Once before, I rolled up my sleeves and tackled one of humanity’s oldest and most enduring questions – which superpowers would you choose, if you could have any? But that’s far from the only query to vex the human imagination. As long as we’ve been imagining mystical, powerful, larger-than-life beings in incredible, captivating, exciting stories, we’ve been imagining different ways for them to move around. Naturally, the next best thing to imagining fictional characters travelling in these incredible vessels is thinking about having a real one for ourselves. And this brings us to the question at the center of today’s post – if you could choose, which ship or vehicle or transport would you pick to have for your very own?
As a kid, I was never one to enjoy playing with cars. I don’t know why. David loved it but I never really did. However, give me an action figure or two and I’d be happy for hours. The only time I ever really enjoyed playing with vehicles was when they tied to the characters I already loved. This wasn’t limited to just the toys that my action figures could ride in either. It also applied to things like Star Wars Micro Machines or the greatest toy vehicles ever created. The OG Star Wars Micro Machines were, and remain, probably the coolest toy replicas of the ships I loved from a movie (or TV show or comic or whatever) that I’ve ever seen or held in my hands. All this is to say, I like to think about these creations…and I certainly enjoy imagining what it would be like to ride/fly/own them myself! So let’s talk about this, shall we?
The game’s pretty simple. If given the choice, of all the vehicles/ships/transports/etc/ in all of fiction, which would you pick for yourself? And of course we’re imagining that it’s real/working too, just as it does in the stories where we fell in love with it. The only stipulation I’m adding is that you can’t mix and match. So, for example, if you decided you wanted to fly the U.S.S. Enterprise from Stark Trek you couldn’t then ALSO add the Flux Capacitor from Back To The Future. If you pick the Enterprise and the Enterprise doesn’t time travel, then you don’t get to time travel. Whatever vehicle you pick, that’s what you get – quirks and all. From there, get creative. You can pick from comic books, movies, TV shows, cartoons, movies, novels…whatever your little heart desires just so long as you’re only picking one particular vehicle.
So what vehicle would I pick? Well, let’s get to it!
As a kid, the first vehicle I remember really capturing my imagination was the ECTO-1. I loved the Ghostbusters and I loved their car. I loved everything about it. I loved how they stored their gear in the back. I loved the design/pain job. I love the sirens. I even loved all the cool stuff on top that we rarely got to see them use because I also loved imagining what it all could do! So, at one point in my life, I’d’ve jumped at the chance to cruise around in a real life ECTO-1. However, we have all of fiction open to us. Why would I ever pick a car…no matter how cool it may be? Sorry ECTO-1, you’re out.
A similar problem presents itself with the Turtle Van. Man I loved this thing! Admittedly, I didn’t get into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles through their original Mirage comics. I met Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael first in the brightly colored world of their cartoon show. And Donnie could sure build some cool stuff! Their van was probably my favorite vehicle of them all. I loved the guns on top. I loved all the gadgets Donnie put inside. It seemed like the Turtle Van could do anything. And I really loved the little gun chair that folded out of the side!!! But, as with ECTO-1, if I can pick anything from all of fiction, nostalgia isn’t enough to get me to settle for just a car…or van as the case may be.
I briefly considered the Magic School Bus. For real! Mainly I’m including it as a tribute to my friend Ashley who once totally won Halloween with a spot on Ms. Frizzle costume. But, also, it’s got some wild features making it worthy of consideration here. I mean, it’s a bus, sure…but it can GO ANYWHERE. Space? Sure. Under water? Of course. Can you shrink down to go inside my body? Yeppers. But no matter how versatile it was, as a kid I always thought, “Um, why would I want more school even if it was for adventures?” Now, as an adult who happens to be a teacher, I think much the same thing :). Sorry, I can get my versatility someplace else and – if not – then it’s not worth it.
This one may seem like an odd inclusion too but, c’mon. The Silver Surfer’s freakin’ surfboard?!? Who wouldn’t want this?? Created and fueled by the Power Cosmic, the board is basically indestructible and is capable of careening across the universe at incredible speeds. Add to that the fact that it always returns to the Surfer due to their bond and you have a pretty powerful, pretty gnarly mode of transportation. Also, the idea of traversing the cosmos in a manner that lends itself to flashing the “hang loose” symbol’s sweet too. However, it’s pretty much a one person show and as exciting as space travel and visiting distant planets may be, if I’m picking anything from the world of fiction, I’d like to be able to take more people with me on my travels/adventures with greater ease than the board would allow.
So…what’s the logical choice? What’s the only choice for interstellar travel with all the comforts of home, the ability to carry lots of people with you, all wrapped in a package that’s filled with personality, quirks, charm, and just the right mix of ill temper? Obviously it’s the Millennium Falcon. I have been in love with this ship FOREVER. The very first time I watched A New Hope I remember wondering where this ship had been all my life. I had never seen anything like it before. I wanted the original The Essential Guide to Vehicles book in large part to learn about the Falcon! I remember pouring over the blueprints, wanting to commit every nook and cranny of the ship to memory. In fact, I actually spent a lot of time legitimately trying to figure out how to build a scale replica of the Millennium Falcon for my home. I imagined sitting in the cockpit, looking out at the neighborhood as I had my morning coffee. I imagined lowering the ramp every time I left the house. I imagined scaring trick-or-treaters with the gun turrets. Aaaaahhh…good times. This wasn’t just something I thought about as a kid either. Even into college I wondered if it was possible and how much it would cost.
Who doesn’t love the Millennium Falcon? How could you not?? It’s the fastest ship in the fleet. It’s as essential a character as Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie – and it has as much personality as them too! You’ve got comfy crew quarters, a sweet game table, and enough firepower to protect yourself should things get a little hairy. As it was with Wolverine’s claws in the superpowers post, I have spent A LOT of time imagining flying around the cosmos in the Millennium Falcon. Sometimes I imagine Chewie by my side. Other times Han. And others still I imagine other people I know joining me as I fly from one side of this galaxy to the other, seeing a lot of strange stuff. So it seems pretty obvious I’m picking the Millennium Falcon here.
Except I’m not.
So…uh, um…here’s the thing. This is a little hard to say and I feel like I’m cheating on Star Wars when I say this (not to mention cheating on Jeff (and maybe Hannah (although I know she likes Doctor Who too so I’d have to check with her to see how she feels on the issue to be sure))) but the Millennium Falcon sucks compared to the TARDIS. In fact, every ship or vehicle ever imagined sucks compared to the TARDIS. Like Kalie’s slam dunk answer on the superpowers question, I can’t really see any debate here. If I could choose any ship, vehicle, vessel, or mode of transportation from all of fiction, the TARDIS wins it, hands down. Easy. No question. Game. Set. Match. Checkmate. It’s over.
Before I began watching Doctor Who, I would have overlooked this blue phone booth looking thingie too and definitively chosen the Millennium Falcon. And I’d’ve been happy with her too! I’d have had no idea what I was missing out on. But now that I’ve watched all ten years of (the modern incarnation of) Doctor Who, I know how mislead I would have been (I’m finally all caught up and patiently waiting until Jodie Whittaker’s first season arrives on Amazon). The TARDIS is the greatest mode of transportation ever conceived of by human imagination and I’d love to have one!!!
The TARDIS can travel anywhere in space or time. So any point, any place, anywhere, in the entire cosmos, at any moment in history – past, present, or future – is open to you. How could you ever choose anything else? You wouldn’t!
It’s not just the range of the TARDIS that makes it the superior choice either. The ship herself is sentient. Grown as opposed to being built, a TARDIS has a heart and soul. It also has a very real say in where you go too. As the Twelfth Doctor tells Bill, “You don’t ‘steer’ the TARDIS! You negotiate with her! The still point between where you want to go and where you need to be. That’s where she takes you.” I really like this idea. She certainly has her share of quirks and more than enough personality to give the Falcon a run for her money, but the TARDIS is also a being in her own way and she does her best to make certain you are where you need to be – or where the universe needs you to be. This relationship isn’t just one of fun or function, it’s one anchored in helping people whenever you can.
And, obviously there’s the whole “It’s bigger on the inside!” thing. First explained by the Fourth Doctor, utilizing transdimensional engineering, the TARDIS is actually another dimension inside than it is outside! This means what looks like a tiny little blue box is filled with libraries and pools and clothes and toys and gadgets and all manner of cabins AND it manifests new bridges to fit your mood (or, you know, current regeneration).
The space inside earns my awe but the fact that the TARDIS itself is oriented towards peace earns my love and respect. As Theresa pointed out while we were discussing the TARDIS, one of the most beautiful things about her is she’s virtually indestructible yet has no weapons. She’s a vessel for exploration and discovery, help and aid, not battle. Her telepathic translation matrix allows those who travel with her to understand everyone they encounter (and vice versa too). The TARDIS isn’t just lacking weapons; she actively aids communication and understanding. She brings people together, literally and metaphorically
Lastly, while the Doctor’s life tends to often be a lonely one, the solitary wanderer was not the lifestyle the TARDIS was designed for. Rather, the ship is quite literally made for community. Flying her together, the Tenth Doctor tells Rose, Mickey, Sarah, Jack, and Martha, “Now, then, you lot, you know why this TARDIS is always rattling about the place? It’s designed to have six pilots and I have to do it singlehanded…but not anymore. Now we can fly this thing like it’s meant to be flown!” Much like life, it’s possible to navigate her on our own, but it’s a far smoother and more efficient ride with a community around us. The nature of the TARDIS calls us towards loving communion!
I love the Falcon. I always have. I always will. But the TARDIS wins this question, easily. I’m not even sorry.
As I’ve said in the past, I’m not normally one to end posts with intentional questions to try and spark comments but it worked out really well on the super powers one and that post ended up being a lot of fun! So I’ll ask again. If you’d like to share, which vehicle – out of all of fiction – would you choose for yourself and why? And can anyone make a compelling case for why I should choose the Falcon over the TARDIS?? Because, even though I feel like I’m having an affair (cheating on both Star Wars and Jeff in the process) it seems like it has to be the TARDIS for the win. I don’t even feel guilty about it either, that’s how perfect the TARDIS is.
Where shall we go my love? Oh, you’re so incredible TARDIS. Allons-y!!