, Darth Vader reigns supreme.