I know this is an age-old question now, but since I just saw Rise of Skywalker and other writers are already working on various articles around it, I thought I’d take a different approach. However, I didn’t want to simply try and give my opinion on whether Star Wars or Star Trek is better, especially since I extremely enjoy both universes.
So, I thought I would take the opportunity to really dive into some various aspects of each, break them down into a few sections and tally it all up. I will attempt to be as impartial and fair as possible, but I have no doubt there will be things I’ll overlook or forget about, so before you flood my inbox with hate mail, remember that this is all in fun.
One thing to note here is that I am only referencing Trek’s television series and the movies. The books don’t come into play here except in the specific section for number of titles, but I’d love to hear about any cool stuff from either series that appears in print but not film. So be sure to share them in the comments section is you know of any.
With that all being said, let’s see if we can find out which really comes out on top, Star Wars or Star Trek.
And don’t worry, there’s no spoilers from Rise of Skywalker.
A Biggie: Tech
When it comes to science fiction, spaceships, computers, robots, and gadgets are pretty much required accessories. So of course, our installments from the two Star universes have yielded plenty of both, but we need to break it down in order to see who has the best.
Well, this one isn’t easy.
Star Wars has the Millennium Falcon, TIE Fighters (various types), X-Wings, A-Wings, Slave I, and Imperial Star Destroyers of course. However, there are V-Wings, N-1 Starfighters, Star Cruisers, Transport ships, Imperial Shuttles, Snowspeeders, TIE-Bombers, B-Wings, Royal Starships, various Death Stars (yes, I consider those as ships), and on and on.
Star Trek has the infamous Enterprise, Discovery, Voyager, Excalibur, USS this and USS that. Well over 50 that have been featured or mentioned at one point or another by my count. Then there’s the bad ass ships from the Romulan, Klingon, Ferengi, Cardassian, and various other enemies of the Federation, but the Borg cubes are the giants of that galaxy.
Ok… I guess that while Star Wars has a ton of ships on both sides of this decades-long war and the Falcon is pretty much a character itself, I think the win has to go to Star Trek on this one. As the setting for many of our most memorable moments across multiple series and movies, whether on the bridge, the holodeck, or in a firefight, the massive army of memorable ships from Star Trek simply take “stage” more often than their counterparts in a galaxy far, far away.
At first I thought this was going to be a slam dunk and I could easily announce Star Wars the winner. C-3PO has the first words ever uttered in a Star Wars film and his sidekick R2D2 is beloved by fans everywhere. L3 famously gave her life and ended up integrated into the Millennium Falcon and BB8 is about as cute as a droid could be. But R2 and 3PO have been with us every step of the way.
But then there’s Mr. Data. The artificial lifeform that longed to be human and along the way, taught many others the true meaning of the word humanity. I know there were other versions of Data and plenty of other androids and robots throughout the series, but Data is the hand’s down standout for the Star Trek universe.
But when it comes to picking a winner for this one, I do have to give it to Star Wars. Those droids have been a major part of the story across three trilogies and are pretty much synonymous with the genre.
Wars – I
Trek – I
Okay, this one should be easy… I think.
Star Wars has lightsabers of course. We’ve seen a couple of variants like Darth Maul’s and Kylo Ren’s, and different colors as well. And there’s no denying their importance in the entire scheme of things.
Then there’s the blasters (fairly generic except for Chewie’s), holographic chess, land speeders, speeder bikes, AT-ATs, AT-STs, the Storm Trooper armor, and the equipment that keeps Anakin/Vader alive. The Death Stars’ destructive force has to be counted, as does the planetary shields, and even the tractor beam.
I know I’m missing some tech here folks and I’m sure I’ll be called out for it, but I think you’ll see that there is a clear winner on this one.
Sure, Star Trek has Phasers that can be set to stun and their computers talk back, but there are 4 things that I think gives them the knockout combination.
- Transporters – Beaming up has always been super cool!
- The Holodeck – Used for recreation or as a sort of clone of the X-Men’s Danger Room, the Holodeck has always been the stuff of Geek dreams everywhere.
- The Borg – Resistance is futile!
And number 4 is simply the cultural impact that Star Trek’s tech has had. Communicators, universal translators, virtual assistants, massive display screens, and even tricorders are all things that either came to be or are in the works. Not to mention spurring the imaginations of generations to come.
Trek – II
Wars – I
Another Big One: Characters
Oh brother, this much more intense than I anticipated. I was thinking this would be a nice, short article that would be a breeze to run through, but it isn’t as cut and dry as one would think.
But now I’m determined to see it through, so let’s break down this section into a couple of different areas as well.
Well, Star Wars has Obi-Wan, Leia, Luke, Han, Yoda, Mace, Anakin, Mon Mothma, Lando, Poe, and Rey. Just to name the big ones off the top of my head.
Whereas Star Trek has Pike, Picard, Archer, Spock, Sulu, Sisko, Janeway, and last but certainly not least, Kirk.
Each certainly have their own strengths and flaws, and we love the vast majority of them to varying degrees. However, as far as leadership under extreme circumstances, loyalty, and the depths to which we got to know them, I think Star Trek comes out on top for leaders.
Trek – III
Wars – I
This hasn’t looked real good for our Jedi masters so far.
However, with Snoke, Palpatine, Kylo Ren, Tarkin, Dooku, Hux, Greedo, Data Maul, Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, Tuskin Raiders, millions of Stormtroopers, and Darth Vader, Star Wars has given us plenty of iconic bad guys.
But then there’s Star Trek with the omnipotent Q, Dr. Soran, Gul Dukat, the holographic Professor Moriarty, Lore, Khan, General Chang, and the unforgettable Borg.
Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Alderaan and the Hosnian System, Vader and Kylo Ren take the lead of baddest bad guys with their acts of mundicide.
Trek – III
Wars – II
Any SciFi story worth its salt is going to have aliens, and both Star Wars and Star Trek deliver on this in spades. So much so in fact, this may be one of the hardest areas to score so far.
Star Wars has Wookies, Ewoks, Hutts, Dathomirians, Utapauns, Chagrians, Clawdites, Jawas, Mandalorians, Ugnaughts, Gungans, Kaminoans, Toydarians, the musical Biths, Gamorreans, and on and on and on. However, the mass majority of them are shown only once or are relegated to being small supporting parts.
Star Trek integrates aliens into almost every story. It is what their Trek is all about, exploring new worlds. So of course we have Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons, etc, but there are also a lot more we have met over the years. These include Tribels, Changelings, Andorians, Ferengi, Q (remember, there’s more than one), Cardassians, Bajorans, and of course, the Borg.
While both universes have given us dozens upon dozens of first encounters, I think the win has to go to Star Trek simply because we know so much more about those aliens. Complete story-arcs have revolved around specific races and though Star Wars does have various species come together to face common enemies, over the years we have just gotten to know so many more from the Star Trek universe.
Wars – II
There’s just no denying it, both of these franchises have some real winners, and some real stinkers. As there have been 11 Star Wars movies and 13 Star Treks, it wouldn’t be fair to go off sheer numbers alone, so we’ll break it down into two sections.
Revenue of Movies
Well of course this one is going to be a no-brainer, but in the spirit of fairness and transparency, let’s take a look at the overall revenue.
According to the-numbers.com, Star Trek has grossed $2,267,036,257 worldwide across its 12 movies. This gives them an average of $174,387,404 and the highest earner was 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, which brought in $467,381,584.
The Force Awakens almost singlehandedly beats all of Star Trek’s revenue, bringing $2,068,22,624 to the table. In total, the Star Wars movies, excluding the $150m so far from The Rise of Skywalker, have made $9,240,000,000 and some change.
So of course, Star Wars wins this one free and clear.
Wars – III
Okay, as opposed to trying to dissect each and every movie, I think we’ll break this into three sections: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly. With 3 points for Good, minus 1 for Bad, and minus 2 for Ugly.
Instead of using Rotten Tomatoes scoring to decide which goes where, I’m going to keep it simple and just divide them based on my personal opinion.
It is my article after all.
A New Hope
The Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi
Attack of the Clones
The Force Awakens
Rise of Skywalker
Wrath of Khan
Search for Spock
Voyage Home (yes, I know people think it sucks. I happen to love it)
The Phantom Menace
Revenge of the Sith
The Motion Picture
The Last Jedi
So, with the rules I completely made up on the fly, here’s how the math adds up.
Star Wars: 7 x 3 = 21 – 3 = 18 – 2 = 16 points total.
Star Trek: 10 x 3 = 30 – 2 = 28 – 2 = 26 points total.
Trek takes another win.
Trek – V
Wars – III
The Fun Stuff
Don’t worry Star Wars fans, we’re in the final stretch here but there’s still a few of categories left so it’s still anybody’s game.
According to Google search, there are the following pages available currently with the following search terms:
Star Wars Fan Page: About 194,000,000 results
Star Trek Fan Page: About 49,800,000 results
Trek – V
Wars – IIII
Toys / Collectables
This one is a slam dunk for Star Wars as it holds a Guinness World Records title for “most successful film merchandising franchise.” In 2018, the Star Wars franchise was valued at an estimated $65 billion, with over $50 billion of that resulting from merchandise.
Trek – V
Wars – V
Not counting basic Comic Conventions and Cosplay, we’ll simply tally up who has the most specific-themed conventions for 2019 and already listed for 2020. However, Trek conventions are notorious and I have a feeling it won’t even be a close race.
Star Trek Las Vegas (July-Aug 2019)
Trekonderoga (Star Trek: The Tour in Ticonderoga, NY Aug 2019) Destination Star Trek – Birmingham (Birmingham, UK Oct 2019)
Star Trek: The Cruise IV – March 2020
Nichelle Nichols Farewell Celebration – May 2020
Star Trek Las Vegas Aug 2020
Star Wars Celebration – Chicago April 2019
Star Wars Celebration – Anaheim 2020
Albany Star Wars Convention – July 2020
Like I said, not even close.
Trek – VI
Wars – V
Number of Books
I don’t have a clue who will win on this one, I know both of them have a ton of books available and while Disney nixed some of the Star Wars books from cannon, I think there’s only one fair way to do this one.
According to Wikipedia and Wookiepedie, they have the following books available for each universe.
There are approximately 850 different Star Trek novels, short story anthologies, novelizations, and omnibus editions that have been published as of this past November.
Star Wars has 350 “official” books, but we have to remember that Disney recently removed a crap ton from cannon. However, the Star Wars Expanded Universe contains a treasure trove of titles that includes well over 1,000 titles according to Wookiepedia.
So by the hair of of one of Chewie’s eyebrows, Star Wars wins.
Trek – VI
Wars – VI
Number of Comics
Once again, either one could win the round.
Star Wars: With Dark Horse and Marvel both owning the license at various times, Star Wars comes in with hundreds upon hundreds of comic titles.
Star Trek: Mighty TV Comics, U.S. Gold Key Comics, DC, and others have all had a hand in publishing Star Trek comics since the late 60’s, and once again there have been hundreds printed over the years.
Unfortunately, short of counting each and every title on Wiki and Wookie pedia respectively, there’s no place I can find that clearly lists the number of available comics for each. So unfortunately, this one has to be a draw.
And with that one, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a tie overall!!!
Unless someone can come up with some definitive numbers for their comic publications, 13 different areas scored and we came up with a tie.
And I swear, this was not on purpose. I tried to be as fair and impartial as I can.
When it’s all said and done though, it really boils down to which you prefer overall. As I said at the start of this little quest, I’m a huge fan of both series so it should come as no surprise that I am pleased with the results.
Star Wars has always been about the battle between light and dark, while Star Trek has always been about exploring and expanding our horizons. There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t be fans of both and while this article definitely won’t settle the Wars vs Trek debate, I hope this was a little different take than what you’ve seen before.
If you think I missed some obvious areas that should have been scored or you think I’m totally off the mark on any of the above, comment below and let me know.
As it stands now, Trek Wars has ended in a tie.