I’m joining the debate that’s probably been going on since long before my birth. If the Star Wars and Star Trek universes went to war, who would win?
Keep in mind, if both universes were being ruled by decent people, they might not fight if they met, but you can bet they’d still try to figure out what would happen if a war broke out, so we’ll just speculate that.
Before I start, I’ll admit, I’ve been a Star Wars fan much longer than I’ve been a Trek fan, and I’m more well-versed in SW. Most of what I know of Trek comes from Deep Space Nine.
I’m putting the timeline for Wars after Episode VI (or before III) and Trek sometime around the DS9 TV series since that’s the series I know the best. (I’m thinking of the Federation going up against the Republic, not Borg vs Empire.)
Star Trek advantages:
Teleportation: This is a big one. It could allow an army or bombs to be beamed onto a planet or space station. For this conflict, we will assume that shields work the same way in both universes, so SW can stop some of the beaming to ships and planets.
Replicators: They seem to only be a small part of the Trek verse, but in a war, they could be a deciding factor. In Rebels and The Clone Wars, trying to deliver supplies to blockaded planets was often the plot of entire episodes, so having a way to make supplies easy would be a great help during a blockade.
Medical tech: From what I’ve seen, Trek medical tech is more advanced than SW tech, with the possible exception of cybernetics.
Computers: Computers seem more advanced in the Trek verse, but this is a twofold issue since more dependence on computers mean hackers could cause more trouble.
Star Wars advantages:
Hyperspace: Hyperspace is able to get people across a galaxy in a much shorter amount of time than warp speed. SW could conquer a planet before Trek would even reach it. Even if one assumes the SW galaxy is smaller than the Milky Way, the ships still seem faster.
No Prime Directive: While the Trek military only have civilized worlds that made it to space on their own, SW can take advantage of every intelligent species, giving them a much larger pool of soldiers, as well as the resources of these planets. (Ewoks anyone?)
The tech tends to do its job: The breakdowns in Trek could easily be the tipping point of a battle. (In SW, the Falcon breaks down quite a bit, but remember, it’s an older ship. In Trek, military ships seem to break down from a few shots.) When it comes to SW ships, internal systems rarely seem to explode due to hits to the shielding.
Robotics: Star Wars has proven armies of robots can be a somewhat effective fighting force. If a war goes on for years, they could come into play.
Jedi and other elite fighters: Both sides have a fair number of warrior races, but SW has a number of exceptional fighters from species that are not known for their fighting abilities.
Armed civilians: In SW, civilians are often armed. When militaries try to invade, they normally find the civilians have a nasty habit of resisting. This does seem to happen somewhat in the Trek verse, but it seems less common for civilians to go around armed, especially on Federation-controlled planets. Maybe the military can be beaten, but the locals will quickly arm themselves and defend their farms.
In SW, the government is more centralized. This could make cutting off the head of the snake easier for the Trekkies, but the central government also leads to more cooperation between planets. In SW, people work together better, so there’s less chance of a war with five different sides. This lends more strength to the military since people only have to worry about one enemy, not the neighboring planet trying to take over while they’re fighting another enemy.
On the other side of this, Trek may have an advantage. If the Federation falls, many of the other groups will keep fighting. Then again, SW civilians don’t give up easily, even if there is no central command to lead them. Individual SW planets are more likely to keep fighting, rather than joining with the enemy.
Most Trek planets are somewhat civilized. This could give them an advantage since criminal organizations seem to be a bit less powerful, but the civilized nature of the people could lead to less self-sufficiency if there are disruptions of the power grid or other infrastructure. Most people in SW are more independent so there’s less chance of a wreck from broken infrastructure. Most SW planets seem to have quite a bit of farmland.
Trek had Borg, Dominion, and other enemies. The problem is, these guys are so evil they’d never work with the Federation during a war. If they showed up to the party, it would likely mean the war would shift from SW vs Trek to all the good guys from both ‘verses fighting the bad guys.
So, what would happen?
The beaming tech may help the Trekkies, but it seems pretty easy to thwart. The Trekkies are going to need replicators since their ships are so much slower. SW are going to conquer more planets early on.
In short term, SW wins due to hyperspace. They’d manage to take most of the planets before the Trekkies could muster a strong defense.
If the Trekkies did get into the SW ‘verse, they’d likely manage to take a few outer rim planets and get bogged down dealing with very independent minded rebels.
What about after the war went on for a few months?
The SWs need more planets since they don’t have replicators. This means they need supply lines. Luckily, hyperspace allows them the ability to keep the spaceways open. The Trekkies just can’t gain ground fast enough at their speed.
The medical tech will allow the Trekkies to keep more of their military in the field, but the Federation’s weaponry and training seems to be geared toward space battles, not ground-based conflicts. This gives them a significant disadvantage when they have to occupy a planet they’ve conquered. They’d most likely have to contract the occupation out to one of the militaries that knows what they’re doing. Problem is, the SWs are pretty good at fighting occupation, even experienced occupiers. SWs don’t care about the Prime Directive, so they’ll aid primitive groups with gifts of advanced weaponry.
The Trekkies might take out a few SW leaders, but that doesn’t stop the resistances that spring up. SW gets into Trek space and disrupts the infrastructure, but the replication tech stops them from getting a solid foothold. The Trekkies can’t do much since the SWs can field reinforcements too quickly due to hyperspace.
Even if both sides steal each other’s tech, SW, having the better military, would keep their part of the galaxy free of Trekkies, but they’re still unable to conquer many of the Trek planets due to local warrior cultures who know how to resist.
In the end, SW gets some Trek planets and messes things up badly, but they can’t take the entire galaxy. The Trekkies can’t even get many of the Outer Rim planets under their control.