There are a lot of memorable rivalries in science fiction and fantasy. Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader, The Fantastic Four vs Dr. Doom and Kirk vs Khan, to name a few. But sometimes the rivalries between sci fi and fantasy creators is just as intense and colorful as the ones between their characters. There are a variety of sci-fi and fantasy writers, artists and actors in noisy feuds with each other. Sometimes they’re underscored by mutual respect, sometimes they’re simply a product of pure loathing and some end with a bang while others drag on indefinitely. Let’s look at the various ways creators can butt heads!
Many consider Isaac Asimov (author of Foundation and The End of Eternity among others) and Arthur C. Clarke (author of 2001: A Space Oddyssey among others) to be among the masters of science fiction. They both were certainly the masters of sick burns when it came to each other. Probably the best example of their exchange of insults was when Clarke found out that a man had died in a plane crash while reading one of his books. He quickly wrote Asimov and told him of the event, snarkily noting that it was a shame the man hadn’t been reading an Asimov novel because then “he might have died peacefully in his sleep.” Asimov’s reply was equally cutting, he called the man’s death a “merciful release” from reading Clarke.
However, despite the constant barbs they flung at each other, the two were good friends. All of their bickering was in good fun. In fact, they even had a mutual agreement to name each other when strangers asked them who the best SF author was. They called this the “Clark-Asimov Treaty” and Clarke acknowledged this agreement in a dedication in one of his books ““In accordance with the terms of the Clarke-Asimov treaty, the second-best science writer dedicates this book to the second-best science-fiction writer.”
Old school sci-fi authors like Clarke and Asimov may have gotten in fake flame wars, but modern sci-fi authors get in very real ones. It all started when Theodore Beale (also known as "Vox Day", author of The War in Heaven) said that women don’t write science fiction because their feeble minds “can’t hack the physics”. (What a doll, right? Nobody tell him the first sci-fi novel was by a teenage girl.) He went on to make racist and anti-Semitic remarks as well.
John Scalzi (author of The Android's Dream and Redshirts) responded to this in the only appropriate way, by telling him he had his head up his posterior. Beale responded by pretty much flipping out, accusing Scalzi of being a rapist among other things and basically obsessing over him. Scalzi decided to use the feud for the cause of good and said he would donate 5 dollars to charity every time Beale talked about him on his blog. Other folks joined the pledge and 50,000 was raised in less than a week.
Beale’s obsession has not waned though and you can count on Scalzi’s self-proclaimed rival to throw a tantrum whenever Scalzi meets success- like when he got a lucrative book deal or when he won the Hugo Awards in 2013, which Beale decided was a result of an evil Social Justice Warrior conspiracy.
The most prominent feud between professionals involved with Star Wars has to be the one between George Lucas and the man who played Darth Vader, David Prowse. Prowse was actually Darth Vader only in body. Lucas dubbed his dialogue over with James Earl Jones and Prowse says he did so without telling him. Prowse also claims that Lucas promised he would be seen and heard at the end of Return of the Jedi, but Sebastian Shaw was used instead.
Their feud escalated so much that Lucas ended up banning Prowse from all Star Wars conventions. The alleged reason for this is that he leaked plot details of the films, such as Vader’s death and relation to Luke. However Prowse has said this is false and he wasn’t even told any of this information during filming in the first place. Prowse speculates that Lucas’s grudge against him is because Prowse appeared in the film The People vs George Lucas, which as you can imagine, was pretty critical of the director in question. Prowse states he had no idea his interview was going to be used that way, though.
Something about the Star Wars franchise seems to cause feuds to fester. The famously bickering robot friends are not friends at all in real life. Baker is definitely the most furious end of the feud, often making comments on how Daniels was unpleasant and constantly demeaned him.
Baker even said he wouldn’t go to a 2008 cast reunion if “his lordship, the one with the golden balls” was there. According to Baker, Daniels always snubbed or talked down to him for no reason. He says he once addressed him as “little man”. Considering Baker is under four feet tall, that’s insulting on multiple levels.
Daniels hasn’t said much about Baker in comparison, but he definitely feels some disdain and has gotten his digs in a few times. He once commented that R2-D2 “might as well be bucket” and basically said Baker didn’t even deserve to be in the credits of the movie.