Star Trek vs Star Wars – 10 Reasons Star Trek Wins With Nerds

Star Trek vs Star Wars. Which is better? The answer is Star Trek. Read on and find out why.

Disagree?

For those of you already pissed-off by the statement “Star Trek is better,” consider this a dare. I dare you to read the rest of this article and then comment on it. If you think Star Wars is better. Tell me why. If you have a good enough argument, I will publish it and give you full credit.

Both Star Trek and Star Wars are major fandoms. But Star Trek is the fandom that best represents true “nerdness.” How do I know? Because I have a better understanding of what Star Trek is than most nerds. I was there at the start of it all.

Why I Know Best – Star Trek vs Star Wars

Star Trek was born in 1966. I was born in 1962. I remember seeing it on TV when I was about five years old. I think it is actually my first memory of a TV show. It caught my little four-year-old attention and has never let go.

I remember one scene in particular. An extremely strange-looking man (Spock) was floating in some kind of chamber. I was fascinated. I remember my parents telling me “go to bed, this show is too old for you.”

For me, it felt mysterious, a little scary, but super exciting. There was nothing like it on TV at the time. It was a “strange, new world.” When Star Trek went into reruns, I was all over it. It continued to make me feel like I felt back when I was little – like I was exploring right along with them. I was also deeply in love with Spock and always will be.

Dear Spock, I love you. Signed, Me.
Image by Carla Bumstead/BBC


I remember seeing Star Wars too – when it first came out in 1977. Technically, that was Episode IV – A New Hope. It was really cool, visually. Harrison Ford was hot. I wanted Lea to end up with him really bad. I liked those first three movies a lot. But it wasn’t Star Trek. Star Trek was special. It was, and still is, better. Here are 10 reasons why.

#1 Star Trek was the first nerd fandom

You all know what a fandom is. Trekkies, or Trekkers, were the first. The first sighting of a Trekker can be traced back to a letter dated March of 1967, in which a woman declared herself to be a member of the Star Trek Underground Watcher’s Society. The first Star Trek fanzine came out in September of 1967. The first unofficial fan convention happened in 1969. But when the show was canceled (and came back in syndication), things really took off. The First International Star Trek Convention” took place in 1972, when Luke Skywalker was still in diapers.

First in Nerdness

Star Trek had the first toys and lamest outfits.

#2 Star Trek’s outfits are epic nerd

What can I say? This is no-brainer. Star Trek wins the “nerdiest outfits” by a mile. The wardrobe for Starfleet is seriously limited. Conversely, Star Wars fans have all kinds of cool outfits to choose from. Go ahead, check out your local comic con. All the cool-looking people are over at the Star Wars table.

#3 Star Wars is too cute

Star Wars has too much cute stuff in it. There are cute robots and fuzzy wookies and super cute and fuzzy Ewoks. There are even cute aliens. The only cute fuzzy things in Star Trek were tribbles. You have to be careful with cute. Too much cute and you vear into the mainstream.  Anything mainstream is, by definition, antithetical to nerdness.

#4 Star Wars has too many special effects

Yes, I know. The new Star Treks have lots of special effects. But overall, the special effects in Star Wars have always been an integral part of the show. This was true even way back at the beginning, when Luke goes barreling down on the Death Star back in A New Hope. I remember sitting in the theater thinking “OMG these are the coolest special effects I have ever seen!”

Too often in Star Wars your attention is pulled away from the story by computer-generated special effects. In the later movies, it gets almost ridiculous. When story loses out to “cool effects,” the story is diminished. Nerds understand this. Cool special effects appeal to the masses. Anything that appeals to the masses is contrary to nerd code. Star Trek has always had a more simplistic look, a nerdier look.

Star Trek’s look and feel has always been more understated when compared to Star Wars.
Image by Carla Bumstead/Paramount

#5 Star Trek’s glass is half full

Nerds love heroes, especially ones that win. Both Star Trek and Star Wars have their share of heroes, but in Star Trek, the heroes usually save the day. Not always but more often than not. In Star Wars, however, the bad guys seem to win almost half the time. While both deal with philosophical stuff – life, death, etc. – Star Trek’s overall take on “sentient beings” and their future is positive. Star Wars presents more of a half-empty perspective. The Force has both a dark and light side, and each are equally powerful. That is just a little too negative a vibe for most nerds. Not all but most.

#6 Star Wars is a love story

Nerds like love, they really do. But it is not their main area of expertise. They would rather talk about whether Spock or Data was the best second-in-command than the love affair between way-too-many people in Star Wars. The love stories in Star Trek are manageable and take a backseat to the action. But love is a driving force in Star Wars. Ick. Do I have to list all the star-crossed lovers we meet in Star Wars? These lovers’ stories play a central role in Star Wars sagas.

One of many

Hans and Leia are just one of many pairs of star-crossed lovers that take center stage in the Star Wars stories. (Image courtesy Starwars.com)

#7 Star Trek’s Mission is a Nerd’s Mission

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where
no one has gone before.”

– Star trek’s mission

Star Wars never really gives us an overall “mission statement.” But Star Trek certainly does. And that mission sounds an awful lot like the definition of a nerd’s mission, doesn’t? We explore strange new worlds and seek to learn as much as we can about them, right? Same mission.

#8 The Cantina Scene

The cantina scene in the first Star Wars movie is simply too well done to be truly nerdy. It has the perfect music, the best gathering of aliens ever, and Harrison Ford. It is epic. It is cool. Did any nerd ever truly feel that cool? Nope. It is just too cool for nerds.

#9 Star Wars is Too Popular

This is perhaps the most obvious reason why Star Trek is better than Star Wars. Star Wars reached its fantasy sci fi-self out into the big, mainstream world and caught a lot of people.

Too much popularity is the downfall for anything truly nerdy. Nerds are nerds because they like non-mainstream stuff. Yes, nerdness itself is becoming … popular. But it’s not too far gone yet. This is why we need to remember where our roots lie and proudly proclaim the fact that Star Trek is better than Star Wars.

Star Wars stuff is everywhere. It a massively popular franchise. Star Trek is popular too but not as mainstream as Star Wars.
Photo by Artur Tumasjan on Unsplash

#10 Star Trek has Spock

This final reason why Star Trek is better than Star Wars needs no explanation. I challenge anyone to find a greater nerd in the entire history of nerdness than Spock. 

In conclusion

I am a nerd. I am an old nerd. I was around when “nerds” were born. I understand them. I am sure that, between the two, Star Trek best exemplifies the nerd code and is thus better than Star Wars.

If you disagree, leave us a comment and tell us why. If you agree, you can also leave a comment. Trekkies unite!

PS. I must confess that, on one point, Star Wars clearly takes the cake for nerdness. They have the toys. 

Stars Wars wins when it comes to toys.
Image by Carla Bumstead/Lucasfilm

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