I’ve often felt that the parallel drawn between Star Trek and Star Wars is an unfair one. Sure they are both space based adventures where galactic issues are played out with by the a heroic crew of characters but the two universes are very different. I would go as far as to say that comparing Wars vs Trek is like comparing Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings. Though both are high fantasies where a wizard guides a young protege in a battle against an omnicidal “dark lord”, the differences are more prominent than the similarities.
Star Trek is closer to pure science fiction, examining aspects of the human condition in a science fiction setting. Its the dream of a more utopian human race, and explores what are the limits of human potential. Star Wars conversely is more fantasy than sci-fi. The overarching story is a battle for freedom against an evil king, and the journeys of mystical nights. Its one of the most elemental “hero’s journey” in pop culture. Both are space operas but at different ends of the spectrum. I’m not going to get into which is better (though I totally have my own opinion on that). Each has its own merits and detriments, and appeal to different types of fan bases which may or may not overlap.
So JJ Abrams has gotten the reigns of Star Wars Episode VII. Don’t get me wrong. I like JJ Abrams. I’m a huge fan of Fringe. I thought Super 8 was awesome. I never got into it but I get the appeal of Lost. Though I may not have felt like it at the beginning, Cloverfield was an interesting take on a monster movie. Most of his work that I am familiar with is actually very Star Trek-esqe. It uses sci-fi concepts to explore the human condition. He breathed all kinds of new life into the Star Trek franchise in 2009, but that’s where the nerd rage begins.
Star Trek was a great reboot. My only substantive complaint was that the story was a little simplified. There was no “seeking out new life” or “boldly going where no one has gone before”. There was nothing that made you think. It was stopping the bad guy intent on killing the universe. It worked but, it was a little Star Warsian in the plot and pacing. The following video is not mine but sums it all up pretty well:
And all that’s okay. It launched a new series for my favorite program growing up. Yet with JJ Abrams handling both Star Trek and Star Wars I can’t help but worry that the two franchises will bleed together. After the prequel trilogy Star Wars really needs something fresh. I may have opined once that whoever the next villain is, he should lift elements of from Nero, namely his anarchistic outlook. But thats only because Vader and the Emperor where fascists. JJ Abrams may make a good film. He is talented but, will the style be similar? Will the scripts run parallel to an even greater degree? I worry what is an opportunity for something new and exciting could come off as derivative, or a rip off. I really want Star War 7 to be something grand. Both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises are epics in the truest sense of the word and deserve to be their own thing. I wouldn’t want to see Hobbits pop up at Hogwarts after all. JJ Abrams really needs to be careful he has Star Wars fans to please and Star Trek fans to compete with. Only time will see what happens.