Shuttle Pod: The Podcast Episode 7 – Trek/Wars – Battle of the Franchises


Star Trek Beyond isn’t the only highly anticipated science fiction movie coming out in the next few months. Of course, we are all gearing up for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which hits theaters in just a couple of short weeks. Over the years, Star Trek and Star Wars have acted like sister franchises, playing off of each other and apart from each other. This week, we take a look at these two iconic franchises and how they have helped or hindered each others’ success in the business of science fiction franchises and what creative decisions brought the two together or pulled them farther apart.

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Shuttle Pod: Episode 7 – Trek/Wars – Battle of the Franchises

Tidbits from this week’s podcast:

Star Trek/Star Wars Franchise Timeline
Click to enlarge

Listen to the podcast to find out why on earth we made this graphic

William Shatner honors George Lucas at the 2005 AFI Life Achievement Awards



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Let’s just be bluntly honest, as much as we all like Trek, it’s slowly fading away in the shadow of star wars. Wars easily eclipsed trek before Disney bought it and now that the company owns it kids are growing to be thoroughly indoctrinated in star wars and see trek as a copy cat (even though we all know that’s not the case). Trek fans are divided because half hate the new trek and only like old and aren’t willing to compromise which turns off new comers while the other half like all trek. People at paramount keep screwing things up for the fan base and the marketing for Wars is waaaaaaaaaay better than anything trek. The new movie doesn’t need any advertising and the marketing team is still doing it anyway. You can’t go anywhere or watching anything without seeing something related to the force awakens. . . . I await all the hate I’m about to get from these comments and it’s probably going to be mostly from the group who hates new trek.

As Star Trek will make us watch Primetime every week and Star Wars Fans will wait until December. As i see it Disney made Star Wars even accessible cause its a rather kiddy stuff – as before – with lots of plastic toys to buy, a never ending series of flicks way off from Luca’s Original Concept.. No thanks Star Wars can have a large array of Commercials, games, big actor names but its not longer the experimental masterpiece George created. It’s a series of half a$$ Marvel byproduct with a vast fanbase beating the dead horse.. I Prefer Star Trek despite the less hefty commercials – which mean nothing to me –

Well we can certainly agree that JJA is positively orgasmic in money now as well as the almost certain fact that what ever Paramount does with ST:Beyond, their IP has been left BEHIND. Does JJ even care that his name will b on the credits?

The timeline above does not include Final Frontier or Nemesis.

The issue here is that Paramount want Star Trek to be “the next big thing” but have failed to understand that it’s the differences between Star Trek and the other big franchises that make it popular.

My view is that if Star Trek Beyond is just a copy of Guardians of the Galaxy or another big popular movie then it will just become so irrelevant. Star Trek on he big and small screen has to be something unique and different.

CBS really need to stay away from trying to make Star Trek anything other than Star Trek.

As for the whole Star Trek vs Star Wars. It’s true that both are long since linked historically but the two couldn’t be more different.

4, totally agree!

It’s a big universe.
There’s room for more than one space-based franchise. Just tell us good stories.

There is no battle anymore. And if there ever was, Trek has lost.

Just make a great movie. How about that?

@Capt Obvious (apt name here) – Fixed, thanks!

The chart is also missing ST VI: The Undiscovered Country

Paramount is doing a great job with the movies, and has, to some extent, made Star Trek relevant again. The majority of movie-goers do fondly remember the other 2 films…they are constantly streaming here and there, and with high user ratings. All of that exposure can only mean good things for Star Trek: Beyond, as well as the forthcoming TV series.

The studio and CBS can’t afford to make the old style of Trek so many of you are clamoring for…they can’t make Trek in the stilted style of TNG, or even the more politically charged Ds9… nobody, aside from the small pool of vocal fans, would watch it! Insurrection, Nemesis and Enterprise wasn’t all that long ago… I have no doubt the studio has learned from history, and the bean counters wouldn’t dare let them repeat it!

Trek is more complex universe than Wars. Wars is a much simpler theme… just blow thing up and tell a very simple story (rescue the princess). If Trek were to bow that low, fans would likely be tolerant for a few installments.

I’ve thought about this a lot — too much perhaps.

First off, there should no more be a comparison between Trek and Wars than there is between either of them and Firefly or Battlestar Galactica or Alien.

Also, Star Trek will never have the size audience Star Wars has. SW is space fantasy for the masses. It can play by any rules it wants, just like superhero movies. Trek tries to take a different path (although it occasionally stumbles) and relies on actual human beings doing things that human beings can reasonably do.

@Clinton – You should definitely check out the podcast. You’ll be pleased to know that we agree with you on a lot of these points!

Star Wars is beer and Star Trek is fine wine.

#1 You just called it Snugglepuff. Disney is just getting started and at a rate of one a year Trek is going to get blown away. For whatever reason Paramount has been content to make films at a rate of one every three or four years which just ain’t going to cut it in terms of staying relevent. A new series could help but streaming something to appeal to the cult won’t turn things around. Star Wars is inspiring young kids around the planet and that is the key. It’s clear Trek just isn’t doing that anymore. Once upon a time I can attest it very much did just that. As another poster commented Trek cons are mostly the old and graying crowd. Upon leaving the theater in 2009 I was amazed and hopeful when I saw young kids giving the Vulcan salute to one another. That was the chance Paramount had and it seems they’ve frittered it away. Hopefully Beyond can start to turn the tide.

The Top 12 (I’ve add 2 new ones) Most Disturbing Things we Might See in a Trek – SW Crossover:

1. Spock mind-melds with storm trooper guard and conveys: “this is not the captain, doctor and Vulcan you are looking for….move along”

2. Darth Sidious: “I have waited a long time for this moment, my little Captain. At last, the Federation is no more.”
Kirk:” I don’t believe in the no-win scenario”

3. Dr. McCoy uses a Tricorder to detect mitoclorians in people to identify Jedi

4. The Enterprise makes the Kessel Run in 11 parsecs!!!

5. Han Solo pounds his fist on Spock’s science station to reset the equipment

6..Jabba the Hutt and Harry Mudd establish a Limited Criminal Partnership

7. George Takei makes a guest appearance as a Trade Federation representative

8. You thought white Brit Khan was bad — in the cross over, Khan is played by Jar Jar Binks.

9. The Death Star and V’ger go head to head in a winner take all action-packed ending.

10. Lando Calrissian is the head of The Cloud Minders dictatorship

11. Shatner finally gets back into a Trek movie — Prime Captain Kirk is added in ghost halo-outlined jedi scene next to Annikan, Obi Wan and Yoda.

12. Integrated Tag Line: “These are the voyages from a long time ago, in a galaxy where no man has gone before”

@Prodigal Son – #3!! Haha!

@ Snugglepuff

“Let’s just be bluntly honest, as much as we all like Trek, it’s slowly fading away in the shadow of star wars”

Which of course explains how the past two movies had made about $800 million, and included by far the biggest expansion of viewership by Trek movies in the international audience to date.

WHOOPS !!! :-)) LOL

Just my 0.02p :

I find Star Wars fans are *way* more fanatical and fanboi-ish than Star Trek fans.

I’ve been watching a DS9 episode before bed each night for the past couple of months, in order through the series. And last night happened to be Rocks and Shoals. It is a very good episode. Another that I recently saw that I’d show to a Star Wars fan is Empok Nor. The message kinda falls flat at the end; but, as a thriller, I think it holds up well.

Kayla, the science in Voyager was generally bad compared to TNG. So, when watching an episode like Tuvix, the presumption should be that you’re appreciating it as a relatively good Voyager episode, but still a Voyager episode. That said, if you put aside the bad science, Tuvix a touching story and one of the more thematically well-developed Voyager episodes. This rather unassuming sleeper actually shows us something of the human condition. The Neelix/Tuvok odd couple trope was a good idea that Voyager stumbled upon in its latter half.

@Cygnus – Interesting point. Truth be told, I actually really like Voyager, but I never liked the Tuvix episode. It just felt… awkward or something. I should go back and watch it again; it’s been a while. So, for me the bad science only played a small role in my dislike of the episode. I can dig the idea of creating a new life form (in this case, at the expense of two others), and I see that the writers chose Neelix and Tuvok since they are so diametrically opposed character-wise. But, the transporter malfunction plot-device was too much of a stretch for me to begin with, and then I didn’t really identify with the Tuvix character (I remember finding him annoying). Like I said, it’s been a while, and that ep deserves a re-watch for me to give it a fair shake.

@Kayla: You had me at “podcast.” ;-)

Fun episode! For crossover potential I’d like to see Han and Chewie on DS9. Or Worf as a member of the Rebellion.

@ Clinton

You had me at, “It depends on what the meaning of the words ‘is’ is.”

@ Kayla


24. Kayla Iacovino – December 9, 2015

The transporter/replicator technological conceits were somewhat abused and relied upon too heavily, especially (though not exclusively) post-TNG. But, sometimes you just gotta go with it—like when Picard delivers a witty quip as he’s in the process of dematerializing during beam-up. Because that’s how clever Picard is, that even without half of his molecules, what remains of his body still has a rapier wit.

But, I just watched a DS9 episode where Sisko & the gang are mining the worm hole to prevent further Dominion reinforcements from coming through—this was the final episode of Season 5, if I’m not mistaken, right before the Dominion/Cardassian forces attack the station. Anyway, the breakthrough idea for the mines, which Rom thinks up, is to equip each mine with a replicator so that it can replicate a new mine (of equal mass as the one creating it) if one of its neighboring mines is destroyed—“self-replicating mines.” And, of course, the first thing that comes to my mind is that this is a patent violation of conservation of mass and energy. And, even putting that aside, just in terms of dramatic implications for the setting: Seriously?!? That’s how easy it is to just create whatever you want out of thin air in this world? You can just walk around with a replicator in your backpack and make whatever your heart desires out of thin air whenever you feel like it? How many episodes could/should have had their dramatic tension resolved by somebody simply having thought to bring one of these little goodies along on the away mission or whatever? DS9 and VOY seem to have had a culture of neglecting science which led those series to jump the robot shark—if you will—at times.

The transporter is already a hard-to-swallow conceit, but we understand the dramatic need for it in the setting of Trek in order to tell these sort of stories—and, more importantly, we know the original TOS production problem that the transporter was invented to resolve. But, when they take it several steps further—eliminating the limitations of distance and size, as in the site-to-site transporter or the trans-warp beaming device—the whole house of cards starts to fall apart.

Anyway, there’s a VOY Season 6 episode, Riddles, where Tuvok suffers some neurological damage, basically becoming a simpleton, and Neelix devotes himself to helping Tuvok rather like a special-needs teacher would help one of his/her kids. I recall that one being another sleeper that sort of crept its way into my heart. And this episode was a turning point in the relationship between Tuvok and Neelix that arcs the series. I need to go back and revisit both Tuvix and Riddles. I distinctly remember really appreciating the latter, but I’m curious now if I’ve oversold the former a bit. Not until I finish my latest run-through of DS9, though, but, I’ll get back to you with more specifics.

I’m just saying. The title of the movie (Beyond) will be replaced. It will be a big surprise! :-D :-D

I think, the main reason Star Wars is doing as well as it is, is thanks to both the Star Wars animated series and the merger with Disney.

Episode I-III of Star Wars were crappy – no comparison to the new Star Trek movies (which were of exponentially better quality). But as soon as they brought the kiddies in with Star Trek: The Clone Wars (animated series), it was all game.

I struggle to understand why Star Trek hasn’t done an updated animated series to bring in a younger fanbase. People are so worried about it being dumbed down for kids – but they forget what Star Trek meant to kids in the 60s.
If they made an exciting storyline with a decent mix of battles/exploration, they would be able to ignite a NEW fanbase.

“But as soon as they brought the kiddies in with Star Trek: The Clone Wars (animated series), it was all game.”

I must have missed that series?

I love both series, but Star Wars is simply better. Trek is either going to evolve and embrace the new Trek feel to keep fans or relegate itself to the kind of boring political dialogue and heavy handed moral storylines that killed previous shows and movies.

Remember that some of the worst Star Wars movies had the same themes as bad Trek. No one cares about council meetings and diplomatic dialog. Trek needs to be fun action adventure films because they were right to say that the previous script, if it was indeed to “Trek like” had to be abandoned. This is all about money and traditional trek bores the hell outta most people. Keep that stuff in fan films (of which I personally find most insufferable).

Bottom line, trek evolves or it should die. It’s not the 60’s anymore, it’s not even the 80’s or 90’s anymore. If Next Gen got rebooted it would be like Star Wars or GOTG. That’s a no brainer. Roll with it Trek fans or be relegated to the dustbin of fandom. Anyway, Star Wars has been and always shall be better. As bad as the prequels are, I’d still watch them over Nemesis, TPM or Final Frontier

# 30. Prodigal Son – December 10, 2015

” I must have missed that series?” — Prodigal Son

Nah, more likely you just missed the shuttle podcast [Re: Jar Jar graphic caption].

@ Harrson Ford

What is the hydraulic door, or the plane crash that caused your brain damage on this topic?

@ Prodigal Son

Typo. But you get the gist of it.

An article I co-wrote on the new SW is up at ICG magazine.

No spoilers, fairly technical, but if you’re SW-jonesing, it can help pass the time.

I wrote the film camera part, but obviously ILM wouldn’t put anyone on the phone with me, so they brought in a co-writer to do that interview, and then I transcribed and incorporated that stuff into the article, along with email input from Abrams.


Yea, I was just being funny.

@ Prodigal Son – you have deftly answered my post in the most intellectual way possible. Congrats on your acceptance into Mensa.

@ Harrison Ford

Thanks, Einstein

@ Harrison Ford

Well absolutely half-right in any case. There is a reason the action-adventure based reboots have enjoyed the approval of the masses. Trek was never intended for the select and cultish few. Paramount seems to understand this much. One wonders if we will all get to enjoy many socially relevant stories celebrating “Gene’s vision” in the 2017 CBS series.

Who said Trek was intended for “select and cultish few”? If that’s what you call smart people, than I will proudly count myself to a “select and cultish few”. I really hate such misinterpretations. Star Trek was actually intelligent science fiction which was intended for intelligent viewers. And now it has experienced incredible dumbing down in the form of those reboot movies. If you ask me, I’d rather Trek remained the former having an audience of several dozens millions people than becoming the latter having audience of a billion. It’s nice, of course, when something gains popularity, but if a popularity shouldn’t come at any cost. Work of art like Star Trek should be appreciated and treated with respect, not turned into a perversion, like Paramount is currently doing, solely for $$.

I see there are some typos, I can’t correct them now.

Oh, let’s stop comparing apples and oranges! And let’s stop beating up on Paramount or silly fan boys, etc.

Star Trek is science fiction and Star Wars is myth. And myth can be eternal, whereas sci-fi has a definite shelf life. The story that Star Wars is based on is as old as civilization itself. In fact, George Lucas studied with Joseph Campbell (“The Power of Myth”). The story of “Star Wars: A New Hope” is “The Dragon-Slayer” and it is the basis of many many stories from “Perseus and the Minotaur” to “The Sword in the Stone” to “Lord of the Rings.”

Basically, this coming-of-age story features:
1. A youth living in an out-of-the way provincial village (or planet)
2. Who is an orphan
3. Who gets contacted by a wizard
4. To go on some kind of quest
5. To rescue something.
6. In his quest he is aided by a band of magical friends.

You can slice this old chestnut any way you want. It will always appeal to young and old alike. And we never get tired of hearing it told over and over (in different ways, of course.)

As science fiction, Star Trek would have to become obsolete sooner or later because it deals with real technology. Young people today looking at the technology that we found mind blowing in the 60’s, like powerful network computers, phasers, and communicators must wonder
“Well, what’s so unusual about that?”
We have these things. It’s not amazing anymore. The disappointing thing about Star Trek is that after TOS, there was only a small amount of thinking about technology (Oh, the Holo-deck. Wow.) And so it became little more than space opera. True, we liked character development, but there should have been more forward thinking. The show stayed mired in a particular mind-set, and even today Star Trek show us a kind of a RETRO future rather than showing us the future.

Now here’s where we can blame ourselves a little bit. We insisted that the same actors portray our favorite characters for half a century, believable or not. The spectacle of middle aged actors with considerable paunch stuffed into unrealistic costumes couldn’t add to Star Trek’s allure. Certainly not with young people. Over at Star Wars, you could travel back in time to have sexy Ewen McGregor portray the young Obi-Wan, even after Alec Guiness had passed away.

But the best we could hope for in Star Trek was an alternate universe with younger actors because we just couldn’t accept anyone else but the original TOS crew touching those roles. Shame on us!

I hope the new movie and the TV series blast away at our old concepts of Trek and gives us something that can enjoy for at least another half century.

Well part of the reason for the alternate universe was the mind numbing amount of canon to deal with that would make a movie about a young Kirk and crew in their original universe would have been exceedingly difficult. A big part of this is the reliance on time travel which has muddied the waters even further.

Perhaps Next Gen movies could work with a new cast. Other than Patrick Stewart I’m not sure I’d like any of the original cast in a new movie. Gates McFadden and Jonathon Frakes don’t scream “action star” and yes, it would be an action/adventure movie.

Perhaps Trek is best suited to tv but again, would there be an audience for the kind of Trek that purists seem to clamor for? If it doesn’t appeal to general audiences would it not be doomed to cancellation? In 2015 can traditional Trek work? I personally don’t think so, it must adapt to modern audiences, tv or cinema, to work.

Hey I like a good dialog driven episode with great philosophical themes too but unless they can wrap that up in an action packed drama it simply will not work. There’s a reason JJ Trek resurrected the franchise. If it had more like the last few Trek movies, I doubt they would have made a fraction of box office that JJ’s movies have. And THAT is all that matters to studios, not deep stories that mirror current political and cultural realities in a futuristic sci-fi setting.

@43.Harrison Ford. Even the original series was packaged as an action-adventure TV show. If you look at an old ads for Star Trek, you can see how the show was supposed to be marketed. Kirk was depicted with a phaser rifle in hand, Spock was definitely in the background. NBC at the time was positioning itself with shows that would appeal to today’s fan boys. ABC had groovy youth-oriented stuff like Batman and The Mod Squad and CBS had corny stuff like Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction geared to appeal to the heavy TV watching rural audience.
But that didn’t stop Gene Roddenberry from slipping in rather deep sci-fi concepts. Even the sleep-inducing original pilot “The Cage” could be re-purposed as an action show.
It’s just too bad that today’s action movies are only that…action. A good script does not just have stuff blowing up.
Think of the great movies that work on several levels:
“Lawrence of Arabia” -blows up lots of stuff and has lots of adventure but it’s a historical epic film
“The Birds”-is basically a horror/disaster movie like any “Attack of the…(fill in the blank)” flick but it makes you think
“Three Days of the Condor”-lots of violence and chase scenes but it’s a political thriller
“Marathon Man”- An entirely realistic action movie
“Superman”- a superhero movie which is really a delightful romantic comedy as well as a valentine to comics in general
“History of Violence” or any other David Cronenberg movie
And on today’s TV there are tons of shows that deliver the adrenaline rush as well as make you think, “Sherlock” “Breaking Bad” etc.

Why can’t Star Trek be this good as well as exciting?

#31. Harrison Ford – December 11, 2015

How can STAR TREK “evolve” by going backwards to STAR WARS of the mid-1970s?

# 43. Harrison Ford – December 12, 2015

” Well part of the reason for the alternate universe was the mind numbing amount of canon…” — Harrison Ford

Mind numbing canon? I’ll tell you what has mind numbing canon: the gods of the Greek Myths, and yet, Hollywood keeps retelling those tales without recourse to alternate universes and substituting one mind-numbing canon for another as the Bad Robot Treks do with their piecemeal regurgitation of it masquerading as something new with a pretext that anything can happen.

@VulcanFilmCritic – “Why can’t Star Trek be this good as well as exciting?”

The easy answer is that – it can be. However the powers that be have not been able to execute it properly, agree or not, until JJ came along. Love it hate it, Star Trek was “exciting” again.

So now the hope is that some great stories are written to go along with the new style. I’m looking forward to “Beyond” and the new series but I’m doing so with very cautious optimism.

In the meantime I’ll be watching “Force Awakens” probably a half dozen times during its run and I’m looking forward to “Rogue One” next year because for me, prequels aside, Star Wars has always been the superior sci-fi/fantasy property.

@ Disinvited – mind numbing canon in that it’s almost impossible to create a back story that doesn’t contradict some obscure something in some episode from Voyage or DS9 from the mid-90’s. No writer or director wants to be tied down by the sheer volume of “canon” that it keeps them from telling their story.

This is the reason Disney discarded the EU from Star Wars. Everything aside from the movies, Clone Wars, and Rebels was scrapped.

Can you imagine if someone did that with Trek? The nerd rage would reach apocalyptic proportions on a biblical scale. The alternate universe, right or wrong, released everyone from those confines.

Yes STID was very derivative of WOK but with people like Ocri and Lindelof out of the picture, my hope is Simon Pegg and Doug Jung can come up with an original story for this new Trek timeline.

Canon is also the reason I believe the new series should stay in the new timeline otherwise they would need to keep Trek from the original timeline in the future, perhaps another 50 to 100 years past TNG, which I’d also be fine with

Not to be derogatory to anyone but the point being that Paramount (or CBS) will not take a financial pounding to appeal to a select audience,It simply will not work. Why shouldn’t it be possible for Paramount or CBS to give Star Trek a broader appeal, particularly in the face of the oncoming SW juggarnaut?

# 47. Harrison Ford – December 12, 2015

“…mind numbing canon in that it’s almost impossible to create a back story that doesn’t contradict some obscure something in some episode from Voyage or DS9 from the mid-90’s. No writer or director wants to be tied down by the sheer volume of “canon” that it keeps them from telling their story.” — Harrison Ford

None of VOY, DS9, or TNG’s numbing canon comes to bear when the story takes place before the original series as in the case of STAR TREK THE BEGINNING or BR’s STAR TREK. Both were still strapped with the numbing canon of ENTERPRISE. The alternate universe is not the necessity or Khan’s blood you would have us believe for writers trying to create Trek backstories in previous timeframes.


#48. Merchant of Vulcan – December 12, 2015

It’s all well and good to proffer that cinema STAR TREK must evolve, but don’t expect anything less than a hearty guffaw from me when you and others claim that the way to advance it forward is to go backward to the STAR WARS of the 1970s.

But what if Beyond is more in line with Star Trek of the 1960s instead of Star Wars of the 1970s?

Interesting that Star Wars of the 70’s is going backwards but going full on 60’s style Trek isn’t.

Look we can argue about which Trek is the “right” Trek but the bottom line is that either Trek MUST be profitable for it to continue to exist outside of fan films. As a fan of JJ’s films as well as about half the movies and half the tv shows, I know what I like and it seems that the Trek that I like is the Trek that seems to be profitable. You can throw around lines that I’m a low brow action adventure fan and not one of the cerebral Trek fans that likes Trek to be about discussion and philosophy (which I do like, if done right) but lets remember that Trek almost died again until WOK, an action adventure film that drew in mass audiences.

I don’t think some Trek fans will only be happy with their beloved original series and the Shatner/Nimoy movies and if that’s the case, fine, play your dvd’s or old vhs tapes and enjoy. But new Trek will NEVER go back to that style again, plain and simple so either accept the new direction the franchise is going or you are going to relegate yourself to misery. Not a fun way to live IMO.

It’s asinine for this “Harrsion Ford” SW fan to be posting his nonsense here.

Go find a SW site, dude.

I’d substitute FIREFLY for STAR WARS, but other than that I can see what Harrison is saying — don’t agree with all that much, as I personally don’t feel any resonance with most mythology in film outside of the second Mad Max movie and THE PRINCESS BRIDE.

I’ve said on many occasions that TREK has its own unique hero’s journey that requires the triad, which sets it completely apart from Campbell and is probably one of the main reasons I dislike 09 so much (besides issues with execution of course), since they’re shoehorning TOS into something less than it should be.

Trek for me SHOULD be an adventure format, be it film or TV show, which means there is an action quotient, but often with something extra that resonates, usually arising out of the character dynamic and whatever thoughtfulness and insight gets brought. There, that sounds easy enough.