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May 18, 2013

Stardate: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away . . .

When President Obama used the term "Jedi mind meld" during a March press conference — accidentally mashing up the Vulcan mind meld of "Star Trek" lore with the manipulative Jedi mind trick of "Star Wars" fame — he committed what some considered to be an unforgivable sci-fi faux pas.

We, on the other hand, think he was showing his full embrace of the hybrid "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" world created by J.J. Abrams. Indeed, while watching both of Abrams' "Star Trek" films, a Trekker will likely see classic Enterprise-saga elements in various characters, themes and moments. But someone with a Rebel Alliance mind-set can also view those same characters, themes and moments and think, "Oh, that's totally 'Star Wars.' "

A few examples:

The depiction of characters

It's classic "Star Trek" because . . . although Zachary Quinto's Spock plays up the emotions of his half-Vulcan, half-human character, occasionally shedding tears and struggling with his feelings, there's a long-standing precedence for Spock as a character who laughs, loves and even loses it. The ever-logical Vulcan is a cliche that wasn't even true in the original series.

It's "Star Wars" because . . . as Chris Pine plays the always-arrogant James Kirk, he's basically Han Solo, firing off wisecracks and exuding a devil-may-care brashness that's reminiscent of the guy who shot Greedo (first!) during Episode IV's Mos Eisley Cantina scene. There's presumably no reason for Pine's Kirk to ever say, "Laugh it up, fuzzball," since he doesn't have a Wookiee best friend. But if he did say it, it wouldn't seem remotely out of character.

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