Of all the great things that naturally go together in this vast universe, robots and geek culture are a pair bound to stand the test of time. Whether they aid humans or wipe out all life, robots will always be a source of wonder and inspiration in the firmament of nerdy movies and tv. Here’s our pick for what we think are 10 of the greatest.
WALL-E may have been manufactured by people and programmed to pick up trash, but this little guy taught us the virtue of conservation and how kindness and understanding can go a long way. Even more endearing was his child-like innocence and wonder for things that most would take for granted. WALL-E was a bot of few words, and yet he spoke volumes.
9) Ultron (The Avengers)
The worst kind of villains are the ones that reappear time and again to menace our favorite super heroes, and Ultron is no exception. A malicious robot with a devious intellect, Ultron is one of the few bad guys that the Avengers dread. They can destroy the body, sure, but his artificial intelligence always finds a way to live on.
8) Voltron (Voltron: Defender of the Universe)
Little known fact: there’s more than one Voltron out there. But the Voltron we’re talking about is the lion-themed incarnation—the one that introduced so many children of the ‘80s to a unique genre of animation known as anime. Giant robotic lions that combine to form an even bigger warrior robot with a sword? Now that’s a recipe for pure awesome!
7) Mechagodzilla (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla)
Mechagodzilla is a lot like his fleshy counterpart expect that his skin is made of metal, he can shoot missiles, fire lasers from his eyes, and has an even bigger chip on his shoulder than his eternal nemesis. Don’t get us wrong, Mechagodzilla is a bad to the core, but it’s hard not to like a robotic version of everyone’s favorite king of the monsters.
6) Bender (Futurama)
Ask yourselves, who in their right mind would want to hang out with an irreverent robot that has obvious problems with drinking and kleptomania? Fry, for one thing, and, well, us. We aren’t afraid to admit it, we’ve always wanted to have a robot pal growing up, and we’re willing to overlook the occasional anti-human sentiment he tends to let fly.
5) Marvin the Paranoid Android (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
Saying that Marvin is paranoid is a bit of a misnomer. If anything, he’s more depressed than uppity. What does a robot have to be gloomy about? As awesome as it sounds, having a vast intellect housed in a brain the size of planet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be—especially when you can’t find a use for it.
4) Optimus Prime (The Transformers)
Which exact Optimus Prime are we honoring? The one that started it all in 1984, naturally! Prime taught us to stick up for the little guy, fight for what you believe in until the bitter end, and that freedom is the right of all sentient beings. ‘Til all are one!
3) T-800 (The Terminator)
Look, T-800 guys, we like you and all, but the fact you look like skeletons and symbolize humanity’s anxieties over the possibility of an impending robot apocalypse means we’ll admire you from a safe distance. While standing next to Arnold Schwarzenegger. And packing plenty of fire power.
2) C-3PO & R2-D2 (Star Wars)
We know, there’s a subtle difference between robots and droids. But we can either quibble over semantics or give the duo of C-3PO and R2-D2 their due. Back in 1977, no one would have thought that a fussy and pedantic droid gilded in gold and his diminutive companion that looked like a trash receptacle would find a place in the hearts of so many. Look at them now!
1) Maschinenmensch/Maria (Metropolis)
The 1927 film Metropolis is regarded as a masterpiece of the silent film era and the science-fiction genre. Even if you haven’t seen the film, you’ve seen it’s robotic star, Maria, at some point in your life. What makes her so special? Well, what if we told you she was the very first fictional robot to appear in a film? It's true! Maria paved the way for many of the robots on this list, and they all owe their success to her.
Which robot do you think is the greatest?