The Ten Most Badass Fictional Weapons

Whose weapon is the coolest of all the literary universes is a widely debated topic. Fanboys and girls from across the globe defend and advocate for their favorites. From Thor’s Mjolnir to King Arthur’s Excaliber, our favorite fictional heroes wield weapons of legend when they charge into battle. Whether it be handheld weapons, WMD, or something in between, these weapons rarely disappoint.

So, what is more destructive: a quantum torpedo or a Deathstar blast? What fandom is the most powerful? From Middle Earth to a galaxy far, far away, and everywhere in between, weapons often make the difference between life and death. So let’s lock on to the ten most badass fictional weapons.

Related: 10 Weapons That Belong in Science Fiction

10 Identity Discs:Tron

The original Tron film premiered in 1982 and was a blockbuster hit. In the 2010s, the film finally got its first sequel. Throughout every incarnation, the go-to weapon for “players” and “programs” alike were identity discs. These techy weapons have two main functions: a storage receptacle and a weapon.

These discs store the digitized user’s entire being while in the system. The glowing discs are typically worn on the upper back to record everything seen, heard, or experienced by the wearer. However, they also function as a Frisbee-like weapon with a lethal cutting edge. In battle, the discs can be detached to instantly derez an opponent, making this the device that users don’t want to use without stepping into the platform.[1]

9 Excalibur: Various Legends of King Arthur

The mythical sword of King Arthur has appeared for centuries in every form of storytelling there is. Robert de Boron’s French poem “Merlin” was the first known tale to mention the “sword in the stone” motif in the late 12th century. In most accounts, Arthur secures the throne of Britain by pulling the sword from the stone. Only the rightful could do so; therefore, he who wielded Excalibur would be king of England.

There are countless incarnations of Arthur and Excalibur; in most, it is a longsword imbued with magical powers. The sword can kill anyone, including gods, immortals, and spirits. Excalibur can also heal and is virtually indestructible.[2]

8 M41A Pulse Rifle: Aliens

The M41A Pulse Rifle is the weapon of choice for the Colonial Marines in James Cameron’s Aliens. It is the essential ’80s sci-fi weapon; it looks cool, sounds fantastic, and gets the job done. Lightweight and rugged, the M41A is constructed mainly from ultra-light alloy precision metal stampings. It has a titanium aluminide alloy outer casing and high-impact, temperature-resistant plastics for many of its internal parts.

Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley customized her pulse rifle with an M240 flamethrower to help her dispatch the xenomorphs. The M41A is the most well-known and widely used pulse rifle in the Aliens and Predator universe. While it occasionally jams, you can avoid that problem by loading 95 bullets into the magazine instead of the full 99. “When running out of ammo, it could be swung like a club, even against the Alien Queen at the end of the marine campaign. This weapon screams badassery.[3]

7 Lightsabers: Star Wars

No fictional weapons list would be complete without galactically known lightsabers, the weapon of the Jedi and Sith alike. A lightsaber is a laser sword powered by a Kyber crystal. Jedi padawans and Sith apprentices construct their lightsabers as part of their training. Typically, Sith lightsabers are red, and Jedi sabers are green or blue; however, there have been some exceptions to this rule.

Lightsabers can deflect blaster fire, cut through seemingly any metal, and cauterize wounds as they make them. They are known to take off appendages with ease. According to Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Jedi’s lightsaber is their life. He also calls them elegant weapons for a more civilized era. While the lightsaber may be the most famous fictional weapon, it is certainly not the most powerful, despite the devastation that a trained Jedi or Sith can inflict with one.[4]

6 Phasers: Star Trek

The most common weapon used throughout the Star Trek universe, phasers come in handheld, mounted starship, and planetary sizes. Most phasers are classified as particle weapons and fire nadion particle beams. However, some, like the Ferengi hand phasers, are classified as plasma weapons and fire forced plasma beams.

Phasers can be set to stun, various intensities, wide beam for multiple targets, and several other tactical effects. On its highest setting, a handheld phaser can disintegrate a humanoid lifeform almost instantaneously. Phaser technology for weapons was created in the 23rd century and used by Starfleet as early as 2233. While Starfleet has developed many alternative weapons, the phaser remains its most iconic.[5]

5 Mjölnir: Norse Mythology and Marvel Comics

Mjölnir is the warhammer of the Norse god Thor, son of Odin, king of the Norse gods. The hammer has existed in mythology as far back as the 11th century. In the mid-twentieth century, Thor and Mjolnir reemerged in Marvel Comics. In these comics and subsequent movies, the hammer is a conduit for Thor’s powers, allowing him to fly, among other things. While he is still the god of Thunder without it, Mjölnir enables him to wield his power more fluidly.

Mjölnir cannot be lifted or moved in any way by anyone who is not worthy of the power of Thor. Mjölnir is enchanted, which gives it a sort of sentience. It can return to Thor of its own volition and be used to call down lightning strikes. This hammer is a devastating weapon and a divine conduit.[6]

4 Proton Pack: Ghostbusters

One of the most popular toys of the 1980s, the proton pack from Ghostbusters is one of the most badass weapons ever dreamt up. This weapon is designed for one type of adversary: ghosts. Developed by Drs. Egon Spangler, Ray Stantz, and Peter Venkman, it is a backpack-shaped nuclear accelerator with a handheld wand attached. They create a charged particle beam—composed of protons—fired by the particle thrower (also called the “neutrona wand”).

When the beam comes in contact with a ghost, it can move the ghost into a containment unit. The beam is extremely dangerous to the living as well. When the trio of scientists first “field tested” the proton pack, they caused considerable damage to The Sedgewick Hotel. As Venkman remarks, they are unlicensed nuclear devices, and in the 2016 reboot, they used them simply to blast the baddies. One thing to remember when using proton packs: Don’t cross the streams.[7]

3 Power Ring: DC Comics

The power ring is the most potent weapon in the vast DC universe. Power rings come in several colors; most colors have corps, some bigger, some smaller, and some just one. The Green Lantern Corps is a space police force with thousands of officers and sectors. The Green Lanterns of Earth typically work with the Justice League.

The power ring’s most distinctive effect is the generation of green, solid-light constructs, mainly weapons, the precise physical nature of which has never been specified. These constructs’ size, complexity, and strength are limited only by the ring-bearer’s willpower, whatever the wearer imagines the ring will create.

The ring also provides the bearer with a forcefield that can protect them from the vacuum of space, any known force, or projectile weapon, even if they’re unconscious at the time. It grants the wearer the ability to fly and travel through space and gives the bearer access to a vast database and sentient AI.[8]

2 The Death Star: Star Wars

The dreaded Death Star played a crucial part in the original Star Wars trilogy. As stated in the first film, an armored space station with enough firepower to destroy an entire planet, the Death Star is the ultimate weapon. While only two of these stations were constructed as far as the public knows, the Emporer may have planned to build a fleet of them to patrol his Galactic Empire. The Death Star’s moon-sized cannon is powered by a giant Kyber crystal, the same type of crystal that powers a lightsaber.

The potential devastation that the Death Star represented was overwhelming, and fortunately, both were destroyed shortly after completion. Unfortunately, not before the planet of Alderran was reduced to rubble. The Death Star has been parodied and referenced in every pop culture medium for the last 45 years and makes a strong argument for the most iconic fictional weapon ever. There’s no arguing the badassness of a moon-sized space station with a giant canon.[9]

1 The Neuralyzer: Men in Black

Men in Black introduced viewers to a dazzling display of new alien species and technology. While many may be awe-struck by the big (and sometimes small) guns that helped to make MIB one of the most popular sci-fi franchises ever, the neuralyzer is… out of this world. Used by MIB agents, it can wipe the mind of anybody who sees the flash via isolating and editing certain electronic impulses related to memory.

Once people are neutralized, they enter a trance that leaves their minds prone to suggestion. This effect enables agents to replace memories with fictional cover stories and even give them specific instructions. Although the benevolent MIB uses the neuralyzer strictly to keep dangerous secrets safe, it has the potential to be one of the most potent and iconic weapons in the multiverse.[10]

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