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Backing a losing force – Why J.J. Abrahams should have stuck with Star Trek

Do you think Star Wars was great? Sorry to break it to you, but it’s actually a big pile of pump. Not the prequel trilogy, not the original films, not the Holiday Special, the Clone Wars series, the dozens of video games or even the toys. All of it. Every single last bit of anything to do with Star Wars is to Science Fiction what a colony of E. Coli, is to a room-temperature Lasagne.

Watch Return of the Jedi. See the part where the A-Wing crashes into the bridge of the Executor, causing it to crash into the Death Star II (killing, presumably, thousands)? That was a bizarre accident, as a result of the A-Wing being damaged and the pilot unable to control it, right? Wrong. According to the real, actual, genuine story, the pilot – Arvel Crynyd – crashed his space boat into the bigger space boat on purpose. It was a suicide dive. I don’t find that hard to believe, I just think it’s bullshit revisionist history concocted to give a crap pilot a grander story to take away from the fact that he was incompetent and got shot down.

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Everyone says that the Emipe Strikes back is the best one, but even the bull frog necked turbo twat George Lucas disagrees with you “The Empire Strikes Back is always written about as the best of the films, when it actually was the worst one.’” Who cares why he thinks this, all I know is the AT-AT look like a dog, Or a camel, or a horse, or a cow, whatever it is they’re modelled on. How those designs were approved by the Emperor – which I’d assume all such huge decisions are – I do not know. Maybe Palpatine had a Labrador he loved dearly as a kid and used the design to remember it in the only way he thought viable.

Then there’s C3PO:  he was programmed by the most evil man in the universe and he still ended up being a hilarious pastiche of camp English butler. An absolute coward, a pedant,  an arrogant arse, and he’s supposed to be one of the good guys. And what about Han Solo?  Han speaks a variety of alien languages – we regularly see him chatting with Chewbacca, he has a natter with Greedo (before not shooting first) and his exchanges with Jabba The Hutt are always captivating. But in all of these conversations, Han refuses to speak in the alien’s native tongue, instead sticking resolutely to Galactic Standard (“English”). This is clearly rude, and the only explanation can be that Han Solo is a massive racist. He does keep Chewie as a slave, after all.

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Star Trek is SO much better.Star Wars is elitist and anti-democratic. The Federation of Planets in Star Trek is progressive while both opposing sides in Star Wars, The Rebel Alliance and The Empire, as two sides of “the same genetically superior royal family.”

When Gene Roddenberry was honored at a Star Trek convention late in his life, a congratulatory letter from George Lucas was presented by an actor dressed as Darth Vader. He was clearly taking the piss. The two franchises nonetheless have a “symbiotic relationship”, accoriding to William Shatner, who credits Star Wars for the beginning of the Star Trek films. Shatner was probably drunk when he said this. Even if it were true, if Disney had not bought Lucasfilm and thrown money at the original Star Wars cast then there is no one in the world that would have had any interest in seeing anymore Star Wars movies. BTW the only reason they did was to make a vast amount of money exploiting the nostalgia of men in their forties. Men who will now spend millions based on the fact they enjoyed something as a child. When I was a child I liked Angel Delight and Jim’ll Fix it, that does not mean I want to experience either of them now.

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What with Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space 9, Enterprise, and soon-to-be-12 movies, the total runtime of all canon Star Trek material is over 22 days. Star Wars has three movies—six, if you count the prequels. The total runtime of all six movies is less than 14 hours. Though both franchises also boast a healthy extended universe in the form of novels, comics, and games, Star Trek handily beats Star Wars in screen time by more than 21 days. Let me rephrase that. Star Trek has over 37 times the material available for your viewing pleasure than Star Wars does. the reason for this is because Star Trek is at least 37 times better.

Another reason Star wars is rubbish? It doesn’t even have time travel in it. Call yourself science fiction?

Pop quiz! In Star Trek, has time travel been used to:

A Save whales

B Meet Mark Twain

C Rescue Earth from the Borg

D All of the above.

Spoiler alert: the answer is ‘d.’ If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home for the whales, The Next Generation episode “Time’s Arrow” for Mark Twain, and Star Trek: First Contact for the Borg.

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And what about aliens?  Worf. Data. B’Elanna. T’pol. Kes. Seven of Nine. Q. And most prominently, Spock. Star Trek explores the mentality and inner lives of aliens far more than Star Wars ever did. We can’t even understand what Chewbacca and R2D2 are saying in the Star Wars films, but Star Trek gives loads of time to its alien and half-alien characters to develop their characters. A prime example  is the reboot Star Trek, in which we get some delicious insight into Spock’s backstory. Most of Star Wars’ examples of non-human characters (excluding Yoda, may he rest in peace) speak in incomprehensible noises or are fat ugly crime lords.

If you’ve seen Star Wars, congrats. You’re a normal member of society. However, if you are into Star Trek, you are part of a special community of people who share a deep bond. The geekier, the better! Not everyone has the stomach for a wriggling plate of gagh (live Klingon serpent worms, yum), but if you do, you can hobnob with the best of the geeks.

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And all this is without even going into the myriad things that come up on things like Jar Jar Binks or the Family Guy Star Wars (which are shit, but for very different (real) reasons) and Kevin Smith films, like how Lando steals Han’s clothes, or how thousands of independent contractors died on the second Death Star.

Safe to say: Star Wars is shit.

Stephen Pryde-Jarman is a Cult TV and Film journalist, award winning short story writer, playwright and screenwriter. A natural hoarder, second hand shopping fulfils his basic human need for hunter-gathering; but rummaging through a charity shop’s bric-a-brac shelf also brought him the inspiration for his novel Rubble Girl having seen a picture of a Blitz survivor sat amongst the rubble of her house with a cup and saucer. Rubble Girl has been described as " thought-provoking" and "fast paced ... with plenty of twists and turns." Amazon.

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