Polling Indicates Star Trek Is On The Verge Of Passing Star Wars In Popularity
In a Giant Freakin Robot Twitter poll, Star Trek was within one percent of overtaking Star Wars regarding which franchise fans are more excited about.
There is no denying that right now is a great time to be a fan of superheroes and science fiction. Star Trek, the longest-running sci-fi franchise, has gone through ups (Next Generation) and downs (Discovery) in popularity, but it’s almost always been far behind Star Wars since the cinematic upstart arrived in 1978. According to a poll run through the GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT Twitter account, that’s finally changing. Star Wars is fading and Star Trek is growing. Fan sentiment seems to favor the Federation.
Over 2,000 of our movie-loving fans voted in the poll and made their voices heard. While Marvel is still number one, we’re far more fascinated by the strong showing from Star Trek. With Picard Season 3 finally fulfilling the series’ potential and the cancellation of Discovery, along with Star Wars’ last film trilogy being met with almost universal disappointment, the more cerebral sci-fi franchise faces a bright future. That hasn’t always been the case, and while the franchise filled with mystical Jedi is finding new life on streaming, there’s no word yet on the next movie, which will be a make-or-break moment.
Following the final episode of Voyager, Star Trek entered a dark period with Enterprise failing to connect with fans. A few years later, the launch of J.J. Abrams Nu-Trek films starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Zoe Saldana attempted to reach a new audience while fracturing the franchise forever in the process. Though the first three were a success, they diverted from what drew fans to Star Trek in the first place: a sense of discovery, a wide variety of possible stories and settings (as opposed to, say, another desert planet), an optimistic outlook on humanity’s future, and a sense that someday this will be our reality.
Compared to Star Trek, Star Wars is more of a fantasy and focuses more on grand cinematic moments than exploring the villain’s motivations. Star Wars will never have a movie like First Contact, which keeps the Borg as a malovent species but does so more through creepy characterization than blowing up a planet that we never saw in the first place. While Q does exist, even his motivation is better written than “somehow, Palpatine returned” or the infamous “I hate sand” scene.
Modern viewers are changing their habits from everything that came before, the success of The Mandalorian, the most Star Trek that Star Wars has ever become, stands as the best example of the changing franchises. Unlike Gene Rodenberry’s vision, George Lucas was fixated upon a relatively brief period (roughly 60 years) that Disney has yet to leave. Star Wars: Acolyte, set hundreds of years before Phantom Menace, is the first time the franchise (outside of video games) goes outside the Empire/Rebellion timeline.
The willingness of Star Trek to try new and different things results in hits (Lower Decks) and misses (Picard Season 1), but it takes big swings compared to Star Wars continuing to refuse to embrace the Extended Universe. Trek novels have been referenced in shows, while Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade are the best characters never to leave the pages of Timothy Zahn’s amazing novels.
Fans are starting to appreciate everything Star Trek has done for science fiction, and maybe the next poll will show that it’s returned to being more popular than Star Wars.