I was raised a geek. My parents never called themselves geeks because loving science fiction was the norm. One of my first memories is seeing ‘Star Wars’ in the theater. The premiere of a new ‘Star Trek’ film was an event; my father would arrange time off from work and plan how to get me out of school so we could be in the front of the line for the first late afternoon/early evening show. I know if midnight showings were common then my father would have made us go. So I have been taking part in the ‘Star Trek’ versus ‘Star Wars’ debate for decades.
It’s an interesting debate. ‘Star Trek’ is science fiction; science is integral to the plot of the stories and is used to solve problems and define characters. ‘Star Wars’ is science fantasy; there’s light speed and spaceships, but main characters use the Force, a mystical energy, giving the story a more magical feel. I know this now, but when I was younger, my initial arguments were, “A Jedi is so cool! Yoda lifted the whole ship out of the swamp. I mean, come on Dad, the WHOLE SHIP!” My dad would roll his eyes and expound at length about how Vulcans, using science and logic, could accomplish the same feat, how every Jedi would be vulnerable to the Vulcan neck pinch, and how phasers, even set on stun, would easily take care of a Jedi wielding a lightsaber.
My arguments improved. I focused on Leia. Yes, ‘Star Trek’ has Uhura, but her character was not as strong as Leia. Uhura had moments in the “Mirror, Mirror” episode and in ‘The Search for Spock,’ but Leia was a commanding presence and fired a blaster. The debates with my father made me a critical thinker, and my mother eventually called our debates a tie. According to her, we both had valid points. And we did until 1983. At the end of ‘Return of the Jedi,’ my father turned to me and said, “Teddy bears? The universe was saved by teddy bears?” I was quiet. I was stunned, but not because of the Ewoks, but because of Leia. Not only did she take time out to rescue her boyfriend from Jabba (the Empire, understandable, but Jabba?), but the strategic, capable planner from before was gone. Yes, she killed Jabba, but not before getting captured and being his slave.
Even after ‘Return of the Jedi’ and all of Lucas’s attempts to destroy my love for the franchise, I still have fondness for ‘Star Wars,’ but I love ‘Star Trek,’ and I could go on about the overall quality of the ‘Star Trek’ films and TV shows, but I will save that discussion for another time. Deliberating about ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ is common among friends, families, and various people online and at conventions, but now this debate has reached a new level: William Shatner and Carrie Fisher have gotten into the fray.
As reported by Blastr, William Shatner declared ‘Star Trek’ was superior because of the “relationships and conflict among the relationships and stories that involved humanity.” He claims ‘Star Wars’ is just a collection of “special effects.” During the interview, William Shatner doesn’t give ‘Star Wars’ any credit, calling it “derivative.” According to Shatner, the best part of ‘Star Wars’ is Leia, a woman Kirk would gladly invite to his captain’s quarters.
Not to be outdone, Blastr also reports about Fisher’s response. During an interview, she counters that ‘Star Trek’ is “not in the same league [as ‘Star Wars’]. I mean, they have the word ‘Star’ in the title and there’s a space travel, right? Where did they go to? Klingon? It sounds like a laundry detergent.” Fisher’s response is full of more quips, but that is basically her argument—zany one-liners. Carrie Fisher is an accomplished and talented writer, and her defense of ‘Star Wars’ comes down to “my space buns were so much better than Nimoy’s ears.” Funny? Yes. Helpful to the cause of proving ‘Star Wars’ being better than ‘Star Trek’? Not really.
Let’s take a look at the actual interviews to see what was said:
But let us look at the players in this situation—William Shatner and Carrie Fisher. William Shatner is a notorious seeker of attention, and he knows how to maneuver his name into the public at the right times. Just when you think he’s gone—POOF!—he’s back. And Fisher is determined to let the public know she’s back in fighting form; she has lost a lot of weight and has made efforts to clean up her life. If they wanted attention, getting into the Trek/Wars debate is a clever plan.
After all, here I am writing about them. Very well played indeed. Mission accomplished.
Fisher does propose a way to settle this debate once and for all. She suggests a “costume-off.” She will don the infamous metal bikini and go against Shatner in one of Kirk’s tight ‘Star Trek’ series captain’s shirts.
Will Shatner accept Fisher’s challenge? I’m sure Shatner will retort to Fisher somehow, but until then, would anyone like to discuss the mechanics of light speed versus warp speed? I hope so because that is the discussion I would prefer to be having right now.