How New ‘Star Wars’ Borrows From Classic ‘Star Trek’

Indira Varma and Kate Mulgrew

Disney / Paramount Indira Varma and Kate Mulgrew

Despite what you may have read, there was no rivalry between the creators of “Star Trek” and “Star Wars.” In fact, to quote a Klingon from “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” the late Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas had only “sincere admiration” for one another. 

As Lucas told Rod Roddenberry (Gene’s son) in the 2011 documentary “Trek Nation,” he was a fan of “Star Trek.” Lucas attended “Star Trek” conventions in the 1970s and admired many aspects of Roddenberry’s creation.

“I started writing ‘Star Wars’ sort of in the heyday of the syndication part of ‘Star Trek,’” said Lucas. “I think the thing I was attracted to the most about ‘Star Trek’ is that it completely got rid of all the mundane, boring angle of real space and said, ‘Let’s go out where no one else dared to go.’” 

Roddenberry and Lucas

“I mean, it’s up to the artist to present things in an exciting and inspiring fashion,” said Lucas. “‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ are not reality shows. They are imagination shows. The story is the thing that really makes it work, and in the beginning with ‘Star Trek,’ that’s all there was … was story. And that’s what made it compelling.”

The Venn Diagram of fans of both franchises certainly has a lot of overlap. This is undoubtedly the case with the uber-Trek fans, the Inglorious Treksperts. Producer and writer Mark A. Altman and special effects supervisor Daren Dochterman recently took an episode of their popular podcast to recognize the anniversary of the opening of the original “Star Wars” in 1977.

Over the years, fans have accused the inheritors of “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” of borrowing concepts from each other. This was certainly the case when J. J. Abrams rebooted “Star Trek” with his film series in 2009. He even admitted that he was not a fan of Trek, but rather, he was a “Star Wars fanatic.”

“‘Star Trek always felt a little bit more sophisticated and philosophical, debating moral dilemmas and things that were theoretically interesting, but for some reason, I couldn’t get on board,” Abrams told the Radio Times in 2013.

Kylo Ren Interrogates Rey

Kylo Ren Interrogates Rey – Entire SceneScene where Kylo Ren Interrogates Rey.2016-04-07T04:58:25Z

Among the things Abrams brought over from “Star Wars” was making the Trek phasers more like the blasters used by Han Solo. He also increased the size of the Enterprise, which some called the “Supersize Enterprise,” to the size of an Imperial Star Destroyer. Abrams also gave the new Enterprise small weapons over the saucer section instead of the classic large phaser beam. He even snuck R2-D2 into one of his Trek movies.

But recently, “Star Wars” has been borrowing quite a bit from Trek. In the “Star Wars” prequel films, which were also helmed by J.J. Abrams as either a director or producer, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was positioned as a new Darth Vader. But unlike the classic bad guy, Kylo Ren did not need to torture people to read their minds. He used a ”Force Probe.”

In the original “Star Wars,” Vader used a mechanical mind probe to learn the secret location of the rebel base from Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). In “The Force Awakens,” Ren just used powers that were very similar to the Vulcan Mind Meld, which has been a staple of “Star Trek” since 1966. 

No Ma’am on ‘Star Trek’

Yes, Ma'am. Every Time in Voyager Someone "Yes Ma'am"s Janeway (Except Tom Paris)Every time Tom Paris says it: Patreon: Star Trek Games: Analysis and Conspiracies: Join this channel to get access to perks:

And in the latest episode of “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” viewers got another glimpse of Wars borrowing from Trek. In a scene where an Imperial captain (played by Indira Varma) was trying to enter a restricted area, she pulled rank on the other officer. He eventually allowed her to pass and apologized, saying that he was “sorry, sir.”

Unlike the U.S. Army or Navy, on which many futuristic military organizations are based, female officers are not called “sir.” They are called “ma’am” or by their rank. To do otherwise would be an awkward mistake, as this article explains. This is an homage to “Star Trek.” 

This has been happening in “Star Wars” for some time, as fans of “Clone Wars” noticed. “Star Trek” has been using “sir” for their superior female officers for decades. There was even a hilarious scene in the first season of “Star Trek: Voyager.”

Ensign Harry Kim (Derek Wang) called Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) “ma’am.” She replied that “ma’am is acceptable in a crunch” but that she preferred “captain.”

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