Walter Koenig explains how Star Wars saved Star Trek from dying

Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek helped inspire some of the greatest sci-fi of the last few decades, and is still hanging around blowing up the box office. But according to original Trek star Walter Koenig, fans should be thanking Star Wars for the longevity of Roddenberry's vision.

Koenig, who played Chekov on Star Trek: The Original Series, did a sit-down with The Hollywood Reporter to celebrate his newly added star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and reminisced about his role in the legendary series.

Interestingly, Koenig said Trek owes a debt of gratitude to George Lucas' Star Wars for keeping sci-fi cool in the late '70s and early '80s, opening the door for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek: The Next Generation:

"When finally ran out of air on in 1969, we concluded that it was the end of Star Trek. But when George Lucas saw the effect we had on the public, he was inspired to create Star Wars, and that in turn brought the people of Paramount around to saying, what do we have to make a feature and perhaps a franchise out of? And then they remembered they had Star Trek. So one thing feeds off another."

Koenig may be onto something, and it makes sense that without Star Wars keeping the home fires burning, the world may not have been as open to a Trek revival.

What do you think? Did Star Wars help save Star Trek?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)

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