So why cant Star Trek ever match Star Wars in popularity?
Define "ever." Star Trek
was very successful on film and TV during the '80s and '90s when there was no new Star Wars
in sight, and ST had a massively successful tie-in novel line for well over a decade before Lucas decided he wanted to try to duplicate its success for SW.
And of course, it's safe to say that ST was infinitely more popular prior to May 1977.
I wouldn't say Star Wars owed much to Star Trek at all. It is based far more on westerns, samurai films and Flash Gordon serials.
In storytelling, yes, of course. But the point Lucas made in Trek Nation
is that ST's success as a profitable science fiction franchise helped him convince the studio that it was worth gambling on his sci-fi movie.
And of course it borrowed some things from ST, just as virtually everything in mass-media SF in the late '70s and early '80s borrowed things from ST. It cribbed terms like "tractor beam" and "deflector shield" directly, and had some thinly veiled borrowings like "proton torpedoes." Heck, just using bluescreen photography to shoot spaceship scenes was following ST's precedent.
I tend to agree with Christopher as well. Out of the six SW films episodes V and VI had a co-writer credit if memory serves and dialouge wise they are the best of the bunch.
The screenplay to The Empire Strikes Back
was credited to Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan; the screenplay to Return of the Jedi
was credited to Kasdan and Lucas. Kasdan also wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark
. I was always surprised and disappointed that Lucas didn't bring him back to write the prequels. He is involved as a consultant with the upcoming new movies, which I see as cause for optimism.
George Lucas did more for the advancement of motion pictures than anyone since Lumiere brothers.
As a producer, maybe. But as a director, his only really impressive accomplishment is A New Hope
. It's weird that so many people think of him as a director. He's a producer who's occasionally directed.
Old tropes didn't originate with Star Trek.
Set Harth wrote:
Vader levitating a coffee cup, as seen in the ANH comic/novel? Gary Mitchell did it first.
Palpatine shooting energy bolts from his bare hands? Gary Mitchell did it first.
Obi-Wan feeling the death of Alderaan? Spock did it first ( in The Immunity Syndrome ).
There I'm in agreement. Psychic/telekinetic tropes are just a slightly modernized version of magic/supernatural tropes that have been around for millennia. Stage magicians have been levitating objects since before motion pictures were invented. Fraudulent mediums and spiritualists used hidden wires to levitate people and things, and claimed to be able to communicate with the dead or to sense things from vast distances. And the trope of powerful beings hurling lightning from their hands goes as far back as millennia-old myths about storm gods such as Zeus and Thor.
What Star Trek
and Star Wars
have in common is that they didn't invent tropes so much as distill and popularize pre-existing tropes. The difference is their source material. ST drew largely on prose SF literature ranging from the pulp era of the '30s to the proto-New Wave of the '60s, as well as borrowing a little Forbidden Planet
and the like. SW, as mentioned above, was largely a pastiche of adventure serials like Flash Gordon
as well as Westerns, WWII movies, and a liberal helping of sword-and-sorcery fantasy.