NASA’s discovery of a surface formation on Mars that resembles Star Trek’s Starfleet logo has sparked a friendly Twitter feud between Trek's William Shatner and Star Wars star Mark Hamill. “Star Trek or Star Wars” is an argument that has been raging ever since George Lucas first introduced his galaxy far, far away to movie audiences in 1977, creating a rival to Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. Of course, Trek got there first as a major sci-fi pop culture phenomenon, thanks to the original TV series, which ran from 1966 to 1969 on CBS.
At least in terms of movie success, there never has been an argument between Trek and SW, as the Star Wars franchise has grossed a staggering $4.5 billion domestically compared to $1.4 billion for Trek. Of course, Trekkies would argue that box office grosses aren’t the real measure of which franchise is superior, but would instead point to Trek’s greater authenticity (its being more “hard” sci-fi vs. Star Wars which leans toward fantasy) and arguably richer and more diverse universe encompassed by multiple successful TV series over the decades, with the movies only serving as icing on the cake. Star Wars has also expanded into TV series over the years, but many would argue that the Star Wars universe remains rather limited, while Trek has been more successful at branching out beyond the initial series and generating interesting storytelling ideas.
Recently, the eternal “Star Trek vs. Star Wars” debate received an amusing boost thanks to NASA’s discovery of a surface feature on Mars that many say resembles the famous Starfleet logo from Trek. Naturally, it took no time at all for Trek fans to begin touting the discovery as proof that the universe prefers the Gene Roddenberry creation to George Lucas’ Star Wars saga. William Shatner himself even got in on the action, and quickly sparked a good-natured Twitter feud with Star Wars star Mark Hamill. Shatner fired the first volley by claiming Trek “beat” the "Rebel Scums" at Star Wars, but Hamill was quick with a comeback. See a sampling of the Twitter "feud" below:
Shatner and the Trek faithful may have thought they struck a blow (of some sort) by the alleged appearance of a Starfleet logo on Mars, but others quickly pointed out that Star Wars long ago laid claim to its own solar system object when the Cassini probe first returned high-resolution images of Saturn's moon Mimas showing the object's resemblance to the Star Wars Death Star. Shatner shot back by claiming Star Wars didn't necessarily beat Star Trek in this instance, as the Mars logo could be older than the moon Mimas (science has yet to weigh in on this matter one way or the other).
Ultimately, this minor social media skirmish over the significance of a peculiar rock formation on Mars added little to the overall “Star Trek vs. Star Wars” debate, but it did provide some welcome amusement. Naturally, Trek fans will always defend Trek, while Star Wars fanatics will always stick up for Star Wars. Of course, the great thing about this “debate” is that it’s not really necessary to choose one or the other, as both have plenty to offer folks who love sci-fi adventure.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019