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It’s a debate that has raged for decades in the halls of science fiction and doesn’t show any signs abating anytime soon: Star Wars vs. Star Trek. It’s a passionate argument and one that seems especially topical as Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes over the world and as we get ready for Star Trek Beyond, which recently released its first trailer. This is largely a fan debate, but one key player in the Trek universe, George Takei, just added his two cents.
The actor and activist, most known for his role of Mr. Sulu on Star Trek the Original Series, talked to Fortune and revealed his stance in the Trek vs. Wars discussion. Guess which side he falls on? Though he appreciates Star Wars, he has a very specific reason for why his loyalties lie with Star Trek. He said:
My preference is Star Trek. Yes, science fiction, imaginative, great adventure, but Gene Roddenberry had another dimension. He had a vision of a future about what America…the global society could be. [His] genius came to flower in addressing contemporary issues and be able to present them as futuristic.
For Takei, it’s the vision of Gene Roddenberry, who created Star Trek in the 1960s, that sets it apart from its genre compatriots. Assembling an intentionally diverse cast, he pushed at race and gender lines like few other televisions shows at the time, or since.
Originally titled Wagon Train to the Stars, Star Trek set out to employ the genre trappings to tell complex, mature stories that use the futuristic backdrop to address problems and issues in contemporary society. As a genre, this has always been one of the hallmarks of science fiction, using outlandish settings and plots to reflect the state of society, and few properties have done this as successfully as Star Trek as they tackled a variety of topic from racism to war and many others.
The third movie in the rebooted franchise, Star Trek Beyond, hits next summer, and from what we know of the plot, it sounds like it will follow in the footsteps of its predecessor. With Fast & Furious’ Justin Lin at the helm, this will be an action-heavy affair, but the story reportedly picks up the crew of the Enterprise in the middle of their five-year mission to explore new worlds and cultures, going where no one has gone before. We’ll have to wait and see if the socially conscious element remains intact.
Financially, there’s really no contest in the Star Wars/Star Trek debate. Though the previous two Trek films were successful, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently obliterating box office records.
I’ve always been of the mind that you can be a fan of both, and they’ve each shaped my life more than is probably healthy. How about you? Where do you fall on the Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate? Sound off in the comments below.