Star Wars v. Star Trek

It’s an old debate – Star Wars versus Star Trek. But I’m going to compare and contrast the two on a level that isn’t typically examined: How badly the franchises financially brutalize their fans. Enjoy this fun examination of two economic empires built on grown mens’ inability to grow up.

Star Wars: If You Can Put a Logo on It…

A lot is said about George Lucas’ rapacious hunger for his fans’ cash. His own fans constantly whine about how he “takes advantage” of them – because of course they don’t have free will to decide how to spend their money, they are spiritually and physically compelled to buy the newest action figure.

Lucas has been a master of merchandising since the beginning. Action figures, soundtracks, Darth Vader soap (I still have a bar of it in the package, and I remember that it turned the bath water grey, which prompted my mother to throw out the one package we were using of the two), dixie cups, belts (they were magnetic clasps and said “May the Force Be with You”), coloring books, bed sheets, we all know the drill. He’s released several versions of the the original film to the home video market, re-released the films between each of the original three, re-edited and re-released the original films decades later, re-edited the first two prequels before releasing them to the home video market (Phantom Menace got a video tape and DVD release)…if there’s a variant to a release, I can tell you what it is. Every version.

So obviously Lucas has made a mint (while smugly stating he “doesn’t make $500,000 a year” even though he’s worth $3.5 billion) by marketing the living hell out of his franchise. Ironic for an avowed child of the 1960s to make so much money isn’t it? Oh yeah, and there are books about what happened between/outside the movies.

Star Trek: Paramount Has No Other Ideas…

Star Trek, meanwhile, showed the way with “Expanded Universe” (EU) publishing. For those unfamiliar with the term, this has to do with stories created by outside writers to sate fans’ need for more stories about their favorite characters without the effort of engaging their own imagination. (To be honest, I’m a little bit of a fan of EU stories for Star Wars and Star Trek because they’re quick reads that don’t need to establish worlds since the readers already know that bit – it’s like a TV show in book format. And every so often you do get the surprisingly gifted writer like Karen Traviss.)

Trek’s EU publishing ranged from the sublime (Spock’s World, Best Destiny) to the patently unreadable (anything. by. Vonda. McIntyre.) and it’s still going strong. Even more mind-boggling, they’ll continue to publish the storylines that treat the “traditional” (pre-2009) timeline as reality while at the same time publishing books that exist within the new timeline only.

While Star Trek action figures aren’t quite the market that Star Wars is, they exist and are gaining traction thanks to the rebirth of the classic line. Costume replicas are pretty big and while Star Wars dominates the silver screen ($4,411,410,761 worldwide gross for all six, while Star Trek’s 11 movies brought in $1,463,683,439 according to www.the-numbers.com), Star Trek dominated the syndicated TV market in the 1990s with three series.

And then there was Enterprise, where (fourth season up to the ending excepted) they didn’t even bother trying anymore. But they still made money because even as fans complained about hating it, they kept watching (guilty as charged).

So Who’s the Worst Offender?

There’s one area in which Star Trek has put Star Wars to shame: Home video releases. They have released and re-released so many different versions of the TV show and movies that it’s sick. It’s legitimately like someone with dementia is in charge of the release schedule; no one at Paramount remembers when or if anything got released at all. Every time a new movie comes out, a new box set comes out. When the Next Generation movies unleashed their horror onto the world (Insurrection is without a doubt one of the absolute worst movies ever, ever, ever released) they would release two box sets. Then they went back to the original series of films for DVD, released them all and then re-released them again as two-disc sets.

They’ve released the original TV series on DVD as mini-sets, collections and collector’s sets. Then they released them on HD-DVD and they’re released on Blu Ray. 79 episodes, released what feels like 79 times. Enough!

So the final verdict is, Star Trek‘s molestation of its fans is worse than Lucas’ molestation of Star Wars fans, simply because he at least makes sure it’s always something new. Star Trek is simply repetitively releasing the same product over and over and over again. The grounds are severity as opposed to volume.

Also, I like Star Wars a lot more on the whole, so this was a rigged result.

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31 thoughts on “Star Wars v. Star Trek

  1. Star Wars is definitely the bigger offender. Lucas will edit and re-edit those movies until the day he dies. You will buy them, and they will become obsolete six months later (just a like a video game system). With Star Trek movies, I will never buy the latest DVD release because most of those movies sucked anyway, and I never bought them in the first place. There are only 4 Star Trek movies that are any good.

    What I find most funny about Star Wars merchandising is just how many versions of action figures Lucas will sell you. You can buy the normal version of Mace Windu, the version of Mace Windu where he is screaming and missing one arm, or any of 20 other different versions of the Mace Windu character. You will buy them all, and you will be disgusted with yourself for it later.

    The only Star Wars merchandise I ever really cared about has not been available since the 1980’s, and you know what I’m talking about…

    1. Should I take it that you will forgive Lucas all of his marketing sins if he re-releases those cookies? I know I would.

      As for the re-releases, Star Trek has been whoring out editions and boxed sets of the same 79 episodes – even going so far as to re-do the SPFX in them (without making them really and truly worthwhile changes) in the latest round, then release them on HD-DVD (already pretty much defunct by the time they announced they were coming out) and then releasing them on Blu-Ray, but in their original versions, because now they can release the re-done shows in the next set and then a set with both versions to satisfy the fans.

      Lucas at least holds on until formats are decided and they can make the most of the technology. And he’s notorious for *not* wanting to release the “original originals” on DVD, and doing it only when fan demand became so great that he knew he’d be able to fund The Clone Wars seasons with the proceeds.

      I’m not saying Lucas isn’t an ass for how much he pummels the wallet. I’m just saying that Paramount is more of an ass, because they just keep mugging their fans with the same product, instead of at least varying the offerings.

      1. @John (aka, kesseljunkie) I never really cared what Lucas did because I really never invested anything in any of his merchandise. The only money Lucas ever really got from me was for a movie ticket (which was always worth the price). I never cared for any of the Star Wars merchandise…except the Pepperidge Farm cookies. If he brings the cookies back, I might grateful enough to go out and spring for one of those Mace Windu figures with the missing arm.

  2. Lucas is the worst offender, by far.

    He re-edits movies all over the place, adds stuff that really doesn’t need to be there (yes, watching Han have a conversation with Jabba in the hanger in the “Special Edition” was neat, but totally unecessary. The conversation was replaced in the story by Han’s encounter with Greedo. The Jabba thing was added “just because”, and offered NOTHING to the story).

    The “original” trilogy was just fine, and had millions of fans in it’s “incomplete” state, and led to books (Timothy Zahn is better at writing Star Wars than even Lucas himself, IMHO), toys, and more merchandise than you could shake a gaffi stick at. There was no need to “upgrade” it. Lucas learned nothing from Ted Turner’s colorization of everything that he could in the 80s. Sometimes people like the sloppy better than what even the director/creator thinks is “better” (Were he not dead, you could ask Sebastian Shaw. half of his appearance was cut from “Jedi” to be replaced by Hayden Christensen, and there was ZERO need for it).

    Yes, Paramount has released/re-released, packaged/re-packaged almost everything Star Trek (Gotta disagree with you on a point. “Insurrection” was a better story than “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” and “Nemesis” put together), but I can’t think of anyone who has gone out and bought every version of everything. The problem isn’t that Paramount is trying to rape its fans, so much as Paramount lacks enough forward thinking to limit itself to one version on a platform that will a) last, and b) become the next “big thing”. Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD was short-lived, but it was easily as intense at VHS vs Beta or Minidisc vs Mp3. All formats had fantastic potential, in in each case, only one won out (mostly because of one or another managing faster saturation of the market). Paramount just started backing the wrong horse, and now has to play catch-up in the Blu-Ray market.

    The various box sets can be irritating, but makes an enormous amount of marketing sense. Think about it. Some people only liked the Borg episodes. By boxing together the best Borg episodes from 4 series (one set has from ST:TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise), Paramount is listening to their fans, and making ownership of what they like much easier than having some people complain about having to buy hundreds of dollars of ST they don’t want. If someone owns all of the TNG series, but only wants the Borg episodes from the others, they get the box set, and save a bunch (granted, they have duplicates of the TNG Borg episodes, but I never said it was perfect).

    Trek’s updates to the original SFX aren’t bad, and really nothing has changed in the episodes. If you are looking for story, you can safely stick to the original on-air broadcast episodes in whatever format you happen to have, and not miss anything. With Lucas, it seems if he has some idea to add to, say, Empire, while he’s having his morning constitutional, he’ll add it, insist it was always supposed to be there, because that’s what he always wanted, and the fans will suck it up and deal with it, continuity be damned (example: Obi-Wan is a careful apprentice, following his calm Master’s lead. He chides his own apprentice for being reckless. Then, later, Ben asks Yoda if he remembers that he, Ben was reckless. Huh? Not in anything I have seen).

    In star Trek (Enterprise notwithstanding), there may be a continuity error or two that creep in (Sisko for instance, should have died at Wolf 359, since the Enterprise, arguably the best equipped ship in the fleet, detected no life signs after the Borg attack there), but nothing so fundamental as re-writing the nature of a major power. But I digress.

    In terms of treating the fans poorly, Lucas (SW) has it all over Paramount (ST). At least Paramount listens to the fans (granted, it took them a while, but Enterprise did recover a bit after the Xindi nonsense). Lucas does what he wants, counting on fans to be so blinded by his product that they will but anything that has Star Wars on it, even if it makes no sense whatsoever.

    At least Paramount never tried to sell me am action figure for a character that had only 2 1/2 seconds of screen time. Hell, I don’t think they ever even tried to market a Harry Mudd action figure…

    1. Ah, battle is engaged! Prepare for your warp drive to be disabled and your photon control to be destroyed. I’m going to slice you up like a Master of Vaapad, LOL.

      First and foremost, your criticisms of Lucas’ artistic choices and freedoms doesn’t pertain to this specific blog. Since they are artistic and are therefore judged subjectively, I didn’t even want to bother bringing them into the debate. I’m talking solely about who economically brutalizes their fan base in worse fashion.

      Further, “worse fashion” doesn’t equate to volume for me. The action figure/playset variants are determined actually by the marketers (Hasbro, et al.) – Lucas just gives the OK to have a “line” and then they run with it. So in the sense that Kirk was responsible for the assassination of Gorkon, you can blame Lucas, but we all know that was some mad bullsh** conviction anyway. (You see what I did there? Buuuurrrrrrrn. LOL)

      Timothy Zahn is better at writing Star Wars than even Lucas himself, IMHO
      That’s an insane comment. I barely believe I read that. Zahn’s a passable author, but his grasp of metaphor is…passable on a lucky day.

      As for Hayden Christensen’s appearance in Return of the Jedi, I wrote about that years ago in a blog called “Blue Ghosts and You.” In fact, it was the first blog I ever wrote. You’re welcome.

      The problem isn’t that Paramount is trying to rape its fans, so much as Paramount lacks enough forward thinking…
      I’m far too lazy to seek out the supporting evidence on this one, but I know for a fact that I read several articles talking about Paramount prepping the releases for both formats. So, they were knowingly savaging their fans because once again, there’s nothing else going on at Paramount unless they start selling a Braveheart line of kilts and broadswords, or little Titanic toys that sink in the bathtub.

      (As a side note, since you bring up VHS v. Beta, the later HD-DVD v. BluRay war played out the exact same way, only this time Sony won. The reason VHS won the first time is the owners of the tech let people license it, whereas Sony insisted Beta all go through them so they could strangle the profits. Flash forward to the later disc wars, and Sony applied its lessons from Beta and played it the way VHS did, whereas Toshiba thought they could strangle HD-DVD into profitability. A case of both history repeating and lessons learned. I predicted BluRay the winner well before it was “clear” based on how Sony had learned their lesson and early complaints about Toshiba’s tactics hitting the Net rather loudly.)

      Justify your mutliple box sets all you want, I’m specifically pointing the finger at the TOS incarnations and the ridiculous movie releases. And also for the record, every time The Motion Picture has been released (going all the way back to its first VHS release) they have added, removed, edited or re-done footage. TMP has had more work done on it than Barbara Walters, for goodness’ sake. II has multiple versions -there was the theatrical/VHS, then the TV version, then the first DVD, then the Director’s Edition that (blessedly) restored the (supposedly lost) extra footage. VI was changed in its first VHS release, which carried to DVD, then was changed again on DVD and now has had all of those changes excised for its (first) BluRay release. So don’t talk to me about changing movies. Trek’s been doing that, though more quietly, for years longer than Lucas.

      I’ve addressed ‘continuity’ in terms of the Star Wars story before as well, but let me address your comment, “Then, later, Ben asks Yoda if he remembers that he, Ben was reckless.” this way: By the time Obi-Wan was seen in The Phantom Menace, he was starting to settle down. But he still showed glimmers of disrespect and recklessness – in Attack of the Clones, he jumps out a skyscraper window to grab a flying droid and handles Jango Fett and his “scouting” mission rather recklessly in a way that ends up causing the start of the Clone Wars. In Revenge of the Sith, you could make a very clear argument that he was reckless in how he dealt with General Grievous. Unlike Star Trek, however, the viewer is allowed to make the implied value judgment instead of having Picard convene a committee on whether to pass a recommendation to Starfleet to officially craft a bureaucratic reprimand calling someone reckless.

      Sisko for instance, should have died at Wolf 359
      Then that’s the best continuity error EVER because Sisko is second only to “Movies Kirk”.

      Star Trek hasn’t sold as many action figures, meanwhile, because they sank all their money into poorly written books out of the gate. And they most assuredly do have a ridiculous assortment of trinkets for sale, they just tend to be costume based – but . Star Wars fans have the decency to keep it in the house most of the time, or take up a corner in their office cube instead of learning to speak made up languages and/or teach them to their kids, which should justify a call to social services.

    2. Oh, one other thing: adding Jabba makes the stakes higher for Solo, because you actually have the big boss man telling him he’s going to die instead of a toady trying to squeeze Han for some cash. You can make an argument that it’s excessive, but in terms of stakes for the character (which need to be as high as possible) it’s better to have Jabba in, in terms of a character standpoint. Also, it ties into Return of the Jedi rather nicely.

      And Sebastian Shaw’s “Half Appearance” comment? Ridiculous. Two shots of him were removed. Shots. No dialogue, no real screen time, just pictures. The fan histrionics were way over the top on that one.

  3. Two things that sucked about the most recent Star Wars movies…

    1. That crappy song Lucas added to Return of the Jedi with the hideous alien chicks.
    2. Jar Jar Binks

    Everything else was fine.

  4. Setting aside the creative issues (I am REALLY looking forward to debating Lucas’ writing skills with you, when compared to many other writers of the genre), and going strictly on the fiscal, then, it is no contest.

    Lucas with “Star Wars” has it all over Paramount with “Star Trek”. All one needs to do is look at the fact that you can get nearly any frakking thing with the Star Wars logo or characters slapped on it. This is in addition to box office ticket sales (which far eclipse ad revenue of episodic television). Looking at the direct tie-ins in toys, Lucas has what, 3-4 DOZEN versions of Anakin as a young man (not to mention the small army of Darth Vaders). Frankly, it’s worse than Barbie.

    Having said that, there is an element of apples verses oranges, in that, movies notwithstanding, Star Trek is known as an episodic television show (just as Star Wars is a movie series, Clone Wars notwithstanding). Movies cost more to make, and the marketing is totally different. It is for this reason that with few exceptions, TV shows never really make the jump to the big screen.

    Even allowing the different marketing strategies inherent in the different media, It seems as though Lucasfilm will slap a Star Wars logo on ANYTHING in order to make a buck (for crying out loud, the word “Droid” is trademarked by them. Really. look at the next smartphone commercial you can, and on the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the disclaimer about trademark rights to the name “Droid”). Paramount is much less insanely defensive/proprietary about Star Trek (hence the innumerable spoofs and uses of language from the show, i.e., “warp”, “transporter”, and even “Enterprise”).

    Overall, Lucasfilm seems to carry the expectation that if it has Star Wars on it, people will buy it, weather or not it makes sense, and they take advantage of this. Paramount doesn’t do that with Star Trek, with the exception of a few attempts (many of which failed). To get Star Trek swag, one needs to go to specific websites or specialty store. To get something Star Wars related, one just needs to go to a Wal-Mart.

    The saturation of the market with various merchandise, to me anyway, speaks more to the expected response by fans to buy, no matter what, as long as it has that logo, and that speaks more to me of a less than respectful view of the fans.

    1. That’s quite the reply. So I’ve taken the liberty to pick it apart by relevant point and take you the woodshed step by proverbial step. :o)

      You:
      “(I am REALLY looking forward to debating Lucas’ writing skills with you, when compared to many other writers of the genre)”

      Me: Oh, the traditional rallying cry of the sad Trekkies – the ‘quality’ argument. Way to passive-aggressivley roll that into the conversation. :o) You’re right, it’s in no way relevant to this conversation. I wasn’t debating the artistic content of the two series, but rather their marketing toward fans.

      If you want to insist on a comparison (and by mentioning it I insist you do!), keep in mind it’s not an apples to apples example, and I don’t mind rebutting your point. As you are fond of bringing up, Star Trek has had a long episodic TV history, and therefore a large team of writers – a veritable fleet of talent including luminaries like Harlan Ellison – spread over several decades. The laws of attrition alone dictate that some of the singular efforts are going to overshadow another.

      For example, if you’re going to compare Star Trek II to The Phantom Menace, what criteria will you use? Will you, as most fans do, blast William Shatner’s acting and then suddenly insist he’s Olivier when that argument works against you? (For the record, I think The Shat has an unfair rep and is actually a good actor.)

      Are you arguing where the story of a film fits in terms of the overall arc of the films? Their impact on their genre as a whole? Complexity of the story? Or will you fixate on things like Jar Jar, which from your tone you obviously are bound to dislike?

      Because for singular things like Jar Jar (a favorite punching bag of watchers who miss the point of the character), I can give you the counterpoint of Tribbles, Big Ears Dude/Crappy Alternate Savvik/WTF Wussy David from Star Trek III, HMS Pinafore songs from Star Trek Insurrection and “Oh sh**” from (edit: copy and paste in Chrome sucks) Generations. I can then raise the stakes by saying that every film (not TV) adversary besides Khan and Sybock have been a dud except to die-hard fans. And that merely scratches the surface of things to dislike from Star Trek…over time on a singular level.

      But that wasn’t the point of this discussion, so I’ll leave that for now, right? :o) Especially since whether you’re a bigger Star Wars or Star Trek fan is a highly subjective thing. I may enjoy long walks on the beach while you enjoy rock fights. Odds are we’re just not going to see the other’s point of view and switch – we like what we like.

      You: “All one needs to do is look at the fact that you can get nearly any frakking thing with the Star Wars logo or characters slapped on it.”

      Me: Any ‘frakking’ thing with the Star Wars logo on it? Really? You mean like Pon Farr perfume, Shirtless Kirk cologne or Montgomery Scott’s Flavored Tub of Lard (hey, it’ll be here soon enough).

      But this point doesn’t stand in the face of the reality: the licensee determines what they sell. Contrary to popular belief, Lucas doesn’t give a mark of approval to every item that crosses his desk. He has a company come up to him, offer to pay him a ridiculous sum of money and then try to sell whatever it can, however it can, to make more money than it paid.

      As I will continue to demonstrate, Star Trek‘s merchandising reeks of the desperation of a company that has a hard time turning a buck and so sells items that are far crappier and more abusive of the fans as a result.

      (Additional point deduction to you for using “frakking.”)

      But let’s get back to an original point I made in the previous post and replies: how many editions of the Star Wars movies have been released to the home movie market? Compare that to the numerous editions, sometimes released with full knowledge of immediate obsolescence (HD-DVD original Star Trek series) that Paramount DOES have complete and total control over.

      In other words, Kenner might release a lot of figures under a generic license but Paramount enjoys knowingly ripping off the fans by releasing the same movies repeatedly, and targeting higher-end single purchase stuff whereas the Star Wars stuff tends to remain in the lower-cost markets that everyone can enjoy.

      You:“Movies v. TV marketing”

      Me: Current history completely refutes your TV shows to movies point. Sex and the City, The A-Team, The Beverly Hillbillies, MacGyver (coming soon!), The Avengers, Get Smart, et al., all prove that movies largely make the leap from small screen to big.

      I could go on. However, more to the point, Star Trek has had 11 films on the big screen and all of them together haven’t generated the interest of the 6 (technically 7 if you include Clone Wars) Star Wars films.

      My friend, that’s apples to apples. Star Trek has 40 years of TV revenue on top of that, as well as an ‘attractive’ line of apparel and alien head gear.

      You: “Paramount is less insanely defensive of proprietary content”

      Me: I’ve known since the get-go that ‘Droid’ is trademarked by Lucasfilm. Pretty clever, considering it was his own neologism. In 1977 a struggling filmmaker decided to leverage the marketing for his creative content against distribution rights after a studio took hold of his film and edited it without his input (American Graffiti). That’s just foresight.

      Also, the word only appears in an original creative work known as Star Wars, which is copyright protected. I’m no expert, but somewhere in the rules they must have to consider that.

      And guess what? No one made them use the name. They could have called it whatever they wanted, but still chose to pay the licensing rights to use something instantly recognizable and that calls to mind a pleasant memory for millions of people to increase its appeal.

      Paramount doesn’t need to bother trademarking ‘Blood Wine’…when psychotic fans are teaching themselves and their children fake languages. Find me anyone who’s teaching their kids Huttese or Rodian as a first language on YouTube, and I’ll back off on that point.

      Lucas is defensive of his creative content. I would be too. If I found out someone ripped off one of my writings/paintings/whatever, I’d sue them and/or beat them into submission. Paramount’s just happy anyone gives a s***. (Please know I say all of this with the love of a life-long Star Trek fan, just an honest one.)

      You: “Overall, Lucasfilm seems to carry the expectation that if it has Star Wars on it, people will buy it.”

      Me: Lucasfilm simply sells the right to sell properties utilizing its trademark. If it doesn’t sell, the company licensing the product stops selling it. Perhaps the reason that Star Trek doesn’t fare as well is because – though so many Star Trek fans are loathe to admit it – Star Trek never has been and never will be as popular as Star Wars.

      In other words, the only reason that you don’t see tons of Star Trek merchandise in Wal-Mart is it’s a bad fiscal decision since it’s niche marketing. Star Wars has a broader and richer appeal, and one that’s more fun. Star Trek historically hasn’t offered many options unless you were in the market for junk more expensive than an action figure or suddenly wanted to get the Jonathan Frakes hide-a-belly.

      Merchants won’t sell what won’t make them money.

      Closing point: just because Lucas’ company makes more money at it doesn’t mean he’s treated the fans worse than Paramount. All it proves is:

      1. Star Wars is more popular
      2. The quality of the product is better
      3. Paramount’s marketing department sucks
      4. Shirtless Kirk Cologne? Really?

  5. I want to clarify something about my comments regarding Lucas’ skills as a writer. I am not saying that Star Trek is inherently better written. Just that Lucas, compared to others who write sci fi (not just Star Trek), is really not that great. I would go so far as to say the storytelling is rather simplistic and lacking in subtlety (you could tell Tarkin was evil, because he blew up a whole world that didn’t need to be. You could tell Anakin was evil because he slaughtered children. I really could go on for quite a while).

    But I digress.

    You made my point, and don’t even realize it.

    Yes, attempts have been made to have shows jump to the big screen. And they have not gone well. “Sex in the City” did okay the first time out, and is doing abysmally now. “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Brady Bunch” failed worse than that. The only moderate success in recent history has been “The Aadams Family”, and even that was tempered.

    The fact that the 11 Star Trek Movies haven’t had as much success as the Star Wars films is further testament to this phenomenon.

    You closing points:

    More popular is tough to determine, in part because you have to look hard to find die-hard fans who like one OR the other.

    Quality product enters into an area of ambiguity. Are we talking about physical quality, or creative quality? Physical quality is a tough sell. The toys for both are rather durable, and the other products have various manufacturing issues (most are made in China). As for creativity, There are action figures with names and background for characters that were on the screen for all of a second-and-a-half for Star Wars, and I can’t think of a single “Ensign Ricky” Star Trek action figure, not to mention all the variations on single characters (several of Anakin, just as a for instance). The creative quality for what a fan might want, versus feel compelled to buy as a piece to complete a collection, is just simply not there.

    Paramount was not founded on a single media line like Star Trek, whereas Lucasfilm has Star Wars as it’s reason for being (because really, “American Grafitti” and “THX 1138” never had the same level of success, and certainly owe quite a bit of their fans and recognition to the attachment to Star Wars). Lucasfilm has not been associated with very successful enterprises (eh, eh!) aside from Star Wars, the most notable exception being “Indiana Jones”. Lucasfilm owes EVERYTHING it has ever been able to do to Star Wars, whereas Paramount has been going song with several franchises that are easily recognizable, including “Happy Days”, “I Love Lucy” (as Desilu), “Cheers”, “Mission: Impossible”, and “The Andy Griffith Show” just to name a few. With the marketing of Paramount having to split it’s time across so many genres, formats, and interests, of course the marketing is going to be seen as sucking, when compared to a leviathan that only has one product line to hawk.

    I will grant that “Shirtless Kirk Cologne” is ridiculous. I never said that such things DIDN’T exist, just that they are not as ubiquitous. However the Darth Vader Toaster, R2-D2 projection Alarm clock, Space Slug Oven Mitt, Lightsaber Chopsticks, Taun Taun sleeping bag, Slave Girl Leia dog costumes, and Wampa skin Rugs? Really?

    1. Glad to see I hit a nerve! My friend, annoying Star Trek fans is an honor and a privilege. I know you won’t give this one up either, so like a cat who hasn’t quite killed the mouse, I will play with you a little bit longer. LOL 🙂

      You: I would go so far as to say the storytelling is rather simplistic and lacking in subtlety (you could tell Tarkin was evil, because he blew up a whole world that didn’t need to be. You could tell Anakin was evil because he slaughtered children. I really could go on for quite a while).

      This is the classic double standard applied to Lucas’ efforts with Star Wars. The original films are extremely linear, I grant you that (largely a stylistic thing, which in itself intentionally harkens back to the Flash Gordon serials and Lucas’ self-stated desire to release a “wholesome adventure”). They’re supposed to be. Return of the Jedi is the first attempt in the series to offer a complex storyline open to multiple interpretations.

      The original Star Wars was supposed to be a simple film, fun for the whole family, period. It was much more of a pulp sci-fi like the type that Lucas adored as a kid (Leigh Brackett’s works, The Thing from Another World, Forbidden Planet, et al.), not the hard-core nerd fest that is Star Trek or Planet of the Apes. It was after the success of the first film that he was able to revise and expand his creation, something he always regretted being unable to do with the much more hard-core sci-fi film (and his first) THX-1138.

      The new films are much more complex, and he gets pilloried for them not being simple enough. Since people don’t “get” what he tried to do, they hammer them unfairly. Rock and a hard place.

      You: “You made my point, and don’t even realize it.”

      Then I’d be interested to know what language you’re reading. 🙂 Actually, you missed my point about the television efforts. You stated: “It is for this reason that with few exceptions, TV shows never really make the jump to the big screen.” My retort was simply that you’re wrong, TV shows actually do “make that jump” quite a bit, and I gave examples. You also sidestep my question about the criteria you’ll use to judge the film series against each other artistically. But as we both keep pretending, this thread isn’t about yet another Star Trek fan bitterly jerking their knee in response to the fact that Star Wars is, was and always will be more enjoyable on multiple levels and on the whole – and that’s coming from someone with a pretty solid pedigree as a Star Trek fan (trust me, I’m pretty hard core).

      Again, hitting on the multiple action figures marketing: Kenner/Hasbro decides to make those characters. There’s a market for it; if there wasn’t, they wouldn’t sell it. They drive a dump truck of cash over to Lucas to get the OK to make figures in general and he says, “OK.” Paramount meanwhile sells film cells from a TV show that was canceled 40 years ago for $200 a pop. My point is that Star Trek fans make far more psychotic purchasing decisions than Star Wars fans, who most frequently are happy buying a couple figures and trinkets and keeping them in their cubicle (guilty) versusStar Trek fans who remodel homes to accommodate their $500 Captain Kirk Commemorative Toupee and perform Shakespeare in Klingon.

      You: “American Grafitti”…never had the same level of success

      Actually, American Grafitti revolutionized film. People forget that. But in terms of story complexity, number of characters and soundtrack style (using nothing but period music and no composer), as well as box office, American Grafitti put Lucas on the map and established him as a filmmaker while establishing the film careers of all of its cast – as well as changing what could be done with a film’s narrative style. That’s not opinon, it’s fact. His later success with Star Wars far overshadows it, but Grafitti was a landmark film. With all due respect, what you said is akin to saying The Godfather is just a mobster movie.

      You: “Lucasfilm has not been associated with very successful enterprises (eh, eh!) aside from Star Wars…”

      Dude, Lucasfilm has been in the Star Wars and Indybusiness almost exclusively for the last 30 years. No doubt. Do you bash Tolkien because he wrote only about Middle Earth? And while you defend Paramount (why?) I’m glad you only had to reach back 4 decades or more for half of your examples of “success.”

      I’m having a ton of fun with this, but to be honest it’s going down the typical road I walk when I encounter a Star Trek fan who can’t accept it: Paramount hoses you on a regular basis worse than Lucasfilm hoses me, but your blind devotion to the franchise enables you to lie to yourself that it’s a loving relationship. Make fun of what the licensees make (I for one think a lightsaber chopsticks are a fun idea, and fun is what frequently delineates Wars from Trek), at least Lucas isn’t quietly releasing 30 versions of the same three seasons that aired 40 years ago as Paramount does.

      To get back to the original point I made in support of that idea – the tipping point is that Paramont releases the same crap over and over (and over) again to get as much cash out of the same fan base. It’s like going to the store and buying apples, then going back and wanting oranges only to have the store sell me apples again. And each time I go, I am offered apples at a slightly different quality, but let’s be honest, they’re just f***ing apples again.

      Lucas licensees, on the other hand, let me walk through the orchard and pick and choose whatever fruit I want.

      To close out, I’m a huge Star Trek fan. I am! Nor have I ever said that Lucas hasn’t allowed his creation to be marketed to the hilt. He has. My point is exactly what <you've accidentally supported: Lucas at least offers a large, large variety of properties at various price levels, whereas Paramount sells the same thing over again OR only things with a ridiculous price point.

  6. As you said initially, you are a bigger Star Wars fan than Star Trek, so the result is rigged. Your mind is totally made up.

    I am both a Trek and Star Wars fan, and I can see the weaknesses in how both properties have been managed. But by far, Lucasfilm’s treatment of their fans is worse than Paramount’s. Your focus is on home video, whereas I look to ALL consumer goods. The over-saturation of the market with Star Wars items is indicative of abuse, and much like the puppy that stays with an owner who kicks it, you are willing to remain with Star Wars, because they “feed” you (I noticed you were mum about the merchandise I mentioned. Did I hit a chord, or did I help you with your Christmas wish list?).

    Compared to other properties (let’s say Dreamworks/Hasbro as a for instance with Transformers), Star Trek is nowhere NEAR the level of fan abuse, and even something like “Transformers” is eclipsed by Star Wars.

    Has paramount released, re-released, and re-released again movies, and TV episodes? Yup. But only a fool would buy everything when it came out, just to say they have it. And at that point, it’s more on the fool than the production company.

    Oh, and one other item regarding abuse of fans with video. At least everything Star Trek related is easily available on the market, even the “embarrassments” (like “Spock’s Brain”, and “Turnabout Intruder”). If Lucas decides to release on DVD the Star Wars Holiday Special, even though he’s not proud of it, I might draw back on my comments regarding his dismissive and abusive attitude to his fans. They have clamored for that for years, and because he’s embarrassed, he wants to pretend it doesn’t exist.

    And THAT is abuse of the fans using the video media.

    1. “As you said initially, you are a bigger Star Wars fan than Star Trek, so the result is rigged. Your mind is totally made up.”

      Oh, and yours isn’t. That’s what I’ve been overlooking. Forgot that part – you’ve been a model of open-mindedness. LOL

      “I am both a Trek and Star Wars fan, ”
      As I have said repeatedly enough, so am I. In fact, I’m a fan of the shows in this order: DS9/TOS, The Next Generation (season 3 to the end), the fourth season of Enterprise without the finale. I even have a very special place in my heart for Star Trek V and often defend it to the haters. Sybock is even one of my favorite characters.

      “and I can see the weaknesses in how both properties have been managed. ”
      Something I acknowledge clearly in the original post.

      “Your focus is on home video, whereas I look to ALL consumer goods. ”
      I’m sorry, I think I trotted out a few links there to the idiotic Star Trek items for sale in stores. Unless perfume is a part of the home video market.

      Or Klingon dictionaries are, too.

      I focused on the home video market because that’s where Star Trek’s saturation occurs, by your own admission. You are focusing on the other general markets that Star Wars dominates – and I tend to be more forgiving in that marketplace because giving people multiple choices is smart marketing, whereas multiple video releases are redundant and exploitive on a much more insidious level.

      “The over-saturation of the market with Star Wars items is indicative of abuse, and much like the puppy that stays with an owner who kicks it, you are willing to remain with Star Wars, because they “feed” you (I noticed you were mum about the merchandise I mentioned. Did I hit a chord, or did I help you with your Christmas wish list?).”

      Is that the worst you can do? Goodness, I got worse than that at family parties. :-p

      How was I mum about the fact that I occasionally purchase Star Wars things? I believe I openly admitted it in at least one response. Of course I own some items – I’m a fan. I own a few Star Trek things, too, including a Khan action figure on display at work.

      As for my Christmas list, I typically don’t ask for things for Christmas anymore as I’d rather have people spend money on those less fortunate or make donations to causes in my name (or my kids’). I did want (and received!) a Cad Bane action figure, but that’s because I’m highly selective about which figures I like anymore. I don’t like clutter.

      You’d have a point about me being like a “puppy that stays with an owner who kicks it” (but I want to be clear that you decidedly don’t) if the following two things were true:

      1. By some magical power (the Force?) or government edict (not yet) Lucas were able to create an EFT transfer without my knowledge and then ship me things I don’t want.
      2. I didn’t enjoy the heck out of Star Wars.

      As it stands, The free market determines that I don’t purchase what I don’t want. I don’t give a hoot if Lucas releases 6000 varieties of Ephant Mon (who?), I don’t have to buy them. Thank God for free will. And thank God for the free market (I’m a big fan), wherein Lucas can make a mint. I wish him well, and wish I was worth a fraction of his net value because then I wouldn’t be sweating the mortgage payment or kids’ future tuitions so much.

      Also, I simply enjoy Star Wars. Originals, Prequels, Clone Wars, Droids, Ewoks, you name it. It’s right up my alley. I don’t watch or enjoy it simply because it’s Star Wars, like Star Trek fans did for the execrable Voyager and Enterprise. (Side note: the fourth season of Enterprise was quite enjoyable but the series finale were two of the worst hours ever aired on television).

      The only thing I don’t really like about Star Wars is that it gave a career to Kevin Smith. I had no idea that was such a bad idea in the beginning, but that’s just turned out terribly for everyone.

      “Compared to other properties (let’s say Dreamworks/Hasbro as a for instance with Transformers), Star Trek is nowhere NEAR the level of fan abuse, and even something like “Transformers” is eclipsed by Star Wars.”

      Wow. You mean a 33 year old property that has continually released new films that, despite what whiny Internet nerds say, have been enjoyed by a large swath of the movie-going public has more merchandise on the market than a cartoon that got resurrected a few years ago to tap into the nostalgic vein of those same nerds who love their childhood cartoons? You’re right, that does seem weird.

      “But only a fool would buy everything when it came out, just to say they have it. And at that point, it’s more on the fool than the production company.”

      Well, thanks for making my point about Star Wars merchandising accidentally. Although the leg up he has is that he doesn’t release onto a home video market (DVD, BluRay) until the formatting is solid enough for the best possible home presentation.

      “If Lucas decides to release on DVD the Star Wars Holiday Special, even though he’s not proud of it, I might draw back on my comments regarding his dismissive and abusive attitude to his fans. ”

      Have you ever seen the Star Wars Holiday Special? Only a complete idiot would want to buy it. It’s simultaneously executed more poorly than Star Trek Insurrection and more boring than Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It boggles the mind how bad it is. I’m ashamed that I’ve seen it, and consider it my mission to encourage people not to make the same mistake I did.

      As a side historical note, Lucas actually had nothing to do with its creation. 20th Century Fox, which owned the rights to the first Star Wars film until the prequels came out, did. Being a movie studio they got money from it any way they could (especially since the merchandising jewel had been – in retrospect – foolishly bargained away).

      Imagine your horror as you see your own creation destroyed like that. It’s like someone went into Picasso’s attic, found some old paints lying around and created the world’s worst painting. Then they signed his name on it. I have a feeling Picasso would find and burn it, too.

      Your own argument runs counter to itself, on top of that. If Lucas officially released the Holiday Special and then started selling figures from it – in a clear move to get money any way he could from the property, regardless of artistic integrity – then he *is* manipulating the fan base by releasing even the worst thing that most reasonable fans don’t want to see.

      But either way, it may even wind up on the BluRay as an Easter Egg just to get fanboys to shut the Hell up. Which, honestly, might be a good enough reason to do just about anything.

      Q’aplaH!

  7. Your mind is made up.

    It will never be changed.

    Anything valid points I could make can, will, and have been dismissed, because they don’t fit your worldview of “George Lucas is the greatest thing to happen to American cinema. Ever.”

    He wrote (rather poorly) a space opera. With a suspension of disbelief, it is a fun diversion, but ultimately there are holes in the plot big enough to pilot a Star Destroyer through. The merchandising of this franchise IS abusive, to any true objective analysis, more so than any other science fiction franchise.

    You have gone back and forth on what point you are trying to make, and the end result is that you have simply declared yourself the most knowledgeable, claiming to have “touched a nerve” several times with a Trekkie.

    In fact, you’ve done no such thing. All you have done is shown a stubbornness of your opinion, and ability to dismiss and redirect a conversation.

    So, I’m done. your opinion is set, and no amount of reason will change your mind.

    Please. Enjoy your Lucasfilm-fueled abuse, and I’ll go back to what I was doing before engaging in this ill-fated venture (you think I’d know better than to try to get a hard-core Star Wars fan to admit that Lucas is not the second coming).

    1. “Anything valid points I could make can, will, and have been dismissed, because they don’t fit your worldview of “George Lucas is the greatest thing to happen to American cinema. Ever.” ”

      I never said that. Just because I schooled you on things that you didn’t know, like film history, retail and how free markets operate, don’t take it all personally. :o)

      Seriously, though, just because I didn’t ‘surrender’ to your impenetrable arguments and instead presented counter-arguments, I’m unreasonable and stubborn? No, I just had counter-arguments. What you’ve done is akin to debating something and then calling the other person defensive because they can -and do- refute what you offer as evidence for your point.

      A point which is, on both sides, completely subjective.

      “He wrote (rather poorly) a space opera. With a suspension of disbelief, it is a fun diversion, but ultimately there are holes in the plot big enough to pilot a Star Destroyer through. The merchandising of this franchise IS abusive, to any true objective analysis, more so than any other science fiction franchise.”

      Again, free will. Nothing exists that forces me to do anything that I do not want to do. Abuse would occur if, and only if, I didn’t have the option not to purchase something. Your argument is less than solid here. It’s basic capitalism: provide a product, and if people want it, they will buy it. If they do not, there is no way to force them to purchase it in the free market as they can decide to purchase something else or nothing at all.

      I also find it interesting that you claim elsewhere to be a ‘bigger’ fan of Star Wars than Trek, then resort to these pot shots. You’re intentionally trying to be insulting, is the only conclusion I can reach.

      “You have gone back and forth on what point you are trying to make, and the end result is that you have simply declared yourself the most knowledgeable, claiming to have “touched a nerve” several times with a Trekkie.”

      I have gone back and forth because you have brought other arguments into the debate. I then argued those points. And the only fan base in the world more hyper-sensitive than Trekkies is…um, struggling with that. I’ll get back to you.

      As clearly outlined in your own comments, when you failed to score a point, you resorted to attacking the highly-subjective matter of artistic merit and enjoyment. When you dismissively referred to American Graffiti, I merely pointed out film history that you didn’t know.

      “In fact, you’ve done no such thing. All you have done is shown a stubbornness of your opinion, and ability to dismiss and redirect a conversation.”

      Actually, if you scroll through the comments history you will see quite clearly that all I’ve done is take up any argument you wish to offer. As for stubbornness, as I said elsewhere, failure to argue your point adequately does not make me stubborn, it means you didn’t argue effectively.

      You brought in the other points that never had anything to do with the original post. All I did was engage in the further debate of them. Also, you chased me onto an unrelated link on FB to continue the argument. All I’ve done is respond to your own comments.

      “So, I’m done. your opinion is set, and no amount of reason will change your mind.”

      This is the interesting part: this is all a matter of opinion – which I made in a thoroughly, clearly, unabashedly tongue-in-cheek fashion. Just because you came into it with your own unchanging opinion, you ‘reason’ that I’m unreasonable and stubborn. That’s an interesting application of logic. Also, how flexible have you been? Have you even acknowledged that you didn’t realize what a game-changer (by any film historian’s standards) American Graffiti was?

      “Please. Enjoy your Lucasfilm-fueled abuse, and I’ll go back to what I was doing before engaging in this ill-fated venture (you think I’d know better than to try to get a hard-core Star Wars fan to admit that Lucas is not the second coming).”

      That’s just another attempt at insulting me. And I’m “abused” because other people buy what’s on the market? You may as well say I’m “abused” because Twilight merchandise sells well.

  8. “And I’m “abused” because other people buy what’s on the market? You may as well say I’m “abused”
    because Twilight merchandise sells well.”

    And again, I thank you for making my point for me.

    Your one and only thing has been re-release of videos (Kirk cologne notwithstanding).

    That offers no more abuse than the glut of Star Wars merchandise on the market, if you are willing to look the other way on one or the other.

    Taken on the whole, “abuse” from Paramount is insignificant when compared to that from Lucasfilm, if one looks at all things objectively.

    Which you have already admitted you cannot do.

    1. Really? You missed the whole tongue in cheek nature of the blog even after I told you about it? How do I write a blog in crayon? I’ll work on that. LOL

      My one and only thing has not been the release of the videos. I offered a couple of examples of a broader point, and you have shown that you took that to mean that only those examples exist.

      Star Wars merchandise ebbs and flows like any other. Perhaps because there’s a TV show on the air, that’s the reason they’re on the shelves. I keep trying to explain that to you – if a store wasn’t able to sell the wares, they wouldn’t carry them. It’s not like they’re out there in a vaccum. When the next Batman movie comes out, try not to lose your mind about abusing the fans.

      No matter how hard you try, Tony, I’m not going to get upset. I never will. Keep it rolling in. The truth is that I won the second you started getting upset.

  9. The only upset I feel, John, is that someone with whom I am speaking is so blind as to how much abuse they have really been subjected to, and attempts to redirect the conversation to avoid really talking about it.

    Come on, John. Come into the light and join all of those who have made the break. Repeat after me:

    “My name is John, and I have denied putting up with Lucasfilm’s abuse for years. I promise to try and look at things objectively, rather than excuse the film company it’s many faults, just because I like their flagship product.”

    Say this each day for a week, and the healing can begin.

    1. Again, calling it abuse is a misnomer. Abuse indicates that there is some sort of dominance or behavior on the part of an abuser that trumps free will and/or keeps a victim trapped in a behavior they cannot escape. I’ve tried explaining the free markets to you, so let me try a simple diagram:

      buyer — decision to buy ——> possess ancillary product buyer — decision not to buy —–> do not ancillary possess product

      Please note that this function is constant even if we re-introduce the equation thus:

      buyer — decision to buy —-> possess ((ancillary product) * x) buyer — decision not to buy —–> do not possess ((ancillary product) * x)

      Regardless of how much product is offered, it’s not abuse. However, an interesting thing occurs if we take the desired product and change its nature from “ancillary” to “core”. A “core” product would be defined as something such as a film or TV show. You know, the thing you want to watch. If there are versions of that released repeatedly, then the decision to buy – while still in the buyer’s hands, becomes more difficult because we have to bring in other factors such as importance of release, additional features and frequency of new editions. Also, the desire of the buyer to be able to watch these things on demand.

      I’ve never said that Lucas didn’t make a poop-load of money on the merchandising. Sure he has. All I’ve done is enlighten you to the nature of the free market, and the fact that Paramount is a bunch of greedy vultures as well.

      What you’re doing is essentially pointing at Bill Gates and acting like Steve Jobs is a pauper. You might have had an argument in 1977-1980, but I’m Living in the Now! It’s nice here, we have all sorts of soda flavors.

        1. So to encapsulate:

          I’m “in denial” because you failed to acknowledge that there’s no way for the merchandisers to force me to buy their products, and it’s not “abuse” since they can’t.

          And you’re *not* “in denial” for failing to realize that Paramount markets the hell out of Star Trek to their fans as well.

          Well done, sir.

      1. Type “paramount.com” in your browser, and take a look at the page that comes up, and tell me how many items that pertain to Star Trek appear there.

        Then type in “lucasfilm.com”, and look for anything pertaining to Star Wars.

        Then tell me who is marketing the Hell out of which franchise.

        1. Anthony, please refer again to my analogy of Bill Gates v. Steve Jobs.

          Your comparison doesn’t hold quite as much water because you have a movie studio founded in 1912 versus a company formed in 1971 by one dude. Naturally, Paramount as an entire production company has more properties to market overall. The original comparison is about specific property v. specific property. Stay on point, man – what you’re basically doing is trying to compare JK Rowling to Doubleday. Keep the comparison on the same scale, it’ll help.

          Keep reaching for that rainbow! LOL

      2. Rainbows I can handle.

        Goalposts that are being moved by someone who seems incapable of admitting that he might be a tiniest bit wrong in his analysis is another matter entirely.

        1. Then consider me the storm that makes them possible. LOL

          Edit: I also originally accessed the comment from my new phone and didn’t see the second part, only the rainbows response. What goalposts in specific did I move, Tony? I was more or less just flowing with your own incessant off-point rantings because it amuses me.

          Goodness’ sake, out of the kindness of my heart I even explained how retail ordering and stocking principles work. You’re welcome, by the way.

      3. In one breath, you say that retail products offered do not count as “abuse”, because no one can be made to buy them. Then you say that the re-release of a bad movie qualifies as abuse.

        Then you say that offering one product over and over counts as “abuse”, but when pointed out that Star Wars is pretty much all Lucasfilm has, and the incessant line of toy products that are constantly on the market, you default to the “not forced to buy” line, and dismiss exactly your own point.

        As I see things, you have yet to show that there has been mistreatment of fans in terms of quality OR quantity in Paramount’s handling of Star Trek, whereas I have shown that if a Star Wars label is slapped on a crappy product it will sell (and be expected to sell), be it a movie, a toy, or a dog costume.

        Has Paramount screwed with Star Trek badly? Yes. And paid a price for it. Fan uproar pretty much forced the cancellation of Enterprise because Paramount was told, and recognized that they screwed things up pretty bad.

        The response from Lucasfilm (and Lucas in particular) to criticism has been “That’s the story. Tough nails. Deal with it” (Don’t believe me? look up what Lucas said about the almost universally hated Jar Jar Binks, and tell me how that comment works into the idea of Anakin slaughtering little kids).

        Where Star Wars is concerned, fans have an amazing ability to justify without question whatever Lucas decides to pull out of his dark side, grumble a bit about it, and not see that he has almost destroyed that which he created in the name of making a few extra bucks.

        Either your comments on the “abuse” from Paramount/Star Trek is valid, and re-selling the same product is a valid issue, in which case, Lucasfilm wins(merchandising), or your comments about the quality of the product being offered is indicative of abuse, in which case, it’s something of a toss up, since many aspects of Star Wars are better than others, just as many of Star Trek are better than others.

        Comparing specific properties, Star Wars has been around less time, flooded the market, been re-hashed with special editions, re-re-hashed with special editions to insert characters for the sake of God only knows what, released aspects that are said to be one thing, then turn out to be another, pandered to small sets of the audience, and in general made a dead-end Juggernaut out of itself.

        Star Wars has been expanded, updated some several-decades-old special effects, not changed anything to allow one actor or another several seconds more screen time, not flooded the market with crap no one needs (a few niche products such as cologne that are silly do not a flood make) kept a core story intact, suffered a near crippling blow when a series creator ignored this, and returned to its roots to re-establish itself, rather than limit itself to continuing a story that has already been told.

        Frankly, Star Trek, with the re-invention by J J Abrams, has YEARS ahead of it in terms of creativity and merchandising, and didn’t completely alter what fans knew as a core aspect to do it (the Force changed from an energy field created by all living things into germs in the blood? Really?). Star Wars is limited to filling in gaps between movies, and if the fans expect event a to happen, and it doesn’t, or if event b is inserted, and didn’t happen before, the creative property will suffer. It happened to Enterprise, and nearly killed the franchise.

        The differences are there. From a creative standpoint. From a merchandising standpoint. From virtually any objective measure. Star Wars has a shorter history, and has managed much more abuse of fans in that time.

        1. You: In one breath, you say that retail products offered do not count as “abuse”, because no one can be made to buy them. Then you say that the re-release of a bad movie qualifies as abuse.

          Me: You’re the one that started using the term “abuse.” I correctly applied it per your own definitions, which seem to include that any movie property that markets aggressively to its fan base as an “abuser.”

          Then you say that offering one product over and over counts as “abuse”, but when pointed out that Star Wars is pretty much all Lucasfilm has, and the incessant line of toy products that are constantly on the market, you default to the “not forced to buy” line, and dismiss exactly your own point.

          Are you paying attention to what you write? You just ran in a circle and hit yourself in the ass. What I correctly pointed out is that there is a difference between offering a wide variety of products and offering a limited range and repackaging not the figurative same thing over and over, but literally the exact same thing over and over.

          You: As I see things, you have yet to show that there has been mistreatment of fans in terms of quality OR quantity in Paramount’s handling of Star Trek, whereas I have shown that if a Star Wars label is slapped on a crappy product it will sell (and be expected to sell), be it a movie, a toy, or a dog costume.

          Me:
          http://trekmovie.com/2010/06/21/the-collective-star-trek-japanese-imports-coming-dragon-12-tng-figures-tos-bearbricks/
          http://trekmovie.com/2010/06/13/trekink-review-of-star-trek-motion-picture-trilogy-and-trek-flick-comic-book-retrospective/
          http://trekmovie.com/2010/06/03/new-site-lets-you-build-your-own-star-trek-t-shirts/
          http://www.wondercostumes.com/index.cfm/SN_star%20trek-1/Star%20trek_Costumes.html
          My favorite: http://www.stylinonline.com/ring-star-trek-insignia.html

          Now you’re the one that would call that abuse, not me. Since you seem to be a little slow on this point, please understand that the above exhibits are representative of the whole, not the only items available.

          Has Paramount screwed with Star Trek badly? Yes. And paid a price for it. Fan uproar pretty much forced the cancellation of Enterprise because Paramount was told, and recognized that they screwed things up pretty bad.

          Paramount cancelled Enterprise because it wasn’t making them money. That’s how TV works. That’s how pretty much any industry works. Trekkies always, always, always forget that fact. It’s not like the altruistic Council of Paramount are the keepers of a flame they cannot let die. The only thing that has brought Star Trek back through time is the promise of a fan base that would hand over cash. Star Trek: The Motion Picture went into production because Star Wars proved to Paramount that they could take an existing property (no outlay of cash to acquire) and potentially turn it into a stock dividend.

          You: The response from Lucasfilm (and Lucas in particular) to criticism has been “That’s the story. Tough nails. Deal with it” (Don’t believe me? look up what Lucas said about the almost universally hated Jar Jar Binks, and tell me how that comment works into the idea of Anakin slaughtering little kids).

          As an artist, I think that shows a certain amount of integrity. Many artists in many fields have released “universally hated” things. When it comes down to it, an artist has to make what they want to make. It’s like a painting. You can like it or dislike it, it doesn’t give you the right to go and take a paint brush and just touch it up a bit. The artist changing it is one thing — artists are notoriously OCD people — but just because you call yourself a fan doesn’t give you some special right to dictate what is made. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. No one made you keep watching.

          You: Where Star Wars is concerned, fans have an amazing ability to justify without question whatever Lucas decides to pull out of his dark side, grumble a bit about it, and not see that he has almost destroyed that which he created in the name of making a few extra bucks.

          Again, I’d refer you to the above. Since you tend to miss these points, I’ll reiterate: ” just because you call yourself a fan doesn’t give you some special right to dictate what is made. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. No one made you keep watching.”

          When I watched Matrix 2, I didn’t bother going to see Matrix 3 (I later watched it for free out of curiosity and regretted it). If you didn’t like Episode I, why did you go to the later movies? I’d say that’s because sci-fi fans (Trekkies especially) have some sort of compulsion to show “loyalty” to something. Are there Star Wars fans like that? I’m sure of it. I’m not one of them. I legitimately enjoy all of the Star Wars movies, start to finish. If I didn’t, I’d have stopped watching. So there you go again: free will wins!

          You: Either your comments on the “abuse” from Paramount/Star Trek is valid, and re-selling the same product is a valid issue, in which case, Lucasfilm wins(merchandising), or your comments about the quality of the product being offered is indicative of abuse, in which case, it’s something of a toss up, since many aspects of Star Wars are better than others, just as many of Star Trek are better than others.

          I used your definition of abuse and turned it against you. You’re now attempting to use my own tactic now that you’re backed in a corner. I applied your own logic. It’s not mine – as I’ve often said, Comrade, I’m a huge fan of the free market.

          Also, again, you missed the 400 times that I said the original post was tongue in cheek. Your fits of temper are what are keeping this going.

          You: Comparing specific properties, Star Wars has been around less time, flooded the market, been re-hashed with special editions, re-re-hashed with special editions to insert characters for the sake of God only knows what, released aspects that are said to be one thing, then turn out to be another, pandered to small sets of the audience, and in general made a dead-end Juggernaut out of itself.

          Yes! The tried-and-true Star Trek “we invented science fiction and were socially awkward longer and better than everyone else” argument. That’s your opinion. Why do you keep watching? Why do you buy the action figures?

          Star Wars has been expanded, updated some several-decades-old special effects, not changed anything to allow one actor or another several seconds more screen time, not flooded the market with crap no one needs (a few niche products such as cologne that are silly do not a flood make) kept a core story intact, suffered a near crippling blow when a series creator ignored this, and returned to its roots to re-establish itself, rather than limit itself to continuing a story that has already been told.

          Your typo proves that your late-night fury sessions, dreaming up the reply that will just show how your opinion is the only one in the world to have, grumbling that “you’ll show him,” are affecting your proofreading.

          You: Frankly, Star Trek, with the re-invention by J J Abrams, has YEARS ahead of it in terms of creativity and merchandising, and didn’t completely alter what fans knew as a core aspect to do it (the Force changed from an energy field created by all living things into germs in the blood? Really?). Star Wars is limited to filling in gaps between movies, and if the fans expect event a to happen, and it doesn’t, or if event b is inserted, and didn’t happen before, the creative property will suffer. It happened to Enterprise, and nearly killed the franchise.

          1. Ratings killed Enterprise. Nothing more, nothing less. They just finally made something so bad that even fans stopped watching.
          2. Your argument is that Star Trek is “better” because it had degenerate to such completely unwatchable garbage they had to throw the baby out with the bathwater? Sounds impenetrable. Don’t know how you could show how your toys are better than everyone else’s any better than that.

          You: The differences are there. From a creative standpoint. From a merchandising standpoint. From virtually any objective measure. Star Wars has a shorter history, and has managed much more abuse of fans in that time.

          And that, ladies and gentlemen of Starfleet, is why we will always be able to use our phased disruptor array to invert the polarity of the warp core transducers!

          Much respect, Tony. I’m sure that Spock would be proud. LOL

  10. Ron sent this in via e-mail; the comments auto-closed (time limit was reached, it auto-closed) earlier tonight, but I figured I’d give him the last word because

    1. He’s a new voice to this over-long set of ramblings
    2. It gives him the last word and allows Tony to walk away clean before he trips over my vaunted logic any more (Tony, I kid, it’s all in fun).

    Ron said:

    “I do not have the attention span to read all of that, but I will chime in anyway. At the end of the day, consumers decide whether or not all of Lucas’ merchandising has any value or not. If there is a market for 8 different Mace Windu figures, you really can not blame Lucas for selling them. I don’t buy any toys (Star Wars or Star Trek), so it is not a conflict for me that Lucas sells boat loads of them.

    As far as the writing is concerned, I generally prefer a good Star Trek movie over a good Star Wars movie. I prefer the “social ethics” themes of Star Trek writing to the “fantasy” style of Star Wars writing. That’s me. Although, I do not agree that Star Wars writing is “simplistic.” The original Star Wars trilogy is dated material, and it was widely regarded as a very good story in the 70’s, and it has continued to stand the test of time. I believe there was some depth and emotion to the Star Wars saga that was not “simplistic.” There were also some cleverly scripted surprises like Darth Vader being Luke’s father (yes, that was once a surprise. We didn’t always know that).”

    And now I’m restoring settings, so comments will close out again based on the time limit. Excelsior!

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