#2. Audiences Prefer PEW PEW EXPLOSION SOUND to Peaceful Negotiations
Can you imagine a Star Wars movie without some giant fight scene as its climax? I can't. Based on the six we have to judge from, I can pick out two predictions for the ending of Star Wars: The J.J. Abrams One:
1. Something real big will explode in space
2. There will be a dramatic lightsaber duel
Star Wars is about a series of wars in the damn stars.
But Star Trek -- at its best -- was about the triumph of reason and compassion and other noble virtues over brute force and violence. In one episode Captain Picard has a chance to wipe out the entire Borg race with a virus -- and he doesn't! Because genocide is wrong, even against creepy robot zombies threatening to end your civilization. The bad guy in the first Star Trek motion picture is an impossibly massive sentient space ship:
And no one blows it up! They teach it the human virtues of love and compassion and it evolves into a higher level of being. That's it. No exceptionally large spaceship in a Star Wars movie is ever more than 90 minutes of screen time away from exploding. I'm pretty sure Lucas specified that in the contract he signed with Disney.
"Also, at least two racial stereotypes per trilogy."
Come to think of it, I can't imagine a giant spaceship showing up in the next Star Trek movie and not exploding by the end. There's a reason for that ...
#1. Star Trek Has Turned into Star Wars
Here's the good news: The name Star Trek will never go away. We'll get a new series of movies with a new company of actors as often as they get too old to be sexy. Any series this well-established is functionally immortal by Hollywood standards. But no producer is going to greenlight a somber, speculative Star Trek movie when he can just dress the franchise up as Star Wars instead. You kids want to see exploding planets? We'll blow up goddamn Vulcan:
"Tied, you bearded chucklefuck." -J.J. Abrams
You like big space battles with lots of lasers? Strap in, dickheads, because our fucking poster is made of lasers.
Cracked has already pointed out how Abrams' Star Trek is basically Star Wars, and it's just as true today as it was when that article was written three years ago. J.J. Abrams couldn't make Star Trek profitable again without skinning it alive and draping its severed flesh over the bones of a Star Wars movie. And he did such a good job of the space battles and pew-pewing and sword fights that Disney picked him to direct their first Star Wars movie. So on the plus side, Star Wars fans know they're getting a guy who can handle the material.