10 Great Sci-Fi Westerns That Combined the Best of Both Genres
Sci-fi blends perfectly with many other movie genres, including Western, leading to some truly intriguing results.
Over the years, sci-fi has been blended with countless other genres, from drama to action to horror, with some truly outstanding results.
But far more unique and less obvious subgenres have been created by combining sci-fi elements with things that at first seem completely incompatible, like Western movies.
And yet, Wild West elements work surprisingly well with science fiction, and over the years several impressive sci-fi Westerns have been created, so let's take a look at ten of them, both movies and TV shows.
1. Firefly (2002)
This iconic space Western TV series only lasted one season, but it was so great that fans are still not over its early cancellation, and before the story was finally wrapped up in the 2005 feature film Serenity, they asked for its revival countless times.
Set in the 26th century, the show revolves around the ragtag crew of the spaceship Serenity and their adventures on a number of Wild West-like planets.
The outstanding performances of the show's cast, including Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau and others, will make you fall in love with the characters, and the unique and well-developed world with a great story clearly shows how Firefly earned its legendary status.
2. Cowboy Bebop (1998-1999)
Similar to our previous entry, this anime series is rather short, consisting of only 26 episodes, but that hasn't stopped it from achieving cult classic status and gaining millions of fans around the world.
The show is set in the year 2071, when a hyperspace gate accident destroyed Earth's moon and made the planet nearly uninhabitable due to constant meteorite showers, so humanity moved to other planets in the solar system.
Spike Spiegel, a man with a dark past, and other members of the crew of the spaceship Bebop work as bounty hunters, chasing criminals across the stars.
If, after watching the series, you want more of this world and characters, we suggest you check out the 2001 animated movie Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door, which takes place between episodes 22 and 23 of the series.
3. Back to the Future Part III (1990)
An absolute sci-fi classic, the Back to the Future trilogy is still remembered fondly by countless fans, and nods and references to it can be found in other shows and movies decades after its conclusion.
The third film took Marty McFly and Doc Brown to the Wild West and follows their attempts to return to the future while encountering all the familiar elements of that historical period, leading to hilarious results.
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
The Star Wars franchise has taken many elements from many different genres in the past, but this 2018 film resembles Westerns even more than its predecessors.
Following the adventures of young Han Solo, it has many familiar Western traits such as train robberies, standoffs, and morally ambiguous characters.
While it received a pretty cold reception upon its release, the film isn't bad by any means, it just wasn't as amazing as many fans expected given Han Solo's iconic status.
5. The Mandalorian ( 2019-present)
Another entry in the Star Wars franchise, although the quality of this series dropped quite a bit by its third season, the first two seasons remain a great space Western story, even resembling the aforementioned Firefly at times, combined with familiar Star Wars elements.
The plot revolves around Din Djarin, one of the Mandalorians, who are considered to be some of the best warriors in the galaxy, as he goes from being a simple bounty hunter in distant regions of space to being involved in a conflict with the remnants of the Galactic Empire.
6. Westworld ( 2016-2022)
Another example of a great TV show that sadly deteriorated over the course of its run, although the situation with Westworld was much worse than with The Mandalorian.
The first season begins with an amusement park populated by androids where customers can play out various scenarios in a Wild West setting, but things take a dark turn when the supposedly soulless machines begin to gain consciousness.
From there, the story gets more and more convoluted, but the outstanding quality of the first season and a pretty decent second one make it worth checking out.
7. The Book of Eli (2010)
Starring Denzel Washington, this movie is set in a world devastated by nuclear war and revolves around the titular Eli, a man who travels the wasteland carrying a mysterious book that many people want to take away from him, no matter what the cost.
While it's not the best movie ever made, The Book of Eli is still a pretty decent film that combines the post-apocalyptic setting with some of the recognizable traits of the Western genre.
8. Outland (1981)
This futuristic film takes place on Io, the moon of Jupiter, and follows William T. O'Niel, a federal marshal portrayed by Sean Connery, who is assigned to the mining outpost on the moon's surface.
While the conditions on Io are pretty harsh, the handsome pay for the job makes up for it, but soon a series of strange events lead William to believe that something nefarious is going on in the colony.
9. Wild Wild West (1999)
While this Will Smith and Kevin Kline starrer got a pretty lukewarm reception, it still has its fair share of fans who love the absolutely bizarre story at its center, so you might enjoy it as well.
Set four years after the American Civil War, it follows U.S. Army Captain James T. West and U.S. Marshal Artemus Gordon as they try to stop the conspiracy against the President of the United States.
10. Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
While not a masterpiece by any means, Cowboys & Aliens is still a decent and entertaining action movie that takes the tired alien invasion story and puts it in the unusual setting of the 1873 Wild West.