Science fiction is full of kickass characters, exotic locales and devastating weaponry, but it’s also home to some of the coolest vehicles on this side of the galaxy. Some of sci-fi’s most memorable transporters are so insane they could only exist inside the imaginative world of film and comic books, while others actually have some foothold in the real world.
Either way, we can’t help but wish we were in the driver’s seat of any of these five of the greatest vehicles in the history of science fiction.
The Light Bike
So much of the so-called “futuristic” technology from early sci-fi films looks completely cheesy when viewed through a modern lens, but not the Light Bike from “Tron.” This thing is just as awesome today as it was when the original film was released in 1982.
What makes it so cool? The Light Bike awesomely combines a Japanese superbike with a full-on laser light show. Ironically, it’s the only vehicle on this list to be completely computer generated on film, and yet the Light Bike is also the only one you can actually own in real life. That’s right, for $55,000 you can actually own your own street legal re-creation. Just make sure you know the rules of the road before journeying into the grid.
Okay, so Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy doesn’t exactly count as science fiction, but it’s still hard to deny the hard-nosed coolness of the Tumbler. Nolan presented the most realistic vision of the Caped Crusader that we’ve yet to see on film, and that’s definitely reflected in the Tumbler, which trades the goofy wings and overall garishness of previous iterations for military-grade weaponry and stealth.
If a billionaire decided to start fighting crime, the Tumbler is exactly the kind of vehicle that you’d imagine him or her cruising around in. And as we saw in “Dark Knight Rises,” it’s not such a bad choice for a villain either.
Like any good character, the Millennium Falcon is beloved as much for its inherent badassery as it is for its flaws. Sure, it set a still-unbeaten record for the Kessel Run, but what most people like about the Falcon is its constant need for maintenance — especially at the worst possible moment.
Anyone who has ever owned a classic car knows what it’s like to pilot the Falcon. Sometimes it flies like a dream, and sometimes it leaves you stranded in the mouth of a giant space worm. But when you’ve got a few tie fighters on your tail and the Death Star looming up ahead, you’ll be glad the Falcon’s on your side.
Bill and Ted’s Phone Booth
The time machine from the two Bill and Ted films definitely isn’t going to win any awards for innovative design, but it’s still the only vehicle that can exceed the speed of light and achieve time travel. It’s also super roomy — able to hold up to eight historical figures and two San Dimas high school students.
It also answers the often asked question, “In the future, what will happen to all of these useless phone booths?”
The Nebuchadnezzar looks like a whale and handles like one, too. It definitely isn’t going to outrun the Falcon or take a corner like the Light Bike, but there’s still something sort of fascinating about this sewer-trolling behemoth. Maybe it’s the awesome electrical pods that cover its surface or just the fact that its name is so fun to say.
The fact is that very few vehicles in recent science fiction films have quite the same aura of mystery as the Neb. Sadly, it met its fiery demise at the end of “Matrix Reloaded,” so we’ll never get a chance to know what made him tick.