Seven of nine

As many have pointed out, Star Wars and Star Trek represent opposite ends of an American pop-cultural dialectic. Whereas Star Wars is serious, Star Trek is jokey. Whereas Star Wars is fundamentally religious, Star Trek is decidedly secular. One could create a long list of such oppositions.

But only this week did it occur to me that these differences are embedded in the very names of the characters. Here are a few names from each, together with notes on likely influences or meanings:

 

Star Wars:

Name:

Suggests:

Luke Skywalker

One who strolls among the stars

Leia

Lei + Geia (Hawaiian princess as earth goddess)

Han Solo

Exotic loner

Yoda

Yoga + Buddha

 

Star Trek:

Name:

Suggests:

McCoy

“The real McCoy” — an honest guy

Scotty

A guy from Scotland

Chekov

A guy from Russia

Uhura

A gal from Africa

Spock

An guy from Outer Space

 

As you can see, Star Wars names are all about exotic mysticism, whereas Star Trek names are about a bunch of regular folks hanging out and getting along, despite their ethnic diversity.

On the other hand, the original meaning of “Kirk” is “Church”, so I could be wrong about all this. Besides, it’s not as though the same person will ever direct a movie in each of these fictional worlds. One human being could never be permitted to have that much power.

In any case, if there were another Star Wars movie, it would be seven of nine, which everyone knows is part of the Star Trek universe.

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