10 Sci-Fi Movies That Broke All The Rules

Rules are made to be broken.

The Terminator
Orion Pictures

Every movie is built on the conventions and rules of its genre, and while these rules can and do change over the years, for the most part Hollywood doesn't like to tinker too much with a winning formula.

The sci-fi genre is certainly no exception, typically defined by spacefaring adventures with colossal production budgets, often revolving around everyman protagonists thrust into the role of the world-saving hero.

Maybe there's time travel involved, or perhaps there are aliens - or possibly even both! Whatever the end result, the tropes associated with these genre elements are all incredibly well-defined.

But every so often, a filmmaker decides to push back against those conventions, daring to go in another direction altogether and leaving audiences thoroughly gobsmacked as a result.

These 10 films, all genre masterpieces and cult classics in their own right, cast the safe and successful rules aside and forged ahead on their own path, in turn massively subverting expectations in ways fantastic, mind-blowing, and sometimes more than a little confusing...

10. The "Chosen One" Actually Isn't - Blade Runner 2049

The Terminator
Warner Bros.

One of the most well-worn tropes in both sci-fi cinema and blockbuster movies as a whole is that of the "Chosen One," the seemingly ordinary protagonist who learns that they're somehow destined to become a saviour figure. For example, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in Star Wars or Neo (Keanu Reeves) in The Matrix.

It's a tidy way for screenwriters to introduce audiences to a foreign, high-concept sci-fi world alongside the protagonist, even if in 2020 it's a plot device that feels thoroughly played out.

So a wonderful surprise it was, then, when Blade Runner 2049 decided to cleverly flip the entire Chosen One arc on its head.

For most of the film, audiences are led to believe that replicant protagonist K (Ryan Gosling) is the son of Deckard (Harrison Ford) and Rachael (Sean Young), only for the third act to reveal that, in fact, K isn't related to them at all.

Rather, Deckard and Rachael's child is actually a daughter, Dr. Ana Stelline (Carla Juri), a fairly minor character who appeared earlier in the film.

It's a brilliantly executed moment, ingeniously subverting one of the most commonplace sci-fi movie cliches, underlined by K's utter devastation at learning he isn't who he thought he was.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.