Their engines whine; their walls creak. These spaceships may look like antiques from the future, but many pack more punch under the hood than they let on. Never judge a book by its cover, and never judge a spaceship by its rust-holes and sputtering warp drive. What space-faring rattletraps make the cut in our top five list of "hunk of junk" spaceships?
5. EAGLE V from Spaceballs
The most impressive thing about the Eagle V is its amazingly pristine (and retro-hideous) 1973 Winnebago chassis. Piloted by Captain Lone Starr and his Mawg co-pilot, Barf, the Eagle V is a ship-for-hire last seen crash landing on the surface of MoonaVega. I would say it was last seen on the recent Spaceballs cartoon series, but that would imply that people actually watched it.
FEATURES: Interior shag carpeting, perfect for camping.
DRAWBACKS: Screen door, chemical toilet, small fuel tank.
4. THUNDER ROAD from Explorers
The only ship on this list named after a Bruce Springsteen song, this is the vessel that carried Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix, and Jason Presson into outer space where they made first contact with a rubbery alien who could lip-sync to "Yakety Yak". Higher forms of intelligence, indeed. This bold trio built a craptacular capsule out of a rusty tilt-a-whirl, a garbage can, a busted TV, and Charles Foster Kane's sled, and somehow, not only managed to get it into space without imminent death, but impressed Dick Miller in the process. The vast loneliness of space caused so much psychological damage amongst the children that Phoenix OD'ed years later, Presson went off-the-grid, and Ethan Hawke married Uma Thurman.
FEATURES: Bubble-based technology provides the ship with its own oxygen supply.
DRAWBACKS: Bubble-based technology does not prevent the ship from sinking into the ocean at the end of the film.
3. SERENITY from Firefly
"She don't look like much," professes Book as he takes his first glance at the Firefly-class cargo ship Serenity in the first episode of Joss Whedon's cult smash. Ship engineer Kaylee replies quickly, "Oh, she'll fool ya." Fat-bottomed ships, you make the rockin' world go round. To avoid unwanted scrutiny, the ship features not a single weapon to protect itself against a hostile version of space, operating on frontier rules. This requires the ship's Captain and pilot to carry out ridiculously fool-hardy flying maneuvers like gorram idiots in order to keep on smuggling, but, surprisingly, the ship can handle these with amazing grace. Known cargo has included gold-foil wrapped protein bars, cows, and actress Summer Glau.
FEATURES: Plenty of secret hiding places, separate shuttles available for rent.
DRAWBACKS: Seems to have a high pilot turnaround.
2. THE BORG CUBE from Star Trek
This ship, made out of what can only be described as the itty-bitty busted up pieces of other, weaker ships that it has obliterated, was just about the coolest thing ever when it made its debut on Star Trek: The Next Generation (in the 1989 second-season episode, "Q Who?"). Since then, its appeared on every television incarnation of Trek to date. Why? Because it's FREAKIN' AWESOME. Voyager threatened to "explain" the Borg to death, but I always preferred these baddies as weird, unexplained automatons that seemed to have no place in the pristine Star Trek universe. It takes about a fleet and a half of Federation starships to even begin to put a dent in one of these blocks, making it easily one of the most powerful ships on the list.
FEATURES: Geometric design that would make IKEA weep.
DRAWBACKS: Assimilation into a hive-mind society, frequent run-ins with Captain Janeway and the Voyager crew.
1. THE MILLENNIUM FALCON from Star Wars
If even a local yokel farm boy can recognize that your spaceship looks like junk, then it reeeeally must look like junk. Once owned by Lando Calrissian, the ship was handed over to Han Solo and his Wookie life-partner Chewbacca during a heated game of sabacc (an intergalactic card game that never quite caught on like Pokemon did). Over the course of three movies, we've seen the ship's hyperdrive stall out, we've seen Han accidentally land it in the belly of a worm, and we've seen the ship sitting, broken down, parked in a hangar deck on Hoth. "You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought," is Princess Leia's immediate reaction to this hunk of junk, but how is she to know just how awesome it actually is? In those same three movies, we've seen it gun down a flank of TIE-Fighters all on its lonesome, we've seen it take out Darth Vader like a chump, and we've even seen it blow up the Death Star. Lando calls her "the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy", and he may not be wrong--she's certainly the coolest.
FEATURES: Can make the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs.
DRAWBACKS: Corellian-design easily recognized by bounty hunters, Hutts, and the Empire.