The only thing science fiction does better than provide heady, futuristic looks at very modern themes is telling those stories with the help of some amazing hardware.
As Edge of Tomorrow provides audiences with its take on the mech suit and other popular sci-fi weaponry, here’s a look back at 15 of the coolest, most iconic weapons in sci-fi movie history.
1. Lightsaber (Star Wars)
An elegant weapon for a more civilized age, the lightsaber is arguably the most iconic weapon in the history of big-screen sci-fi. From striking down Siths to turning tauntauns into sleeping bags, the Jedi’s best friend can do it all. No childhood went without a few lightsaber duels among friends, proving that the only thing that burns brighter than the lightsaber is the Star Wars legacy to which it belongs.
2. Phaser (Star Trek)
While Starfleet’s mission has always been one of peace, even the galaxy’s equivalent of the UN needs a sidearm. The phaser first appeared in the original 1966 series, evolving onto the big screen in various hand-held and rifle forms. The most recent incarnation from J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek adds a rotating “stun-kill” barrel feature, but we’ll take the old-school phaser any day.
3. Blaster (Star Wars)
The only gun to ever make thigh holsters look cool, Han Solo’s signature weapon is both unique and simplistic in its design. Perfect for shooting Greedo (first!) or mynocks, the blaster is a scrappy weapon that, like its vest-wearing, Falcon-flying owner, always comes in handy during a fight.
4. M41-A Pulse Rifle (Aliens)
Rapid-fire machine gun? Check. Digital ammo counter? Check. Pump-action grenade launcher? Check and mate!
The No. 1 cause of death for all things ending in “xenomorph,” the Colonial Marines’ weapon of choice is ideal for dispatching threats both intergalactic and domestic. The weapon is so popular, someone recently made a real-life version of it!
5. Death Star (Star Wars)
The Emperor would have gotten away with his planet-killing battle station if it wasn’t for some farmboy from Tatooine.
Home to both troops and Imperial ships, the Death Star is primarily a weapon -– a dreadful one at that, capable of wiping out whole worlds with the flick of a few switches. Whomever the Empire contracted to build it, they should Force choke the guy for incorporating a 5-by-5 meter hole into the design.
6. Identity Disc (Tron)
While riding light cycles are cool and all, wielding an Identity Disc is cooler.
The disc serves as a weaponized online profile of sorts, capable of being deployed as some type of Frisbee thing that bounces off walls and into opponents. Of The Grid’s many contributions to pop culture, the disc is definitely its most iconic.
7. Proton Pack (Ghostbusters)
Have you seen a spook, specter or ghost? If the answer is “yes,” then call the professionals -– and make sure they come wearing their proton packs. Once described by Peter Venkman as a “positron glider on his back,” the proton pack is essential hardware for the busting of ghosts. Just don’t cross the streams. Crossing the streams is bad ...
8. Deckard’s Gun (Blade Runner)
Ex-cop, ex-Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) “retires” replicants with this iconic handgun, the perfect fusion of artillery and future noir tech from Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic, Blade Runner. The handgun joins the Spinner Car as a must-have for fans of this landmark film.
9. The Auto-9 (RoboCop ’87)
Proof positive that more sci-fi, “half man, half machine, all cop” heroes need to come equipped with gun storage in their thighs, the Auto-9 is as synonymous with RoboCop as his full-body armor suit. Alex P. Murphy’s OCP-owned alter ego came onto the scene with this hand cannon, ready to clean up Old Detroit. He just had to first turn Clarence Boddicker's gang into chalk outlines.
10. Glaive (Krull)
Despite Krull’s less-than-stellar box office in 1983, fandom managed to find care space for this fantasy epic -- and its iconic weapon. The offspring of a boomerang and a ninja star, the glaive and its five retractable blades are capable of not only dispensing otherworldly enemies, but also fulfilling ancient prophecies and turning men into planet-wide heroes.
11. Thermal Detonator (Return of the Jedi)
All together now: “Because he’s holding a thermal detonator!”
This palm-sized bomb packs quite the punch, one we never got to see in action in the original films -– but judging by C3P0’s terrified reaction at the mere sight of it, we’re guessing it’s not something you want to mess with.
12. Sonic Shotgun (Minority Report)
In a world where murderers are punished before they kill, police are forced to upgrade their weapons to non-lethal status. Enter the sonic shotgun, with its cool, spinning reload motion and stylish design. We’d rather be on the receiving end of one of these than a “sick stick.” Ew.
13. Plasma Cannon (Predator)
This shoulder-mounted boom stick is just one of the many tools found in the Predator’s arsenal. More powerful than his retractable gauntlet blades, the plasma cannon is capable of hunting down Dutch and Company from crazy distances -– finishing its targets off with one hell of a bang. Keep your mud camouflage handy, fellas.
14. ARC Gun (District 9)
2009’s District 9 came on the scene with some of modern sci-fi’s best world-building, one that fans quickly took a liking to -– especially in regards to the ARC Gun. The best weapon video games wish they invented, there is a reason why the ARC Gun is so popular with collectors. Watch the movie to find out why.
15. Amplified Mobility Platform (Avatar)
Avatar isn’t the first movie to employ a mech suit, but its take on the bulky, lethal hardware is one of the more memorable ones in recent years. Edge of Tomorrow’s “Jacket” mech suit takes a page from James Cameron’s AMP, but we give Cameron’s the, ahem, “edge,” given the suit’s cockpit canopy and insane arm-mounted artillery.