‘Star Wars’ vs. ‘Star Trek’: The Most Talked-About Difference Between the 2 Franchises

Star Wars or Star Trek? Fans have argued for decades over which is better. Some enjoy both of the franchises, but even those fans usually have a favorite.

But comparison between the two may actually be unfair. Comparing Star Wars to Star Trek isn’t really comparing apples to apples, after all. There is at least one big difference between the franchises. 

The conflicts are totally different

Mark Hamill on the red carpet
Mark Hamill | Rich Fury/Getty Images

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Both universes contain multiple galaxies and diverse creatures. ‘Aliens’ of all kinds coexist, despite different languages and abilities. While in real life, clashing cultures can often lead to huge conflict, that doesn’t usually seem to be the case in the Star Wars universe. The main conflict in all movies has to do with the power struggle between the Jedi and Sith. 

Species doesn’t seem to matter. There is a diverse array of creatures on the Jedi side as well as on the side of the Empire. The Sith Empire, a fascist regime that faces constant rebellion from all over the galaxy, is something that could happen in the real world. History is full of examples of fascist governments. But to have no conflict over language or species seems almost too unreal.  

But Star Trek doesn’t hide from cultural conflict. It has the same diversity of species, but in contrast to Star Wars, conflict is sometimes driven by the differences between them. Although both franchises mimic the human experience, they do it in different ways. They focus on different aspects of humanity, and draw inspiration from different points in human history.

Conflicts are solved differently, too 

Not only is the nature of conflict different in Star Wars versus Star Trek, but the way conflict is resolved is different as well. Star Wars, well, usually has a more violent solution to conflict. That makes sense, considering it is about war, as the title suggests.

The entire franchise is based on conflict between the Empire and the rebel forces. Despite the fact that there are almost ten Star Wars movies, there has been no resolution to that conflict, and there probably won’t be one in the near future.

The rebels may never win, or if they do, they’ll be constantly fighting off fragments of the destroyed Empire. So, conflicts in Star Wars are never really solved, but if they are, they will be solved by violence. 

Star Trek, on the other hand, is famous for its grand speeches. That’s how conflicts are usually resolved in Spock’s universe. The characters are more prone to using words to solve problems, and often that means finding common ground between opposing parties. When they do use weapons, they don’t use lightsabers. 

Weapons are different between ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek’ 

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The most popular weapons in each universe reflect the different styles of conflict and conflict resolution. The lightsaber is a Jedi’s best friend. This is a very destructive weapon, whose successful use almost always leads to death or dismemberment of a foe.

Other Star Wars characters use similar types of deadly weapons, like laser guns. These firearms are similar to the guns we know here on Earth. They’re for killing. In fact, the Star Wars universe is home to the deadliest weapon of all time- the Death Star. It can destroy whole planets at the push of a button. 

On the other hand, Star Trek phasers have three settings. That means enemies can be stunned. Killing isn’t a requirement, which makes conflicts easier to solve with words. When enemies can be disabled, not just killed, there’s hope for peace.