To start off and make sure we are all on the same page, I will define ‘space cowboy’ for you, by my own terms. It basically means any character from sci-fi (in this case, TV and movies) who flew around in space, but was also pretty much a cowboy. Same ideals and similar aesthetic (albeit a bit sci fi’d out). He is calm, cool, collected, and is generally not one to be trifled with. Often they are usually bounty hunters, but can come in any many shapes and sizes. The fact is, the space cowboy is everywhere, but there are no lists about them (until now, that is). Though there have been many in science fiction, here are five space cowboys are are pretty much the coolest dudes in all the cosmos. A few you know, a few you don’t, and one that just might make you scratch your head.
Han Solo from Star Wars
You cannot start a list about space cowboys and not mention the guy who helped set the tone for that character archetype for years to come. Han Solo from the Star Wars series looked the part and played the part of space cowboy perfectly. His horse was the Millennium Falcon, and Chewie was his trusty sidekick. The only thing missing was a cowboy hat (and thank goodness for that). He’d save the hat thing for Indiana Jones.
I know Boba Fett coulda made the list for sure, but in this case, the nice guys finish first.
Captain Mal (Malcolm Reynolds) from Firefly
Cut directly from the Han Solo cloth, we have this space cowboy played by nerd elite Nathan Fillion. What Captain Mal did that was decidedly different than Han Solo was, he took things a little less seriously. He was charming (and smug at times), but he never seemed unapproachable. He was the one space cowboy you could probably sit and have a beer with. He also had a cool ‘space jacket’, which seems a prerequisite to get in this list.
Oh, and quick moment of silence for “Wash.” I never got over that. Firefly fans will know what I’m taking about.
Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop
I bet there were a few of you ready for this omission, but fear not. Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop is a different type of space cowboy then the ones mentioned above, but I wasn’t leaving him out. Think more along the lines of 007 in space and you have a pretty good idea. Slick and cool as the other two, his shady past sometimes catches up with him (as it does with most space cowboys/bounty hunters), but he is quick with guns and fists, so few things pose a permanent problem for him.
The cool thing about Cowboy Bebop and Spike is the ending to his story arc. No spoilers or anything, but man, one of the most badass final moments of any character ever (and definitely makes a nice nod to his cowboy roots).
Marshall William T. O’Neil from Outland
This might be the name on the list that rings the least amount of bells for you, and that is a shame because this space cowboy is played by SEAN (bleeping) CONNERY! Though his character of Marshall in Outland is not a cowboy in so much as a “sheriff” of sorts, everything would go to hell if it were not for him using a shotgun and his steely accent to keep things in control.
I won’t say too much, but check out the trailer for this underrated space movie and see for yourself how cool Connery is in space.
Not enough people have seen it, but once you do, you’ll agree he belongs here. And no, THIS VERSION of Connery was not making the list. No way in hell! Speaking of cool old guys in space, lets end this list right…..
Frank Corvin from Space Cowboys
Sorry guys and gals, but this was too easy to ignore. You make a list about ‘space cowboys’, you can’t leave off Clint Eastwood in the movie Space Cowboys. You have to understand, he is one of the most famous actors for his portrayal of actual cowboys, so to place him in space is to make him THE space cowboy. And he doesn’t even need a cool gun or awesome jacket like some of the others on this list. He just needs to be Clint Eastwood in space.
Which is pretty much exactly who he was in that film. Don’t worry if you didn’t see your favorite space cowboy on the list. There are dozens of them. We will have a follow-up soon!
[Lead image via Buzzfeed]