The eternal sci-fi battle for the ages has always been Star Wars vs Star Trek, and it’s not too surprising. Before Marvel and DC split the pop culture universe to the extent that it has today, these two titans sparked a fire that still burns to this day. Though, it doesn’t necessarily have to, if what William Shatner has recently said has any effect on the fandoms. You see, Shatner fully believes that without Star Wars’ theatrical success in 1977, Star Trek would still be a kitschy sci-fi series in re-runs.
CNN picked up on the comments made by William Shatner, as he was attending a fan convention for Star Trek in Las Vegas this past weekend. Shatner’s reasoning highlighted the following scenario as the reason Star Trek became a timeless success:
First of all, Star Wars created Star Trek. You know that? At Paramount Studios they were running around bumping into each other: ‘What do we got?! What do we got to equal ‘Star Wars?’ This is a big thing! There was this thing that we canceled, under another management, it was called Star …Trek? Let’s resurrect that!
It’s no secret that once Star Wars hit in 1977, everyone wanted in on the action. Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rodgers in the 24th Century, and even Star Trek: The Motion Picture all sprung forth from the success of that galaxy far, far away. Though, to be fair, it’s not like Star Trek wasn’t trying to bring itself back by its own bootstraps. The 1970’s saw its creator, Gene Roddenberry, trying to create what would have been the second series in the Trek canon, Star Trek Phase II, but ultimately that idea was seen as to expensive as a TV series. However, its pilot was seen as a keen idea for a film, and in 1977 Star Trek: The Motion Picture was born and would eventually be released in 1979.
The rest, as they say, is Federation history, which has continued to this day, as the franchise has generated several more series and feature films, culminating in the 50th anniversary of the series, celebrated with this summer’s release of Star Trek Beyond.
It takes a person of true strength to admit when the competition gives them the edge they need to get ahead. William Shatner’s admission that Star Wars’ success in turn inspired Paramount to take another shot on the Star Trek franchise is not only spot on, it’s also the perfect call to peace between the two houses. So the next time someone tries to start the Star Wars vs Star Trek debate, don’t hesitate to let them know that without one, the other would certainly be dead. Though, if someone uses the “Star Wars saved Star Trek’s ass” argument to be a jerk about it, kindly remind them about the Prequels and Jar Jar Binks for good measure.
Star Trek Beyond is in theaters now, and is the perfect celebration of 50 years of the Final Frontier.