TOP 10 – After nearly a decade of anticipation, Bethesda’s latest sci-fi RPG, Starfield, finally hit store shelves last week. Players will be thrust into the role of a fresh recruit in Constellation, an organization of space explorers set in the year 2330. The primary mission of the game is to unravel the mysteries of the universe.
With the game now officially available, enthusiasts have quickly begun creating their unique stories in the vast cosmos of Starfield. This includes creating novel modifications, constructing complex bases on distant planets, and seeking out the finest spaceships in each solar system.
Here we present a curated list of movies and TV shows that resonate with the essence of Starfield. These selections either depict advanced space civilizations in a distant future, or embrace the idea of space travel as a medium for human growth. Whether it’s a shared philosophy or similar atmosphere, these recommendations are essential viewing after immersing yourself in Starfield’s expansive universe.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
What it is: Stanley Kubrick’s seminal science fiction film follows a team of astronauts and scientists who travel to Jupiter on a spacecraft controlled by a sophisticated AI. Their quest: to search for signs of life beyond Earth.
Why it’s similar to Starfield: Like Starfield, 2001: A Space Odyssey explores the big questions about humanity’s place in the cosmos. It asks questions like: Are we the only sentient beings in this vast universe? How would humanity adapt to life in space? These fundamental questions form the core of the film’s speculative view of a future beyond Earth.
Ad Astra (2019)
What it is: A gripping 2019 sci-fi drama about an astronaut who is sent to an abandoned space station orbiting Neptune. His goal is to reunite with his long-lost father, once presumed dead, in order to avert a global catastrophe.
Why it’s similar to Starfield: Ad Astra’s vision of humanity’s colonization of the inner planets closely mirrors that of Starfield. From underground settlements on Mars to fast-food joints on distant celestial bodies, the similarities are striking.
What it is: A quintessential disaster film that unfolds the story of an impending asteroid impact on Earth. An unconventional team of oil rig workers is hastily trained to become astronauts, tasked with the monumental mission of preventing the catastrophe.
Why it’s similar to Starfield: In Starfield, you commence your adventure as a low-level miner, only to rapidly ascend to the status of a cosmic powerhouse, much like the quick transition of roles in Armageddon. The game also harbors a certain “ragtag” ambiance, where your character, initially not intended for grandeur, joins forces with others equally unprepared for a cosmic narrative. Despite the grim circumstances, there’s still room for some cosmic fun.
What it is: Helmed by Peter Hyams, this thriller from 1981 showcases Marshal William T. O’Niel (played by Sean Connery), based in a mining colony on Jupiter’s moon, Io. As he probes into a series of enigmatic fatalities among the miners, he stumbles upon a narcotics trafficking scheme that could jeopardize the entire settlement.
Why it’s similar to Starfield: Both Outland and Starfield focus on the precarious nature and inherent dangers of life beyond Earth, particularly when rich resources are at stake. They each feature a solitary character initially engrossed in mundane tasks but ultimately engulfed in a perilous, larger-than-life quest. The challenges are colossal, whether it’s combating criminal elements or navigating unexplored star systems.
The Expanse (2015-)
What it is: Although it has faced cancellation twice, The Expanse continues to capture hearts. This television adaptation of James S.A. Corey’s eponymous book series trails the crew of a mining vessel as they find themselves embroiled in a sprawling interplanetary conspiracy.
Why it’s similar to Starfield: The visual and thematic resemblance between Starfield and The Expanse is uncanny—from the austere, NASA-inspired designs to their devotion to hard science fiction elements. They both intimate the presence of an advanced civilization lurking somewhere out there. But the true linkage is philosophical; both paint a vivid portrait of humanity’s future in space—a future sophisticated enough to reach the stars but still plagued by age-old conflicts and divisions.
Firefly & Serenity (2005)
What it is: The 2005 action sci-fi film Serenity continues the story of the renegade crew of a “Firefly-class” spaceship, led by the charming outlaw Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds. When one of their crew members starts having mysterious visions, they embark on a mission that uncovers a perilous secret with significant ramifications for humanity’s future.
Why it’s similar to Starfield: The term “space Western” often brings Firefly to mind. The TV series and its subsequent movie take place in a universe with striking resemblances to that of Starfield. Both settings feature an abandoned Earth, star colonies, and a brutal civil war between a mighty interplanetary government and an independent rebel faction. Both worlds are filled with rickety spacecraft, trade, shootouts, and towns that evoke the Western genre.
First Man (2018)
What it is: This biographical film portrays Neil Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling, and explores the challenges of becoming the first human to walk on the Moon. It dives into the mindset required to leave Earth at a time when such a journey was almost unimaginable.
Why it’s similar to Starfield: Starfield is passionately committed to the idea of space exploration, so much so that the sci-fi universe created for the game seems almost secondary. First Man serves as a real-world examination of the dedication and costs involved in turning such dreams of space exploration into reality.
For All Mankind (2019– )
What it is: An Apple TV Plus series, For All Mankind creates an alternative history where the Soviet Union was the first to land on the Moon. This change has far-reaching effects, beginning with the U.S. deciding to send women to the Moon. As the show progresses, its alternate timeline diverges in both familiar and unfamiliar ways from our reality.
Why it’s similar to Starfield: Both the show and the game envision a world where NASA remains a symbol of cultural and political significance. They both delve into the dual power of science fiction: to paint an inspiring future and provide a lens through which our current state can be examined. The show delivers a compelling story with a streaming budget, making it a must-watch for those who appreciate story-driven content like that found in Bethesda games.
What it is: The Earth is suffering from widespread famine due to ecological collapse, prompting a perilous mission through a wormhole with the aim of finding a new planetary home for humanity.
Why it’s similar to Starfield: Think of it as a precursor to the narrative of Starfield. The game also takes place in a future where the Earth was no longer sustainable, leading to successful human colonization of other planets. Both Interstellar and Starfield feature a type of science fiction that is rooted in realism; they present future technologies that are not so far removed from our current capabilities but amplified by funding and development.
The Martian (2015)
What it is: Featuring Matt Damon as a marooned astronaut on Mars, this film delves into his fight for survival using limited resources until rescue is possible. He has to improvise and utilize science to create a makeshift one-man colony.
Why it’s similar to Starfield: Players in Starfield similarly have the opportunity to establish their own outposts on remote celestial bodies, using harvested materials to stay alive. Just like in The Martian, they also have to deal with various space-related hazards, including radiation, fires, and toxic gases, as well as physical injuries from exertion and fighting.