5 Coolest Space Battles
Being a scifi site, I thought it was about time I did a list of some of the coolest space battles. The list is short, for several reasons. For one, I decided to limit myself to those committed to film. So no Ender’s Game, Starship Troopers or Honor Harrington. Let’s face it, most movie space battles can’t compete with those battles anyway. It also meant no Mass Effect. Sorry.
What I found most surprising about this list was that there actually haven’t been that many really cool space battles. What’s more surprising is that most of the battles that do make the list have been for television.
What makes for a really cool space battle? For me, it’s a combination of visuals and music. Don’t hide the all the good stuff by focusing on the main characters on the bridge. Show the battle in all of its chaos. It has to make your heart pound and you’ve got to have a stake in it. If it leaves you cold, I’m looking at you Battle over Coruscant, it’s not a good space battle.
Star Trek: Deep Space 9 “Sacrifice of Angels”
Before DS9 came on the scene, Star Trek wasn’t exactly known for its space battles. But with the Dominion war, that changed big time. In Sacrifice of Angels, the Dominion have taken over Deep Space 9. Sisko leads a Federation fleet to take back the space station. It’s an epic, daring battle to punch through the Dominion defence and stop the Dominion from destroying the wormhole. At one point, Sisko and the Defiant are down for the count, until Worf arrives with a Klingon fleet in tow. The battle is heart pounding and visually stunning. What’s more, it’s one of the few examples in Star Trek of using three-dimensional fighting.
I had a tough time including this one, because, really, Serenity isn’t involved with the battle. They just happen to set up the confrontation so they can get past both the Reavers and the Alliance. Still, after re-watching it, I knew this had to be included. The battle unfolds all around the tiny Serenity which is ducking and weaving while these behemoth ships are destroyed on all sides. It’s brave, it’s incredible to watch, and, as we all know, the scene that follows is gut wrenching.
Battlestar Galactica :Battle of the Colony”
There’s a lot of space battles in BSG, so it’s hard to narrow down, but this one really gets me. It’s the final battle. A daring rescue of Hera Agathon involving both humans and rebel cylons. The battle is sheer chaos. Cylon centurians, the ones now working with the humans, have to be painted with a red stripe just to show they are friendly. I love the build up to the fight, from when combat stations report, all the way to when Adama calls “Actions stations!” Did I mention how chaotic the battle is? And while yes, it does have a scene in which the Galactica rams into The Colony, it’s not done in the cheesy, down for the count, take out the bad guys as a last bit of heroism way, but instead is purposely done to allow Lee to get his strike team on-board The Colony.
Babylon 5 “Severed Dreams”
If DS9 was the first Star Trek show to really utilize space battles, that’s only because it had to keep up with Babylon 5, another show known for its epic space battles. While I could have mentioned a number of other battles, namely with the Shadows, I think Severed Dreams in particular is gut wrenching. Babylon 5 must stand up against Earth Alliance destroyers, who have been sent by the evil President Clark, to take back control of the station. This battle was the first to pit humans against humans. It’s what the series had been building up to. Both sides take heavy damage, and in the chaos a marine detachment even manages to gain entry to the station. It’s is nail biting tension. And just when the crew of Babylon 5 think it’s over, another wave of Earth Force ships arrive. Luckily, so does Delenn with some Minbari war cruisers.
Star Wars: Episode IV “Battle of Yavin”
I don’t think I could honestly mention a space battle without discussing the Death Star battle. It’s heart-pounding stuff. The Empire have tracked the rebels to their base on Yavin and are getting ready to unleash the mighty fire power of the Death Star. The rebels happen to know the one little vulnerable spot on the Death Star that will destroy it. Okay, so those two points are pretty cheesy, but the scene itself is fantastic. Using WWII dog fighting tactics, George Lucas introduced us to what space battles could be. While the rebel fleet keep the Empire’s defences busy, other rebel fighters go in for a bombing run to attempt to destroy the Death Star before it destroys their base and all their leaders. The trench run is not going well, and it becomes all up to Luke, who turns off his targeting display, trusting to the force just as Vader gets ready to fire on Luke. Luckily, Han shows up, just as we hoped he would, to help save the day. This is how exciting a space battle should be!