Movie Reviews

8 Times Star Wars & Star Trek Told The Same Story

Summary

  • Star Wars
    and
    Star Trek
    share similar storytelling elements, such as opening chase scenes and planet-killing superweapons.
  • There are intentional or unintentional parallels between the two franchises, from similar-sounding names to nearly identical plotlines.
  • Recent
    Star Wars
    and
    Star Trek
    projects,
    Skeleton Crew
    and
    Star Trek: Prodigy
    , show similarities in plot and themes.



While Star Wars and Star Trek are very different franchises despite their similar names, there have inevitably been many times when they have told the same story. This may seem unlikely at first glance, as Star Wars and Star Trek fans have been rivals for as long as anyone can remember. Star Wars leans more into space fantasy, telling a story about another galaxy in the distant past and creating new mythology to captivate modern audiences. Star Trek, meanwhile, is science fiction, offering humanity a glimpse of an optimistic future of exploration and technological innovation.

Of course, when both franchises rely on starships, alien races, and traveling faster than the speed of light, there are sure to be common elements. Some moments even go beyond similar names or designs to having the exact same plot and style of storytelling. Whether intentional or not, these examples are an opportunity to observe parallels between the two biggest names in science fiction. As Star Wars and Star Trek continually release new movies and TV shows, viewers can continue to spot their similarities and not just their differences.


Related

Star Trek: Voyager’s Tim Russ Hilariously Explains Star Wars

A video of Voyager’s Tim Russ hilariously explaining the plot of A New Hope reminds fans of the friendly rivalry between Star Trek and Star Wars.


8 An Opening Crawl & Rebel Chase

Star Trek: Voyager season 1, episode 1 “Caretaker”


Star Trek TV episodes often begin with a Captain’s Log to tell the audience everything they need to know without interrupting the story’s pacing. When Star Trek: Voyager premiered in 1995, however, the creative team needed to summarize the basic conflict between the Maquis and the Cardassian Empire for any new viewers who had not seen Star Trek: The Next Generation or its spinoff Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The solution was to begin with three paragraphs of text, followed by a chase scene introducing three main characters and setting the show’s plot in motion.

It would be hard for any movie fan to miss the similarities between the opening of Voyager and the first Star Wars movie. A New Hope famously begins with an opening crawl explaining the conflict between the Rebels and the evil Galactic Empire, followed by a giant Star Destroyer chasing the smaller Tantive IV. The next few scenes introduce three main heroes and lead to the droids fleeing in an escape pod to set the rest of the plot in motion. Considering this was the first scene of a new Star Trek series, the decision to have a clear Star Wars parallel was interesting.


The Maquis are chased by
“Gul Evek of the Cardassian Fourth Order,”
which sounds similar to the First Order from the
Star Wars
sequel trilogy.

7 The Trade Federation Vs. The United Federation Of Planets

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace


Fans had waited 16 years for another Star Wars adventure on the big screen when Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was released in 1999. Rather than having another evil Empire, the main villains were the greedy Trade Federation, a galactic corporation powerful enough to have its own private droid army and a seat in the Republic Senate. Unknown to the Jedi, the Trade Federation leadership was under the sway of Darth Sidious, who promised them power but was using them to create a political crisis that would begin his eventual rise to power.

While the Trade Federation has very little in common with Star Trek‘s United Federation of Planets, it’s curious that George Lucas used a name famously associated with Star Wars‘s biggest rival. The Trade Federation is also controlled by the Neimoidians, which is hard not to see as a playful reference to Leonard Nimoy, famous for playing Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series and beyond. Qui-Gon Jinn emphasizes that the Neimoidians are cowardly and motivated purely by greed, a description that could easily apply to the Ferengi in Star Trek, whose entire civilization revolves around making profit.


6 An Invading Army From Beyond The Known Galaxy

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order (Book Series)

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order – Vector Prime by R.A. Salvatore kicked off a new era of Star Wars publishing in 1999, exploring the galaxy’s future while George Lucas’ prequel trilogy was exploring its past. The New Jedi Order followed Luke Skywalker and the next generation of Jedi Knights defending the New Republic from the Yuuzhan Vong, a brutal warrior race from beyond the galaxy. Told across 19 full-length novels and a few short stories, The New Jedi Order was an ambitious undertaking, telling one big story while allowing authors to explore individual conflicts and character arcs.


This premise and storytelling format is similar to the later seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine which, funnily enough, ended the same year The New Jedi Order began. Many Star Wars fans have criticized the Yuuzhan Vong for feeling more like Star Trek villains, and there are parallels to the Dominion in Deep Space Nine. The Yuuzhan Vong are divided into different castes and worship strange gods, while the Dominion has a hierarchy for their three main species who worship their founders like gods. Both stories end with various factions and former enemies working together to repel the invaders.

5 Stopping A Planet-Killing Superweapon

Star Trek: Enterprise season 3


Known simply as Enterprise for its first two seasons, this prequel series did more than add Star Trek to its title in season 3. The change came with a serialized plot spanning the entire season, a new group of aliens called the Xindi, and a race to find them before they could build a superweapon to destroy Earth. After convincing a group of Xindi that Earth was not a threat to them, Captain Jonathan Archer led the crew of the Enterprise in a final battle to defend their home and destroy the weapon from the inside.

The original
Star Wars
trilogy had two Death Stars,
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
had Starkiller Base, and
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
had a fleet of 10,000 ships, each capable of destroying a planet.


While most of Enterprise season 3 still felt like Star Trek, superweapons are commonly associated with Star Wars. The original Star Wars trilogy had two Death Stars, Star Wars: The Force Awakens had Starkiller Base, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had a fleet of 10,000 ships, each capable of destroying a planet. Enterprise season 3 regularly features the Xindi leaders conferring about the weapon’s progress, much like the Imperials seen on the Death Star in A New Hope. The context may be different in Enterprise, but a superweapon will always scream Star Wars.

4 Faster And More Intense

Star Trek (2009)


J.J. Abrams redefined Star Trek in 2009 with a reboot that spawned a trilogy of films and eventually led to more TV shows. Rather than follow the example of the previous movies, Abrams and his team made their own version of Star Trek, one with a different visual style and a greater focus on action and adventure. The movie created a new timeline separate from the previous Star Trek entries and focused on a younger version of the Enterprise crew finding their place in this alternate reality. These changes made Star Trek entertaining and much more accessible for new fans.


However, it didn’t take viewers long to realize that the new Star Trek drew heavy inspiration from its biggest rival. Abrams admitted that he was not a big Star Trek fan, aiming to create a version he would enjoy, and it’s easy to see elements taken straight from Star Wars. Jim Kirk and Luke Skywalker are called to adventure among the stars, Vulcan and Alderaan are destroyed by superweapons, Captain Pike and Princess Leia are tortured for information, and the Enterprise crew and the Rebels wage a final attack on their respective superweapons.

J.J. Abrams later wrote and directed
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
and
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
.

3 Cassian Andor’s Name

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story featured an impressive cast of new characters, including Cassian Andor of Rebel Intelligence. While the movie didn’t have time to delve into Cassian’s backstory, the character proved worthy of his own spinoff, leading to Andor season 1 in 2022. The show’s darker storytelling, fully fleshed-out characters, outstanding production value, and Diego Luna’s compelling lead performance ensured everyone would associate “Andor” with Star Wars. The upcoming second season will surely bring in more viewers as the series ties into the events of Rogue One.


Even so, viewers tuning into new Star Trek TV shows may find themselves confused when they meet the Andorians. With their distinct blue skin and antennae, the Andorians are one of the most recognizable alien races in Star Trek, dating all the way back to The Original Series in 1967. Andorians were explored in-depth in Star Trek: Enterprise, and new shows such as Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds have featured Andorian characters. Like the Neimoidians in The Phantom Menace, it’s curious that Star Wars gave Cassian a last name commonly associated with Star Trek.

2 “You’ve Got The Bridge.”

Ahsoka season 1, episode 1 “Part One: Master and Apprentice”


While the first scene of Star Trek: Voyager felt more like a Star Wars movie, the first scene of Ahsoka felt more like a Star Trek TV show. Captain Hayle and his crew aboard a New Republic cruiser encounter a mysterious ship that transmits an old Jedi clearance code. While the rest of the crew is shocked, Captain Hayle is not so easily convinced, believing these “Jedi” must be impostors. He turns command of the bridge over to his first officer and greets Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati, who confirm they are not Jedi by slaughtering the entire crew.


Immediately following the episode’s premiere, some fans noted the similarities to a Star Trek scene. Aside from Star Trek characters often saying “You have the bridge,” the lighting, set design, and camera angles all feel like a classic Star Trek crew exploring the unknown. The Captain asks various officers for information, and casually decides to investigate, and the ship is overwhelmed when the crew realizes what they’ve found. The rest of Ahsoka season 1 constantly references previous Star Wars movies and TV shows, even if it started with something that felt like Star Trek.

1 A Show About A Group Of Kids Finding A Ship

Skeleton Crew


The most recent Star Wars story to feel like Star Trek hasn’t even premiered yet. Skeleton Crew will follow a group of kids who find a starship and travel the galaxy to find their way home. Jude Law will play a mysterious Force user, possibly a Jedi, who leads this young crew on their mission. While no one knows exactly how Skeleton Crew will execute its premise, the plot is undeniably similar to the animated Star Trek: Prodigy, which follows a group of kids who find a Starfleet trip and travel the galaxy under the guidance of Hologram Janeway.

Related

Star Wars’ Upcoming TV Show Sounds Like A Star Trek Ripoff – & That’s Perfect

Star Wars: Skeleton Crew, set to premiere later this year, seems oddly similar to a recent Star Trek story, which may work to its advantage.


In Skeleton Crew‘s defense, Prodigy felt more like Star Wars in its first few episodes. A group of ragtag heroes stealing a ship to go on an adventure has happened several times in Star Wars, and their inexperience means that they take a while to feel like a proper Starfleet crew. Even so, the similarities between these two shows are fascinating, and it will be interesting to see if there are more parallels when Skeleton Crew premieres. With no end in sight for either franchise, there will undoubtedly be more times when Star Wars and Star Trek tell the same story.

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