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Star Trek vs. Star Wars: which one is better in 2023?

Dylan Roth

For as long as both entities have existed, fans of science fiction and fantasy have debated the merits of Star Trek and Star Wars . But for most of the 45 years that the two franchises have overlapped, Star Trek and Star Wars haven’t actually had much in common, apart from their cosmic setting. Star Trek is an aspirational sci-fi series set in humanity’s future, while Star Wars is a bombastic fantasy adventure that takes place in a far-off galaxy. One has primarily lived on weekly television, while the other has broken big-screen box office numbers.

Star Trek and Star Wars have both leaned heavily into fan service

The streaming era has let both franchises experiment.

  • The streaming bubble is forcing Star Trek and Star Wars to pump the brakes — and that’s good

However, in recent years, both Star Trek and Star Wars have become tentpoles for their parent companies’ subscription streaming services , Paramount+ and Disney+ , respectively, each pumping out a steady stream of content in an ever-widening array of formats. This has led them to encroach further into each other’s territory than ever before. Star Trek vs. Star Wars is no longer an apples-to-oranges comparison — they are directly competing products, sharing some of the same ambitions and struggling against the same environmental forces.

We will likely never settle on which space franchise is the greatest of all time, but we can take a moment to ask: Which is better right now?

  • The Acolyte’s first trailer embraces the Dark Side of Star Wars
  • One year ago, Andor changed Star Wars forever
  • At SDCC, Strange New Worlds goes full musical and more Star Trek trailers

Studios have become increasingly risk-averse during the streaming era, and that’s meant relying on recognizable brands with loyal fanbases who will remain subscribed to a service as long as there are new releases within their favorite fictional universe. However, this dependence has also left streamers at the mercy of those same fans, who can now use social media to converse with creators or even make demands. While this can lead to crowd-pleasing moments like the return of popular characters or the inclusion of fan-promoted memes back into the product, it can also create a feedback loop in which creators continue to serve audiences slight variations on whatever fans say they like rather than expanding their worlds or telling new stories.

Over the past two years, both Star Trek and Star Wars have released series that are representative of this shamelessly fan-oriented approach. In 2022, Paramount+ released the first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds , a prequel series set aboard the original USS Enterprise and starring Anson Mount as Captain Kirk’s predecessor Captain Christopher Pike. This series was prompted by a vocal fan campaign after legacy characters Pike, Mr. Spock, and Number One were featured in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery in 2019. A petition to give these characters their own spin-off received over 30,000 signatures, eventually leading to Strange New Worlds receiving a series order. Happily, the fans were right about this one, and Strange New Worlds has become more than just a nostalgic throwback to classic Trek , but exactly the shot in the arm the franchise needed. The series retains the episodic format of pre-streaming Trek series, but benefits from modern production values, a charming cast, and a sense of joy and wonder that the serialized Trek shows Discovery and Picard have yet to deliver.

The recent third season of Star Trek: Picard  has also been a serious crowd-pleaser, reuniting the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation for one last 10-hour adventure. Though certainly the most recursive and least imaginative new installment of Trek’s streaming era, it has been wildly popular among fans, well-received by critics, and is the first Trek series to make a dent into Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 streaming charts. A petition to launch a sequel series featuring Picard ’s younger cast members has surpassed the one that demanded a spin-off for Pike’s Enterprise, with over 44,000 signatures to date. There is a vocal online contingent that wants to hand the keys to the franchise to this season’s showrunner, gushing Star Trek fanatic Terry Matalas.  

The current state of the Star Wars Galaxy should be a warning against that particular future for Star Trek . While ascended fan and George Lucas apprentice Dave Filoni has produced some of the best Star Wars television, such as the animated Star Wars Rebels and the incredible final season of The Clone Wars , his insistence upon building every new series directly on the back of the last one has left the Star Wars galaxy feeling both smaller and more confusing than it has in decades. Characters’ stories weave between animated and live-action series, making each product harder to follow on its own. Important character beats for the main characters of The Mandalorian are resolved in The Book of Boba Fett . Ahsoka is a live-action spin-off for the popular Clone Wars character, but is also a sequel to Rebels , seeded in a number of Mandalorian episodes . Die-hard fans will have no trouble following this and delight in getting to see their favorite animated characters brought to life in live-action follow-ups, but this comes at the expense of what has always been Star Wars ’ greatest advantage over Star Trek : accessibility.

Meanwhile, the desire to tickle fans’ nostalgia glands with returning characters from the franchise’s past has resulted in creative misfires like the most recent Star Wars feature film, The Rise of Skywalker , the underwhelming Obi-Wan Kenobi streaming series, and the ghoulish practice of digitally applying the faces of young Mark Hamill or the late Carrie Fisher onto new actors. These are indications that even the unstoppable forces of time and death will not dissuade Disney from recycling the most popular Star Wars elements ad infinitum. That way lies madness.

Point: Star Trek

Prior to the streaming wars, Star Trek and Star Wars each had their own clearly defined lanes. Star Trek was weekly television that occasionally spun off into feature films, aimed at adults but also fostering a family audience; Star Wars was a film series that very rarely dabbled in TV, fun for all ages but plainly angling for a toy-buying audience. There had never been a Star Trek series specifically for kids (not even the short-lived 1970s Star Trek: The Animated Series ), nor had there been a Star Wars release that was made solely for adults. Over the past two years, however, both franchises have set their sights on the other’s target audience, with encouraging results.

In 2021, Paramount+ and Nickelodeon debuted Star Trek: Prodigy , a 3D animated action-adventure series aimed at kids under 12. Sporting a cast of colorful alien teenagers and a decidedly Star Warsian tone, Prodigy explores the Star Trek Universe from the perspective of complete outsiders, making it a perfect on-ramp for a young new fan. Prodigy is like no other Star Trek show before it, and yet it is still essentially Star Trek — a show about curiosity, cooperation, communication, and tolerance — winning it the enthusiastic approval of many adult Trekkies. It’s also a lot of fun, the sort of show that could easily capture the same sort of audience that The Clone Wars garnered during its earliest, most kid-friendly seasons. Naturally, it has spawned a toy line and a tie-in video game but is unlikely to compete with Star Wars to become a merchandising juggernaut.

Conversely, 2022 saw the release of Andor , the first Star Wars offering that feels totally adult-targeted. While still not explicitly sexual or any more graphically violent than the feature films, Andor is a slow, dense, character-driven drama that would bore most kids to tears. It is, nevertheless, one of the best new shows on television, the sort of series that could ably compete with Succession or Better Call Saul  in the acting, writing, and directing categories at next year’s Emmys. Even after the relatively gritty Rogue One: A Star Wars Story , to which Andor serves as a prequel, few fans predicted that a new Star Wars series would emerge that had so little interest in being commercial or toyetic.

And yet, its radical politics and revolutionary vigor are a perfect modern extrapolation of George Lucas’ original intent behind Star Wars , a film inspired by the Vietnam War in which the well-armed, well-funded government and military are the bad guys. It’s the side of Star Wars that was buried under mountains of merchandise as Lucas built his own Empire. Rival Star Trek has always been more overtly political, but with Andor , Star Wars has delivered an incisive dose of agitprop that would make Gene Roddenberry blush.

Point: Star Wars

The streaming bubble is forcing Star Trek and Star Wars to pump the brakes — and that’s good

As recently as 2022, both Disney and Paramount were betting the farm on streaming, spending unbelievable sums to pump out new installments of their most expensive franchises year-round. Disney+ debuted three live-action event series ( The Book of Boba Fett , Obi-Wan Kenobi , Andor ) and a set of animated shorts ( Tales of the Jedi ), totaling 23 weeks of new Star Wars content on the app. That same year, Star Trek hit critical mass, with a whopping 51 new episodes premiering on Paramount+ across all five of their ongoing series ( Discovery , Picard , Lower Decks , Prodigy , and Strange New Worlds ). As both services continue to hemorrhage money, it’s become clear that this breakneck pace of new content is not sustainable. Returning Disney CEO Bob Iger has ordered Lucasfilm and Marvel to slow the rollout of their planned streaming series in favor of more theatrical releases, and a trio of new Star Wars films was announced at 2023’s Star Wars Celebration event. Meanwhile at Paramount, Star Trek: Section 31 , once planned as an ongoing series, is being retooled as a TV movie, with plans for new standalone Trek specials every two years . This strategy may allow Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman’s “Phase Two” of streaming Star Trek to explore new angles for the franchise without committing each of them to a pricey ten-episode season order.

While it’s true that a more conservative approach to either franchise could result in fewer big swings like Andor , it could also strike a blow against mediocrity. During the peak streaming era, mediocre installments like Picard season 2 or The Book of Boba Fett did little damage to their streamers’ credibility, as there was always another release right around the corner that might potentially make up for it. This pattern could continue uninterrupted for years, with a steady stream of good, fine, or outright bad Star Trek or Star Wars and very little great Star Trek or Star Wars . The less we get, the more valuable each new chapter will be, and the more invested everyone — from creators to fans — will be in its quality.

Individually, both upcoming franchises’ upcoming slates represent an exciting variety. Star Trek ’s most uneven pillars, Discovery and Picard , are wrapping up, but Strange New Worlds , Prodigy , and the animated sitcom Lower Decks continue to go boldly in markedly different directions from each other (though Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks have a crossover episode coming up this year). Section 31 promises to be something totally new for Trek , a spy-fi adventure starring Oscar-winner Michelle Yeoh. A new series, Starfleet Academy , is also in early development. Across the divide, Star Wars has the hotly anticipated Ahsoka coming out this summer, with more Andor  and The Mandalorian on deck. Star Wars: Visions , the exciting anthology of animated shorts created by studios around the world, is back for another season this year, and the trailer looks positively dazzling. Middling animated series The Bad Batch is coming to an end, seemingly putting the Clone Wars-adjacent era to bed for a while, while upcoming series The Acolyte and the three unnamed feature films will each take place in a different time periods, expanding a galaxy that has started to feel strangely claustrophobic.

Both of these upcoming slates look promising, but the sheer variety of announced Star Wars projects is simply too enticing to deny. However, whatever your individual preference, fans of space sci-fi will have plenty to argue over for years to come.  

Point and overall winner: Star Wars

Editors' Recommendations

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  • How do I get into Star Trek? A guide to how to watch the beloved sci-fi franchise
  • The Mandalorian

Dylan Roth

The writers' strike has lasted about one-and-a-half months so far, and it doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon. And now, Disney is making some major schedule changes to almost all of its upcoming franchise films. Avatar fans are going to feel it the most. Avatar 3 has been pushed back a year from December 2024 to December 19, 2025. The other sequels, Avatar 4 and Avatar 5, have been delayed to December 21, 2029, and December 19, 2031, respectively. That's a three-year delay for both titles from their previous release dates.

Marvel's 2024 slate is also getting a big shake-up, with Captain America: Brave New World moving away from its summer opening slot on May 3, 2024, to July 26, 2024. The Thunderbolts movie is shifting from July 26, 2024, to December 20, 2024, the former release date for Avatar 3. That will make it only the second MCU movie to be released in December after Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Star Wars eras are defined as much by their villains as by their heroes. While Emperor Sheev Palpatine is the overarching evil mastermind behind the entire Skywalker Saga, he’s never truly been the face of the franchise. That honor falls to the grim reaper of the galaxy, Darth Vader. His intimidating stature (provided by bodybuilder David Prowse), booming voice (courtesy of James Earl Jones), and menacing helmet (designed by Ralph McQuarrie and sculpted by Brian Muir) have made him an immortal pop culture icon. But what about his successor from the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)? Positioned as the new hotness among merciless enforcers of space fascism, it seems the man once called Ben Solo never really got his due as a top-shelf villain in cinema’s most inescapable franchise. With the Skywalker Saga now years in our rearview, it’s time to reevaluate the question: Who is the better character, Darth Vader or Kylo Ren?

Darth Vader is unquestionably cooler than Kylo Ren

In the long and storied history of TV, there have been plenty of great sitcoms. From All in the Family to Friends to Seinfeld, popular, critically-acclaimed situational comedy shows tended to bring plenty of awards with them, and they also ran for an insanely long time. Two of the more recent shows to vie for entries in the pantheon of all-time great sitcoms are undoubtedly The Office and The Big Bang Theory. 

Although the two shows overlapped in their runs, they represent two fundamentally different approaches to sitcom storytelling. The question remains, though, as to which show is actually better. Let's break it down in a couple of crucial ways: Which one is funnier?

Why Star Trek Is Better Than Star Wars

star trek better than star wars reddit

You've heard it a million times before. Nerds can't stop fighting over which is better, Star Wars or Star Trek . It's an understandable debate, since one franchise has decades of intelligent and exciting stories, characters, and aliens, and the other one has laser swords and sand wizards. But even though we love both franchises dearly, the choice is clear: Star Trek is unquestionably superior to the George Lucas Space Muppet Extravaganza. Scoff all you want, but our logic is inescapable.

There's Way More Star Trek Than Star Wars ...And Most Of It Is Better

For starters, there's just so much more Star Trek to consume than Star Wars . Including the Star Wars prequels and J.J. Abrams' 2015 flick, that makes seven in-cannon movies. Throw a few cartoons in there, a couple of movies with Ewoks, and that's about it. Meanwhile, Star Trek has a whopping 12 films, five television series with a combined total of almost 30 seasons, and an animated series. Is every episode of Star Trek a five star powerhouse? Of course not. Can we agree that there are some pretty rough Trek movies? Definitely. But when you compare the win/loss columns of both franchises, Star Trek easily comes out on top with way more good stuff than bad. And at least Star Trek had the good sense to stagger its good and bad movies. Those Star Wars prequels were just a never-ending parade of Gungan-flavored suckitude.

Star Trek  is Way More Complex, and That's A Good Thing

Sometimes a little moral ambiguity can make for a much more compelling—dare we say, intelligent—story. The best conflicts in stories involve two sides at odds with each other, each thinking they're doing the right thing. No such ambiguity exists in Star Wars . If you need proof, here's a reminder: the Empire names its ultimate superweapon the Death Star. Twice. Just to make sure that the audience remembers that they're the bad guys.

People Solve Problems Through Hard Work, Intelligence, And Diplomacy…Not Space Magic

That's just ridiculous.

And it only gets worse! The prequels show a young Anakin Skywalker falling into a spaceship and accidentally blowing up the droid control ship and saving the day. Even the worst moments of Wesley Crusher flying the Enterprise don't hold a candle to how unbelievably dumb that is. Star Trek depicts a world in which hard work, dedication, and cooperation can win the day. Star Wars is a world where a lucky few are born with magic bugs living in their cells that let them move rocks and shoot missiles well. Which world sounds better to you?

Star Trek Deals With Actual Issues, Instead Of Just Giving Us An Escape From Them

One of the main goals of Star Trek from the very beginning was to find a way to tell important stories that affect us today in the guise of science fiction. The original series confronted race relations, socialism, unchecked arms races, the role of humanity in a society relying more heavily on machines...the list goes on. That's the power of science fiction; it provides a safe place to explore important themes and ideas. Star Wars , meanwhile, has some really neat looking podrace scenes. Oh, and don't forget about those wacky robots!

Star Trek Depicts An Aspirational Goal For Our Terrible Human Race

So go ahead and enjoy your Star Wars with the Willennium Falcors and the light-savers and planet of the teddy bears. We'll be over here trying to find a way to invent the warp drive and take our place as an enlightened species among the stars...

20 reasons Star Trek is better than Star Wars

Commentary: In the long-running Star-Trek-or-Star-Wars debate, strong arguments can be made for both sides. Here, we offer some points that Luke won't appreciate.


Why Star Trek > Star Wars

When it comes to nerd rivalries, it's hard to beat the decades-long siege pitting fans of Star Wars against devotees of Star Trek. In anticipation of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" arriving in December, we corralled a couple Star Wars and Star Trek fanatics from CNET parent company CBS for a friendly (mostly) installment in the long-running debate over which is best -- and why.

As you can see by the gallery's title, this is the pro-Star Trek side, fronted by Leslie Gornstein. (Don't worry, Jedi knights. We have your response here. )

The first reason why Star Trek will always trump Star Wars? This guy. Before Han went Solo, Captain James Tiberius Kirk was slinging his earthy swagger in the furthest reaches of the galaxy. And thanks to the amazing maneuverability of the Enterprise, you can bet he could make the Kessel Run in way fewer than 12 parsecs.


None of this guy

There are no Gungans in the Star Trek universe. And that is a big plus, given that Jar Jar often feels both crassly commercial and evocative of racial stereotypes. (Wall Street Journal critic Joe Morgenstern once famously called Binks a "Rastafarian Stepin Fetchit on platform hoofs, crossed annoyingly with Butterfly McQueen.")

Star Trek, meanwhile, is also void of Ewoks, which, according to many fans, reek of a naked merchandising grab -- "essentially Native American teddybears," Indiewire once said , "ready to be snapped up and snuggled by countless children the world over."


The tech is real

Star Trek was influenced by an all-American vision of a space-age future. In turn, America's future is now being influenced by Star Trek. Tricorders (like Dr. Crusher's, there), communicators and other devices once reserved for the Paramount lot are now, slowly but surely, making their way to the rest of us.


Time travel

Time travel shows up all over the place in the Star Trek franchise, including as a pivotal part of the 2009 movie reboot. Star Wars has, um, hyperdrive?


Badass women

Sure, Leia and Padma can handle their blasters, Ahsoka Tano is the fastest Jedi to bear a lightsaber, and Asajj Ventress is just scary.

But count the number of battle-ready women in the core Star Trek universe with their counterparts in the very extended Star Wars universe, and there's really no comparison. Uhura the Greater (that would be Nichelle Nichols) begat the steely-eyed Uhura the Lesser (aka Zoe Saldana); Kate Mulgrew helmed an entire ship as Captain Janeway; Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) brought invaders to their knees as head of Enterprise security; Shahna of Triskelion (Angelique Pettyjohn) is cited by scholars as a prime example of an early female TV gladiator; and genocide survivor Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) held it down in Ten Forward. The list goes on and on.


Smarter villains

Darth Vader is cool, what with the breathy mask and lightsaber skills and intimidating cloak. Darth Maul could sure put up a fight. But when it comes to villains with smarts as well as strength, the Star Trek universe wins. Just think of Khan, whose superior brainpower comes from selective breeding, versus Vader, whose dark-side powers come from being, well, super angry.

(Khan, by the way, has been played by two actors with deep wells of fans: Ricardo Montalban in the original series and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" and Benedict Cumberbatch in 2013's "Star Trek into Darkness.")


Well, OK. It's not just tribbles. It's Star Trek's whole approach to humor -- smart, subtle, something that builds and often stems from the characters themselves. Star Wars? Sure. It has humor. If you think Jar Jar Binks is funny.


Cooler robots

Yes, Star Wars may have more realistic- looking robots. But thanks to the presence of the unique life form known as Data, Star Trek certainly has cooler robots. Think we're wrong? Consider this: Can C-3PO have sex? Exactly.


So much sexy

The Star Trek universe is just sexier. Exhibit A: this Vulcan who almost married Spock.


A whole new language

The Klingon language: It's a real thing. With a real institute. With real people who speak it. Look it up .


The catchphrases

Star Trek has brought us highly quotable quotes for any occasion: "Live long and prosper," "Beam me up, Scotty" and"To boldly go where no one has gone before," to name but a few.


A focus on science

Star Wars has a beautiful, almost classical mythology to it. That's really nice. But the Force, a wellspring of supernatural occurrences, is essentially quasi-religious mumbo-jumbo. Star Trek's imagined future can sometimes be so fanciful it's silly, but at least it celebrates science, a discipline that is often underrated and underplayed in pop culture.

Star Trek even has science officers, like Spock.


Better conventions

Nobody dresses like this for Star Wars conventions. Yes, there's plenty of good Star Wars cosplay out there, but Star Wars really doesn't have the decades-long convention culture enjoyed by Star Trek fans.


A genuine respect for critical thinking

Star Wars has many noble values. Curiosity and critical thinking are not among them; Jedi padawans are encouraged to keep their yaps shut, isolate themselves from the greater world, and submit themselves completely to the Force and their masters.

Star Trek? To heck with that. If Bones here is questioning conventional medical wisdom or someone in authority, that just means it's Tuesday.


Are there holodecks on the Millennium Falcon? No? Call us when Han installs one.


So much more to love

So far, the bulk of the Star Wars saga has taken place over six (soon to be seven) films. The original Star Trek series alone had 79 episodes. TNG produced a breathtaking 178, including rare gems such as "Lower Decks," which dedicated a main storyline to the Enterprise's unsung ensigns. As far as the big screen goes, a dozen Star Trek films have been released and at least two more are on the way.


Real social issues

Good versus evil, the anchor of the Star Wars universe, is a nice, safe theme in any genre. Know what isn't? Racism. Homophobia. War crimes. Drug addiction. Abortion. The Star Trek universe has tackled them all, often before it was cool to do so.

And speaking of tackling issues, the Star Trek universe has routinely, since the very beginning, had diverse crews that included esteemed actors such as Michael Dorn, George Takei, LeVar Burton, Nichelle Nichols, Zoe Saldana, Whoopi Goldberg and Avery Brooks.


Just look at the Enterprise

The Falcon is kind of a Frisbee compared with the Enterprise.


Cooler communications

If you want to get a message across the Star Wars galaxy, you need either a headset or a robot willing to carry your holographic message across enemy lines. But you can't even hang in the Star Trek universe without a big ol' flat screen on your bridge and a communicator pinned to your uniform.


The Vulcan salute

The hand gesture that accompanies Spock's cherished motto, "Live long and prosper," has grown so popular that upon Leonard Nimoy's death, the White House called it "universal." The salute has even been flashed on the International Space Station. In the Star Wars universe, there's simply no equivalent.

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Star Trek vs Star Wars Debate at 39th Space Symposium: Who Won?

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SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust, third from left, moderates the Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate Thursday at Redwire’s booth during the 39th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. Credit: Brian Berger/SpaceNews

The clash of the titans finally happened, and it wasn’t between starships in a distant galaxy but rather between fervent fans of two of the most iconic science fiction franchises: Star Trek and Star Wars . 

The battleground? The RedWire booth at the 39th Space Symposium , where passions flared, arguments flew and a winner was declared by none other than former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine himself.

Moderated by SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust, the April 11 debate saw Team Star Trek, represented by Redwire Chief Growth Officer Mike Gold and NASA Chief Technologist A.C. Charania , go head-to-head with Team Star Wars, consisting of Jessica Noble , general counsel at iSpace Technologies U.S., and Camille Bergin, better known as The Galactic Gal . 

The event was no mere clash of fandoms; it was a battle of ideologies, with each side arguing the merits of their beloved franchise. Team Star Trek argued for its optimistic vision of humanity’s future, spearheaded by the ideals of exploration, diplomacy and cooperation, as epitomized by the Federation and its starship crews. Team Star Wars, meanwhile, championed the epic saga’s timeless themes of heroism, destiny and the eternal struggle between light and dark, not to mention Ewoks , Han and Chewie .

Bridenstine, who dodged the “Star Trek or Star Wars?” quagmire during his tenure by citing Space Balls as his personal favorite, ultimately judged Team Star Wars to be the winner of the Redwire debate.

However, the outcome wasn’t without contention. Team Star Wars walked away with the victory, but the crowd audibly leaned in favor of the arguments put forth by Team Star Trek. 

Watch and decide for yourself!

Who won the Star Trek vs Star Wars debate? — SpaceNews (@SpaceNews_Inc) April 12, 2024

Brian Berger

Brian Berger is editor in chief of SpaceNews.com and the SpaceNews magazine. He joined SpaceNews.com in 1998, spending his first decade with the publication covering NASA. His reporting on the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident was... More by Brian Berger

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8 things Star Trek did better than Star Wars

There are a lot of similarities and comparisons to be made between Star Trek and Star Wars, but one franchise outdoes the other in these eight ways. Let's explore how.

Star Trek and Star Wars , two of the biggest franchises in the science fiction nerdom, have always been subjected to comparison and competition. Both have an impressive catalog to their names, including movies, TV shows, video games, toys, comic books, and endless space adventures. As similar as the two giants may be, they are entirely different in terms of storylines and characters.

While Star Wars excels in certain aspects, there are some areas where Star Trek arguably does a little bit better of a job. That's not to say the Star Wars franchise isn't good at these things, but it's not quite on the same level as its counterpart. Let's explore the eight ways in which Star Trek outshines Star Wars.

Join me today as I clearly choose violence and dare make statements and comparisons between the two that will definitely get me some mixed responses.

And, before I go any further, I'd like to make a statement: I was raised with both franchises equally, and I love them both very much.

Here we go.

Character dynamics and relationships

When it comes to dynamic duos, the Captain Kirk and Spock tag team from Star Trek really steals the show. Kirk, the fiery and passionate leader, plays off against Spock, the cool-tempered and logical second-in-command. This set-up creates a fantastic push and pull between emotion and reason, leading to some pretty intense moments – I mean, who can forget logical Spock's sacrifice in The Wrath of Khan ?

Star Wars , on the other hand, tries to pit spiritual/Force believers against skeptics/non-Force believers. This dynamic doesn't seem to pack the same punch, at least in my opinion, and it's also a little too close to religious debates we see or experience in our lives. Sure, you get some interesting debates on the nature of the Force and all, but it's not quite the same raw and gripping conflict as the "heartfelt emotion versus cold logic" showdown we get In Star Trek .

Star Wars has given us plenty of memorable character interactions and dynamics, but we have to give this one to Star Trek.

Let's face it, Kirk and Spock's friendly rivalry, connection, and deep bond is really hard to beat.

A much stronger history of diversity and representation

Star Trek 's diversity outshines Star Wars by a significantly clear margin, not just by casting more diverse roles sooner but because it does not feel like a sudden attempt to make up for the mistakes of its past. Star Trek has held this diversity record since its inception in 1966. Right off the bat, The Original Series featured three main female characters, including an African-American woman on its cast, Nichelle Nichols, and a gay Asian man, George Takei.

Star Wars , on the other hand, originally showcased a majority of white characters, touching on diversity only with the Disney movies in 2015. I say "touching" on diversity simply because it feels like Disney has been slow when it comes to finally catching up with other studios in terms of diversity and representation. And their attempts to right those wrongs have been clear.

All of that said, I am very hopeful that Star Wars will become more organically diverse. With Ahsoka on the horizon, which features three amazing leading ladies playing equally fantastic characters, I have a feeling things will change. Ahsoka, Sabine, and Hera are established characters with solid backgrounds and character arcs, and I am hopeful this is a turning point for the franchise, paving the way for more diversity and representation in the future.

Social themes

What's really neat about Star Trek is that the saga is not just another "galaxy far, far away" kind of tale that you get with Star Wars . Instead, it acts like something of a mirror, reflecting our own societal issues, despite being set in outer space and in a futuristic timeline. It doesn't just provide an escape from reality, it has a knack for tackling big, topical, and relevant subjects, including (but not limited to) racism, sexism, nationalism, and war.

What makes Star Trek special is how it uses the narrative of space exploration to tell tales that hit very close to home. Sure, we are dealing with aliens, starships, and far away planets, but the stories themselves dive deeply into themes we see every day on the news. They might be larger-than-life stories, but they are told in a very personal manner.

This gives Star Trek an edge, adding a layer of depth to its storytelling and characters. It's like it's whispering, " Hey, these are your stories too ," making the whole experience feel much more profound and uniquely relatable to each individual viewer.

Star Trek has never shied away from mature and relatable themes such as these and that makes it resonate with audiences more.

Romantic storylines

When it comes to romantic relationships, Star Trek does it the best. You've got the complicated relationship between Captain Kirk and Edith Keeler. Then, there's the riveting romance between Captain Picard and Nella Daren. These romances aren't just about cute sighs, googley eyes, and cheesy lines – they have their own complexities and depth that engage the audience and keeps them invested.

In the reboot movies, Zoe Saldana's Uhura's relationship with Spock, played by Zachary Quinto, also adds a refreshing romantic aspect, showing us the Vulcan's softer side. Star Trek: Discovery shows how the bond between human Michael Burnham and Klingon Ash Tyler challenges the typical romance with a narrative full of conflict and mystery, while the much more tender relationship between Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) is one of the most prominent same-sex relationships in the entire franchise.

Switch gears to Star Wars , and it's a whole different ballgame. The only romance that really stands out as somewhat organic or real is the one between Han Solo and Princess Leia, and (spoiler alert) it doesn't last. It's a bit over-the-top and hard to take seriously at times. And please don't even get me started on Anakin and Padme. I mean, their love story in the prequels is about as exciting as watching paint dry, and is literally shoved down our throats as their dynamic isn't even played well (and that's not Natalie Portman's or Hayden Christensen's fault). Big age difference apart, their relationship is rather cringey and it's ultimately there to serve two purposes: bring Anakin to the Dark Side and produce Luke and Leia. And that's not even mentioning that attachments are forbidden to the Jedi. Which often causes more issues than solve some.

Science and realism

When it comes to the science-y side of things, Star Trek takes the cake. What I mean is, right from the beginning of the franchise, Star Trek sets out the rules for its technology – they make sure you know what's what, and what's not. You've got things like the Holodeck and communicators, which are all pretty cool, but they're also pretty believable. They do take the time to explain how all the fancy gadgets and technology stuff works, so it all feels more, well, real.

On the flip side, Star Wars kind of leaves you guessing, to a degree. They're always introducing new rules and powers, but they very rarely dive into the why of it all. You're just supposed to roll with it, I guess. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a good Force push or hyperdrive jump. But sometimes, I'm sure all of us Star Wars fans have been left scratching our heads, thinking, " Wait, how does that actually work ?"

And with the streaming side of both shows now expanding horizons and possibilities, this will continue to be a debate between fans of both properties. But for now, it's one that Star Trek wins.

Moral compass

One thing I really appreciate about Star Trek is its mature approach to morality and its complexities. It's not just about flashy space battles or first contact with alien races. The franchise as a whole truly digs deep into ethical dilemmas, societal structures, and the fallout and consequences of hard decisions. Unlike Star Wars , which is mostly about chosen ones and royal bloodlines, Star Trek doesn't rely on the narratives of inherited power. Instead, it shows a future where democracy and meritocracy reign, giving it a nice, fresh take on power dynamics.

And here's another thing, Star Trek doesn't pull any punches when it comes to consequences (I'm looking at you, Rise of Skywalker ). Characters have to face the music for their actions, regardless if they're good or bad. I mean, look at how the series deals with war crimes, authoritarianism, and the ethics of exploration.

On the flip side, Star Wars often gives its characters a "get out of jail free card" (looking at you, Rise of Skywalker….. ), especially when it comes to redemption. Remember how Anakin Skywalker turned into a genocidal maniac as Darth Vader, which is much more represented in recent shows like  Kenobi , but yet he gets a heroic send-off just because he saved his son in the end? In Star Trek , actions carry weight, and I can't help but appreciate the honesty in the way they choose to tell their stories.

Unique and complex villains

Darth Vader is a legend. An icon. He's got this menacing aura that's hard to ignore. But, where's the real complexity in his character? Why don't we see more of the evil acts he commits, the reasoning behind them, and the "real" Vader? We did see a glimpse of the real threat he represents at the end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and in that amazing episode in Kenobi , where he literally kills innocents to draw out Obi-Wan. But, when it comes to villains who are truly intriguing, Star Trek does it a little better with its baddies because it gives them seriously thought-out backstories and motivations.

You've got Khan, whose revenge-driven persona keeps you on your toes. Then there's Q, an entity as powerful as he is mysterious (and slightly annoying), and the Borg, whose hive mind idea is pretty creepy (and makes sense with what the Borg are). There's also the Dominion, Klingons, and Romulans, each with their distinct cultural complexities and conflicts. Even the Doomsday Machine and Mirror Universe characters add their unique flavor to the mix.

Now, don't get me wrong, Star Wars has its share of villains, and they're not half bad. But you'd be lying if you didn't admit that they all kind of strike the same note. There's the amazing Darth Maul with his badass double-bladed lightsaber, and General Grievous, the chronically asthmatic droid commander with a hobby of collecting Jedi lightsabers. Even the power-hungry Palpy Emperor Palpatine fits right in.

Each one gives off this undeniably Dark Side vibe – it's like they're all different verses of the same tune. They're really cool, they're mostly mean, and they've got their iconic moments, for sure. But, when it comes down to it, they're all cast from a similar, if not the same, mold. Most of them seem to lack the depth and variety that the Star Trek villains bring to the table. That's not to say there aren't some epic Sith out there , because there are. We just don't get to see them often because Disney doesn't know how to use them properly or pretends they don't exist.

I said what I said.

Better dialogue

It's safe to say that the dialogue in Star Trek hits a bit different, in a good way, compared to Star Wars . This is coming from the woman who has a sticker with  Y.W.T.C.O.I.W.S.T.Y.W.D.T.S.N.J.T.B.B.T.T.F.N.L.I.I.D.I.H.Y.Y.W.M.B.A.I.L.Y. on her things. If you know what it means, high-five!

Regardless, both franchises have created their own unique universe, but when you're in the zone, Star Trek's dialogue just tends to roll off the characters' tongues more naturally. Star Trek's dialogue doesn't just deliver plot points and defines character interactions – it's given us cultural staples that have been used ever since The Original Series aired in 1966.

The dialogue in Star Trek is so much more than just about communicating facts and plot points. There's an essence of philosophical debate, scientific explanation, and even an exploration of what it is to be human. It's this multi-layered dialogue that adds a degree of intellectualism, making it feel more like a space exploration saga rather than just a sci-fi fantasy.

In Star Wars , the dialogue tends to be more straightforward and binary—think the constant Light Side vs. Dark Side debates. But in Star Trek , it's less black-and-white. The characters often discuss and deal with complex ethical dilemmas and talk about potential consequences of their actions. This rich dialogue, along with the iconic catchphrases, gives Star Trek an edge.

Star Trek and Star Wars both have their unique appeal and strengths. Some argue they're completely different genres altogether, which isn't wrong. However, when it comes to character dynamics, diversity, social themes, romance, science, morality, villains, and dialogue, Star Trek seems to outshine its sci-fi counterpart by more than just a little.

Are you a fan of Star Wars and Star Trek? Do you prefer one over the other? 

8 things Star Trek did better than Star Wars

10 Fundamental Differences Between Star Wars & Star Trek

Star Trek and Star Wars are similar, but there are fundamental differences make it seem like they belong in two different genres.

Star Wars has long been one of pop culture's biggest franchises, a juggernaut that brought sci-fi to the masses in a way few other movies or TV shows have.  Star Wars has left an indelible mark on the world with  over eleven movies , multiple TV shows, comics, and novels. However, for Star Wars to run, Star Trek had to walk.

RELATED: 10 Greatest Star Trek Villains Of All Time, Ranked

Whether it be its award-winning TV shows or its many movies, Star Trek has been a standard-bearer for complex sci-fi concepts. Star Trek and Star Wars are similar, but there are fundamental differences make it seem like they belong in two different genres.

10 Star Wars Takes Place In Another Galaxy And Time

Star Trek takes place in the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th centuries in the Milky Way galaxy, with humanity having joined other interstellar races to ensure peace and prosperity for as much of the galaxy as possible. Star Wars, on the other hand, doesn't take place in the Milky Way. It doesn't even take place close to contemporary times.

Each movie begins with the words, "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." This huge difference sets the stage for every  Star Wars movie, but doesn't exactly clear up when it takes place.

9 Star Trek Feels More Futuristic While Star Wars Feels Weirdly Contemporary

Star Trek' s characters, especially the human ones, represent an evolution that completely recasts society. While not every species is as enlightened as those of the Federation, like the Klingon, Ferengi, or Cardassians, the characters don't seem like ordinary people. They act as if they come from a society that has evolved.

Even though it takes place in another galaxy, Star Wars feels contemporary in many ways – a dirty, corrupt galaxy with characters that the viewer can relate to. There are differences between  the Jedi and the Sith and how they comport themselves , but Star Wars  and Star Trek characters have massive differences in viewpoint.

8 In Star Trek, Technobabble Saves The Day

Star Trek  emphasizes the science in "science fiction" way more than Star Wars. Even the original series, which was more known for philosophy , used a lot of technobabble, something later shows and movies would lean into.  Star Trek shows even brought on science advisors to give the show's science some grounding as time went by.

RELATED: Star Wars: The Clone Wars: 5 Ways Season 7 Was Worth The Wait (& 5 It Wasn't)

"Reversing the polarity" of something is one of many tropes that Star Trek brought to the pop culture lexicon. There are so many episodes where Data, O'Brien, or Scotty employ some hardcore technobabble that saves the day, using science to solve problems.

7 Star Wars Is Way More Mystical

Star Trek likes to use realistic-sounding science to solve problems, but Star Wars goes in a completely different direction. While there is a lot of high technology in Star Wars , it's not nearly as important to the plots of the shows and movies as the mysticism is.

The main crux of Star Wars is the conflict between the light and dark sides of the Force, as exemplified by the Jedi and the Sith . While not every bit of Star Wars lore deals with mystical parts of the universe, it's much more prevalent than in Star Trek, where the amount of actual mysticism is just about nil.

6 Star Trek Plays With Philosophy And Questions Morality In Complicated Ways

The Star Wars Universe is a black and white place where there are good and evil, but very few shades of grey in between.  Star Wars is extremely simplistic with its outlook on things, and while it sometimes tries to grasp deeper topics, it rarely manages to do so in a thoughtful way.

Star Wars is as subtle as a brick to the head.  Star Trek has always been known for getting more philosophical, musing on the nature of morality.  Star Trek  delves into how a futuristic society should comport itself, how people should treat each other, and more.

5 Star Wars Is More About The Spectacle Than Anything Else

The limit of television production budgets means that Star Trek isn't as visually stunning as Star Wars . Some of the most memorable parts of Star Wars have been the explosive action, fantastic set pieces, and the lightsaber battles. Spectacle has always been one of the most important parts of Star Wars, overshadowing just about everything else.

4 Star Trek Characters   Are More Realistic

One of Star Trek's strengths over Star Wars is how realistic the characters can be in comparison. Part of this is how much more screen time Star Trek characters get than Star Wars ones. With Star Wars, there's not enough time to get too far into the characters – even the TV shows concentrate more on the action than the characters for the most part.

RELATED: 15 Strongest Star Trek Ships, Ranked

Star Trek 's characters go through so much more than Star Wars'  because there's more content . This makes the characters more realistic, allowing audiences to understand them and their complexities better.

3 Star Wars Is All About War

Star Wars has a big difference with Star Trek right in its name – the word war instead of trek. This focus on war has stayed with Star Wars throughout its existence; pretty much every piece of Star Wars media deals with conflict.

The only parts of  Star Wars canon that hasn't entirely dealt with war are  The Mandalorian and The Phantom Menace – both of which have conflict and looming war at their core. This focus on war limits the stories that Star Wars can tell. While it makes for exciting viewing, it doesn't make for diverse storytelling.

2 Star Trek Is About Exploration And Learning To Get Along

Star Trek has always gone in a different direction. Most Star Trek shows are about exploration and bringing people together, shining light on contemporary issues. While there are conflicts in Star Trek, it's not the focus, and even when it was – like in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – it was more about the price of war and how it affected those who fought it than the war itself.

While newer Star Trek shows get flack because they focus more on the action than the philosophy and exploration, for the most part, Star Trek is more humanistic in its approach to fiction and storytelling.

1 Star Wars Is Inspired By Joseph Campbell's Monomyth Structure

When George Lucas wrote  Star Wars and structured the story, he borrowed heavily from Joseph Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces. Campbell looked at myths from around the world and found a similar story structure. Lucas used this structure when creating the Star Wars narrative, which helped the stories resonate with audiences worldwide.

This familiar story structure helped the Star Wars Saga scratch an itch for heroic storytelling that made it appeal to a broader audience. Combining Campbellian monomyth with science fiction was an inspired choice, one that paid dividends.

NEXT: Star Wars: 10 Things Luke Skywalker Can Do Without His Lightsaber

10 reasons 'Star Wars' is better than 'Star Trek'

Cass Robert Sunstein is a Harvard professor, legal scholar, and author of  "The World According to Star Wars."  Here, he offers a rejoinder to" Trekonomics " author Manu Saadia's previous "'Star Trek' is better than 'Star Wars'" op-Ed .

1. "Star Wars" is visually awesome. "Star Trek" (umm) isn't.

star trek better than star wars reddit

2. "I am your father" is a lot better than "Beam me up, Scotty" (and Kirk never even says that, anyway).

star trek better than star wars reddit

3. Princess Leia is the leader of the resistance, and she kills her captor with the very chain by which he bound her.

star trek better than star wars reddit

Janice Rand walks around in a short skirt, begging Kirk to notice her.

4. Han Solo says to Princess Leia, "I know," and he means, "I love you too but am too much of a rogue to say so," whereas Kirk says to Princess Elaan, "If I touch you again, Your Glory, it’ll be to administer an ancient Earth custom called a spanking!”

star trek better than star wars reddit

5. The Millennium Falcon did the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, whereas the Enterprise would take at least 27.

star trek better than star wars reddit

6. Darth Vader is the best villain in either series, and he's saved in the end (by love and attachment).

star trek better than star wars reddit

Great as he is, Khan doesn't quite measure up, and Vader would crush him in a fair fight, and he's not saved.

7. John Williams. (John Williams!)

star trek better than star wars reddit

Just listen to this score of the Imperial March:

8. George Lucas drew on multiple religions and myths, and gave them an all-American twist, producing something both silly and deep.

star trek better than star wars reddit

 Gene Roddenberry was terrific, but he didn't do anything quite like that.

9. "Star Wars" makes you think, "OMG," and "Whoa," and "Are you kidding me?"

star trek better than star wars reddit

Star Trek almost never does that. (True, it makes you think, and that's not so bad.)

10. "I am a Jedi, like my father before me" is the most primal line in modern culture, and "Star Trek" can't match it.

star trek better than star wars reddit

  • Main content

Screen Rant

The rebellion's "tactical plan 18" shows how the battle of hoth changed them.

The Battle of Hoth is the most iconic battle in Star Wars, and its in-world significance is greater than fans think, as shown with "Tactical Plan 18".

  • Star Wars ' Battle of Hoth nearly ended with the Rebellion being crushed by the Empire, as the Rebels met at a single rendezvous point that - if tracked by Darth Vader - would have compromised the entire fleet.
  • In the comics (which takes place after Episode V ), the Rebels have learned from their close call on Hoth by creating "Tactical Plan 18".
  • Under "Tactical Plan 18", Rebel captains scatter their ships across the galaxy in times of emergency rather than going to a predetermined rendezvous, proving the Rebels learned from the Battle of Hoth.

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Star Wars #45! The Battle of Hoth is one of the most iconic battles in the Star Wars franchise, as it was perhaps the first battle in the series that made the conflict between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance feel like a legitimate war, and the high-stakes nature of this battle only added to its lasting significance. One of the wider impacts of the Battle of Hoth was recently shown in the most recent addition to Star Wars canon with the Rebel Alliance’s “Tactical Plan 18”, which showed how that one iconic battle changed the Rebellion for the better.

In Star Wars #45 by Charles Soule and Madibek Musabekov, Lando Calrisson is standing trial for selling top secret Rebel Alliance information to Jabba the Hutt to pay off a personal debt. Due to extenuating circumstances, Lando confessed his crimes and is now facing a Rebellion tribunal. One of the judges in his trial is Mon Mothma, who is overseeing this case remotely via hologram, as she had important business to attend to elsewhere. Then, in the middle of Lando’s trial, Mon Mothma is kidnapped, with all the others in the courtroom powerless to save her.

The Rebels’ immediate response to Mon Mothma being kidnapped is to scatter their forces, because if her mysterious kidnappers got Mon Mothma to give up the location of the Rebel Fleet, the entire Alliance would be compromised. Admiral Ackbar initiates “Tactical Plan 18”, which dictates that every captain take their respective ships to different corners of the galaxy, and then wait to be contacted by Rebel leaders using Trawak Code (one too old for the Empire to know, making it uncrackable).

"Let Him Gather His Strength and Bring It to Me": Palpatine Explains the Real Reason He Encouraged Darth Vader to Rebel Against Him

The rebels went to a rendezvous point after the battle of hoth - a risk they never took again, star wars: episode v - the empire strikes back.

This clip of the Rebel Fleet escaping Hoth from Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back was shared by a YouTube fan account, joemarco1 .

During the Battle of Hoth, the Rebel Fleet snuck past the Imperial blockade of that planet toward a rendezvous point where the Alliance would reassemble and plan its next moves. In the film, Darth Vader was obsessed with finding Luke Skywalker, therefore his sole focus was on the Millennium Falcon as it tried to escape with the rest of the Rebellion. However, if Darth Vader was more focused on crushing the Rebellion than he was finding his son, the Rebellion could have been compromised, since every ship went to a single point after their escape from Hoth.

Not only did the Rebellion risk being crushed by the Empire following the Battle of Hoth, but their communication channels had been compromised. Every ship was going to a predetermined point, so that didn’t end up being a problem in the movie, though it definitely would have been if - again - Darth Vader wasn’t solely focused on getting the Millennium Falcon, and instead committed his team to deducing the location of the Rebel Fleet through the hyperspace lanes the ships took.

Meeting at a predetermined rendezvous point following the Battle of Hoth after communications were compromised could have meant the end of the Rebellion, a potentially catastrophic mistake the Rebel Alliance corrected with “Tactical Plan 18”.

The Rebel Alliance Corrected Another Shortfall Exposed by the Battle of Hoth: Secure Communication Channels

The main reason Lando Calrisson is on trial in this storyline to begin with is that the ‘information’ he sold to Jabba was in the form of a ‘Talky Droid’ that is more than a century old, who had an ancient form of communication stored in its memory banks that had long-been obsolete in the galaxy: Trawak. The Rebel Alliance started using Trawak Code after the Battle of Hoth to ensure the Empire couldn’t breach its communication channels again, which is why Lando selling that droid to Jabba (who regularly worked with the Empire) was such a serious matter.

“Tactical Plan 18” along with the usage of Trawak Code prevented close-calls like what the Rebellion saw at the Battle of Hoth from happening practically for the remainder of the Galactic Civil War. Sure, the Battle of Hoth ended with the Rebels’ successful escape, but that’s only because Darth Vader chose not to pursue the fleet in favor of the Millennium Falcon - and the Rebellion took notice. That is how the Battle of Hoth changed them, and why the Rebels came up with “Tactical Plan 18” in Star Wars canon.

Star Wars #45 by Marvel Comics is available now.

Source: joemarco1 /YouTube


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