If you’re interested in participating in the Geek Out Challenge, read this post here! Each day I will be posting a question for that day for the next 30 days. Follow along each day with your own post or feel free to wait until the entire challenge has been released and take it on when you like! Be sure to link back to the master post at the end or link back to each post for each day.
Day Sixteen: What crossover would you like to see?
In my pre-teen formative years I was somewhat of a geek, it’s hard to believe I know, but in the absence of mobile phones and other distractions I was content to spend my school days debating the merits, strengths and weaknesses of various fandoms, the greatest bone of contention, which was the greatest sci-fi series, Star Trek or Star Wars. The nature and shape of this conversation changed over the years, in its earliest form, a healthy respect for each other’s respective choice utilising whatever weapon we had to bare. In a world before instantaneous digital stats, movie revenues and such this often resorted to printed media and trying in a futile gesture to prove which was the better. For the sake of clarity, I was and still remain a Star Trek fan, my real life geek should have given some indication to that.
One of my close school friends and I collected the Fact Files for a time, making a school yard agreement to share this valuable wealth of information though as time progressed and we both grew older this came to an end. Certainly it provided a ‘technical’ advantage to our cause of declaring Star Trek the ‘better’ sci-fi series in contrast to the fantasy driven Star Wars with their voodoo force magic. The fact files were a wealth of information that allowed us to make entirely unfounded suppositions and asertations of our tribes dominance over theirs. There was an early attempt to unify the debate with the release of the two franchises customisable card games that released at that period and an unhealthy amount of money spent collecting cards to fight each other. Unfortunately due to the complexity of the rules and nature of the games there was never a recorded cross-over of these two series at that point, certainly not in our small school in north west London.
As creative and formative minds grew and took shape, so our ability to merge these two series formed into a series of written adolescent fan fiction, on occasion dabling into comic art and sketches even a very crude basic manner but ultimately a series of stories that would cross these series together and create these fantastical tales of my friends and I on a starship breaking the barrier between the Star Trek and Star Wars universe. Often, a character’s fate and circumstance would depend on our relationship at the time, one bad fight or argument could spell a gruesome and painful death. I like to think ours was a virtuous period before cyberbullying and online shaming, in ‘my day’ a crossed word or falling out would result in death by exposure to space, a civilized time.
Given the synergy and influences on both series on each other, it’s fairly easy to see the tribalism effect in motion with ardent fans eager to prove whose was the superior product. On reflection at this point in my life, it was a great period to live through with two very different products in their approach to space exploration but giving a waiting audience what they desired. I would gladly watch a great deal more shows of this quality today, thankful for recent releases like The Expanse and the remake of Lost in Space providing a more grounded approach to science fiction on the small screen. But for all the merits of Star Trek and Star Wars there were never any official crossovers given the separate studios, owners and visions of the product which would have been an amazing dream come true for both sets of fans.
Leave fan’s to their own devices and eventually these projects and media begin to emerge. Certainly with the availability of photo manipulation software becoming more available at the turn of the millennium these sorts of visual crossovers become possible with the various starships juxtaposed facing off against each other. For the more balanced fan there did always seemed to be a principle of mutually assured destruction in effect with the capital ships at an impasse, not always observed of course depending on your tribe with the subsequent destruction causing much heated debate as to its validity and accuracy. An entirely baseless debate to have when you realise you are talking about fantasy spaceships and two seperate studios who couldn’t care less.
Tribalism is a very primitive and powerful motivational force, when you feel your tribe is being challenged is instinctual to rush to its defence. Given the somewhat different tones and nature of the series, beyond the most ardent fans from my perspective there has always been a mutual respect and tolerance that both series could survive and thrive, coexist with each others existence where others seem to fail. One of the earliest YouTube videos I remember watching was the Star Trek vs Star Wars short that had a surprisingly balanced perspective on both series, crude by today’s standards but also very ahead of it’s time for practising a message of respect towards each other. Of course as technology has improved and attitudes hardened so these videos tend to be somewhat skewed.
From a neutral perspective, it’s somewhat interesting to observe the almost parallel trajectory both series have taken in recent years, adopting the more inclusive vision on both accounts with the more representative cast and ideology of The Last Jedi mirroring a similar ethos to that found in Discovery. Equally, to note this has also met with a certain backlash, rightly or wrongly from both sets of fans who view this as a rejection of the original ethos and premise of the series. Of course one could argue this is progress, and arguing and debating on the moralities and principles of a fictional series is largely redundant anyway. For my part, I don’t buy into the notion of killing off and destroying off legacy characters, it seemed a short sighted attempt to remove all traces of what had built these franchises in the first place. But to succeed series do need to change to remain a viable product going forward.
There is almost no chance these two great franchises will ever come together in any meaningful way, certainly now Star Wars is under the guardianship of the Disney corporation whilst Star Trek is seen as its equivalence to the CBS-Viacom organization as they build a similar franchise around this. Fans of course cling to the legalities of fair use and try to create their visions of this union between the two. For me, as a fan of science fiction as long as it was done in a meaningful and respectful way to both series I would love to see some form of crossover. From a logistics point of view, especially given the way something as simple as Spiderman being used in the Sony and MCU franchises has created a legal, licensing nightmare, all it will ever be is a distant dream. But what a dream.
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