Here at SYFY WIRE, it’s no secret that we enjoy celebrating the things that we love. Sometimes that takes the form of unranked lists. To us, that’s love.
Join us as our entire staff celebrates anything and everything in genre through our series of “25 Greatest from the last 25 years” lists. They are all unranked, because all of the people, movies, shows, comics, props (and so on) have equal standing for us.
It’s really easy to watch sci-fi, fantasy, and horror and just start to covet. All those wonderful toys, all that cool tech, all those genetically engineered dinosaurs. While CGI is employed judiciously by movie makers today, there’s nothing quite like a real, honest-to-goodness prop, something to hold in your hands or interact with in the real world. And here are 25 from 1994 onward that we'd totally steal.
Arrow of Apollo – Battlestar Galactica
There’s something cool about owning an item that facilitates a turning point in a story, and the Arrow of Apollo from BSG is definitely that. Not just a symbol, it’s also a key, one that sends Starbuck and company into a vision of Earth. It was the first real moment toward the goal of finding Earth. That arrow does a lot more than fly through the air from a bow, that’s for sure.
Bumblebee (in car form) – Transformers
Now look, they did actually make a few giant robot statues for Transformers that were then used as the basis for the animations, and we’re not saying we’d turn any of those down. But a custom Chevy Camaro painted yellow and black with an Autobot emblem would probably be a little more useful in the real world. Bonus if it can form sentences via songs and ads on the radio.
Cap’s Shield – Captain America
Captain America’s Shield is arguably the most iconic superhero weapon ever. A defensive weapon, Cap uses it in offense, too, throwing it around, slamming it into people’s faces, and generally kicking all sorts of butt. Come on, that elevator scene in Winter Soldier? Yeah, we want one.
Cosmic Treadmill – The Flash
Now here’s a useful prop! You won’t be able to time-travel with it, because you know, you’re not a super speedster (apologies to any speedsters reading this for the offense), but you can use it to get in superhero shape! Running on the Cosmic Treadmill while daydreaming about traveling through time and having adventures with the Scarlet Speedster would be a lot of fun. Just – if you accidentally travel back in time, try not to change anything resulting in reverberations throughout all of time and space, okay?
A Dalek - Doctor Who
We’d take pretty much any Dalek from Doctor Who, but one of the advanced colorful ones would be especially cool. Imagine having your bright yellow Dalek next to your Bumblebee Camaro in your car? You could set it up as a security system, and if anyone got too close to your stuff, well, it’d just “EXTERMINATE.” They’re not great conversationalists, but Daleks, even with their simple designs, sure look cool.
Dragon Eggs – Game of Thrones
There are some pretty great prop replicas of the eggs that led to Daenerys becoming the Mother of Dragons, but having the actual eggs used on the show would be amazing. Their detail, with the hardened, almost fossilized (as they had assumed they were) scaled shells are simply gorgeous. Also, maybe, just maybe, if you put it in the fire … no wait, don’t do that to expensive props. Come on, people.
The Elder Wand – Harry Potter
We’d take just about any wand from the Harry Potter films (though our wands from Wizarding World and our custom wands from Alivan’s are pretty awesome on their own), but the Elder Wand, one of the three Deathly Hallows, would be an especially cool get. All that power – okay, we get it, it can’t really be used to do magic (we are, sadly, muggles, after all), but it would probably feel pretty powerful to own anyway.
Glamdring – The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit
Is there a more beautiful sword in all of Middle-Earth than the one wielded by Gandalf the Grey? Originally the sword of King Turgon of Gondolin, the “foe hammer” somehow found it’s way into a troll hoard in the Third Age. That’s where the greatest wizard of them all found it, and used it to wondrous effect countless times. Gandalf killed a Balrog with it (ahem, threw down his enemy and smote his ruin upon the mountainside), so yeah, we want it.
Infinite Improbability Drive – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
While we might not want to risk actually using the Infinite Improbability Drive, having the button from the film would be pretty awesome. Looking somewhat like an alien eye, or just a really nice decorative bowl, it’d be great to have this button for some innocuous, everyday use. Maybe preheating your oven, or turning on your home entertainment system. Every day would just be such an adventure with this in your home!
The Infinity Gauntlet - Thanos: The Infinity Gauntlet
Look, if you could master Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality, and Power -- you would. If it was also fashionable and you looked like a badass wearing it? So much the better.
Iron Man Mark 1 – Iron Man
Yeah, the shiny red, gold, and silver suits might be fancier, but the Mark 1, cobbled together in a cave, would be the coolest prop to own. While you’d probably be just keeping this on display and not wearing it – aw, who am I kidding, I’d put it on the first chance I got! It looks like a dang Kirby drawing come to life, and it would be so cool to just see that in the mirror at least one time.
Jason’s Mask – Friday the 13th Franchise
Yes, this debuted more than 25 years ago – but it’s been around since, with the reboot in 2009 in particular coming to mind. Whether you’re a horror fanatic or a scaredy cat, chances are you would recognize Jason in his old-school hockey mask if he was coming at you. Just imagine how useful this prop would be to own – how many times you could scare the heck out of your friends and family! Just don’t keep it in your room, because it seems like something that would haunt your dreams pretty regularly.
Lightsaber – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The legacy lightsaber created by Anakin Skywalker, wielded by Luke Skywalker, and now in the hands of Rey is readily available in various toy forms, but having the actual prop from the film would be even cooler. Honestly, though, of the lightsaber props, the hilt of Kylo Ren’s weapon, with its cobbled-together pieces, wires sticking out, and unique crossguard hilt, might be the better get.
The Mask – The Mask
This wooden mask may not look much, but it would be a smokin’ prop to have at home. It’d be great to show off during a P-A-R-T-Y? (because we got to!) with all your friends, while dancing to Cuban Pete. If it also happens to cut loose some of your inhibitions, well, hold onto your lugnuts. Okay, somebody stop me, I can’t quit it with the quotes.
Michonne’s Katana – The Walking Dead
There’s just nothing more badass in the zombie apocalypse than Michonne with her katana, slicing walker heads in half, taking on groups of walkers alone that 5, 10 other people with their lame hammers and screwdrivers and knives couldn’t together. With our apologies to Lucille, and to Daryl’s crossbow – both awesome props on their own, Michonne’s katana is the weapon we want to take home – and learn to use just in case there’s a zombie apocalypse for real. Just in case.
R2-D2 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The little guy who has been in (almost) every Star Wars film, Artoo would be a wonderful companion at home. Luckily, there are Artoo builders all over the world who do an incredible job making remote-control droids, so you can get pretty darn close to this. Having the screen-used Artoo, looking worse for wear as he’s spent years in hibernation, would be especially cool, though. But does that one have a lightsaber launching compartment?
Sisko's Baseball – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
When Captain Benjamin Lafayette Sisko needs to think, he spins this ball around. It’s a symbol of his favorite game, but also of endless possibility. It appears on his desk throughout the entire series, even when the Dominion temporarily conquer the station— Sisko leaves it there as a message, to say that he’ll be back. The only time he takes it with him is when he’s not sure he’ll be returning, which only happened once. We’d be proud to be the caretakers of this baseball, waiting for the day that the Emissary of the Prophets comes back to us.
Spider-Man’s Webshooters – Spider-Man: Homecoming
One of the best parts of having Tony Stark help you with your equipment is all the awesome tech that goes into it. While Spidey’s newest webshooter props wouldn’t actually have any of that in there, they still look cool, with their rotating cartridges and button-press levers. This is one of those props that would become a problem to own, though, as I’d never, ever take them off. I would have to just become Spider-Man, I guess.
Sonic Screwdriver – Doctor Who
The primary tool of the Doctor isn’t a gun or even a knife, it’s just a screwdriver – that’s sonic. The device changes with the Doctor, as each regeneration reconfigures it a bit to their own liking. For our part, Eleven’s Sonic is still the coolest, with its extendable end and multiple modes. Gimme.
The TARDIS – Doctor Who
Man, the Doctor Who prop makers sure make cool-looking props, and having a TARDIS of our own would be amazing. Never mind that the prop itself is just a big blue police box, having it at home would spark imagination. If you wanted to have some fun with it, you could always open up the back and put the TARDIS right at your front door – then it would seem like it was much bigger on the inside.
Thor’s Hammer – Thor
The only problem with owning Mjolnir is most of us probably couldn’t pick it up! Oh, this isn’t actually a mystical hammer from Asgard made with Uru metal in the most ancient fires in the nine realms? It’s just a hammer? Hmm. Yeah, we’d still want the prop; think about the selfie opportunities! Anytime you need a little confidence boost, just pick that sucker up and know you’re worthy. There are multiples of these – some extremely lightweight composite (mostly for throwing), and some with real heft so it shows its weight on screen – we’d take either but prefer the latter.
The T-Rex – Jurassic Park
Yes, Jurassic Park pioneered CGI use, but the reason it looked so good is they also built actual animatronic dinosaurs to use in conjunction with the computer graphics. Having our own T-Rex robot would be awesome. We’d name it Barb, obviously, and dress it up with some of the other props on this list. The only problem is where to store this bad boy? Oh, I know, I’d just stick it in the cave underneath my mansion, right next to that giant penny I have.
The Welcome to Twin Peaks Sign – Twin Peaks: The Return
Want to make your home feel 1000% more mysterious and trippier? This sign, with a population of 51,201, would do the trick. The innocuous-looking sign on the side of the road, to fans of the show, lets you know something insane is about to happen. While having one at home would rock, it is pretty cool that the City of Snoqualmie, WA, where the entrance of Dale Cooper into town was shot back in 1989 (and which we saw in Twin Peaks: The Return — hence its inclusion on the last-25-years list), has put up a replica of the sign in the exact location David Lynch used as a permanent art fixture. Yeah, that’s probably cooler, right where it is.
Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth – Wonder Woman
Another iconic weapon from comics, Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth is handy for swinging bad guys around and slamming them into the ground. It also has the added bonus of being a 100% effective lie detector. Sure, the actual prop wouldn’t do that, but it would still look pretty cool. Wouldn’t mind her sword, either. Or the bracers. Or the tiara. Look, Wonder Woman is really cool, okay?
Ziggy – Quantum Leap
The Ziggy wrist-link looks like cobbled-together glowing Tetris pieces, and that is awesome. In the show, it’s an artificial intelligence that helps Sam in his leaps, and at home, it would be an enigmatic item that superfans would recognize right away, but would leave many of your friends and family asking about your eclectic modern art choices – just the way we like our nerdy items.
Disagree with the choices? Tell us what would go on your list of the 25 props you'd steal from the last 25 years of sci-fi and fantasy and supernatural storytelling.
And check out the rest of our 25 greatest lists.