If the cannon fodder from two mighty science fiction franchises were pitted against each other battle royale-style, who would be declared the victor? If the Emperor had stumbled upon the Federation and sent a legion of Imperial Stormtroopers against Kirk’s ensigns and lieutenants, who would rule the universe? Don’t pretend that in the dead of night, with a bowl of nachos at your feet and game controller in hand, you’ve never debated it over your headset. So we’ve decided to resolve the matter, scientifically.
The Rules of Combat
Representing Star Wars will be the 1977-1983 trilogy Stormtroopers only. Sheev cannot play the advantage by sneaking any death troopers into the battle. No elite clone units and definitely no 501st or Clone Force 99. Captain Rex stays home.
On behalf of Star Trek are the original series Redshirts. These walking corpses are not always dressed in rouge. The term has become slang for any low-ranking crew member with little to no dialogue. To even out the playing field, the crew of Star Trek Voyager is banned from going anywhere near the fight. Despite being stranded in the middle of the galaxy with no support and no ability to resupply, their background characters have the Federation’s best survival rate. Ensign Harry Kim, the Delta Quadrant’s most resilient Redshirt, will not be permitted to mow through a battalion of Stormtroopers with his clarinet.
There will be no help from any superior officers or Jedi. This is not a wrestling match; Trekkies cannot run to the side of the ring and switch with a Vulcan (and his extra firm neck massage) because they are losing. Tagging in Anakin Skywalker still dripping with the blood of younglings is also emphatically against the rules.
There will be three fields of play similar to locations that appear in both franchises. Then we will postulate the outcome based on what we have all seen on screen.
The Pre-Match Analysis
- Almost completely blind, which means they can’t hit an enemy with their blaster or spot a pristine six-foot gold droid in the woods.
- Can’t be trusted to operate heavy machinery or drive any kind of vehicle.
- Armour is not blaster, bomb, or choke-proof and the shiny white color makes them a walking target everywhere but Hoth.
- Will ignore any attacker approaching from behind...or maybe giant androids from Exo III and floating electrical cables are just very quiet when they want to further the plot?
- Will likely run into the path of weapons/anything lethal.
- They think phasers are hand warmers and will probably just hold them. More likely to fire at each other than the enemy.
Battle 1: Desert World (Tatooine, The Arena, and Argus X)
We never see the Stormtroopers in a full-scale battle on Tatooine in the OG trilogy, whereas Federation sand is practically red with the blood of its low-level recruits. In fact, as soon as the staff of the Enterprise step anywhere they need sunscreen, a bad case of vapourizations breaks out. Stormtroopers seem to manage quite well on Tatooine, maybe the white color protects them from heatstroke? Trying to hit an enemy in the dunes might be an issue for the villains of Star Wars, especially with their limited vision. However, since Redshirts are often taken down by the environment, this may not be a problem. There are plenty of things on Tatooine that can kill them without a Stormtrooper lifting a finger, falling down Beggar’s Canyon, Krayt Dragons, and Sand People. Also, Jabba wouldn’t be happy with any Federation presence on his turf and would have the naïve ensigns hog-tied on a skiff quicker than you can say ‘Sarlacc lunch’.
Stormtroopers have one clear advantage, which is numbers. In most Star Trek episodes, we see a maximum of four Redshirts beam down to the surface of a planet. Kirk’s Ship held 403, whereas a Star Destroyer’s capacity is closer to 35,000. If a Stormtrooper was losing to the Gorn, the Emperor could easily send down a whole battalion and overwhelm the alien, no matter how strong it was. The dikironium cloud creature on Argus X might cause them more trouble, however, the bucket helmets do supposedly have air filtration systems and an artificial air supply. So Stormtroopers may not be able to see, but might be fully impervious to glittery cloud monsters.
Star Trek: 0. Star Wars: 1.
Battle 2: Forest Moon (Endor, Gamma Trianguli VI)
Redshirts have mixed fortunes with worlds with alien lifeforms. They either want to kill them, or Kirk starts ‘interspecies negotiations’. However an episode of TOS begins, the eventual goal is for everyone to get along, even if six of the crew of the Enterprise have to die along the way. The Redshirts would probably make peace with the generally good-natured Ewoks even if they did beam a few aboard their ship to take over tribble style. Whereas Stormtroopers in the same environment ‘hunt themselves’ flying into trees on speeder bikes before the Redshirts have to draw and not fire.
However, let’s not overlook that ‘The Apple’ was one of the bloodiest Star Trek episodes in the series. If the war took place on Gamma Trianguli, Stormtroopers would have poisoned flowers, full-size locals with clubs, and exploding rocks to contend with. Considering that they had a tough enough time with pint-sized teddy bears armed with stones that do not blow up, this planet would have probably been game over for the Empire.
Star Trek: 1. Star Wars: 1.
Battle 3: Space Station/Star Ship
Redshirts love an off-screen death onboard ship. All the audience has to see is McCoy with his tricorder out, crouched on the floor beside the pile of bodies saying ‘He’s dead Jim’. A Stormtrooper’s lack of shooting ability shouldn’t matter on a space station with narrow halls and reflective surfaces to bounce shots off. So they should hit something eventually, especially with the queue of Redshirts desperate to run into the line of fire (Nomad anyone?). If any diseases or weird aging aliens are buzzing around the ship, with their weak immune systems, the Redshirts will get sick first. But when was the last time you saw a Stormtrooper with so much as a cough? The helmets might have something to do with that, stopping viruses from spreading by water droplets before it was cool. Not that lots of Stormtroopers won’t die in this battle. In a firefight you’ll need a snow shovel to clear the bodies from the fire exits, it’s just that no one cares. No one gives a Stormtrooper a real name until the prequels. We don’t get to see a face for twenty years. There’s an endless supply of them. The only real way to take out Stormtroopers and make it count is to blow the place up Wedge Antilles style. The chances of Kirk activating the self-destruct to save his few remaining Redshirts seems less likely than The Empire joining the Federation, there are only two instances of it being used by this captain.
Star Trek: 1. Star Wars: 2.
The Final Result: Stormtroopers Win
So there you have it. Trekkies may scream and shout, but the evidence shows that Stormtroopers would beat the Redshirts in a fight. It wouldn’t be pretty and neither side would be proud of the performance, but it’s a win nevertheless. Long live the Empire.
Written By Louise Parnell
Syndicated From Culture Slate