One of the great things about comic books is that they offer crossover opportunities that would prove either logistically nightmarish or just outright impossible in a live-action film or TV show. You just need a writer, artists, an editor, and a good idea to mash together different worlds. Marvel’s X-Men have long been subjects of crossovers and 1982’s Marvel and DC Present The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans remains one of the most beloved collaborations between the big two comics giants. But more wild and crazy than that crossover are the not one, not two, but three crossovers between Marvel’s X-Men and the heroes of Star Trek.
As remembered over at CBR, the very first crossover between Star Trek and X-Men is surprisingly between Marvel’s mutants and the crew of Star Trek: The Original Series — “surprisingly” because the one-shot Star Trek/X-Men — written by Scott Lobdell with various artists contributing — was released in 1996 at which point The Next Generation had concluded and both Deep Space Nine and Voyager were in full swing. The decision to turn back the clock may very well have something to do with 1996 marking the 30th anniversary of Trek‘s TV premiere.
Regardless of the reason, we should all be grateful the first meeting between the heroes of Star Trek and those of Xavier’s School for Gifted Children included the original crew of the Enterprise, because it gave us what should be considered a hallowed moment in comics: Spock taking out Wolverine with a neck pinch. As for the rest of the story, it involves the X-Men and the Starfleet crew teaming up to defeat a mash-up of their enemies. Gary Mitchell — the villain of Where No Man Has Gone Before, the third episode of Trek‘s first season — is possessed by the mutant villain Proteus. He teams up with Deathbird and the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. Early in the comic we get to witness Gladiator — an uber-powerful, Superman-esque alien from Marvel Comics — punch the Enterprise, and Kirk respond with, “Did he just… punch my ship?”
The next crossover came two years later, in 1998, with Star Trek: The Next Generation/X-Men: Second Contact. The one-shot was written by Dan Abnett and Ian Edgington, with art by Cary Nord and Scott Koblish. Abnett, by the way, would go on to be one half of the writing team — Andy Lanning was the other half — to revive the Guardians of the Galaxy in the form that would later be adapted by James Gunn.
The one-shot was written as a sequel immediately following the events of the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact. The android Data is even drawn as still missing skin from his face, where it evaporates in the climax of First Contact after being exposed to the same coolant vapor that marks the (temporary) end of the Borg Queen. As is customary in these crossovers, the heroes first fight and later team-up, and in this case their clash takes place in the X-Men mansion, where Data makes short work of Wolverine and even proves able to withstand a punch from the powerhouse Colossus.
This time the villain is the time traveling warlord Kang, which gives us the opportunity of seeing past and future events of both universes mashed up just like their heroes. For example, Tasha Yar — who dies in in Season 1 of TNG — is a mutant rebel in the dystopian future of Days of Future Past. Meanwhile, John Proudstar — aka the mutant Thunderbird — is a Starfleet officer on board the Saratoga at the Battle of Wolf 359 who dies protecting Ben Sisko.
The final crossover takes place not in comics, but in the 1998 prose novel Star Trek: The Next Generation/X-Men: Planet X by Michael Jan Friedman. The novel is a sequel to Second Contact and has the crew of the Enterprise encounter a planet full of mutated beings just like the X-Men and, eventually, the X-Men themselves, who are transported there by the troublemaking space god Q.
Will there ever be a live-action crossover between Star Trek and X-Men? Probably not, and that may be a good thing. Sure, it could be just as crazy and awesome as the comic book crossovers. But, can you imagine the stress — considering he plays both Professor X and Captain Picard — Patrick Stewart would be under?