As avid viewers of science-fiction films and television series, the fictional practice of space travel fascinates us. Seeing how different sci-fi universes handle faster-than-light travel is endlessly entertaining.
What is so great about this particular aspect of sci-fi is how different franchises will handle it. They'll call FTL travel by different names, use varying pieces of technology to utilize it, and be totally unique in how they make it appear. For today, we're going to go over the best sci-fi methods of FTL travel. Read on if you want to find out which movies and series handled it the best.
10 Gravity Drive/Artificial Black Hole - Event Horizon
Younger viewers might not recall the film Event Horizon. It was a thrilling sci-fi romp that involved demonic horrors leaking onto a ship thanks to some FTL travel gone wrong. The ship is using an experimental gravity drive meant to reduce the time it takes to travel through space by creating an artificial black hole for portal purposes. Unfortunately for the crew of the ship, this little hole in space-time leads directly to hell. And we mean that quite literally. This mode of FTL travel gets bonus points for being directly involved in the film's plot complications.
9 Boom Tube/Mother Box - Justice League
Call it what you will, this device is just one of those insane FTL inventions made to masquerade as teleportation. A Boom Tube is used to create openings across space and time that people, vehicles, and armies can use to traverse great distances.
And by great distances, we mean the space between universes. DC Comics struck gold with this idea because how else were the denizens of Apokolips and New Genesis supposed to terrorize Earth? Boom Tube technology featured heavily in the DC film Justice League, and if the film gets a sequel, you can bet it will involve more Mother Boxes.
8 FTL Jumps - Battlestar Galactica
Though Battlestar Galactica didn't have a snazzy name for their faster-than-light travel (they just called them "FTL jumps," really), this mode of transportation boosted itself up on this list thanks to the random chance it uses. For those of you who haven't seen the hit sci-fi show, just know that luck has more to do with "jumps" than coordinates. And for those of you who have seen the show, we will never listen to the song "All Along the Watchtower" in the same way ever again.
7 Shock - Dead Space
Granted, Dead Space started as a video game, but it has an animated film, too, so we thought we'd include it here anyways. Plus, its FTL travel is delightfully named. In Dead Space, space ships travel using ShockPoint drives. This means that when a ship is about to travel faster than the speed of light, crew members will frequently say, "We're about to shock out."
That's a colloquial way of stating that the ship is about to enter ShockSpace, which functions as a sort of space that isn't space. It's like a bubble in space and time. For the simple pleasure of saying "shock out," we had to include Dead Space's method of FTL travel on this list.
6 Jumps - Guardians Of The Galaxy
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has its own method of FTL travel, but we wouldn't have included it if it hadn't been for the insane scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Yondu, Rocket, Kraglin, and Groot make 700 "jumps" through space-time in order to reach the rest of the team on Ego's planet in time. That many jumps takes a hilarious toll on their bodies, distorting them in funny, bubbly ways. It might be a spot of juvenile humor, but hey, if FTL travel can make you laugh, we count that as a win.
5 Slipspace - Halo
Like with Dead Space, Halo is primarily a video game, but since it has some live-action features and specials within its franchise, we thought we'd sneak it on here anyway. Halo's method of FTL travel is called Slipspace.
Using Shaw-Fujikawa Drives (a fictional drive named after a fictional person in the Halo universe), space ships will enter Slipspace at one point, and then exit it after having traveled vast distances. Random jumps into Slipspace can be made, but watch out. You could find yourself next to a Halo ring if you try it.
4 Black Holes - Interstellar
Black holes are terrifying things when you stop to think about it, but in Christopher Nolan's mind-bending film Interstellar, human astronauts use them to travel faster than the speed of light. Though the movie's black-hole travel is not named anything fancy, it earned a high spot on this list thanks to its unconventional depiction in the film. Plus, the amount of thought that goes into comprehending the differences in time for those in the black hole and those left on Earth is gargantuan. In fact, it's an integral part of the film.
3 Lightspeed/Hyperspace - Star Wars
No one who thinks of FTL travel in film can help but remember the streaks of stars whizzing past the Millennium Falcon as it made the jump to hyperspace. It is perhaps the most iconic form of FTL travel, especially in terms of visuals. Plus, the colloquial term "lightspeed" just sounds perfect for describing the mode of transportation. No other film has made FTL travel sound so cool and catchy as Star Wars. Instead of the gut-wrenching terror you would feel if you actually hurtled through space at the speed of light, all you feel is a thrill of excitement.
2 Warp - Star Trek
While it might attract the ire of Star Wars fans everywhere, Star Trek's warp speed had to be higher on the list at the very least because it was made years before the first Star Wars film. Any Trekkie worth their salt knows the importance of the warp engine to travel on the final frontier. You can't go where no man's gone before traveling on impulse engines alone, right? If you want to have a truly interstellar voyage, you've got to go warp.
1 Infinite Improbability - The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
The zaniest, unlikeliest, and, therefore, best mode of FTL travel has to go to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's Infinite Improbability Drive. This strange device of propulsion was made to travel to every single point in the universe before depositing the lucky ship it was housed in exactly where it wanted to go. This happens in the mere nothing of less than a second. Not much is known as to how it does this, but, suffice it to say, improbabilities have a lot to do with it. And when it comes to ranking FTL travel in a science-fiction world, the acknowledgement of how improbable the whole venture is makes Infinite Improbability the coolest means of transportation.