Barack Obama has infuriated sci-fi fanatics by confusing Star Wars and Star Trek during a news conference.

The US president told reporters he would not perform a "Jedi mind meld" on Congress's top two Republicans in an effort to reach a deal on the US budget.

Hundreds of science fiction fans immediately took to Twitter and internet forums to point out that the Jedi only appear in Star Wars, while mind melds are a Vulcan speciality on Star Trek.

The blending of science-fiction terms came after Obama's controversial last-minute meeting with Congress and Senate leaders failed to prevent automatic $85bn budget cuts.

Obama said: "I am not a dictator. I'm the president.

"Even though most people feel that I'm being reasonable (and) presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don't take it means I should somehow do a Jedi mind-meld with these folks and convince them to do what's right."

Nerds across the world were outraged at the president's apparent mix-up - with some labelling it a "wookie" mistake, a reference to Star Wars character Chewbacca.

Even Star Trek's Mr Spock, actor Leonard Nimoy, was prompted to react via his Twitter account, saying: "Only a Vulcan mind meld will help with this congress."

However, fellow Star Trek star George Takei, who played Lt Hikaru Sulu on the original Star Trek, defended the president's words.

"Jedis are the guardians of peace and justice and mind meld is the Vulcan way of having the force of pure, clean communication between one mind and another," Takei said on US news commentary programme The Ed Show.

"Well, that's what the president is trying to do - bring those two forces together."

Perhaps the stress of the budget cuts caused the mistake, as Obama is a long-time Star Trekfan. He hosted original series star Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura, at the White House in early 2012.

The pair gave the famed Vulcan hand salute in a photo released by the Oval Office administration.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away, details about the planned Disney-backed relaunch of the Star Wars saga are starting to emerge. It is being written by Oscar winner Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) and directed by J.J. Abrams (Star Trek).

There are indications that it will include some role for the original stars of the first trilogy.

Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, has been approached about appearing in the movies. "George [Lucas] wanted to know whether we'd be interested," he told Entertainment Tonight.

"He did say that if we didn't want to do it, they wouldn't cast another actor in our parts; they would write us out. I can tell you right away that we haven't signed any contracts. We're in the stage where they want us to go in and meet with Michael Arndt and Kathleen Kennedy, who is going to run Lucasfilm."

Lucasfilm and Disney are planning a new trilogy of films, as well as spinoff movies that focus on individual characters.

The studio is prepping films about Han Solo, the maverick space trafficker played by Harrison Ford, and bounty hunter Boba Fett.