The Great Sci-Fi War Movie Battles

Every geeks dreams… Laser Beams, Explosions

We’ve previously done an article on the greatest war movie battles. Now it’s time for an article on the greatest sci-fi movie battles.

Science fiction is one of the most popular genres when it comes to film. What makes science fiction films so fascinating is the possibility that the technology we see in them may only be ‘fictional’ for a certain period of time. As tech continues to progress at a rapid rate, many people wonder if things such as spaceships traveling at light speed, laser guns, and lightsabers will become a thing in the future.

That’s why the following fictional sci-fi battles we’re going to cover may seem out of this world to us now, but they could still represent what warfare might look like sometime in the future.

#1 Normandy Landings (Edge of Tomorrow – Live Die Repeat)

The 2014 film Edge of Tomorrow (later rebranded as Live, Die, Repeat) features a sci-fi version of the Normandy landings in France. The film is set in the not-so-distance future where most of Europe has been conquered by an alien race. The humans assemble a massive invasion force  in the United Kingdom to launch a counterattack across the English Channel. American Major William Cage, a public relations military officer with no military experience, is forced by British military superiors to join in the invasion against his wishes.

The invasion is a massive failure, as it is revealed that the aliens were well-aware of the humans intentions and were waiting for them. Cage is killed in combat, but wakes up again the preceding day and finds himself in a time loop for the rest of the movie. Cage then has to re-experience the Normandy landings again and again and improves his fighting and combat skills thanks to his repeat experience and the help of British Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski. Cage then has to find a way to defeat the extraterrestrial invaders before they can defeat the invasion force and launch their own attack against London.

#2 Battle of Area 51 ( Independence Day)

Independence Day was one of the biggest blockbusters of the 1990s. The special effects of the film definitely have not aged as well as Star Wars, but the movie is a lot of fun so long as you accept it for the corny sci-fi flick it is.

The film tells the story of an invasion of Earth by an alien race, who use their advanced technology to quickly overwhelm the human defenses. All seems lost for the human race until the end of the film when the launch a last ditch defensive maneuver by flying an alien ship into the mothership to upload a virus and deploy a nuclear weapon from the inside.

Meanwhile, a force of F-22 raptors led by President Thomas Whitmore attack the alien saucer ship above Area 51 to distract them. The virus succeeds in destroying the saucer ship's deflector shields, enabling one F-22 raptor piloted by Randy Quaid (in what is depicted as a rather humorous scene with the famous "it's payback time!" quote) to sacrifice himself by ramming the plane into weapon port of the alien aircraft.

Humanity then rejoices in victory as the alien ships crash down into Earth in what resembles to be a display of fireworks. 

#3 Battle of Hoth (Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back)

The Battle of Hoth is another major battle featured in Star Wars, specifically in Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. Unlike the Battle of Endor, the Battle of Hoth is a decisive victory for the Empire.

The battle begins when Darth Vader discovers the Rebel base on Hoth and launches a frontal attack with AT-AT Walkers, AT-ST Walkers, and a legion of Stormtroopers. The Rebels attempt to hold the line in the trenches and with speeders while the remainder of their forces evacuate in transport ships. 

While the Rebels succeed in evacuating most of their forces and destroying two of the six AT-ATs, their defensive positions on the ground are quickly overrun. Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and the droid C-3PO escape in the Millennium Falcon and are pushed by Darth Vader and his fleet of Star Destroyers for the rest of the film. Meanwhile, Luke escapes the battle as well and travels to the Dagobah system to receive training as a Jedi Knight from former Jedi Master Yoda. 

#4 Battle between the Humans and Na’Vi (Avatar)

The 2009 film Avatar may not have the kind of fanbase that Star Wars has, but four sequels are slated to be released over the 2020 decade, so it's worth mentioning the climactic battle fought in the film between the Na'Vi and the humans.

The battle is very fast paced and fought on a grand scale, with the more primitive Na'Vi uniting and increasing their number by the thousands to fight the humans. If anything, the battle is reminiscent of the Battle of Endor where the primitive Ewoks were able to overcome the technologically and numerically superior legion of Stormtroopers.

Is it realistic? Probably not. But it's still very entertaining. 

#5 Battle of Endor (Star Wars Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi)

The Battle of Endor is the prominent battle featured in Star Wars Episode VI - The Return of the Jedi, released in 1983. The battle is fought in both space and on the ground on the forest moon of Endor simultaneously. The battle serves as the final confrontation between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire.

If you've seen the Star Wars films, you know a rebel strike team led by Han Solo land on the moon of Endor in an attempt to deactivate the deflector shield that is protecting the second Death Star. Meanwhile, the Rebel Fleet launches a surprise attack on the Death Star in an attempt to destroy it. 

Little do they know, but the Emperor actually was on the who allowed the Rebels to discover the location of the deflector shield and has ambushed them with a legion of stormtroopers on the moon and a fleet of star destroyers in space. It's also revealed that, contrary to the Rebellion intelligence, the Death Star is operational and it begins firing on Rebel vessels, obliterating them with a single strike.

The battle seems lost until the Ewoks launch an ambush on the stormtroopers on the moon and Han Solo's sidekick, Chewbacca, hijacks an AT-ST walker to turn the tide of the battle. This enables Han Solo to destroy the defector shield, opening up the Death Star to attack from Lando Calrissian in the Millennium Falcon.

Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker duels his father Darth Vader in the Death Star and overpowers him in a rage, to the entertainment of the Emperor. Luke is on the verge of turning to the Dark Side, but stops when he severs Vader's hand and realizes that he is becoming just like his father (as Vader had severed Luke's hand a year prior). Luke then refuses to turn to the Dark Side and is brutally tortured by the Emperor with his force lightning, but Vader sacrifices himself by grabbing the Emperor and throws him down a shaft to his death. 

Vader dies from his injuries and Luke escapes the Death Star just as it explodes from the inside. The galaxy rejoices the fall of the Empire and the Rebels celebrate their victory at Endor.

#6 Battle of New Caprica (Battle Star Galactica)

The Battle of New Caprica is one of the most prominent space battles in the television show Battlestar Galactica, which ran from 2004 to 2009.

The battle was the result of nearly a season's worth of buildup for the liberation of New Caprica. The Galactica burned into the atmosphere from a FTL jump to deploy their fighters and take on multiple base star. The Galactica are saved when the Pegasus arrives and destroys a basestar, only to be destroyed soon afterwards. 

Te Battle of New Caprica has been praised as the finest battle in the entire show and one of the best onscreen space battles in sci-fi television history.

#7 Battle of Geonosis (Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones)

Attack of the Clones is considered to be the worst film in the Star Wars franchise by many people, but the Battle of Geonosis featured at the climax of the film was undeniably a knockout. The battle serves as the first conflict between the Galactic Republic and the Separatists in the Clone Wars.

Audiences had first heard of the Clone Wars in 1977 in Star Wars Episode IV when it was discussed by Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. They would have to wait until 2002 to see the war on screen for themselves with Attack of the Clones.

The battle begins when Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, and Obi-Wan Kenobi are captured on the desert planet Geonosis and sentenced to be executed in a Roman-style ampitheather, only to be rescued at the last minute by the arrival of Mace Windu and a force of two hundred Jedi Knights. A major battle breaks out between the Jedi and the arrival of thousands of battle droids; the Jedi sustain massive casualties due to the sheer number of battle droids and their number is reduced to just twenty. Just as Count Dooku orders the droids to finish them off, they are saved by the arrival of Jedi Master Yoda and a force of Clone troopers in gun ships.

The battle then transitions to the desert outside of the amphitheater where the Clone Troopers and Battle Droids clash head on. The Clones are victorious and sustain heavy losses on the battle droids, who are forced to retreat. Later, it is revealed that the Separatists never intended to win the battle and it was merely a part of the plot of Darth Sidious and Count Dooku to instigate the Clone Wars. 

This battle is a pure spectacle and a visual feast for the eyes. It was the first land battle we had seen on a massive scale in Star Wars since the Battle of Hoth in Episode V.

#8 Battle of Yavin (Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope)

The 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope gave us one of the truly greatest sci-fi battles ever put to film. The battle serves as the climax to the film and serves the culmination to Luke's character arc in the film as well.

In the movie, the Empire has discovered the location of the secret Rebel base on the moon of Yavin and attacks with the Death Star, aiming to destroy the moon with a single blast. As the Death Star is only fifteen minutes within range, time is extremely limited for the Rebels but they launch a desperate attack with the roughly thirty X-Wing, A-Wing, and Y-Wing fighters at their disposal. 

The fighter dodge blaster fire from the Death Star and Tie Fighter attacks and attempt to fly down the trench to launch torpedoes down the reactor shaft of the Death Star, but all of these attempts end in failure and most of the fighters are shot down.

With less than three minutes left before the Death Star will be within firing range of Yavin Luke flies down the trench, but to the alarm of the Rebels at the headquarters turns off his targeting computer and instead uses the Force to guide the torpedoes him. Darth Vader attempts to shoot down Luke in his Tie Fighter, but is instead ambushed by Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon, giving Luke the opportunity he needs to make a successful shot.

The Death Star explodes and the Rebels celebrate their victory back home, although their period of triumph will be short lived as they find themselves chased around the galaxy by the Empire's fleet of star destroyers, leading to the events of Star Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.

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