8 Sci-Fi Movies That Re-Used Props From Other Movies

Is there proof of a Star Wars/Dr. Who shared universe?!

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Columbia Pictures/Universal Pictures

Despite the frequently gigantic and bloated budgets of Hollywood movies, there are always attempts to save a little bit of money going on behind the scenes. Building props and sets out of cleverly disguised household items is a frequently employed trick that works to great effect, such as the old camera flash that became Luke Skywalker's lightsaber or the store-bought coffee grinder that powers Emmett Brown's futuristic Delorean.

Sometimes, however, filmmakers will go that step further and simply re-use props from previous works rather than create their own. For some reason, every single film character seems to read the exact same newspaper. Whilst frequently a cost-saving exercise, this may in fact be to pay deliberate homage, such as when Mel Brooks deliberate sought out the laboratory props from 1931's Frankenstein for his affectionate 1974 parody Young Frankenstein - something that would inevitably have cost much more than simply constructing similar looking props.

Interestingly, science fiction seems to be one of the most frequent offenders when it comes to retooling existing props, sometimes even going so far as to dig them straight out of the toy box without so much as a lick of paint to disguise their obvious similarity to a previous use.

Whether it's a respectful bit of homage, a cost-cutting exercise or just plain laziness, here are some of the most notable examples in sci-fi.

8. Star Wars Episode I - A 2001 EVA Pod

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20th Century Fox/MGM

Early in the Tatooine scenes in George Lucas's franchise-ruiner The Phantom Menace, the main characters walk through the yard of junk dealer and cringeworthy antisemitic stereotype Watto. Strewn around the place are all manner of bits of rubbish, resembling anything from car parts to shopping baskets.

One piece of junk, however, stands out more noticeably than the rest - and may be familiar to some viewers. The large, spherical object with protruding mechanical arms, half-buried in the sand, originally featured in Stanley Kubrick's seminal sci-fi epic 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In 2001, these extravehicular activity pods (shortened to EVA) were used for repair and maintenance on the exterior of the Discovery One on its mission to Jupiter. Rogue AI HAL 9000 murdered crew member Frank Poole by using one of the pods to sever his oxygen tank and send him adrift into the void. Another is lost when it disappears into the large monolith above Jupiter. Could it have been catapulted back through time to a galaxy far, far away and landed in the back yard of The Phantom Menace's worst character? Unlikely. It's probably just an easter egg.


Neo-noir enjoyer, lover of the 1990s Lucasarts adventure games and detractor of just about everything else. An insufferable, over-opinionated pillock.