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"They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give of themselves to me. Like clay I shall mould them, and in the furnace of war forge them. They will be of iron will and steely muscle. In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns will they be armed. They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them. They will have tactics, strategies and machines so that no foe can best them in battle. They are my bulwark against the Terror. They are the Defenders of Humanity. They are my Space Marines and they shall know no fear."
The Immortal God-Emperor of Mankind, Warhammer 40,000

Since Space Is an Ocean, Space Marines are the elite expeditionary troops carried by spaceships, their roles paralleling those of conventional marines: mobile deployment from the ship , boarding hostile ships, securing ports — including Space Stations — from Space Pirates and enemy forces, and landing on hostile shores to secure a beachhead, although in this case, they land on enemy planets. These rough-hewn, tough warriors with strong esprit de corps and fighting spirit are the frontline troops of choice for humans battling marauding aliens in the Standard Sci Fi Setting.

Space Marines first turn up in the short story "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" by Bob Olsen in Amazing Stories Volume 7, Number 8, of November 1932, and a later followup, 1936's "The Space Marines and the Slavers." The trope, however, fully rose to prominence with the use of the term in the wildly popular Lensman Series beginning in 1934. In 1959, Starship Troopers codified the trope, popularizing the emblematic Power Armor, The Spartan Way of training, and the array of exotic weaponry they wield. Warhammer 40,000 from Games Workshop is notable for taking these aspects to a peak, achieving the ideal "SPACE MARINE" Super-Soldier, augmented with Genetic Engineering or cybernetics (or both!).

In many settings they fight as a squad, sometimes with Awesome Personnel Carrier support, swooping down in a Drop Ship, or launched right into the thick of it via Drop Pod. A notable exception to this are the many First Person Shooters that use the Space Marine background as a useful excuse to get a highly trained soldier alone on a hostile planet. This tradition starts with the much-imitated Doom series — see A Space Marine Is You and One-Man Army.

This page shouldn't be confused with the video game Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, though that game pretty much is about them.

It should be noted that the name "space marine" is actually a misnomer — there's no water in deep space. Works aiming for more realism or a more Ray Gun Gothic feel may prefer to call them "espatiers", and the most direct Latin equivalent for the environment parses as "astroram". But for those wanting more to invoke the Romantic Space Is an Ocean trope the name space marine works just fine. Sometimes, "space marine" is culturally translated into "space [insert badass military unit here]" - for instance in Russia space marines are often called "space landing forces" (kosmodesantniki) after the VDVnote  an airborne unit of the Russian military that has roughly the same reputation as the USMC and Royal Marines in American and British cultures.

Note: This trope is about the elite spaceborne soldiers themselves. Overly-generic Science Fiction military protagonists belong elsewhere, such as A Space Marine Is You for video games.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Legend of the Galactic Heroes, the Rosen Ritter from the Free Planets Alliance is a notable case. Its members have been consistently regarded as elite soldiers; their standard equipment includes incredibly tough armor that deflects lasers and melee weapons short of their armour piercing axes. They are practically the only group in the series to engage in boarding tactics against enemy ships. Their reputation is so fearsome that as soon as someone on the Imperial side points out that it's the Rosen Ritter, Imperial morale evaporates and in at least one case, they outright retreat in panic. Said case was when the Imperial forces were also wearing heavy power armour and had a numerical advantage of more than 10 to 1.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn introduces ECOAS (acronym for "Earth Colony Asteroid", an idea similar to the real-life SEALs), a special operations unit of the EFSF. Tasked to hunt down Neo Zeon remnants, their speciality is covert infiltration with their tank/mecha/APC hybrids.
  • Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune features both the Trade Federation Space Marines under Rimel, as well as the protagonists, the Yakitori, who are Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder orbital drop troopers.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: Avalon’s Empire Army has a Space Marines division, dedicated to perform the usual tasks of a Marine division. It is pointed out there is friendly rivalry between them and the other army corps. In the second half of the history one of them -Corporal Vasraith- has a prominent role.
  • Thousand Shinji: Being a Warhammer 40,000 crossover it was a safe bet that they would figure in this story. The premise of the story is Shinji was found and trained by a Chaos-worshipper Space Marine when he was a kid. Ten years later Shinji inherits several jars containing the souls of four fully-armed Rubric Marines and he uses them every so often. Finally after Third Impact legions of Space Marines are trained in mass to spearhead an interstellar war.
  • Bait and Switch (STO), a Shared Universe of Star Trek Online, has a couple different varieties.
    • The Space Commando role is filled by Starfleet MACOs, who are established in exposition in The Wrong Reflection to be Starfleet special operations troops (i.e. Space Navy SEALs). They're equipped with Powered Armor and better gear than ordinary Starfleet Security personnel. Captain Kanril Eleya has secondary certification as a MACO, though she's primarily a space warfare (i.e. starship combat) officer.
    • Starfleet Security acts as rank-and-file space marines deployed aboard ship. In addition, "Tinker Golfer Doctor Trill" makes mention of the USS Bajor stopping by Andoria to pick up the 103rd Expeditionary Force, which Reshek Gaarra rather snidely refers to as "ten thousand jarheads". In "Last Rights" they operate tanks.
  • Homaged in Rocketship Voyager, where the eponymous rocketship has space marines in place of Red Shirts. The two mentioned by name are Sergeant VanBuskirk and Corporal Juan Rico, and they're equipped with dirigible space armor and weapons like recoilless machine guns, micratomic grenades, bazookas firing A-rockets, and nuclear-powered flamethrowers.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Colonial Marines of Aliens greatly helped popularise the trope. This classic version of the Space Marine is quite conservative — for example, no Power Armour and generally conventional weapons. Interestingly, the cast was required to read Starship Troopers before filming, a book which is also recommended reading for the Real Life USMC. In addition, figures from Aliens have to acknowledge Games Workshop's registered trademark of the name Space Marine, despite that Rogue Trader came out the year after Aliens.
    • Alien: Resurrection, set centuries after the other movies, replaces them with the United Systems Military.
  • Some of the marines in Avatar were actual marines, albeit now they're Private Military Contractors rather than military. James Cameron said he essentially invented the modern 'space marine' so if anyone should be allowed to use it it should be him.
  • Kainan, the protagonist of Outlander, was a space marine in the Back Story. In the movie itself, he quickly loses his space-armor and gun, and essentially gets adopted as a Viking.
  • A platoon of Marines equipped with laser weapons are dispatched into space to destroy Drax's satellite base at the climax of Moonraker. Apparently, NASA keeps a shuttle load of U.S. Marines on standby just in case.
  • One group of specialist Clonetroopers who appear briefly in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith have been identified in Expanded Universe material as "Galactic Marines."
    • This is also a primary function of Imperial stormtroopers. The very first time we see them is in the ISD Devastator's boarding action against the Tantive IV in A New Hope.
    • The Rebel soldiers dropping into the battle during the climax of Rogue One are called "Rebel Marines" in the supplemental material and resemble the Rebellion's Endor troops combined with Vietnam War era US Marines.
  • In Doom, a platoon of marines called the Rapid Response Tactical Squad is dispatched to deal with the events on Mars.
  • Again, Starship Troopers has the Mobile Infantry, who are this in all but name. Taking an entirely different tone from the book, the Mobile Infantry are gung-ho space soldiers who, for all their tough bug-stomping talk, are repeatedly shown to be arrogant and foolish Military Mavericks. In one of the first battles of the war, the Mobile Infantry deploy in a chaotic Zerg Rush and then rout in panic after only very light casualties. At one point the protagonist's unit throws a frat party in the middle of enemy territory. The film was meant to be a satire on the book's jingoism.

  • A primary inspiration for this trope is Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers, though his Mobile Infantry are never once described as marines, and could just as well be based on army paratroopers except that Space Is an Ocean. His description of their bulky power armour and exotic weaponry is a classic which influenced many later designs. The spirit of the Mobile Infantry shows the experience Heinlein had of Real Life Marine drill instructors at the U.S. Naval Academy. It is oddly circular that Starship Troopers is now recommended reading for the Real Life USMC.
  • Space Cadet (Heinlein) actually features Space Marines under that name. The protagonist, a member of the Space Patrol, considers transferring but is convinced to do otherwise by his mentor. As he explains, the branches of the Space Patrol tend to attract different men: the Marines attract those who seek glory and excitement, the Patrol attracting men of intellectualism and idealism, reflected in the Patrol's mottoQuis custodiet ipsos custodes?note  The protagonist elects to remain in the Patrol.
  • As mentioned by the introduction, the Lensman series probably ranks among the earliest examples. Galactic Patrol of 1937 featured the first appearance of the Space Marines, whose powered armor might well have inspired Heinlein's later, more iconic version.
  • The warrior class in John Steakley's Armor, including the protagonist, obviously heavily inspired by Heinlein.
  • The CoDominium series feature the CD Space Navy and Marines and later, the Imperial Marines. The CD Line Marines are formed from the The French Foreign Legion, and thus keep a lot of their traditions alive. The CD Marines armament includes semi-automatic rifles, large-bore weapons loaded with armor-piercing and (sometimes) heavy tanks, with the CD providing orbital fire support up to and including nuclear weapons. The particular Line Marine unit most often featured in the novels is commanded by an officer politically on the outs with the most powerful man in the Grand Senate, and as such they repeatedly get denied proper resources. This can give a misleading impression of the CD Marines in general.
  • In C. J. Cherryh's Alliance/Union novels, Fleet warships have a complement of marines. As relatively hard sci-fi their armour is minutely described and plausible as technology. The marines are key to securing assets: getting into space is exorbitantly expensive enough, so an armed starship entering a system can own it by closing with other ships and stations to secure them with the marines. The marines are able and willing to blast and cut their way to control centers, even if it means exposing parts of the station to vacuum. Life for a marine is very boring 99% of the time, being excluded belowdecks from the ship's crew. When deployed, there is the terrifying prospect their ship might suddenly need to move, with no friendly ship in-system in a decade.
  • Though they aren't actual 'space' marines, the Seanchan Fists of Heaven in The Wheel of Time do fly around on what basically amount to living planes in a late medieval setting and execute hit and run raids from the air. Though the Bloodknives introduced in Gathering Storm probably fit this better; they are elite Fists equipped with items that repel magic and eliminate fear in the wearer who stay behind instead of being evacuated with the remainder of the Fists to kill as many enemy wizards as they possibly can before going down.
  • The UNEF Infantry in Joe Haldeman's The Forever War. Their power armor comes with built-in laser cannons and medical systems that can automatically amputate severely damaged limbs and cauterize the wound. Their power armor makes them unstoppable killing machines, but inside the armour the marines are just frightened conscripts who really don't want to be there.
  • The Royal Manticoran Marine Corps, the People's Marine Corps and their counterparts in various other star nations besides the Star Kingdom of Manticore and People's Republic of Haven in the Honor Harrington series. Grayson is an exception here: they lack a dedicated branch for Marines and use troops borrowed from the Army for the tasks (boarding actions against pirates and planetary assaults) other nations use Marines for. The Manticoran Space Marines use a mix of regular infantry and powered armor with customizable loadouts (for example, high speed long lasting scout configuration or bulkier, slower assault configuration). Troops in powered armor are considered the 'modern' equivalent of tanks.
    • The Manticoran Marines are particularly notable since they are trained to serve both as infantry and to help run the ship they are stationed (mostly as weapon crews and as damage control). This allows Manticoran ships to carry larger marine detachments than other nations since having extra marines on board doesn't decrease the number of people on board who are trained to run the ship.
  • We never actually see the Space Marines in Robert Zubrin's The Holy Land, but they must kick a lot of butt. A detachment was sent to Earth to rescue one alien woman from one group of theology students holed up in the basement of a cathedral, "turning much of northern Manhattan into a light-textured finely ground dust in the process."
  • Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs books feature the Vacuum Commandoes. Among other things, they engage in boarding actions on spacegoing craft. They are therefore literal Space Marines.
  • The Hyperion Cantos features FORCE Marines. Complete with Powered Armor and Swiss Army Guns. Colonel Fedmahn Kassad is one; don't mess with him.
  • As Sergey Lukyanenko's books Line of Delirium and Emperors of Illusions are set in the first Master of Orion universe, there naturally are Space Marines.
  • The entire Space Opera Genre, being essentially War and Peace in Sci-Fi settings, features space-related tropes and space marines where the average history novel featured sailors and the original navy.
  • They get relatively brief mention in the games, but in the Wing Commander novels, the Terran Confederation Marine Corps serves this role. In the novel Fleet Action, they board a fleet of super-powerful carriers against which the normal weapons (torpedoes delivered by fighters) were useless due to their extreme armor and shielding, for the purpose of detonating antimatter mines inside the carriers. Naturally, this is not survivable for the Space Marines in question, but when the alternative is The End of the World as We Know It...
  • The MacGuffin in Reed de Buch's Skymarine Jones, mainly a spoof on the whole genre of Space Marines and Ringworlds, complete with Voodoo possessed unstoppable sentient weapons - Marx Brothers meets Halo. Skymarines
  • The Allied Space Marines in John Ringo and Travis Taylor's "Vorpal Blade" Series. Their modular Wyvern armor doubles as space suits. It also incorporates a chameleon coating, and a full sensor suite, including particle sensors, which they are required to be able to understand.
  • The Confederation of Valor series follows Staff Sergeant (later Gunnery Sergeant) Torin Kerr, a senior NCO in the Confederate Marine Corps. These marines' primary role is ground combat, not boarding actions. Also the series puts an interesting twist on it: Confederate Marine armor, while powered, is not very bulky at all since it needs to still be usable in case the Others hit them with EMP. Most of their tech is similarly intended to work just as well in its primary function with or without electricity.
  • Marines are present in the Star Risk, Ltd. series (two of the protagonists, M'chel Riss and Chas Goodnight, are a former and ex-Marine respectively), but usually ignored since the series focuses on a group of mercenaries unaffiliated with The Alliance.
  • Spots the Space Marine achieved a bit of internet fame in February 2013 after it was pulled from Amazon when Games Workshop claimed Trademark violation. The space marines in question are near-future marines equipped with Powered Armor provided by alien allies that has built-in Deflector Shields, and deployed on a distant planet to fight in a Bug War.
  • In the Hostile Takeover (Swann) series, all of the arms of the Confederacy seem to maintain these. We mostly see the Occisis Marines, who are devotedly Catholic and ethnically homogenous, like the planet of Occisis. A large division of the Marines are seconded to Klaus Dacham. Their commander, Captain Shane, plays a major role.
  • The Theirs Not to Reason Why series has the The Terran United Planets Space Force Marines, complete with power armor support. It's implied that the other spacegoing polities have their own Space Marines too, with the V'Dan Marines specifically mentioned.
  • The Terran Expeditionary Force, as depicted in "The Hero", one of George R. R. Martin's "Thousand Worlds" science fiction stories. They are Heavyworlders outfitted in Power Armor with rocket belts and sonic weaponry, and they have strength and speed far beyond normal humans and the aliens the protagonist encounters in the story.
  • The UF marines in Invasion of Kzarch, who fight in space, air, land... anywhere they can find an enemy.
  • The US Marine Corps becomes this in Ian Douglas's Galactic Marines series. In fact, the very first novel Semper Mars starts off with the corps about to be disbanded, as the higher-ups claim it's no longer relevant. As a last-ditch effort to rebrand the marines, a detachment is sent to the Martian excavation site in Cydonia. This proves to be the exact place where they will be needed when the UN starts a war with the US. Several issues are mentioned, such as the fact that their gear isn't up to specs because someone back on Earth assumed they were going to an Earth-side desert environment (e.g., their guns' electronic sights are calibrated for Earth gravity and atmosphere, and they have 40 pairs of desert boots which they can't wear with their sealed suits). The same book also features the first ever combat in microgravity with a different team of US Marines fighting a force of UN troops. The differences are showcased, such as the lack of cover in space, the need to fire your weapon at your center mass in order to avoid spinning wildly out of control, and the fact that even a tiny hit can be fatal due to the vacuum outside the suit.
  • The space marines in The Nameless War are there to provide Battle Fleet with an organic infantry force for rapid deployment, the expectation being that in the event of larger operations, elements of the national militaries will be deployed. While not equipped with a fully enclosed power armour, the marines do wear a supporting exoskeleton that allows them to carry armour far heavier and more protective than could otherwise be carried. The marines are primarily intended for operations on planets but do storm an enemy space station.
  • Stark's War has the titular Stark and company (Who are technically Army - the USMC having been reduced to a ceremonial formation that never operates in space), although the "space" part isn't actually their specific vocation — because soldiers all wear environmentally-contained Powered Armor, military command doesn't make distinction between "space marines" and normal ones except for their current posting. (Fighting on the moon does require different competencies than fighting on Earth, naturally, but good luck convincing the incompetent officer corps of that.)
  • Marcus Winchester from Mike Kupari's Her Brothers Keeper is a former Spec Ops espatier.
  • In the Frontlines series by Marko Kloos, the two main earth factions have space marines for ship security on their naval ships, garrisoning their colonies, and taking colonies away from the other faction. The United North American Commonwealth marines trace their lineage back to the United States Marines of the modern day. The Sino-Russian Alliance marines appear to be descendants of current Russian Airborne Troops and Russian Marines as they are mentioned as wearing blue striped telnyashkas.
  • In the Illuminae series, Space Marines are the bulk of the forces seen within the United Terran Authority. Though there might be an army we don't see, as the only soldiers we see directly are part of a ship's crew, being much closer to classical marines.
  • The books of the Aeon 14 shared universe abound with Space Marine esprit de corps. The principle protagonist, Tanis Richards, though originally a Space Navy pilot and captain and then a military intelligence counter-insurgency officer, served with and was beloved by the Marines in both 5th millennium Sol and 9th millennium New Canaan. Exemplified by the speech Marine Sgt. Hector gives when Tanis is captured in Race Across Spacetime:
    Sgt. Hector: "I grew up on stories of Tanis Richards... She's our family, she's our mother, she's the old lady, she's a Marine. And what do we do when a Marine gets left behind?"
    Marines: "No Marine is left behind!"
    The squad bellowed the ancient mantra, and the words warmed his heart.
    Sgt. Hector: "Fuckin' right they don't. And who's the most badass Marine of all time?"
    Marines: "Admiral Tanis Richards!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Expanse: Both the Earth-based UNMC and the Mars-based MMC are straight-up examples, complete with power armor that turns a single recon Marine into a formidably lethal walking tank. While there's no love lost between the two factions, the MMC reminds their troops that "the second most dangerous thing in the solar system next to a Martian Marine, is a UN Marine".
  • Andromeda had the "Lancers," which appear to serve the same functions as Marines traditionally do.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The episode "Gropos" featured the Earth Force Marine Corps, dirtside troops of the Earth Alliance (the episode title is short for "ground pounders"). Just about every stereotype of Space Marine behavior made it into this episode, including the obligatory bar fight. Towards the end of the episode, they depart for a battle that we briefly get to see, and the very end of the episode reveals every single named Gropo character, except for General Franklin and his senior NCO, had been killed off-screen in the battle, within feet of each other.
    • The Gropos make another appearance in the third season, when they come to the station to forcefully try to take it back from Captain Sheridan.
  • Battlestar Galactica has marines (Colonial Marine Corps) who are dressed and equipped similar to a Real Life Hostage Rescue Team. Originally created as throwaway Redshirts for action scenes, they end up playing an important role in events (e.g. power struggles) in the Rag Tag Fleet.
  • Season 2 of For All Mankind features US Marines on the Moon, sent to secure mining claims disputed by the Soviet Union. It is later revealed the Soviets also have armed troops on the Moon.
  • Sgt. Riley in Pixelface is a space marine from a video game called Sentient Force.
  • Red Dwarf makes a brief mention to their existence in the extended cut of Back In The Red. Also, in one of the books Rimmer's son was a space marine.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers in Space: This is the first season where the Rangers could be said to count as this. The season is Darker and Edgier and depicts the clash between good and evil as an all-out intergalactic war. The Red and Silver Rangers are members of the military of their homeworld KO-35 and the Rangers frequently use battle tactics more in line with that of soldiers.
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The travelling human colony of Terra Venture has its own military force which four of the Rangers are a part of.
    • Power Rangers S.P.D.: The A-Squad's armor suits and their reputation as being the ace heroes of SPD give off this vibe. However, they turn out to be villains.
  • Space: Above and Beyond is a TV series about The Squad of literal USMC Space Marines. Unusually, the main characters are Space Fighter pilots rather than infantry.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise had a team of MACOs (for Military Assault Command Operations) attached to the crew in the third season. Despite some initial tension with Enterprise's security team they proved to be quite useful (certainly more so than Voyager's security personnel) though their use of Special Weapons and Tactics caused some Continuity gripes from fans. The trope also gets a reference in the first Star Trek: Elite Force game (see below,) with the EMH stating "I'm a doctor, not a space marine!"

  • Talvikuningas, a concept album by the Finnish band CMX, gives us the Praetorian cyborgs. They're exactly what you'd think they would be. Bulky armor, heavy weapons, modified genes and, oh yes, they're cyborgs. (But don't just take our word for it, watch the music video)

    Tabletop Games 
  • The setting of the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game and assorted derived media, which include computer games, comic books and bestselling novels, prominently features an army of warriors known more properly as the Adeptus Astartes, but most often referred to as simply the Space Marines. Not only is he a holistic Warrior Monk in bulky Powered Armour, who wields a lot of big guns, kills aliens, heretics, and mutants with ease, and knows no fear, he's also a genetically engineered Super-Soldier with a fanatical devotion to the Emperor. In summary, the trope exaggerated. They're generally considered the Spotlight-Stealing Squad of the setting, and have a number of sourcebooks dedicated to them.
    • And if these guys aren't scary enough, you also have the Chaos Space Marines, the belligerent mutated brethren of the Space Marines, who come in all different flavors (from Ax-Crazy to plague-zombies to metalhead drug-addicts to the spirits of deceased Marines bound to their armor long after their bodies had crumbled to dust). Add this to the fact that they serve a host of Eldritch Abominations and even the other Marines are afraid of them.
    • Let's go into what exactly goes into making a 'Space Marine' by 40k standards. Your aspirants are usually natives of a Death World and/or a Proud Warrior Race Guy culture ages 10 to 14, and go through extensive trials to whittle it down to the very best of those. Then comes the Super Serum- the gene-seed derived from the children of a Physical God, which alters your very appearance to be more like your Primarch. Then you have many additional organs and bionics gradually implanted, a second heart, a third lung, acid spit glands, and then you begin your combat engagements as a Scout at age 15 the youngest. If you survive those, you then get the Black Carapace, a large skin implant that interfaces with the Powered Armor you just earned the right to wear. All this time you'll receive training in every aspect of military life and activity, and indoctrinated into a fanatical faith in the Emperor, and undergo difficult and deadly initiation rituals, and constantly monitored for any sign of corruption, weakness or disloyalty. If you survive all that? Congratulations, you're now (at least as far as your role on the tabletop) a disposable shield for a heavy weapons team. And if you survive that and have centuries of battle under your belt, you are given the honor of being part of the 1st Company Terminator squads. And you you manage to survive that you are likely to be a Dreadnought, allowed to sleep in a life-sustaining sarcophagus until you are needed to fight in a 20 foot tall walking machine.
    • The actual Imperial Navy tends to use poorly-trained conscripts for both its boarding actions and its defence against the same. They are basically a vast mass of cannon fodder with shotguns designed to shred soldiers while leaving corridors relatively undamaged to fit with the rules about Imperial Navy commanders not being allowed to have anyone useful in ground actions under their direct command. The Space Marines themselves take part in boarding actions generally only when their own ships are involved (the Space Marines are a separate organisation altogether, it's complicated but there is a reason) and as befitting such elite troops, this generally consists of small squads penetrating to the enemy ship's bridge or engines.
    • Battlefleet Gothic gives the Eldar the option to have Aspect Warrior boarding parties. Depending on which Aspect you consider as making up these parties, the options can turn downright scary.
    • The Tau eschew close combat in normal 40k as well as Battlefleet Gothic; whoever they use as marines are pretty bad at it. Except when his name is Shas'la Kais, in which case he's a Walking Death.
      • That being said, the closest they have to a usable boarding party without resorting to Kroot Mercenaries would be the Breacher Teams; they're all intended for the close confines of urban combat, but they are equipped with Pulse Blasters and Pulse Pistols, which would not be out-of-place in a boarding action.
  • Battletech:
    • Dedicated 'space marines' are not really a part of the setting: Most other roles you would typically use space marines for is normally done by Battlemechs instead. All 'mechs are spaceworthy as long as they have a Jump Jet Pack and magnetic soles to attach to ships, and are all-terrain vehicles capable of being dropped onto — and operating in — wilderness areas, on airless moons, on heavy or light worlds, and even underwater. Mechs are used both as special ops forces designed to surgically strike targets prior to the main assault, and as Drop Ship-based frontline troops that secure a beachhead when a new world gets invaded.
    • While space-based boarding actions exist in the lore, generally these tend to involve pirates, mutineers or hostage takers (and those seeking to battle them). Boarding a civilian vessel like a merchant craft or JumpShip involves using BattleMechs with magnetic soles to attach to the outer hull and disabling the engines, and then using shuttles of infantry equipped with shotguns, light laser weapons and hull-cutters to sweep the ship and seal the deal. Boarding actions are not considered part of actual space combat doctrine by either the Inner Sphere or the Clans: Anything that carries external weaponry, like a military DropShip, is generally capable of swatting down boarding parties well before they can touch base, and WarShip combat involves kilometre-long ships shooting at each other from distances where boarding is no longer a viable strategy.
    • Powered Armor gets re-introduced to the setting shortly prior to the Clan Invasion, and begin supplanting regular space-based infantry. The smallest suits weigh in at a little over 200 kg and are hermetically sealed, making them capable of cutting into a ship through the docking bays and bypassing the need for 'mechs and boarding shuttles. They are still little more than chaff to point-defence guns, however, and only used against disabled or civilian targets. Heavy suits of power armour are also used to supplement 'mechs during planetary landings, being big and dangerous enough that they can take on BattleMechs (and things intended to fight BattleMechs) while still almost infantry-sized.
  • Race for the Galaxy, a card based game designed by Thomas Lehmann, has a card entitled Space Marines which displays the most generic view of this trope. The card gives an obvious military bonus.
  • The Prime Directive/Starfleet Universe Strategy game and RPG actually give all the major space empires, like the Federation and the Klingons, Platoons of Space Marines for boarding actions or planetary drops.
  • In Traveller the Third Imperium is famous for the prowess of its marines. They usually wear battlesuits and are trained to "parachute" out of space. They also have esoteric customs like their cutlasses and bagpipes.
  • Starfleet Battles has (almost all) ships equipped with Boarding Parties, which can be used to board other ships or repel boarders, and the Marines optional module adds detailed ground combat (with tanks, heavy weapons squads and even air support and artillery as well) and highly detailed subdivisioning of (most) ships for more 'realistic' boarding actions. It also added many more 'commando' ships, which exist primarily to deliver marines to combat.
  • The cunningly titled Space Marines, published by Fan Tac in 1977.
  • In Tomorrow's War the USMC themselves have jurisdiction over all of the USA's extraterrestrial ground actions. By agreement with the Army who get Earth.
  • Lancer has "Space Marine" as one of many hats the titular mech pilots can wear. Special mention goes to Union's DOJ/HR Liberation Teams, the most hardcore Union strike teams sent to liberate entire planets from tyrannical masters who refuse to respect the Utopian Pillars; as well as Albatross, an anti-pirate knightly order funded by IPS-N to protect their shipping lanes from pirate attacks. IPS-N suits are often created for shipboard action, with the Caliban in particular being closer to a suit of Powered Armor then a Mini-Mecha, designed to clear pirate ships singlehandedly.

    Video Games 
  • Video Games based on the Alien series will, inevitably, have the players assume the role of the iconic Colonial Marines from the second film. Notably in their Rail Shooter trilogy, Alien 3: The Gun, Aliens: Extermination and Aliens: Armageddon.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M. have you playing as one of two members of the titular Armourine Squadron, an elite space marine legion fighting a Bug War.
  • "The Space Marine" is the only name given the hero of the Doom series. Among fans, he's acquired the affectionate nickname of "Doomguy". On his guest appearance in Quake III: Arena, he's known simply as "Doom". In the books, his name is Flynn Taggart. In the movie, he was named John Grimm; apparently id Software's sole insistence for the film was that his first name be "John". In the Doom³ novels by Matthew Costello, he was named John Kane (curiously, this is the same surname as the protagonist of Quake IV). In the Doom RPG mobile games he's given the name BJ/Stan Blazkowicz. Doom (2016) follows the fan tradition for the classic games and nicknames him "The Doom Slayer", which is what Quake Champions calls that version of the character. He doesn't have much characterisation as an actual space marine, but the phrase has gone on to become a shorthand for a certain type of FPS character — see A Space Marine Is You.
  • Cortex Command plays with this a lot. While most of the types of troops in-game are delivered by dropship or rocket pod, and are heavily armed and armored, they're actually extremely heavily engineered to be quite literally brainless. Justified in that the player themselves are brains in bunkers, and control their troops by either directly possessing bodies or giving very simple commands.
  • Halo:
    • John-117, better known by his rank "Master Chief", whose design been quite influential on post-2001 video games. He is one of the very few survivors of the heavily armored and augmented Spartan-II super-soldiers, who are by far humanity's greatest soldiers.
    • There are also the Spartan-IIIs, who are basically low-budget, expendable Spartans. They're still more badass than almost everything else in the galaxy. In Halo: Reach, centered on a team of Spartan-IIIs, Noble Six alongside Spartan-II Jorge-052 really put the "Space" in Space Marine, as they commandeer Sabre Space Fighters engage in space dogfights, and board a Covenant cruiser.
    • It is technically inaccurate to label the Master Chief or any Spartan as a Space Marine; while they have powered armor and advanced training (plus loads of augmentations), they're all actually UNSC naval personnel, making them closer to Navy SEALs. John-117's actual title and military designation is "Master Chief Petty Officer John-117", which makes him an non-commissioned Naval officer. The Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs) better fit this trope, being actual elites within the UNSC Marine Corps; they consider themselves the main rivals to the Spartans, despite being normal humans with unpowered armor. The UNSC's regular Marines themselves sort of count, being the UNSC's main rapid-deployment and expeditionary force.
    • Halo 4 introduced the Spartan-IVs, which, unlike their trained-from-childhood predecessors, are made from adult volunteers, with many of them being, ironically, former ODSTs. They're even more numerous than the IIIs were, with much better equipment to boot (though they're in general less skilled than their predecessors due to a more relaxed selection criteria). Also, the Spartans now have their own separate UNSC branch, meaning they're technically still not Marines.
  • An old arcade game, Isolated Warrior have you playing as one named Captain Max Maverick, who's the Sole Survivor in a battle against hostile aliens. You then spend most of the game kicking all sorts of ass while making your way to the alien overlord.
  • SAR: Search and Rescue, a game that serves as a Whole-Plot Reference to the second Alien film, have you playing as a marine sent to investigate a derelict colony ship only to discover it's infected by an infestation of Xenomorph Xerox monsters.
  • The basic human unit in StarCraft is the Marine. The "lots of big guns" aspect sets it apart from the basic units of the other races, giving it range. Despite all the bulky armour and training and the fact that most of them are Badass convicts that have been brainwashed to risk the life for the force they serve, they happen to be one of the weakest units in the game individually. Goes to show how powerful everything else in the game is. Badass inflation strikes again. It is, however, a testimony to the versatility of the Terran Marines that 'M&M' (Marine and Medic in SC1, Marine and Medivac in SC2) is considered a solid build for most situations and has consistently been a headache to balance against. They're the only cannon fodder in both games with anti-air capability (the Zerg Queen and Protoss Sentry being closer to vehicles and much less expendable).
  • The Red Faction series has armour-suited EDF Drones deployed from Earth to Mars, first landing to provide emergency aid the rebels, later as a tyrannical occupation force. Their design in Red Faction: Guerrilla bears similarities to Halo. They are unusual in being bad-guy Space Marines in a video game.
  • Dead Space: Subverted. The main character, Isaac Clarke, has the armor, weapons, and coolness of a Space Marine... And he's a repairman: his "weapons" are tools for mining and repairs.
    • Although played straight at times in the sequel; Isaac can acquire quite a few suits of armor which qualify (although you can still equip the original one whenever you want). He can also acquire new weapons which can only be military grade.
  • Beyond Good & Evil's hamtacular Double H is something of an Affectionate Parody of the Space Marine (and possibly the Action Hero in general). For one thing, he's the dutiful Sidekick instead of the main character, who is introduced to play James Bondage before anything else. Most of his military-inspired one-liners and battle cries are intentionally So Bad They're Good. He's rather squishy and awkward beneath his grizzled badass facade and Perma-Stubble.
  • Breed sees you as one of the cloned, artificially-created marines fighting the titular alien invaders. You're damn capable at it too, killing legions of Breed mooks throughout the game.
  • Space Trooper is one of the 10 original ring sets available in "zOMG!". Its primary focus is on ranged attacks, and its skills include firing guns, altering its density, and summoning a Beehive Barrier.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness has them. They are the be-all-end-all masters of guns, with the highest HIT affinity in the game (tying with the Game-Breaker Majin classes).
  • One of the major complaints against the 2008 Continuity Reboot Turok game is the conversion of the main character from a colorful Native American Warrior to a generic Space Marine straight outta Aliens.
  • In Gears of War and Gears of War 2 you are veteran marine Marcus Fenix. He wears the trademark bulky armor.
  • Genetic Species by Amiga have you playing as a marine investigating a MegaCorp's Space Base where illicit genetic experiments are being carried out, hence it's title. And expectedly, an outbreak happens leading to you fighting all kinds of monsters the whole game.
  • Gloom (Amiga) sees you as a marine fighting enemies inside a spaceship. The sequel sees you as a marine on a zombie-infested planet and fighting the undead.
  • FreeSpace had them as well, but since it was a space sim, they were relegated to cutscenes and briefing reports on the overall war. The GTA ones appeared to be the only competent ones though, since the versions for any other group seemed to be butchered in any encounter.
  • Commander Shepard, Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams, and Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko in Mass Effect are all Space Marines - although Kaidan, as a combination biotic/tech guy/medic, notably doesn't fit the trope in most respects, and Shepard becomes more like a Space Secret Agent at the start of the game. Applies when you play as a Soldier, Vanguard, or Infiltrator.
    • Though your team in the second game is an even bigger Ragtag Bunch of Misfits than the first, you actually end up boarding more starships, making more rapid insertion operations, and generally behaving more like Space Marines than you do in the first game. Squadmates Zaeed Massani and Jacob Taylor were both ex-Alliance marines before one went mercenary and the other joined Cerberus. You even meet a few Quarian Migrant Fleet Marines including Kal’Reegar. The third game adds Lieutenant James Vega.
    • All human soldiers seen in the game are Space Marines; the codex notes that the army doesn't exist anymore as a separate branch and the Marines are merely a sub-branch of the navy. Appropriately, Powered Armor, Deflector Shields, coilguns several times more powerful than equivalent modern firearms, genetic/cybernetic enhancements, and omni-tools are standard issue among the grunts. Then again, they're standard for everyone else's grunts as well.
    • In Mass Effect: Andromeda, Alec Ryder and his twin son and daughter are all former Alliance marines. Alec was a legendary N7 Special Forces operative just like Shepard in the first three games, while his son and daughter briefly followed his footsteps as marines before all three of them got kicked out. Squadmate Cora Harper was also briefly an Alliance marine biotic shock trooper before being sent on an exchange program to an asari commando squad. She considers herself an asari commando now.
  • Star Trek: Elite Force practically lampshades the aforementioned ineffectiveness of Voyager's security, as its premise is that a group of the best combatants aboard form a special “hazard team” of space marines.
  • In the Star Trek vein, Star Trek Online has several Space Marine organizations.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise's M.A.C.O.s return as one of the anti-Borg organizations alongside the Klingon Honor Guard and despite the ongoing war between both sides, they've teamed up to create an Anti-Borg Task Force called the Omega Force. There's also the Nukara Strikeforce who are another multi-faction task force who deal with Tholian threats and the new Dyson Joint Command, a joint task force led by the Romulan Republic to push back the Voth from the Solaneon Dyson Sphere. Joining these organizations are the majority of End-Game reputation systems (though the M.A.C.O./Honor Guard/Omega Force existed before the reputation mechanic was put in).
    • Commander K'Tek of the Klingon flagship IKS Bortasqu' is basically one of these. His job title is QaS DevwI', or "troop leader", and it entails leading the ship's embarked troops during boarding actions.
  • Star Control 2 features the Orz, whose ships can deploy combat-exosuit-wearing space marines who will board enemy ships to kill their crews.
  • The Half-Life mod Natural Selection features aliens vs. Space Marines, in a cross between first person shooter and real time strategy.
  • In the Wing Commander games some secondary characters are Space Marines.
    • In the add-on "Operation Thor's Hammer", for the original Wing Commander, they provide the force that assassinates the Kilrathi priestess conducting the Sivar Eshrad ceremony on Firekka.
    • In Wing Commander IV, Space Marines of both the Terran Confederation and the Union of Border Worlds play a part in the plot, mostly in regards to boarding ships and stations to (re)capture them for their respective governments.
    • Wing Commander Prophecy: Terran Confederation marines recapture several stations taken over by the Nephilim, and shut down most of the wormhole gate in the final mission, leaving the player to finish the job due to stiff resistance from the bugs preventing further marine penetration of the facility.
  • The Federation Troopers of the Metroid Prime Trilogy. Unfortunately, they most frequently serve as the franchise's requisite Redshirt Army. This is more a matter of the Worf Effect than any inherent weakness. In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, however, they have shown proficiency beyond this role.
  • Ships in Master of Orion 2 got marines on board as a Boarding Party or defenders from the same. Planets can be invaded by troops via Transports and build Barracks for defenders.
  • Onslaught sees you as the captain of a space marine platoon fighting a Bug War on an uninhabited planet.
  • Operation: Matriarchy, where you're a space marine sergeant fending off an alien virus outbreak which converts an entire human colony into hostile, half-mechanical alien bio-weapons.
  • In Star Wars: Battlefront II, not only do you get land battles, but you get space battles. Space battles have two classes: pilots who have little in the way of personal defense and marines who have better weapons than their land analogues. On the other hand, a pilot's starship auto-repairs.
  • Many shipsnote  in the X-Universe series can carry around EVA-capable marines. Player-controlled personnel transports, corvettes, and missile frigates can use them to try and capture other ships - via spacewalking the marines to the other ship or firing them in a boarding pod - The target ship will sometimes be defended by their own marines, or internal turrets
    Betty: A Marine is a simple creature. Feed it and tell it what to do, any many things become possible.
  • Of note are the Republic Commandos featured in Star Wars: Republic Commando. While the standard white armored troopers act like standard infantry, Republic Commandos are equipped with better weapons, custom painted and detailed armor and recieve superior training, as well as distinct personalities, which was considered odd, as they're clones and should be carbon copies of each other. Fighting as a squad with mission support, they more closely fit the trope of classic space marines than the other generic clone troopers. But looking back, this became standard among clones in The Clone Wars television series, which (especially after the first season) has a lot of focus on the clones being this trope, and had The Cameo for Delta Squad.
  • The Delta Squad's lasting influence is felt in the Star Wars: The Old Republic, too, despite that game being set four thousand years further up the timeline. The Republic Trooper class is essentially a space marine, whose storyline is ripe with boarding action, ground action, space action, and lots and lots of Stuff Blowing Up (courtesy of the dedicated demolitions expert companion).
  • Steel Force have you playing as one of the members of the titular squadron, a team of intergalactic marines battling Space Pirates. And then an alien infestation occurs.
  • Every race in Sword of the Stars has some form of power armored marines for boarding actions. Background material for SolForce states that the marines and the army are essentially the same thing, seeing as the game doesn't bother with ground combat.
  • The Karavan of Ryzom, even if they aren't these, still give off this sort of vibe with their advanced technology and godlike weapons.
  • The special ability of the Hoplite Carrier in Space Tyrant is to deploy a squad of these as a Boarding Party, messing with one of the enemy's ships.
  • Every Borderlands game has at least one of the playable characters as basically a former space marine from one of the setting’s corporate militaries.
    • The first and second game feature Roland and Axton, respectively, who both come equipped with deployable auto turrets as their action skill. Roland was a member of the Atlas Corporation’s Crimson Lance, while Axton was a soldier for Dahl.
    • The Pre-Sequel has Athena, who was a former Crimson Lance assassin. She comes with a ballistic shield called Aspis that she can throw like Captain America. The Pre-Sequel takes this trope another step, being set on Pandora’s moon, with the opening cinematic being the Vault Hunters as a Boarding Party coming to the rescue of the Hyperion Helios Station against Dahl’s Lost Legion Marines.
    • Borderlands 3 has Moze, who was a member of the Vladof corporation’s Ursa Corps, which operates the Iron Bear Mini-Mecha. 3 also has the Vault Hunters land on each planet for the first time via Drop Pod.
  • Star Sector allows you to hire marines for combat actions. Most combat actions are raids on starports to steal resources or shut down facilities; in actual naval combat, marines do not participate. Mods exist to include ground combat, allowing you to direct your marines in landing and defense missions on planets, while providing orbital support.

  • Commander Badass in Manly Guys Doing Manly Things is a Navy TiALS (Time, Air, Land, Sea) from a "generic space future" who was genetically engineered to be a tough-as-nails buff soldier type, in order to sell action figures because that's apparently how wars are fought in the future.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Spaceship-to-spaceship combat using boarding parties is still a thing in the 31st century, and the protagonists (including Schlock) have been on both the giving and receiving end of it several times. Many warships have dedicated marine squads, usually equipped with Powered Armor and anti-tank weaponry and capable of taking a ship and its defenses by storm. Due to the prevalence of advanced AI and even more advanced gravitics, however, boarding actions are mostly performed against civilian targets, as surprise attacks, or to capture surviving crew after a warship has been damaged or disabled. Trying to teraport troops into a fully functioning warship will end up with the boarders being gravy gunned into gravy long before they become a threat.
  • In S.S.D.D., many of the characters of the future arcs are marines in the CORE army augmented with cybernetics or Nanomachines and equipped with experimental Powered Armor. When Tessa and Julien find out that their squad is actually going into space for their first time, he references a certain legal action.

    Web Original 
  • Parodied on Duffle Blog.
  • In all of his forms, Iron Manatee is one. A veteran of the Anglo-Chinese Opium Moon Wars, he fights in an armored space-suit, later upgraded to a full suit of Powered Armor with a primitive railgun and diamantine bladed chainsaw.
  • The KSS Marines in Nexus Gate serve as the game's space marines. They guard the Kovolis held space from space pirates and other criminals.
  • In So That Worlds May Align, the military of the Solar Union has the Interstellar Advanced Trooper Corps (the author has said that he specifically wanted to avoid the term "Space Marines") who are stated to be well-trained enough that any one of them is equal to ten standard soldiers.

    Western Animation 
  • In Titan Maximum, Titan Force Five and the military they work for is never openly stated they are in the marines, but they are all given Navel Ranks. Billy's rank is even titled Space Seaman.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The clone troopers got treated as this more and more the further into the series you go; in much of the first season, especially before "Rookies", the clones were mostly grunts who didn't even use cover much like the Mecha-Mooks they fought. Many episodes revolve around this trope as well as The Squad, and they even fight out on the hulls of ships on at least one occasion. A lot of them go on commando style missions, and they hold up well compared to the Jedi, due to teamwork, especially the "ARC troopers" (who are more independent minded clones). Delta Squad, who are this trope first, and clones second, make a cameo, as well as another Republic Commando (who true to the game, is a One-Man Army) in the fifth season. Even more outstanding, is the fact that the lowliest grunt clones can and do get promoted to serve alongside superior types of clones, as happens with Domino Squad becoming ARC troopers. Season 7 introduces the Bad Batch, an experimental group of clone commandos with genetic mutations that set them apart from the rest of the Grand Army. They’re basically Delta Squad expies with Bio-Augmentation, and they get their own spinoff, Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

    Real Life 
  • 23 US Marines have been astronauts, including Colonel John Glenn, the first American to make an orbital flight; as a result, Space Marines have been around, in a very literal sense, almost since the beginning of human spaceflight.
    • Of course, unlike the fictional version, these Marines aren't out to fight anyone (yet), but are used because a Marine is highly likely to be in prime physical condition, which is very necessary for working in space. In comparison, there have been over 80 astronauts from the Air Force (Air Force pilots being similarly held to high standards of fitness and having plenty of training and experience in flying things at very high speeds), but only 15 from the Army (with the Air Force having taken most of the pilot jobs when it split off back in 1947).
    • Thus far none of them flew aboard the Russin Soyuz though. Because a Soyuz descent capsule is kitted with a survival gun, as well as landing retrorockets.
    • This also makes a lot more sense when you realize that performing the equivalent of EVA work is literally the task that makes marines "marines" instead of sailors or infantry. Even the original marines in the Phoenician fleets were the soldiers trained to jump out of the boat and do irregular things like climb onto other boats to engage enemy forces or beach the craft manually in a normally bad landing spot, rather than being trained to operate the ships.
  • SUSTAIN was a project being undertaken by the United States military during the 2000s for the purpose of orbital Marine deployment. Then the financial crash happened in 2008, the Great Recession hit, and military budgets got slashed across the board, leading the Pentagon to abandon the project. The closest analog to fiction is Halo's Helljumpers, but the idea was damn close to having Marines drop in from space. Early in his presidency, Donald Trump stated that he wanted to revive the project under the moniker "Space Force". While the Space Force has been fully created, it doesn't have plans for actual Space Infantry yet. For now they are only ground personnel operating the US' military unmanned space assets, like satellites.
  • NASA has a special forces team, although they are technically law enforcement SWAT personnel dedicated to protecting NASA's ground facilities, and not military in space operations.

Alternative Title(s): Space Marines