Star Trek vs. Star Wars – ever since 1977 when the original Star Wars movie came out, fans have been debating the merits of one sci-fi/fantasy universe over the other. While the stories pursue different lines in many ways, every fan has their own secret fantasy about what might happen if the two franchises ever came together on the big screen.
Star Trek, the original TV series, lasted a mere three seasons after its debut in 1966. Despite its short-lived initial run, the TV series became an almost instant cult favorite. By the mid-1970s, Star Trek was a phenom in syndication to 60 nations around the world and broadcast on about 125 stations throughout the United States. When Star Wars was released in 1977, it was just two years before Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the first in the big screen continuations of the space saga. It’s no exaggeration to say the two seminal franchises have shaped the way sci-fi and fantasy have developed in both TV and film ever since.
There are many differences between the Star Trek and the Star Wars universes. While a TV show has to grapple with everyday issues and character development, the Star Wars films took on themes common to myths and literature alike: good and bad, individual choice, and the classic father-son coming of age drama taken to the max. What they do share is mind blowing action scenes, memorable characters, and super cool tech and weaponry.
Other than a YouTube and Twitter war between William Shatner and Carrie Fisher in 2011, the two universes haven’t actually collided on screen, but that doesn’t stop a fan from hoping and wondering what would happen if some of those fantasy match-ups ever got on film.
15. The Federation vs. The Empire
In an all out war, despite some technological superiority and a versatile crew, we’d have to call it in favor of The Empire. The Star Wars universe, whether you’re talking about the Republic or the Empire, is way bigger than the Federation. With a Senate of 2,000, the Galactic Empire represented about 100,000 member nations/planets. The Federation, in contrast, consists of 150 members and only a few thousand inhabited planets. While there are a lot of specific technological advantages like cloaking on the Star Trek side, one element that hampers the Federation overall is speed. Star Trek spaceships are limited to Warp Ten. In the Star Wars universe, spacecraft travel at hyperspeed or up to 625 light years per hour – or 10,000 times faster than the Enterprise. The United Federation of Planets also has no ground force or armed vehicles, as far as we know. A clear win for the Empire.
14. James T. Kirk vs. Rey
He’s a cocky upstart in the Federation service who’s a bit of a player when it comes to members of the opposite sex. She’s a no-nonsense budding Jedi type with a need to find answers both to her own mysteries and to vital questions that will affect the fate of The Rebellion and the universe itself. It would be easy to simply hand the victory to Rey; but, the one quirk Captain Kirk has always had in either the old or the reboot version has been the gift of the gab. It’s not too hard to believe that he’d come up with an explanation or justification that might lead Rey to pause before she shoots. In one scenario, Kirk might talk her to death, or else, exasperated with his sly puns and attempts to charm her, Rey would blast him to kingdom come. Or, what Kirk says will make sense and he and Rey will go on to conquer/save the universe together and he’d become the guy who finally hits the sexy warrior where she lives.
13. Jean-Luc Picard vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi
Jean-Luc Picard, the Starfleet captain who became an icon as portrayed by Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: The Next Generation series, is much more than a warrior captain. He’s a scholar and an aesthetic with cultured tastes. He’s wise and a negotiator. A former general in the Clone Wars and mentor to young Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan has superb hand to hand combat skills. What’s more, he is guided by The Force – but with that insight, he’d know that Picard was no fool and would make a better ally than enemy. Our prediction? The two would band together. Obi-Wan may have a supernatural advantage but he’d recognize a formidable mind and know that killing off Captain Picard just wouldn’t be right.
12. Darth Vader vs. Khan
This is a villain vs. villain matchup with more than meets the eye. Vader, with that imposing voice over by James Earl Jones, has The Force at his disposal but began his life as a mortal man, someone who gave in to fear and let the Dark Side in. He is evil but also has a crack in the armor in the form of a weakness towards his son. Khan, the GMO of villains, was just born that way, genetically engineered to surpass the usual limits to reach superhuman levels of mental and physical performance. Khan Noonien Singh has been played with a flashy kind of flair by Ricardo Montalban and Benedict Cumberbatch and he has the added motivation of a personal grudge against the Federation for first creating him and his kind, then exiling them in suspended animation. Khan has no emotional ambiguity. Once you add up the advantages and disadvantages, we’ll give this one about even odds.
11. The U.S.S. Enterprise vs. the Death Star
In this case – surprise – our vote has to go with the Federation and The Enterprise. The Federation technology of the Star Trek universe can detect spaceships in other sectors of interstellar space and can detect life forms on planets from orbit. That’s something storm troopers can’t seem to accomplish in the Star Wars universe. The Enterprise’s shields have withstood a near nuclear attack and plasma blasts. Transporter technology also gives the Federation an advantage. In Star Wars, there is the wild card of The Force, but it can only be wielded by a few. The Death Star can, obviously, destroy entire planets but it is much slower to maneuver into position – the nimble Enterprise would be on its way before the weapon could be aimed. The U.S.S. Enterprise can cloak itself to escape detection and could conduct the battle at a distance, eliminating what might be Star Wars’ superiority when it comes to the classic air dogfight.
10. Spock vs. Kylo Ren
The Vulcan neck pinch vs. The Force – it’s not much of a contest. If he stuck to that battleground alone, Spock would lose hands down. But, we all know that Kylo Ren is emotionally… unstable to say the least. He can be goaded into a violent rage at the mere mention of the name, “Darth Vader”. That’s why we can give at least even odds or close to it to the Enterprise’s science officer. With his cold, supremely logical approach, he could turn Kylo Ren into a sobbing mess or a bubbling hot volcano of an emotional outburst, disrupting the advantage the Force undeniably represents. Spock is quick when he needs to be and good with his phaser gun, so he might be able to disable Ren long enough so that he could slide in with the winning Vulcan neck pinch after all.
9. Lt. Sulu vs. Han Solo
We just couldn’t resist this one – and with Han Solo’s quick temper, you can’t rule out any kind of conflict. Lieutenant Sulu is calm, composed and in control, even when he has to take over captain’s duties at the helm of the Enterprise. He’s skilled in hand-to-hand combat and knows the ship’s systems like the back of his hand. He also has access to (once again) superior Federation technology. The lightsaber can only be wielded by the Jedi but anyone can use a phaser gun to cut through the hull of a ship, disintegrate matter, or stun at will. Still, this one would be close to even odds because of Han Solo himself. The man of legendary reflexes and has gotten himself out of many a call closer than this.
8. The Romulans vs. the Hutts
The Hutts vs. the Romulans is a classic clash of opposites. Native to the planet Nal Hutta, the Hutts are a criminal syndicate whose range spans galaxies in the Star Wars universe. They have the riches to hold onto power despite the limitations of their slug-like physique, organizing their crime empire through a Grand Council and a clandestine network. Crafty as they are, the Hutts may excel at guerrilla warfare, but in an all out battle, the militaristic Romulans would have a distinct advantage. Physically, Romulans share traits with both Vulcans and Klingons. The Romulans take ruthlessness to the next level. They believe – and work towards – conquering the whole universe and boast about their technological superiority, including a cloaking device that they could use to close in on Jabba unbeknownst to the crooked leader of The Hutt. In the absence of Vulcan logic, they operate by a militaristic moral code. The Hutt’s fire power wouldn’t be able to equal the blast from a Romulan spaceship.
7. Worf vs. Chewbacca
It’s no secret who would win the war of words between two characters who provide powerful back-up to the good guys in both sci-fi worlds – especially if growling doesn’t count. Worf is a Klingon, the Lieutenant Commander of the Enterprise and the only Klingon in Starfleet. Strong and dependable, he is nonetheless torn between two cultures, that of the warrior Klingon and the democratic Federation. He’s used to restraining his naturally strength in human society and that may prove a weakness in fighting against Chewbacca, who has no trouble tapping into his animal side. Chewbacca is a legendary warrior among the Wookiees and is also a co-pilot and general fixer-upper on the Millennium Falcon. Chewie is short tempered and loyal to his friends. His weapon of choice is the bowcaster and he’s a master at it. Chewbacca has shown time and time again that he can come through in a crunch; this one goes to Star Wars and the Wookiee for the win.
6. Lt. Uhura vs. Lando Calrissian
Sexy, brave and smart vs. a fast talking con man with a heart. Who would have the advantage? Lieutenant Nyota Uhura began as a fairly stationary communications officer in the early Star Trek series, (not that Nichelle Nichols didn’t do what she could with the role – and that tight little minidress) but her role morphed as the years went by and the reboot version, played by Zoe Saldana, is resourceful and brave too. She speaks Klingon and can handle herself in a combat situation. You might call Lando Calrissian a “complex” character. He began as a smuggler with a gift for talking himself out of trouble, ending up as puppet leader of Cloud City under Darth Vader. But then he transformed into a true leader of his people and helped the Rebellion in its attack on the Death Star II. We love kickass Uhura but Lando would have to win this one based on his combat experience alone.
5. Princess Leia vs. Kathryn Janeway
It’s General versus Admiral in this battle of two tough ladies. When it comes to fandom, these two really don’t compare. Captain Janeway has her admirers among Trekkies but it’s nothing when you put it up against the millions of guys who had/have a Princess Leia poster in their bedrooms. Kathryn Janeway, Admiral at Starfleet Command of the U.S.S. Voyager is tough, measured and dedicated. To be fair, we don’t meet her until she is a mature woman, so there’s no equivalent of that seminal scene of Princess Leia in the metallic bikini with Jabba the Hutt to compare her to. Even so, in a battle of wits, we’d have to give the upper hand to Princess/General Leia. She’s fighting for her way of life, because she has no choice. Captain Janeway is a career Federation office from a family of the same. Motivation gives the fan fave an edge.
4. Yoda vs. Q
Ageless, with unknown origins in the mysterious Q Continuum, and sporting an I.Q. of 2005, Q is a mischievous villain, one who teases Starfleet personnel at best and seriously enjoys screwing around with human beings whenever he can. He’s malevolent, but he has also been known to help humans – although he often causes the conditions that they need help from in the first place. Yoda, as we know, loves humanity, but he has his own way of teasing, tormenting, and confusing. Yoda is also a crack warrior with hand to hand combat skills when he needs them. Q may have superhuman powers beyond Yoda’s, but we’re betting on Q’s arrogance and immaturity to get caught up in one of Yoda’s clever ruses.
3. The Borg vs. The Sith
Both want to destroy the universe, but they have different methods and motives. What would happen in this battle of ultimate evils? The Borg is a collective entity that has attempted to assimilate humanity and its allies three times so far in the Star Trek canon. The Emperor, as the current supreme Sith, draws on The Dark Side, offering devotees the irresistible pull of replacing individuality with the ultimate devotion to himself as The Master. In a creepy way, the two evils are both about giving up individual will and becoming part of something bigger and infinitely badder. Dark philosophies aside, this battle would boil down to tactics. The Emperor can infect your mind and prey on weaknesses, but what can The Master do with a hive mind like The Borg? Nothing, we’re guessing.
2. Data vs. C3P0
Much more than just beloved sidekicks, robots and AI play a dramatic – yet different – role in both of the sci-fi landscapes. Star Trek‘s Data is the science officer on the Enterprise, a full fledged character with a desire and capacity to learn how to be human, including experiencing and understanding emotions. C3PO is a protocol droid only with a mechanical construction, well versed in languages but not designed for the kind of existence that Data enjoys. C3PO does display emotions and has played a role in many key battles, but Data’s greater capabilities give him a hands down advantage.
1. Imperial Star Destroyer vs Borg Cube
This is another battle of weapons and technology. Federation space ships first came into contact with a Borg Cube courtesy of Q and has been puzzling Starfleet scientists and generals ever since. The lack of traditional structure to the vessel demonstrates the collective hive mind of the Borg – they don’t organize by division or department, or any hierarchy. The Star Destroyer has superior fire power. If it could fire before the Borg Cube knew about it, it could vaporize the strange spacecraft. The Borg Cube, however, can analyze and adapt to the weapon systems it encounters within seconds and it also features a tractor beam what could disable the Star Destroyer before its crew could react. The Borg Cube would handily win this match up.