Simon Pegg talks about what makes Star Trek Beyond different to Star Wars

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When it comes to franchises that begin with the word “Star”, you don’t get any bigger than Star Wars and Star Trek. And you also don’t get fan communities that are more heated in their debates as to which franchise is superior. Which is kind of odd, because they’re not so different really. They’ve got spaceships, hokey religions and various other similarities that you’d spot between all the fan bloodshed.

But then again, they are also completely different in their tone and delivery. Because Star Wars is science fantasy, while Star Trek is science fiction with a capital SCIENCE. “Yeah, I think it’s interesting when you look at the original Star Trek, because it is about an idealistic young farm boy who goes off to fight in outer space,” Simon Pegg, who plays Starfleet engineer Scotty and the only red shirt to not be murdered, said to Collider about the differences in franchises. Which happen to have both had a touch of the ol’ JJ Abrams direction on them:

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There are similar beats in it. It’s no secret that J.J. was always more of a Star Wars fan. I think you just try to create a hybrid. You know, Star Wars is science fantasy, and Star Trek is science fiction, and they’re two different things. People often confuse Star Warsand Star Trek — and they’re not the same thing at all. It’s a bizarre and wonderful thing that you can be in Bad Robot now and hear Chewbacca in one room and someone talking about Spock in the other, but they are still very, very different things.

I think what you have to maintain with Star Trek is that it’s rooted somewhere in our reality and our universe and in humanity. Star Wars is a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The thing that makes that Star Trek kind of more science fantasy is that it does get — you know, there’s a lot of special effects and fighting. Star Trek could never really afford that in a way, which is why it had to concentrate on other aspects of production. We can do both now.

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So I think it’s kind of finding a way of having that really fun, spectacular event cinema but grounding it in kind of a — because explosions don’t mean a damn thing if you don’t care about who’s involved in the explosions. You can see the most incredible fireworks on a cinema screen, but if you don’t fundamentally care about the people who are in jeopardy, then they’re so unimpressive. You see it time and time again these days.

I’ve always liked Star Trek. Not in the same manner as Star Wars, but I’ve always appreciated that series and its more grounded approach to delivering action. Star Trek: Voyager was a personal favourite of mine, but the recent films weren’t half-bad. Well, except for the first sequel which was all-bad. But over the years, both franchises have definitely begun to share a similar sense of style, thanks to Abram having directed films in each universe.

Star Trek Beyond will see Justin “Fast and Furious” Lin take the helm, in a film that also looks heavy on action and science. And that’s the kind of Star Trek that I want to see. Not the one where William Shatner could barely hold his own in a fight with a half-blind extra dressed up as a Godzilla reject. Star Trek Beyond is out next month, and stars the Enterprise crew of Chris Pine, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Sofia Boutella, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, and Anton Yelchin. Idris Elba plays the big bad this time around.

Last Updated: May 24, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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