Top 10 Iconic Movie Weapons With Badass Backstories


Fiction is littered with a litany of awesome weaponry capable of doing everything from cutting clean through a starship hull to taking out a platoon of demons with nothing more than the push of a button. For the most part, we as an audience are happy to appreciate these weapons on a purely superficial basis, never really bothering to look into how they came to be or learn anything about them, which means stories like these aren’t nearly as well-known as they should be. For example did you know …

10. The Terminator’s shotgun in Terminator 2 nearly broke Schwarzenegger’s hand


There’s no shortage of iconic shotguns in fiction from the one Hicks’ kept for close encounters in Alien to Ash’s boomstick in the Evil Dead franchise, however it’s arguable that no shotgun is more memorable than the one wielded in Terminator 2 during most of the movie by Arnold Schwarzenegger, if only due to the fact he cocks it by spinning it around like a total boss.

Although the Terminator makes that manoeuvre look supremely easy during the film, the manoeuvre is nigh-on impossible to pull off in real life. According to James Cameron in the director’s commentary for the film’s DVD, to make the flip-reload action seen in the film possible, the lever loop of the shotgun used, a Winchester Model 1887, was lengthened considerably and weights were discretely added along the length of the gun’s frame. Even then, Schwarzenegger still had to spend weeks practising the motion with the prop to make the movement look as fluid and natural as possible. It’s noted by experts that cocking a standard issue 1887 in the same manner as the Terminator without these extensive modifications in place would likely break a man’s fingers, which mentioned previously very nearly happened when Schwarzenegger accidentally picked up a regular 1887 during filming. According to Cameron, When Schwarzenegger, who is by no means an “average” man by any stretch of the imagination, attempted the action he’d practised a thousand times before with an actual 1887, the lever snapped shut with such force it nearly broke every bone in his hand, costing them an entire day of shooting while he was rushed to the hospital. So just in case you didn’t think that scene was badass enough already, the gun used by the Terminator during it is so dangerous is nearly broke the actor playing its hand.

9. Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, designed that way to show how unskilled Ren is


*This section contains minor spoilers for the 30 people who haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet.

When Kylo Ren, the Darth Vader obsessed emo offspring of Han Solo and that Princess he had a thing for, was first revealed to the public in a teaser trailer way back in 2014, the internet nearly had an aneurism when it was shown he utilised a lightsaber with a cross guard on the hilt. You know that thing literally every sword in history ever made has.

As with all things Star Wars, the answer to why Ren’s lightsaber looks different enough from a regular lightsaber to warrant a toy being made of it was revealed in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, a place even seasoned nerds like us fear to tread lest we fall into the internet sarlacc pit that is Wookiepedia. According to it, Ren’s lightsaber is based on an ancient Sith design and contains a cracked kyber crystal that was so unstable it required exhaust ports to be built into the hilt accommodate and vent the excess plasma generated.

The crude, cobbled-together look of the lightsaber and the resulting blade it produces which, unlike every other lightsaber in the series, crackles and appears unstable, is supposed to be representative of Ren’s status as an unproven Sith warrior and how he has yet to fully embrace the dark side, an idea that was lost on most people since it was way easier to just point at it and say how stupid it looked.

8. The noisy cricket from Men in Black is given to new MIB agents as a joke


The noisy cricket is perhaps the best known weapon from the Men in Black franchise with the possible exception of the sunglasses they wear which are so sharp they technically count as swords. The gun is best known for its tiny size and the fact it produces enough recoil to launch a fully grown, Will Smith-sized man 30 feet through the air, leading many fans to wonder aloud why the hell the MIB would even consider using such a weapon if it can’t even be turned down.

As it turns out, the noisy cricket’s power can totally be adjusted to fire weaker shots, allowing seasoned MIB agents to fire it with little to no recoil whatsoever, as seen in MIB 2 when Kay uses it to blow a dude’s head clean off.

According to the Men in Black Offical Handbook, a book that goes into detail about the extended universe of MIB and their weapons and equipment, the noisy cricket is often used to play jokes on new agents by giving it to them with the power turned to full (a setting which is supposed to be used as a last resort for taking down spaceships). Senior agents are said to then bet how far the rookie agent will be blown back when trying use the weapon for the first time. Unsurprisingly the handbook also mentions that this practise is generally discouraged due to an “anti-hazing” policy at MIB which is presumably code for “we’re sick of filling out paper work every time a rookie agent sends a school bus careening through a building with this thing”.

7. The pistol from Predator 2 belonged to a pirate, was supposed to be the sequel hook for an awesome movie


One of the final scenes in Predator 2, in which a Predator terrorizes LA using a combination of big nets and powerful Predator backhands, Danny Glover kills said Predator in hand-to-hand combat. In recognition of this not-unimpressive feat, Glover’s character is rewarded with a flintlock pistol from, according to the inscription, 1715.

Long after the film’s release, when asked about the weapon’s significance, the film’s writers revealed that, that pistol was supposed to establish that the Predator race had been hunting humans for centuries and ultimately be the hook for a sequel set in the past. Sadly, this never came to fruition and we never got to see a film involving Predators hunting knights throughout the Middle Ages. We did however get a comic explaining where the pistol came from and according to it, it once belonged to a pirate captain called Raphael Adolini who earned the begrudging respect of the same Predator that hands it to Glover’s character by fighting off his mutinous crew with the Predator’s help. Now just sit for a minute and think that instead of that movie, we got one set entirely underground, at night where every single antagonist is as black as an oil slick on wet tarmac.

6. Nobody knows what will happen to the Elder Wand when Harry Potter dies and it has never been owned by a woman


Fans of the Harry Potter series, and people who were dragged along to see it by friends wearing Hufflepuff scarves, are already well aware of the backstory to the Elder Wand. For anyone this doesn’t apply to, the basic story is that the wand was supposedly crafted by the icy hand of Death himself and is rumoured to be unbeatable in the hands of a skilled enough wizard. In Harry Potter lore, ownership of the wand can only pass from one person to another after the current owner is either beaten in a duel or stabbed quietly to death while they’re asleep. This doesn’t really support the idea that the wand is “unbeatable” but we digress.

Via this method, the wand has been held by dozens of extremely powerful wizards, none of whom, quite curiously, possess a vagina according to The Tales of Beedle the Bard, the book which gives an overview of the legend of the wand’s creation.

Despite the immense amount of background information J.K Rowling has given about the world of Harry Potter over the years, it has never been properly established what will happen when Harry, the current owner of the wand as of the final book, kicks the bucket because, as noted, every single previous owner gained ownership of it by either killing someone or besting them in a duel. Theories range from the wand simply ceasing to work, to it committing wand-harakiri and detonating itself in a magical explosion that would presumably take out at least a 40 innocent bystanders.

5. The Lawgiver from Judge Dredd can hit people (and werewolves) from miles away


The Lawgiver, along with having possibly the coolest name of any fictional firearm ever made, is the standard issue firearm of Judges, the motorcycle riding law enforcement officials of the Judge Dredd universe. Unlike guns found in our world, the Lawgiver is capable of firing multiple types of ammunition ranging from armor piercing high impact rounds that can rip a man in half to exorcist rounds that can kill werewolves and ghosts, because nobody escapes the law in Mega City One.

Because crime is everywhere and Judges aren’t, the Lawgiver has an effective range of up to 5 kilometres. You know, for those times when Dredd needs to put down a suspect from a city block away when he’s walking in the opposite direction.

Due to the alarming frequency at which Judges are killed and the damage that could be caused to everyone within a 5 kilometre radius if a person who wasn’t an unflinching sentinel of justice got their hands on one, if anyone, including another Judge, touches a Lawgiver that isn’t theirs, it explodes in their hand, killing or crippling them just enough so they can’t use it to potentially commit crime. Gee, it probably says a lot when the law enforcement agents in a future dystopian crime-ridden hell-scape have better methods of gun control than we do.

4. The BFG from DOOM is Way More Complex than Most People Realize


Depending on the age rating on the current piece of DOOM media you’re consuming, the BFG is an acronym for either “Bio Force Gun”, “Big Friggin’ Gun” or “Big F*****g Gun.” We apologize to DOOM purists for censoring that last one, but unfortunately we don’t allow swearing on this site unless we’re specifically quoting Samuel L. Jackson.

The BFG is a staple of the DOOM series and within the context of the games, is noted as being the singular most devastating firearm available to mankind, capable of obliterating an entire legion of zombie, hell-spawn and the occasional cyber-demon in a single shot, what few people realize though is that the gun is way more powerful than the game lets on.

You see, in the games the BFG fires a single orb of green plasma energy that explodes on contact with a surface or enemy, and everything within 50 feet of where you’re currently standing disintegrates. What few players realize is that every single time you pull the trigger of the BFG, half a second after the initial shot, it fires 40 additional, totally invisible lasers that can cause more damage, which is why most things on-screen tend to die after the initial shot is fired. There’s no way to find out this quirk of the weapon through regular play and it isn’t mentioned in the manual, but it happens every time you fire it and in the game’s multiplayer, means you can kill enemies from across the map, without ever actually aiming at them, which is just great.

3. The Lancer from Gears of War can blind its user


Hailing from the Gears of War series which, like Call of Duty before it, ruined every shooter video game released for the next 5 years while they all scrambled to ape its success, the Lancer is, to put it simply, a gun with a chainsaw strapped to it.

Although the Gears of War games are decidedly lacking when it comes to story, the Gears of War novels based on the games do a pretty stellar job of exploring the world they’re set in. They give a fascinating amount of insight into a game best known for starring linebacker shaped men punting the heads off of aliens.

One of the more peculiar tidbits comes from the novel Gears of War: Aspho Fields, where it’s explained that the series’ iconic Chainsaw Bayonet is so powerful that during use (read, cutting people in half) pieces of bone can be launched at high speed directly into the users’ eyes blinding them permanently in the most metal way possible. The novel notes that as a result, almost all soldiers in the GOW universe wear goggles to prevent this from happening. Apparently this saline piece of information never made it into the games because none of the main characters ever bother wearing goggles, except for one, who wears them to keep his hair, instead of fragments of bone travelling at mach 3, out of his eyes.

2. Predator wrist blades and self-destruct device cannot be removed, ever


The Predators, or “Yautja,” are a fictional race of aliens we’ve already talked about in this article as if you knew exactly what they are. Though the numerous films, comics and novels about the Predator universe show that each Predator is somewhat unique in the weapons they take into battle, there appear to be a few weapons no Predator leaves home without. Perhaps the most recognizable are their wrist blades which appear in most every piece of Predator media ever released. We’re going to hazard a guess that it probably has something to do with the fact Predators can’t take them off.

Though little has been revealed about how exactly the blades work in Predator related fiction, it has been established that they’re somehow connected to the Predator’s arms in such a way that they can never be removed. The same is true for the gauntlet Predator’s wear containing their self-destruct device which is “surgically grafted to their arm” and somehow “fused with their nervous system” meaning it is impossible to remove without killing them, meaning a Predator can, quite literally, never be unarmed. Such is their dedication to always being ready to kill.  

1. RoboCop’s Auto 9 nearly couldn’t be brought into the country


The Auto 9 is the trusty sidearm of RoboCop that fires a 3 round burst of 9MM ammo that in the hands of a trained robotic operator can be used to neuter rapists from a considerable distance away. The RoboCop TV series also establish that like the Lawgiver, the Auto 9 can utilize various types of ammo to better suit RoboCop’s current needs.

Originally though, RoboCop was never meant to use the Auto 9 and the plan was for him to simply use a standard issue Desert Eagle .50. However, when Peter Weller tried holding one in the RoboCop suit, the gun looked so small and unintimidating that the decision was made to simply make RoboCop a bigger gun that looked right in his superior, robo-sized hands. The Auto 9 was the end result of this decision.

The Auto 9 is, in the simplest sense, a very heavily modified Beretta 93R, which is basically a handgun capable of firing like a machine gun. As you can imagine, owning such a gun requires filling in a lot of paperwork, so much so in fact that the RoboCop prop department almost couldn’t get their hands on one because customs were suspicious about why exactly they needed it.

In other words, the signature gun of RoboCop, a literal personification of justice incapable of doing wrong, shot bad guys with a gun it would be illegal for anyone other than him to own. Aren’t movies fun?

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1 Comment

  1. Gustavo Woltmann on

    Schwarzenegger is a beast. I wouldn’t be surprised if his hand shattered the shotgun instead.