Have you ever wondered which starship would prevail in a knock-down, drag-out space battle? The "Starship Smackdown" is a Comic Con institution, and we were able to marvel at the geeky knowledge and fannish quips from the celebrity panelists.
This was the 15th Starship Smackdown (partly because it's happened at other cons besides SDCC.) We were assured at the beginning that there would be "no ties," although of course there turned out to be plenty of ties, which the audience had to break. It was all extremely scientific and rigorous.
The panelists were Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise), Ashley Edward Miller (Thor, Fringe), Steve Melching (co-writer of Clone Wars, The Batman, Transformers Animated), Robert Hewitt Wolfe (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Andromeda, The Gates), Kay Reindl (Twilight Zone, Legend Of The Seeker) and Daren Dochterman (X-Men concept artist). The whole thing was moderated by Mark A. Altman (DOA: Dead or Alive, The Unknowns).
The competition was intense and fierce, and the one-upmanship started before the contest even began. Each of the contestants chose a starship, and then the audience shouted out some more suggestions. (Sadly, our suggestions of Unicron and Lexx were ignored. Bah!)
There was a weird animated series theme, with the Enterprise NCC-1701 from Star Trek: The Animated Series being chosen instead of the "real" Enterprise. But Burnett chose the Space Battleship Yamato, purely on the basis of the recent live-action trailer. Other odd "starship" choices included Green Lantern's ring and Doctor Who's TARDIS. Is the Death Star a space station or a starship? The debate goes on for quite some time, and in the end, the Death Star squeaks in. (Somebody points out the opening crawl of Star Wars calls the Death Star a space station, but Steve Melching says Star Wars also thinks a parsec is a unit of time.) Miller nominates The Last Starfighter's Gunstar, because he watched that movie with his new-born son, whose diaper is likened to the Death Blossom.
One audience member suggests including Serenity in the match-up, to which a panelist snarks: "Doesn't travel faster than light, doesn't have any guns. But it does have a hooker on board."
In keeping with the animated theme, someone insists the Millennium Falcon should be the one from the Holiday Special. "Will we finish this panel in time for Life Day?" someone asks.
The Sulaco from Aliens vs. The Thunder Road from Explorers. "Three dudes vs. female space marines!" says Burnett. Miller asks, "Rob, have you ever been mistaken for a man?" Burnett replies "No" automatically. Whoops! Winner: Sulaco.
The Death Star vs. the Battlestar Galactica. Just replace X-Wings with Vipers, with better banter, and Galactica would win, Dochterman and Reindl agree. But a Viper doesn't come with a proton torpedo launcher! "Unless Starbuck had a dream about where that exhaust port was," they're screwed. Miller says. "Adama would get drunk and bang Roslin." It's a tie, so it's left up to the audience. Everyone chants "SO SAY WE ALL!" Winner: The Death Star.
Millennium Falcon vs. U.S.S. Enterprise (both animated). The Enterprise wins!
The Borg Cube vs. I.S.S. Enterprise from the Mirror Universe. Burnett says, "Kirk would seduce the Borg Queen right out of her ship." Dochterman adds: "He'd probably seduce her right out of her torso." Miller argues the Mirror Kirk "could do nothing but scream and freak out." Robert Hewitt Wolfe points out, "They wore sashes. Sashes are not cool. They had agonizers on their belt so they could discipline their crew. That's twee." But would mirror universe Borg want to assimilate these guys at all? Winner: I.S.S. Enterprise!
The TARDIS vs. the Jupiter 2 from Lost in Space: Robert Meyer Burnett says, "The Doctor knows Captain Jack, the only dude I've ever been attracted to." Winner: The TARDIS.
Green Lantern's ring vs. Kal-El's ship from the Superman comics. Miller points out Kal-El's ship has the "best safety seat ever, plus that kid gets to listen to Marlon Brando for light years... It can crash into a planet, and the inhabitant remains unharmed. And because it's Superman's ship it has a deployable superweapon - which since it's Superman as a baby and is wearing diapers, he has a death blossom." Winner: Kal-El's ship.
The Yamato vs. the Klingon D-7 battlecruiser. Someone points out, "You can snap the D-7's neck like a twig." Reindl counters, "If you can catch it." Burnett gives a passionate speech about the hopes and dreams the Yamato carries with it. Winner: Klingon D7.
NSEA Protector vs. Gunstar. "The NSEA Protector is a better version of the 'holy shit it's real' story," someone points out. "The Gunstar is a cool little ship but it's a little ship." Winner: The Gunstar, because of Miller's baby.
This time around, the winners from the previous round are piloted by famous computers. It gets a bit more confusing from here on out.
The Enterprise NCC-1701 (animated) as piloted by Colossus, vs. the Sulacco as piloted by M5. "The M5 would be too busy killing the marines on board." Winner: Sulacco.
The Death Star as piloted by Skynet, vs. the I.S.S. Enterprise a piloted by the MCP. Burnett: "The MCP would just put Skynet on the game grid and make them play for all eternity." Someone else points out, "After four [Terminator] movies and an entire TV series, Skynet still wins." Someone else adds, "Skynet would build a time machine and send a Terminator back in time to kill Kevin Flynn." Winner: The Death Star
The TARDIS, as piloted by the W.O.P.R., vs. the Klingon D-7 battlecruiser as piloted by HAL. "All you have to do with the W.O.P.R. is play tic tac toe against it," someone notes. Winner: Klingon battlecruiser.
Kal-El's ship, as piloted by Mother, vs. the Gunstar as piloted by Landru. Winner: Kal-El's ship.
Round 3: Lightning Round.
And this time around, the surviving ships get actual flesh-and-blood captains.
The Sulaco, as piloted by Captain Kirk (animated) vs the Death Star piloted by the Captain and Tenille. "Love will keep the Death Star together." "Yes, but it's only Muskrat love." "The Captain and Tenille would just turn it into a disco ball." Winner: The Death Star
Kal-El's spaceship, as piloted by Koloth vs. the Klingon D-7 battlecruiser as piloted by Captain Quint from Jaws. Reindl points out: "Koloth wouldn't even fit inside that ship, because it's made for a baby. Obviously a D7 would destroy it." Winner: The D-7 battlecruiser.
The Death star as piloted by Captain Jack Sparrow and assisted by the computer Proteus, versus the Klingon D-7 battlecruiser piloted by Captain Needa from Empire Strikes Back, as assisted by Deep Thought from the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.
"Captain Sparrow is drunk all the time, which may not make any difference on the Death Star since they're all drunk on board. Could the D-7 fly along the trench and shoot the vent? "Captain Needa is a total loser and Deep Thought might eventually come up with a strategy for solving everything, in a billion years." "Proteus impregnated Julie Christie. Imagine what a Proteus modified by Skynet would do to Tenille."
Final winner: The Death Star!
Trek Star image by Dave Metletsits on DeviantArt.