Don’t let the pacifist fans of “Star Trek” fool you. This is an all-out war. A war not between good and evil, or phasers versus lightsabers. This is a battle for eyeballs and pocketbooks.
Today, March 9, 2022, saw the latest salvo in popular culture’s titanic battle between the two most popular space franchises. “Star Wars” and its scrappy rival, “Star Trek.” While the latter is a bit older than the former, these two have been trading blows for years.
Thanks to “Star Wars” bursting onto the scene in 1977, “Star Trek” was given new life. What had been just a canceled television series was suddenly something special. Paramount Pictures transformed the possible low-budget movie of the week or television series, which was Trek, into a major motion picture. As most fans know, Trek has owned the TV screen, and Wars ruled at the box office. But now there is a new battlefront, where all the stakes are higher — streaming.
Both Disney+ and Paramount+ are staking their claims to be the home for adventure and science fiction shows. Disney might have the high ground in this battle, as they also own the rights to Marvel and all its characters. Paramount is betting a lot on “Star Trek,” and their strategy has meant that soon their network will be the only place to stream the 13 Trek films and all of the various series.
Fans can’t help comparing the two franchises. Gizmodo recently noted how Trek is doing de-aging in a way that makes sense by using it sparingly. Characters like Q (John de Lancie) are de-aged for just a few seconds to get the effect across. Instead of massive de-aging, Trek has largely cast new actors for the classic roles. Anson Mount is the new Captain Christopher Pike, and he’s the fourth actor to play the part.
“Star Wars,” meanwhile, is using new technology to bring back deceased actors and remove decades from older ones.
“What ‘Star Trek’ has done with figures like Q and Picard, ‘Star Wars’ has become too reluctant to try,” James Whitbrook wrote.
‘Strange New Worlds’
Today, fans worldwide were treated to two teaser trailers — one from “Star Trek” and one from “Star Wars.” Fans of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) can catch a glimpse of the failed Jedi warrior in hiding on Tatooine. The show looks to fill in some of the gaps between the original “Star Wars” film and “Revenge of the Sith.”
At 1:47 p.m. EST on March 9, 2022, the official Twitter account for “Star Wars” shared the new teaser trailer for “Kenobi.” Fifteen minutes later, the official Twitter account for “Star Trek” released their trailer for “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.”
Starring Mount as Pike, this teaser gives viewers just a glimpse of the captain on his horse in the snow. The narrator shares that many journeys lay ahead. “Our first visit from the stars is always the province of children’s stories — and science fiction,” says the narrator.
“Until one day… it isn’t.”
It strains credulity to imagine that Paramount did not post the new “Strange New Worlds” teaser in response to the post from “Star Wars.” The new Trek series will begin streaming on May 5, 2022, while “Kenobi” will debut on May 25, 2022.
Even if some fans are “sick” of hearing the comparison, it makes perfect sense that Paramount would want to compete with Disney — money. “Star Wars” is far more profitable than “Star Trek.” Wars has made $8.9 billion with their film series, while Trek has made just $5 billion. In a world where a Marvel film is expected to make $1 billion at the box office, these numbers are always within reach for a big blockbuster movie.
Trek and Wars are Different
True fans are aware of this difference. “Star Trek” is a story about improving humanity, exploration, and learning what lies ahead. While “Star Wars” is a space opera focusing mainly on action. Even though these two franchises are very different, they both occupy a spot in hearts and the stars for many fans.
As Penn State’s Danielle M. Conway stated recently, “Star Wars” is a Western, while “Star Trek” is a “thought exercise.”
“‘Star Trek’ posed almost intractable questions to the viewer,” Conway told the Centre Daily Times. “What happens if — what happens when — we have this dilemma? And I love ‘Star Trek,’ particularly the storylines around Data (Brent Spiner) and artificial intelligence because the ultimate question they kept asking is, is it human?”