Star Wars versus Star Trek: Obama weighs in

Is President Obama more of a Star Wars fan or a Trekkie?

He’s no slouch with a lightsaber, but Obama has mastered the Star Trek “Vulcan salute” and says that series made the biggest impression on him growing up.

Star Trek works because it isn’t about future technology — it is about human relationships, Obama said. It doesn’t need expensive visuals to be powerful, as anyone who has seen the series’ papier-mâché alien planets and awkward special effects can attest.

“What I loved about it was its optimism,” Obama said in a recent interview for Wired. “The fundamental belief at its core that the people on this planet, for all our varied backgrounds and outward differences, could come together to build a better tomorrow.”

Check out Obama’s must-see picks below.

The Martian

Stranded on Mars, the astronaut portrayed by Matt Damon improvises to survive — even growing Martian potatoes.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick’s epic journey through time and space questions the relationship between humans and machines. Obama said the 1968 film “captures the grandeur and scale of the unknown.”

Blade Runner

In a bleak dystopia, an android hunter comes out of retirement for one last mission that will change him forever. Obama said the film asks what it really means to be human.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

This UFO adventure follows a group investigating contact with aliens. (And it will change your view of mashed potatoes forever.)

Star Wars: Episode IV

Star Wars fans still debate which of the original trilogy is the best. Obama’s bottom line is this: The Star Wars saga is “fun and revolutionized special effects.”

The Matrix

Office worker Neo discovers that his reality is constructed by machines and that he might be the one who can free humanity. “It asks basic questions about our reality — and looks very cool,” Obama said.


Wait a minute — this last one isn’t science fiction. But Carl Sagan’s series on the science of the universe has inspired millions since it came out in 1980, including the president. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson updated the show with new science (and better graphics) in 2014.

Have any works of sci-fi shaped your view of the universe?