Star Wars VS Star Trek in the Age of Abrams

Since there is a new Star Trek film coming out this weekend and since the director (J.J. Abrams) is also taking over the Star Wars franchise, I think it is appropriate to look at his first Star Trek film “through the lens of Star Wars.”

The following is a point-by-point comparison of the original Star Wars movie (1977) and Abrams’ Star Trek film of 2009. As you can see, J.J. basically said, “We’re going to turn Star Trek into Star Wars.”


Similarities between Star Wars (1977) and Star Trek (2009):

  • Starts with Big Ship bullying a smaller (underdog) ship.
  • Goes to a farm boy (early twenties) = (Luke Skywalker/Jim Kirk).
  • Farm boy meets allies in a bar. There is a bar fight. Shortly after this, the hero leaves his home planet for 1st time.
  • The hero finds a mentor who knew his dad and who becomes a kind of father-figure. This mentor asks the farm boy to “join him” and become like the boy’s own father.
  • Farm boy is a rookie but has a lot of potential.
  • Story is about chance, choice, and destiny.
  • Though events seem random, there is evidence that fate/providence is playing a role and guiding these events because the characters seem destined to meet (Droids to Luke and then Ben in Star Wars VS Kirk to Old Spock and then Scotty in Star Trek).
  • Most aspects of the Hero’s journey are present.
  • Farm boy/rookie and the Secondary hero (Han Solo/Spock) do not get along that well but become friends by the end of the film.
  • Bad guys have a weapon capable of destroying a planet.
  • One character is made to watch as his/her home planet is destroyed (Leia/Spock).
  • Bad guy “killed” the farm boy/rookie’s father.
  • Farm boy enters the big bad ship on a rescue mission. He succeeds and saves the prisoner (Princess Leia/ Captain Pike).
  • Just as a “good guy ship” is about to be destroyed by the bad guys, another “good guy ship” appears in time to save the first.
  • The last battle ends when the good guys destroy the big bad ship.
  • Rookie proves himself.
  • Ends with an award ceremony.

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