When it comes to science fiction, Star Wars and Star Trek are undoubtedly the most successful franchises, both with big fan bases and huge influence on pop culture. Star Trek premiered in the 1960s while Star Wars came around in the 1970s and they’ve been offering fans new content ever since, never losing their relevancy and staying at the top of the game. They’re both American space opera franchises, with Star Wars being created by George Lucas and Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry.
The first Star Trek television series, titled ‘Star Trek’ debuted in 1966 and was aired for three seasons on NBC. It has since been dubbed as ‘The Original Series’ as the franchise expanded to include other films and television several series. Star Wars kicked off with a 1977 movie called ‘Star Wars’. The Star Wars now holds a place as the second most highest grossing film series of all time, behind Gone with The Wind.
Both franchises are based on stories set in space, in far away galaxies. Star Trek has a futuristic setting, the time being depicted as the 22nd century through to the 24th. Star Wars on its part depicts the adventures of characters in a faraway galaxy, a long time ago. Star Trek followed the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk alongside his crew aboard a space exploration vessel, the starship USS enterprise.
One of the major distinguishing features between the two franchises is that while Star Wars is more on the fantastical, fable-like side of stories, Star Trek takes a more realistic approach with its contents. The issues tackled on Star Trek depict what goes on in the real world and while it’s a science fiction genre, the world in the films is much a possibility of what could happen in coming centuries with the human race. Star Wars involves many galaxies, lots of species, aliens and space ships. It also involves a lot of space travel where travel between planets is common.
Both franchises however draw inspiration from world history and ancient mythology. Star Wars was inspired by such works as King Arthur and Beowulf alongside world religions, medieval and ancient history plus mythologies. Star Trek particularly has a big cultural influence given it was one of the first television series to dabble in some less common practices in the film industry at the time of its inception such as having a multiracial cast.
Given their big influence on popular culture, both Star Wars and Star Trek leaped over the boundaries of TV and film and infiltrated all media imaginable. Comics, novels, books, toys, computer and video games and all other types of merchandise inspired by them flooded markets and still does. The 1977 Star Wars movie was the first movie to make merchandise based on films go wild.
The question of which of these two is the better one has been around for decades and is not about to go anywhere. Both are big the world over, with multitudes of fans loving what they have to offer. This question will probably never come to a rest, as each has a huge following preferring the kind of content offered.