One of the many awesome things about sci-fi, fantasy, and horror is allowing creators the freedom to shock their audiences with some truly "ermahgerd WTF" (albeit earned) moments.
There are so many gasp-worthy moments in genre that SYFY WIRE couldn’t possibly list them all, so we’ll just focus on movies and TV here, even if the same WTF-ness can totally be applied to novels and comic books. Still, it was a difficult task, but we’ve come up with six of the biggest “gasp moments” in sci-fi history, presented below in no particular order. Be aware though, there are spoilers below if you haven’t caught up on, well, pretty much some of the touchstones of popular culture.
Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 movie Arrival shocked its audiences when we realized that Amy Adams’ character Louise could see past and present all at once thanks to the “heptapods” rearranging her mind. Another one of the biggest WTF moments took place in the Star Wars saga when we found out about Luke and Leia’s parentage, and that they were actually twins… which made that kissing scene in Empire Strikes Back a little bit icky in retrospect. But it still would have made those Game of Thrones Lannister siblings proud.
Talking about Game of Thrones, the HBO series is chock-full of shocking moments, but two of them stand out: the beheading of Ned Stark back in Season 1 and the bloody Red Wedding in Season 3. Fans of the books knew both moments were coming (though it did not make them any easier to take) but for fans who stayed away from the George R.R. Martin novels, their jaws were left on the floor.
Okay, now raise your hand if you weren’t totally shocked when Drew Barrymore (who was arguably the biggest star in that movie) got killed off in the opening scene of Scream. We know we were! Last but not least on our list is the ending of the Sixth Sense, which revealed that Bruce Willis’ character was actually one of those dead people Haley Joel Osment was interacting with the whole freakin’ movie! Still got chills from that one. Good job, M. Night Shyamalan.
Do you have more of those shocking moments in sci-fi you would like to share with us in the comments below?
Additional material by Nathalie Caron.