ADDENDUM #2 - STAR TREK CLARIFICATIONS
I’d also like to clarify a few things about how I’ve referred to Star Trek in this post. First off I’d like to point out that, yes, I am well aware of the fact that Star Trek, like a lot of sci-fi, takes plenty of liberties with its “science” and can in many ways be seen as abstract as well. Of course all fiction is inherently abstract to some degree, and Star Trek is no exception. However, Star Trek, unlike Star Wars, is still, despite its many liberties, rooted in scientific ideas. Although one can argue about the logic behind warp-drive, phasers, humanoid aliens, etc. these are all ideas that are rooted in science, and whatever real-life metaphor they might be playing with, is often secondary to scientific ideas of space exploration. And right there is why Star Trek is sci-fi and Star Wars is not. Star Trek usually begins with some variation of “To boldly go where no one has gone before.” In other words; ‘let’s go explore and learn more about the universe.’ What they find can often be abstract and unrealistic, but the core idea is that of scientific exploration. Star Wars on the other hand begins with “a long time ago…” which immediately sets the stage as mythological, and can be seen as a variation of “once upon a time,” with “a galaxy far, far away” simply adding a space age flavour to it. However, going back to Star Trek The Original Series I do have to admit that there was far more of a Flash Gordon feel to it than what we tend to expect from the franchise today (especially in the unaired pilot—The Cage). So I suppose even Star Trek, depending on your point of view, can be said to “suffer” from the same need for explanation and internal consistency as Star Wars has in the last few decades. Captain Pike saving a princess from a barbarian troglodyte is a far cry from the technobabble spoken by Geordi and Data in the clinical locale of the Enterprise D’s engineering section in The Next Generation. I’m not claiming one is better or worse than the other (I personally enjoy both series), but it is clear that Star Wars is not the only franchise with one foot awkwardly in the past, whether people acknowledge it or not.