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Disney+ is a stronghold for so many terrific sci-fi movies at the moment, controlling Star Wars, Marvel and other major properties across the film world. So, if we were to narrow down the best sci-fi movies on Disney+, what could we possibly pick?
Well, here are 18 of the best sci-fi flicks you could watch right now on Disney+, though be aware there are plenty of others that you can stream.
Best sci-fi movies on Disney+
In no particular order, here are the best sci-fi movies on Disney+ that are worth your time, according to Gizmodo Australia.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a pretty safe place to start watching Star Wars, perfect for those who don’t really want to watch something as old as the original movie (A New Hope in 1977). Rogue One is set up as an easy entry point to A New Hope, presenting you with a daring attempt to steal the plans for the Death Star, a dangerous weapon being constructed by the villainous Empire. It’s a bit slow at times but it’s a brilliant sci-fi in its own right – it’s even closely linked to a recent Star Wars Disney+ series, Andor.
There are a few Marvel movies that we could include on this list, but of the ones that lean into sci-fi the most, Thor: Ragnarok is among the best. Thor: Ragnarok is set in the MCU and is the third film in a saga, with a tonally different approach to the films that preceded it (thanks to Taika Waititi in the director’s seat). In the film, Thor becomes stranded on a mysterious outlaw planet, needing to escape before Ragnarok comes to his home planet of Asgard. If you’re not well-versed in MCU stuff, it might be difficult to pick up on some story threads, but it’s genuinely a fun movie by itself.
I’m not going to pretend like Avatar had a memorable character name, but I do remember enjoying the film for what it was, even if it’s a beat-by-beat retelling of Dances With Wolves. Set in the future, Avatar follows human attempts to mine the mysterious planet of Pandora for its rare resources, while displacing and invading the territory of the native Na’Vi population, who are obiously very against the destruction of their home. It’s worth a rewatch and it’s one of the best sci-fi movies on Disney+.
Equal part sci-fi and horror, Alien is one of the greatest movies ever made (according to myself). After answering a distress beacon in space, a previously unknown entity works its way onto a ship by infecting a crew member. It’s a thrilling movie but, unlike many of the other movies on this list, it has got a lot of scary bits to it. If you’re impressed with Alien, its sequels are also available to stream on Disney+.
Much like with Alien, there are plenty of films within the Predator franchise that could be included on this list, but we’ve decided to go with 2022’s Prey. Set during the 1700s, following the Comanche Nation in the Great Plains of America, Prey focuses on native American warrior Naru as she attempts to protect her people from an imposing alien threat, a highly armed and armoured being hunting for sport. If you’re impressed with Prey, then you may also be impressed with the other Predator movies, all of which are available to stream on Disney+.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes exists to be a modern reboot/rehash of the original flicks, set during the modern day and telling the story of how humanity fell and how the apes established their own civilisation. This flick, the first of its own trilogy (followed by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War For The Planet of the Apes) follows an ultra-smart ape called Caesar, and how his leadership establishes the society we visit in the original movies. Also, yes, all of the movies are connected (except for the 2001 remake).
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Into the Spider-Verse is more superhero flick than sci-fi, but because a big part of the film dedicates itself to sci-fi themes (multiverse travel and parallel universes, along with high-tech gadgets), we’re including it on the list. As a new Spider-Man takes on the superhero role, universes collide after an experiment goes wrong – and suddenly there are more Spider-Men than ever before.
Logan isn’t like other superhero movies. Wrapping up the character arc for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Logan is a movie about if mutants became illegal and if a sort of mutant mass extinction event had occurred. It’s a much more violent and raw movie than many of the other X-Men films, where there isn’t really a happy ending for anyone, but it’s easily one of the best superhero movies of all time, and Jackman and Patrick Stewart act like never before in the flick. You can watch it easily without watching any of the other X-Men movies – it’s just a great film on its own.
In 2022, Pixar decided to make a sci-fi flick centred around Buzz Lightyear. Yes, the toy from Toy Story. Believe it or not, but it’s actually a really good animated sci-fi, telling the story of a daring Buzz Lightyear attempting to return to Earth after an accident sees him (and his ship full of cryogenically-frozen crewmembers) marooned on an alien planet. Unlike many of the films on this list, it’s great for the whole family (my niece loved it).
Big Hero 6
Disney’s Big Hero 6 is the story of a squad of ultra-smart nerds that become superheroes, each with their own unique fields of research and expertise. The film mostly focuses on a robotics-focused boy named Hiro, who looks after a great big marshmallow-looking robot called Baymax (who has his own series on Disney+ now). If you’re after sci-fi for younger audiences, Big Hero 6 might be what you’re after.
Merging sci-fi with historical fiction, Assassin’s Creed is an adaption of the video game series of the same name, set during the Spanish Inquisition and following a modern-day assassin reliving the memories of his ancestor. Fans of the game might feel a bit underwhelmed by the movie, but it’s a good science-history adventure.
The Fly (1986)
One of the greatest sci-fi-horror films to ever be made, The Fly is a story about a science experiment going wrong, created by legendary horror director David Cronenberg, with Jeff Goldblum as the lead.
Alita: Battle Angel
Based on the manga of the same name, Alita: Battle Angel is an action-Sci-Fi movie set in the future and following a battle cyborg. Left abandoned in a scrapyard, Alita awakes without any memories, and the mind of a teenaged girl. The CGI might look a little strange, but it’s an enjoyable flick.
The Martian is a sci-fi drama and action-thriller about a man who gets stranded on Mars after an accident, seeing the rest of his team evacuate into orbit. It’s a survival story that takes some liberties on realism every now and again, but it’s a terrific film nonetheless, perfect for if you’re after a nice standalone film (featuring Matt Damon).
The Guardians of the Galaxy
The Guardians of the Galaxy is a really great sci-fi film in its own right, existing within the MCU but standalone enough to not require any prerequisite knowledge. It follows Peter Quill and a group of unlikely rag-tag outlaws as they try to offload a piece of mysterious (but dangerous) cargo. It’s more sci-fi than superhero, to be honest, so if you’re sick of capes and superpowers (and you’re after a banger soundtrack), you may enjoy this film. A third film is on its way.
Though we already featured Alien near the top of this list, Prometheus is a more recent prequel to the series that can exist as a stand-alone movie, but longtime fans would definitely enjoy seeing it. With a similar plot to the original Alien, a ship filled with researchers seeking to uncover the origins of life embark on a journey to uncover it – only for the expedition to quickly become lethal and dangerous.
Starship Troopers is cringy, campy, gory and laden with wooden acting, but it’s worth a watch if you’re after a sci-fi throwback. If you’re up for some deeper analysis, the film is reflected on today as a satirical critique of war and propaganda (as reviews on Rotten Tomatoes tend to indicate), with the plot following the Earth at war with a race of bugs that want to eradicate all life. It’s definitely up there with other legendary sci-fi flicks.
Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
We may have already included a Star Wars film on this list, but we’re treating Rogue One as an exception to the rule, as it’s more of a spin-off. The Empire Strikes Back, however, is one of the best movies in the Skywalker Saga, the highest rated on Rotten Tomatoes, and one of the best sci-fi movies of all time. After years of unrest, the Empire tracks down an outpost the rebellion is hiding in. While the rebellion escapes, Jedi-in-training Luke Skywalker journies to a mysterious planet to meet a master of the force.
And that’s the end of our list – the best sci-fi movies on Disney+. Head on over to Disney+ to sign up.
If you’re interested, we’ve also got opinions on the best sci-fi movies to watch on Netflix, the best sci-fi movies to watch on Binge, the best sci-fi movies on Amazon Prime Video, the best sci-fi movies on Paramount+ and the best sci-fi movies to watch on Stan