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Space is cool, battles in space with lots of lasers going pew…pew and bright fiery explosions with extra fire in cold vacuum are cooler.
Welcome to the world of Standard Starship Scuffle(s).
To see all the other tropes this mega trope entails, follow the link above. Let us look at what powers this trope. The first is the Rule of Cool. Space battles are a good way to amp up the action and require the FX department to bring out their A-game. The Rule of Drama is a close second. Nothing says, “Danger Will Robinson!” like a ship’s bridge shaking from enemy impacts, exploding control panels and flickering lights. Even if the heroes vessel manages to win the battle, it will have to deal with the aftermath, such as putting out fires, patching up wounded personnel, and shooting a beloved red shirt into the nearest star. If the battle sends the heroes packing with their proverbial tail between their legs, you know that the show has gotten darker and edgier. Which of course sets up the scene where the glorious fleets of liberation wipe the floor with the baddies in the season finale or final scene of the book/movie.
Remember Space is an Ocean, so all those naval tropes apply as well. More so when you realize that any actual space combat is still theoretical. And if you are going to scuffle with dastardly enemies, make sure you do it in your Cool Starship, for extra cool points.