In the past few days, a video has circulated around the internet of renowned scientist/TV personality Neil DeGrasse Tyson choosing Star Trek’s Enterprise over the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars. In the National Geographic video, Tyson claims that the Enterprise is one of the first ships in science fiction to be built solely for exploration. Instead of being a military craft, personal transport, or cargo freighter, the Enterprise simply goes “where no one has gone before.”
Well, as we’ve mentioned before, most of us at TJM are huge Star Wars fans. While we certainly have an appreciation for Star Trek as well, some of us thought that the comparison to the Millennium Falcon might be a little unfair. Since we’re obviously qualified to argue against a Harvard-educated astrophysicist with a Ph.D. from Columbia, here are our thoughts on the matter:
First things first, the comparison between the Enterprise and the Falcon is a bit…unequal. As Tyson mentioned in the video, the Enterprise is a ship built for exploration, outfitted with a full crew and supplies. The Falcon, on the other hand, is a simple cargo ship (albeit one that’s been modified) that only requires a crew of at least two. Comparing the two would be like pitting the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz against a Mack truck. Put another way, the Enterprise is a Concorde supersonic jet to the Millennium Falcon’s hot rod ’77 Camaro. They’re not really in the same category.
A better comparison would be between the Enterprise and the iconic wedge-shaped capital ships of the Star Wars universe, the Star Destroyers. While an exact size comparison is difficult (considering they’re both fictional ships), they’re a much more equal match than the Falcon and the Enterprise. Each ship boasts a crew of thousands, and the ships are fully equipped for battle if need be, with banks of laser weapons, torpedoes, and defensive shields.
While Star Destroyers have a number of laser turrets mounted on the hull, it’s hard to determine how these would match against the Enterprise’s main phaser weapon. In all honesty, it’d probably be a 50-50 matchup on most days. That’s not counting the ability of the Enterprise to heroically work its way out of most dire situations it finds itself in, but that’s a whole other set of luck/skill that we’re not counting here.
However, let’s assume that the Falcon DOES find itself in a fight with the Enterprise for some reason. (Perhaps Captain Kirk tried to hit on Leia, and Han just wasn’t gonna let that stand.) In each film of the original trilogy, the Falcon has gone up against a Star Destroyer. Granted, the Falcon has been running away each time, but it still has yet to be destroyed or even severely damaged by one of the ships. It’s only ever been captured, and even then, only once.
That’s more than likely what would happen in an Enterprise vs. Millennium Falcon matchup. The Falcon would find some way to hide itself until the Enterprise was sufficiently satisfied it was gone, then move on. As long as Boba Fett wasn’t watching, that is, but he’s probably still chilling out in the Sarlacc Pit. While the Falcon might not stand a chance in a direct fight, it could still hold its own against the Enterprise and live to fight another day.
So there you have it, Mr. Tyson. The Millennium Falcon shouldn’t HAVE to go against the Enterprise, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with liking the Enterprise better. That’s just like…your opinion, man.