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The 10 coolest sci-fi weapons in TV and movie history, ranked

The best sci-fi weapons can control the mind and destroy the body. Did your favorite make our list?

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Productions

Do you remember when you were a kid in the backyard, pretending to fend off an alien invasion with your hi-tech doohickey laser gun that blasts a hole right through any being’s chest? Just me? Well, I highly doubt that. Science fiction has been a source of inspiration for generations of children and adults alike to imagine what it would be like to combat the forces of evil with weapons that only exist in novels and movies. Oftentimes, the ideas presented in science fiction have helped to spur the creation of real-life weapons, showing the power of entertainment to change the world. These 10 sci-fi weapons haven’t been manifested in a real lab just yet, but they do thrill us and revitalize the seven-year-old in the backyard who lives in all of our hearts.

10. Sonic Pistol (Minority Report)

"Minority Report" weapon

When you combine big names like Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise, you’re bound to have a winning film. Minority Report was one of the most fun science fiction stories of the early 21st century, and awesome weapons like the sonic pistol helped to make it a film for true junkies of the genre. This weapon is actually only damaging through passive means, as it engulfs the victim in a wave of energy pulses, but it doesn’t damage the target like a traditional gun or even some other sci-fi guns we’ve seen. The weapon can still become violent if the person shot is sent barreling through another target or object.

9. Sonic Screwdriver (Doctor Who)

Doctor Who's Top 11 Sonic Screwdriver Scenes

The sonic screwdriver is the Swiss army knife of Doctor Who. One of the longest-running weapons from the British sci-fi series, the sonic screwdriver is able to unlock doors, disarm weapons, provide GPS-style locations, and create forcefield waves. In many ways, it has both realistic and fictitious aspects that make it an iconic weapon in the genre.

8. Identity Discs (Tron franchise)

Tron (2010) - Disc Wars - Only Action [1080p]

The identity discs are so instrumental to the Tron franchise because they help store information and memories of the person in possession of the disc, and they’re used as weapons in a physical form. The memory system component was an especially keen commentary on computers and the ability and influence of machines as a means of human and artificial intelligence back when the original movie released.

7. Iron Man’s Suit (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

Iron Man - Suit Up Scene - Mark III Armor - Movie CLIP HD

Can apparel be considered a weapon? Absolutely! Not only is Iron Man’s suit one of the most memorable concepts in the MCU, but it’s also somewhat realistic. Tony Stark built this body weapon that allows him to fly, lift hundreds of pounds, and shoot ammunition at will. Real scientists have tried to replicate this suit with varying degrees of success, including Adam Savage of Mythbusters. Looks like Tony Stark’s genius was really able to put the “science” in the sci-fi moniker given to his exoskeleton. We could probably be a little worried about what billionaires will attempt to build in the future if given ideas by their favorite movies, but let’s not think about that right now . . .

6. Neuralyzer (Men in Black)

Men In Black- First Neuralyzer Scene

There are many weapons used by the MiB, but we’re going to go with the neuralyzer because of its extremely powerful mind control abilities, a trademark of the science fiction genre. The neuralyzer takes all of the memories of the victim it’s used on, allowing the Men in Black to manipulate the victim’s mind in various ways.

5. Proton Packs (Ghostbusters)

Ghostbusters - All Proton Pack Scenes

The ingenious device used to capture the ghosts in this remarkable 1980s comedy is still something kids and adults alike enjoy mimicking with models and action figures to this day. The proton pack harnesses negative energy to take down ghosts, and it’s inspired imitators in different media formats ever since. Perhaps the most famous is the vacuum cleaner Mario’s brother, Luigi, uses in the 2001 Nintendo GameCube game, “Luigi’s Mansion.”

4. Death Star (Star Wars Films)

What If You Could Build the Death Star?

The most famous spaceship in the history of cinema is a monstrous display of mass weaponry that still shocks and amazes movie fans almost 50 years after George Lucas employed it in the original 1977 Star Wars film. Although Luke Skywalker made short work of the original Death Star at the end of the film, we certainly can’t forget the terror it caused in its short time on screen, such as when Darth Vader employed it to destroy Princess Leia’s home planet of Alderaan. This weapon of mass destruction was able to reappear in Return of the Jedi in a different form, and it remains imprinted in the minds of fans to this day. If we’re being honest, the Death Star is the most powerful weapon on this list!

3. T-1000 (Terminator 2: Judgment Day)

The Galleria (T-800 vs T-1000) | Terminator 2 [Remastered]

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 Terminator is the most memorable cyborg in the history of filmmaking, but Robert Patrick’s portrayal of the technologically superior T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day is borderline horrifying. The T-1000 has unmatched weaponry at its disposal, most notably the ability to morph into other people and objects due to its liquified metal exterior. This Terminator has often been the ultimate symbol of how devastating humanoid robots would be if ever brought to real life; fortunately, the T-1000 is probably not going to be roaming your neighborhood anytime soon.

2. Phaser (Star Trek Franchise)

Star Trek Vaporizing

Star Trek is arguably the most durable sci-fi franchise in TV history, and the phaser used by various characters in the series is the best sci-fi gun in the universe. The phaser is a blaster at heart, but its variety of forms and unique versions from different iterations of Star Trek make it more famous than a traditional laser gun in other big sci-fi entertainment vehicles.

1. Lightsaber (Star Wars Films)

Star Wars IV - Obi Wan gives to Luke his first lightsaber

Let’s be real: You knew what the number-one spot on this list would be the second you opened this article. George Lucas’s iconic Jedi weapon is so simple, yet infinitely beautiful and powerful. It doesn’t seem like a laser sword could become such a big deal, but its accessibility in the toy market has helped make it a mainstay for children since the 1970s — although the “vvvvmmmmm” sound that comes from the glowing blade usually doesn’t come with the stick. You’ll have to make that all on your own. Special shoutout to the Darksaber from The Mandalorian for putting a great twist on this classic weapon!

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Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek, Quote.com, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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