Follow TV Tropes


Space Opera

Go To

"It'll be fabulous, believe me, Jerry. It's Grapes of Wrath in outer space! Oh, it's got heart, it's got laser battles, it's got a timely message of interstellar poverty—!"
Lorne, Angel, "Life of the Party"

Space Opera refers to works set in a spacefaring civilization, usually set in the far future or A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.... Technology is ubiquitous and secondary to the story. Space opera has an epic character to it: the universe is big, there are usually many sprawling civilizations and empires, there are political conflicts and intrigue. The action will range across part of a solar system at a minimum, and more commonly will extend over large tracts of a galaxy or several. It frequently takes place in a Standard Sci Fi Setting. It has a romantic element which distinguishes it from most hard science fiction: big love stories, epic space battles, oversized heroes and villains, awe-inspiring scenery, and insanely gorgeous men and women.

Historically, it is a development of the Planetary Romance that looks beyond the exotic locations that were imagined for the local solar system in early science fiction (which the hard light of science revealed to be barren and lifeless) out into an infinite universe of imagined exotic locations. Planetary Romance was more or less Heroic Fantasy In Space. While works such as John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs were pure Planetary Romance, Buck Rogers and its imitators had essentially codified the Space Opera concept in the popular imagination by the late 1930s, though the earliest strips took place on an After the End future Earth. (Flash Gordon, at least in the classic Alex Raymond era, remained resolutely Planetary Romance, tied to the planet Mongo.)

Military Science Fiction is another similar genre which may sometimes overlap, but is not quite the same. The main difference is that military science fiction places a greater focus on warfare (and the attendant technology used to fight it), while space opera is epic and places a greater focus on adventure and Melodrama.

Expect to see a dashing hero cavorting around in a Cool Starship, Green Skinned Space Babes, Crystal Spires and Togas civilizations full of Space Elves, Wave Motion Guns capable of dealing an Earth-Shattering Kaboom on a daily basis, and an evil Galactic Empire with a Standard Sci-Fi Fleet, including an entire universe full of beat-up mechanical objects capable of being resurrected with Percussive Maintenance.

Note that this is quite different from the original definition of space opera, which was originally a derogatory term, following "horse opera" (cheap westerns) and "Soap Opera" (so named because soap operas began as hour-long ads for soap), which requires no explanation. The phrase was coined in 1941 by Wilson Tucker to describe what he called "the hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn space-ship yarn". (It's said that before 1975 or so, the only author who ever intentionally set out to write a space opera was Jack Vance, who wrote a novel, Space Opera, literally about an opera company in space.)

Via semantic drift, well-regarded works such as the Lensman series are today held up as prime examples of Space Opera. As more authors and writers came to embrace the style, the term came to lose many of its negative connotations. Assisting that process were writers who regarded all tales of action and adventure in space as bad, and so tried to pejoratively label it all "space opera"; they succeeded with the label, but not with keeping it pejorative.

The ideal space opera, as described by Brian Aldiss, contains most if not all of the following criteria:

  1. The world must be in peril.
  2. There must be a quest.
  3. And a man or woman to meet the mighty hour.
  4. That man or woman must confront aliens and exotic creatures.
  5. Space must flow past the ports like wine from a pitcher.
  6. Blood must rain down the palace steps.
  7. And ships launch out into the louring dark.
  8. There must be a woman or man fairer than the skies.
  9. And a villain darker than a Black Hole.
  10. And all must come right in the end.

Star Wars is inarguably the most famous modern example of space opera. (Indeed, The Empire Strikes Back may have shifted "space opera" from insult to a more neutral genre descriptor, due to the involvement of veteran sf writer Leigh Brackett.) In Star Wars, technology is either magic (the Force) or jazzier versions of today's gadgets (blaster rifles, hovercars, space ships). Any Star Wars character (evil emperor, farmboy, princess) would feel at home in a thick fantasy novel, in part because editor-publisher Lester del Rey derived the "epic fantasy" template partly from Star Wars and partly from The Lord of the Rings, though also because these works borrow from the same source of Jungian imagery.

The genre is useful for long story and character arcs but also expensive to film, unless rendered in animated form, like countless anime series.

Space Opera is defined above all by one thing: hard science will never be allowed to get in the way of storytelling. How exactly the hyperdrive works to jump from planet to planet isn't important. The focus is on the characters and themes of the overarching story. For the same reason, certain common tropes like Planet of Hats and Single-Biome Planet tend to appear frequently in Space Opera (though harder science fiction is by no means immune to them). For storytelling purposes, interstellar civilizations are analogous to countries, and planets analogous to cities. Space Opera is an Earth-sized story lifted onto the galactic scale. The logistical challenges that would actually result from this are safely ignored.

While hard science fiction defines itself in part in opposition to space opera (and vice versa), in recent years, however, there has been a trend towards incorporating hard science fiction elements into space opera, as in Starship Operators, Battlestar Galactica (2003), Firefly and especially Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space Series. In fact, "New Space Opera" has gained some currency as a term referring to works that combine fast-paced adventure plots with some degree of hard SF rigor.

See also Space Western, Two-Fisted Tales, Pulp Magazine, and Wagon Train to the Stars. In many ways, this is the science fiction equivalent of High Fantasy.

Captain Space, Defender of Earth! and the eager young Space Cadet heroically call this trope home and are proud of it.

Note that while many more famous space operas go to the "ideal" side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, more recent ones are harder and more cynical: Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica and Firefly being most prominent in Live-Action TV.

Sadly, there aren't too many actual Operas set IN SPACE! One famous example in the music world, however, is Swedish composer Karl-Birger Blomdahl's Aniara (1959), based on Martinson's poem (1956).

Contrast with Mundane Dogmatic, a 2004-era subgenre of hard science fiction which bans stories about intergalactic travel, extraterrestrials, and faster than light ships.


    open/close all folders 
    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Buck Rogers and its imitator Flash Gordon are the Trope Codifiers, though the former began as an After the End story and only moved into space and the latter originally stayed on the planet Mongo, where Flash, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkoff were stranded. (The story takes place in the present day.) However, the popular image and later iterations of the strip have Flash Gordon adventuring in space. Star Wars began after Lucas failed to obtain the rights to Flash. King Features, realizing their mistake, made the Flash Gordon film after the wild success of Star Wars.
  • The Stars My Degradation, (a parody of the Alfred Bester classic SF novel The Stars My Destination), a cartoon strip that ran in the Sounds music paper in the 1970's-80's:
    Dempster Dingbuster is my name, Sputwang is my nation;
    The depths of space gob in my face,
    The stars, my degradation.

    Fan Works 
  • Sold to the Highest Bidder is a rather dark one of these, covering the political, emotional, and interpersonal complications of an intergalactic slave trade.
  • Earth's Alien History is a collaborative project Mega Crossover between numerous Sci-Fi franchises (including many of the ones listed elsewhere on this page), which quickly expands into a truly massive universe. The Reaper War Arc alone could constitute a full story all on its own, and a spinoff featuring Colony Ships sent to the Andromeda galaxy has begun as well.
  • Hellsister Trilogy features several interplanetary wars in the far future, set off by the ambitions of planet-destroying evil sorcerers and evil gods.

    Films — Animation 
  • Titan A.E. is a space adventure produced by Don Bluth.
  • Treasure Planet is a story of the golden age of piracy moved into a fantastical version of outer space crossed by literal space ships, setting brave heroes and black-hearted villains on a quest for legendary treasure across the gulfs of space.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Fighting Fantasy:
    • Starship Traveller, the first installment in the sci-fi genre, is heavily inspired by Star Trek. You play the captain of the titular starship, who ends up getting sucked into the Seltsian Void, a black hole leading to another universe, and has to travel across planets, meet various alien races, and try to find your way back to Earth before running out of fuel.
    • Rebel Planet: In the future, planet Earth has been conquered by a reptilian race of aliens known as Arcadians, and you need to sabotage the Arcadian's super-computer and help reclaim Earth back for the humans.
    • Star Strider has you playing a bounty hunter from outer space, who have to race against time to save the Earth's president from the hostile Gromulans.
  • The Star Challenge gamebooks series set in 2525, when mankind are capable of travelling across galaxies and forming an alliance known as the "Network of Worlds" with other alien races.


    Live Action TV 
  • Andromeda: Originally created by Gene Roddenberry, pitched by Majel Roddenberry, and steered by Robert Hewitt Wolfe (of Deep Space Nine). It was a Vancouver production and it shows. You'll see the ensemble recycled in other Canadian productions from that era: SG-1, Lexx, etc. These days, it is best remembered for Lexa Doig in tight outfits.
  • Babylon 5: A sort of "five-year miniseries" which rewards multiple viewings. If their direct competitor borrowed from old westerns and war movies, B5 was a space-based Middle Earth meets space Casablanca —but with enough verisimilitude to take those tropes and make it into something you can believe in. It helps that Andreas Katsulas (G'Kar) and Peter Jurasik (Londo) have such a commanding air that pretty much everybody raises their game in their presence.
  • Battlestar Galactica (1978) and Battlestar Galactica (2003) are at opposite ends of the Idealist-Cynic scale. Both had their share of movies and spin-offs.
    • Galactica 1980 is more Family Friendly.
    • Ron D. Moore's ambitious spin-off series, Caprica. During the first season, Moore stuck to his guns about keeping it a family drama, but the last few episodes were so packed with story because the showrunners knew they weren't going to get a second season, and didn't want to leave their open storylines dangling in the wind.
  • Although Doctor Who is not Space Opera in itself, some individual stories make use of the subgenere.
    • "Mission to the Unknown" and the epic twelve-part "The Daleks' Master Plan". Oddly, "Mission to the Unknown", the prelude episode, feels like an Unbuilt Trope version of the sort of stories Star Trek popularised. "Mission to the Unknown" has the Space agent Marc Cory discovering the Dalek plot to invade Earth's solar system, but dies before he can even send a message of warning. Earth's central government, which encompasses the whole system, also has a subtly dystopian feel to it.
    • "The Space Pirates"
    • "Frontier in Space" and "Planet of the Daleks", two interconnected serials which were originally conceived as a single twelve part story like the earlier "The Daleks' Master Plan", though of a very different kind. The Doctor wants to prevent a war between two space empires, while the Master is trying to start one so the Daleks can wipe out both sides once they've exhausted themselves.
    • "Earthshock"
    • "The Caves of Androzani" acts as a Genre Deconstruction of the space opera. Drawing strong influence from Dune, it sees the Doctor caught up in a drug war between rival factions on two sister planets. However, not only is the conflict portrayed as an ignobly brutal case of Black-and-Gray Morality, but the Doctor also tries to stay out of the main conflict to little avail, with his main goal instead being rescuing Peri after he and she accidentally contract a painful and lethal poisoning.
    • The first few seasons of the Revival Series have several notable examples:
    • "World Enough and Time"/"The Doctor Falls": The Doctor, Bill and Nardole are trapped on a spaceship with an army of Cybermen and two versions of the Master. One of them is developing a conscience, the other one really isn't. Time dilation, personal tragedy, dramatic last stands and plenty of explosions are involved.
  • Earth: Final Conflict: Another posthumous series from Gene Roddenberry. The pilot takes place only 3 years after First Contact. What the series captured perfectly, but ignored in later seasons, was that humans had only recently come to terms with an alien race as part of their world.
    • The lead actor was run off the show because the studio felt that it needed to be more episodic. And then they did it again in season five; not a good sign when you have to continually cycle cast members to save money. The tone of the show changed from a sci-fi detective story ("Who are the Taelons and what do they want in exchange for improving Earth") to a Monster of the Week show with very few sci-fi concepts beyond those already established. Sandoval, played by the capable Von Flores, turned out to be the saving grace of the series at that moment, something even the execs could not topple.
  • Farscape: The first few episodes are purposefully cheesy sci-fi, inspired by Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon with some weird muppets and makeup. Then "A Human Reaction" arrives and covertly sets up the story arc that will carry on throughout the entire rest of the series. The addition of Scorpius a few episodes later heightens the drama even further as the war between the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans grew in scale. All with a hefty dose of Mind Screw to keep things from getting too serious.
  • Firefly, which has the unusual distinction of being both a Space Opera and a Horse Opera. However, Firefly is only a borderline Space Opera, as it has no aliens and according to Word of God is set in a universe with no faster-than-light travel (although this is difficult to reconcile with some of the on-screen events).
  • Foundation (2021) adapts the Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series, using elements like cloning and cryogenic stasis to allow for a wider range of main characters, as the books share very, very few characters between stories and eras.
  • Lexx: One of the crewmembers is an escaped sex slave. The ship is a literal dildo. Don't say we didn't warn you.
  • Pandora or so its creators claim. Judging by the first episode, it's more of a teen drama.
  • Power Rangers
    • Power Rangers in Space had begun to drift this way before the season ended. The Rangers spent more and more time in space fighting evil or trying to rescue Zordon, and the villains were slightly more fleshed out than usual, with the apparent main villain being the franchise's first case of Luke, I Am Your Father. Doesn't apply to its Japanese counterpart Denji Sentai Megaranger, which is set on Earth, with the Megaship just orbiting the planet.
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy followed suit (unlike its Japanese counterpart, Seijuu Sentai Gingaman), depicting a human colony ship's season-long journey to a new world. Along the way the Rangers deal with Space Pirates, a ruthless Anti-Hero with a tragic past who ends up sacrificing himself, and the (temporary) death of one of their own.
    • Power Rangers Cosmic Fury is set on various planets across the galaxy as the Rangers work to free the universe from Lord Zedd's reign of terror. There's an eclectic array of locations, from the worm monster-infested desert of Erridus to the lush sentient forest of Levvina. There's palace intrigue to spare at Zedd's castle, high stakes romance subplots for the two official couples, and an ongoing mystery about life, death, and the afterlife (not that they can say so in those exact words.)
  • The Stargate-verse is a borderline example. Technically the center-of-operations is on a single planet (Earth in Stargate SG-1, the Atlantis base in Stargate Atlantis), but with the instant wormholes provided by the Stargate, the bases function like a spaceship or space station in a standard Space Opera, as far as most story purposes go. Both series also have the Big Universe, Big Empires, Big Heroes, and Big Villains elements in spades, and it gets bigger yet once Earth has a space fleet. However, many individual episodes, especially in early seasons, feel more like Planetary Romance. Stargate Universe, the second spin-off, is probably closer to a traditional Space Opera.
  • Star Trek, perhaps the most famous example in television, with its grand tales of interstellar exploration, romance, intrigue, and war. Though there is (some) serious consideration of how technology and science would change society (not surprising, given that creator Gene Roddenberry originally envisioned using the setting to address social issues that could not have been dealt with in a normal drama back in the 60s). Coincidentally, there was in fact a Star Trek Opera performed on stage in New York.
  • The Star Wars live-action shows contribute to the franchise's already vast Expanded Universe. So far they include:
  • Uchu Sentai Kyuranger. Super Sentai often has heroes or villains from outer space but in general, it doesn't fit this trope thanks to being set mostly on Earth. Kyuranger, however, fits neatly into Space Opera. It's set in a future where the villain pretty much rules the entire galaxy. The heroes and heroines comprised of Human Aliens, a wolf-man alien, and robots. It's actually set in space as the protagonists travels the galaxy using their Cool Starship, which also functions as their headquarters, to defeat their enemies.


    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: the backstory and novels put the Soap back in Space Opera.
  • The Cathedral setting in Big Eyes, Small Mouth is intended for this kind of adventure.
  • Bulldogs! is "gritty" space opera. Like Star Wars, it doesn't even try to be scientifically accurate. In a distant galaxy, desperate crews of misfits (the titular Bulldogs), make a living transporting dangerous cargoes on behalf of a Megacorp (often being forced to take on other dangerous/illegal jobs to make ends meet) and may end up saving the day along the way, similar to Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
  • Fading Suns
  • The forgotten board game Imperium was used as a source for some of the Traveller universe. In it, a young and expansionist republic on earth, conquers a Vestigial Empire in space. There are a number of other Space Opera board wargames, but this one is notable for historical reasons.
  • Rifts has the Three Galaxies setting, a Space Opera with the same blend of magic, technology, and plain weirdness as the main setting. As may be expected, it's way way down on the hardness scale, but it has pretty much all the elements of the Standard Sci Fi Setting.
  • Rocket Age only covers our solar system but the epic themes and intrigues of space opera are definitely there. Just replace The Empire with actual Nazis.
  • There was a RPG named Space Opera.
  • Pacesetter's 1980s Star Ace RPG, in the spirit of ''Star Wars', but set in an original universe with fewer mystical undertones.
  • The Star*Drive setting originally made for the Alternity system and later reused for d20 Modern.
  • Paizo's second game, Starfinder is set in the same universe as Pathfinder but advanced thousands of years into the future, with technology and magic being equally ubiquitous among the solar system.
  • Star Frontiers was TSR's attempt to do D&D in a space opera setting.
  • Traveller was the first RPG set in the Space Opera genre, and set the standard for those that followed. It's in the harder end of Space Opera and a lot of work went into the Backstory including fairly realistic science and social science. Traveller is flexible enough that a wide variety of flavors of Space Opera can be played, since the setting is one designed for the telling of stories.
  • Twilight Imperium may as well be the Trope Codifier for space opera board-games. Spice-dealing, trader lions, peaceful turtle-people who smoke weed, living flames put into mechanical bodies, snake-women who have psychic powers; the Twilight Imperium's got it all.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has adventure, battles, intrigue, and fantasy (including Space Elves, Orks, and even Gods), all in a setting where mankind possesses a galaxy-spanning empire with planet-spanning cities and a population in the trillions. However it's also overloaded with about as much cynicism, grimness, and darkness as you can get (hence the common description "grimdark", for which its tagline is the Trope Namer).
  • Coriolis: The Third Horizon mashes up Space Opera with "Arabian Nights" Days and Middle Eastern mythology in general. This ranges from simple terminology (artificial intelligence are 'Jinn', for example), to culture (the titular station Coriolis is akin to the cities of the tales), to the concept of the Icons and Dark Between Stars taking its basics from Zoroastrianism (ie, Cosmology of good and evil) with touches from Islam, particularly an emphasis prayer. (Praying to the Icons is even a game mechanic.)

  • Tsukiuta Stage Act 8: Tsukino Empire features as Space Opera Alternate Universe setting of the Idol Singer series. The Tsukino Empire is the last holdout against an invasion of mysterious beings from beyond the stars. The main characters and their Bond Creatures (aliens who made a Heel–Face Turn and retained their ability to transform into spaceships) are humanity's last hope. SQS Episode 4 and Alivestage Episode 9 also show stories set in this universe.

    Video Games 
  • Advent Rising: You play as the Sole Survivor of a human world that has been destroyed by aliens. Another alien race takes pity on him and helps him develop his latent psychic potential to basically become a demigod and take the fight back to those other aliens who destroyed his homeworld, getting involved in epic space battles all throughout.
  • Asura's Wrath has some of this. It's mixed with South Asian Mythology.
  • Colony Wars
  • Crisis of the Confederation, a Game Mod based on Crusader Kings II, retains the original game's focus on dramatic character actions and interactions and transplants it to an outer-space setting.
  • Crying Suns: you play as a clone of the Empire's most decorated war hero as he fights his way across Imperial space to discover what caused the shutdown of the artificial intelligences that kept the Imperium running. Encounters include Space Pirates, warlords fighting over crumbling fragments of the old civilization, desperate civilians, and people committing heinous acts in the name of survival.
  • Bungie's Destiny is a fairly direct example, set in a distant, fantastical future where intrepid Guardians wielding the power of "The Traveler" seek to reclaim humanity's lost empire from "The Darkness". The creators themselves described the setting as "mythic science fiction" and a "mix of science fiction and fantasy", with the game being something of a throwback to the idealistic High Fantasy roots of the genre.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light is a Rogue Like spaceship simulation game set in a Space Opera-like setting.
  • Galaxy Angel gameverse
  • Gene Troopers, set in a futuristic world populated by humans and aliens alike, where an evil alien race have conquered most of the galaxy. Your human protagonist joins a resistance force consisting of multiple alien folks.
  • GTA Anderius a.k.a Alien City. A very wacky total conversion of San Andreas, although only available in Russian.
  • The Halo series is a blend of this and more conventional Military Science Fiction, with the games mostly set on the exotic and ancient artificial worlds created by the Forerunners, whose own technological feats border on the outright fantastical. Additionally, the franchise as a whole has shown plenty of the intrigue, mystery, and adventure to be had in a multi-species setting spanning the Orion Arm and beyond, filled with Lost Technology and complete with a galaxy-threatening Eldritch Abomination.
  • Infinite Space is the story of a young man who leaves his backwater planet to sail the Sea of Stars. Along the way, he fights Space Pirates, overthrows dictators, and gets pulled into galactic-scale politics and several wars. He winds up saving the universe from higher-dimensional beings who planned to break the whole thing down for spare parts to build a new universe.
  • League of Legends has a noncanon, but official Alternate Universe-based skin line called "Odyssey", which transplants several popular champions into a colorful yet epic Guardians of the Galaxy-type opera, surrounding the galactic pursuit of the mysterious substance named "ora". More specifically, it follows the ragtag crew of the Morning Star and their journey to save the universe from the mad Ordinal Kayn and Rhaast.
  • The Mass Effect series could be seen as putting the Opera back into Space Operas, with lavish and often dreamy environments, exotic cultures, and tales of great personal tragedy. At the same time, it's surpringly hard, is quite serious in tone, and takes place in the relatively near future (2180s to be precise). Like many other newer Space Operas, it also has Lovecraft Lite elements thanks to the series' main antagonists, the Reapers.
  • The Metroid series, although this slides more towards After the End Planetary Romance in the context of individual games. Played straight with Metroid Prime: Hunters and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, as they are the only games in the franchise that internally take place on multiple planets, and the latter shows a bigger interaction with the Galactic Federation.
  • Phantasy Star combines space opera with a healthy dose of fantasy elements. The original Master System/Genesis tetrology fit the category to a T, in particular, but Phantasy Star Universe and Phantasy Star Online 2 also qualify.
  • Ratchet & Clank, a space opera with a hefty dose of Looney Tunes thrown in.
  • Rimworld branched out into this trope with the Royalty DLC, which adds a feudal interplanetary empire that has access to Psychic Powers via "archaeotech" to the gameworld.
  • Sentinel Worlds I: Future Magic can be seen as a spiritual predecessor to Mass Effect: you play as a Badass Crew of a Cool Starship sent to a remote star system to deal with enigmatic space raiders who keep attacking civilian freighters. Along the way, you may get into space dogfights, explore strange planets in an all-terrain vehicle, and blast away enemies on-foot with lasers and other futuristic guns.
  • Starcom: Nexus involves a tiny (but modular) ship encountering a Negative Space Wedgie which transports it to the extremely distant past, where it must help prevent a rogue AI from wiping out all non-human species in the galaxy.
  • The Star Control series started off with a rather bare-bones Space Opera premise - a great war between two groups of alien species - that served only as a backstory for what was essentially a simple arcade game. The sequel took this premise much further, exploring both the history and the aftermath of the war in great detail, and charging the player with liberating the entire human race and its allies from slavery, while also saving the rest of the galaxy from mass genocide. The backstory as presented in-game spans several dozen millennia, and the game itself takes place across an entire quadrant of the Milky Way galaxy.
  • Starfield is essentially The Elder Scrolls and Fallout... IN SPACE!
  • The Star Ocean series, when you aren't exploring underdeveloped planets.
  • Stellaris aesthetically, and tends towards this generally, though the procedurally generated galaxy and/or player intervention for better or worse can make it more utopian or more grimdark.
  • Sunless Skies is an unorthodox example that mixes Space Opera with Gaslamp Fantasy. An immortal Queen Victoria reigns from the city of London, transplanted into space after murdering a sun-god. Steam-powered spacecraft of the Royal Navy wage war against plucky colonists determined to win their independence from the New British Empire. The most popular local form of Applied Phlebotinum is time itself in material form, mined from asteroids and refined in massive Workworlds.
  • Sunrider ticks most of the boxes. The plot involves the crew of a single ship trying to liberate their home planet from a galaxy-conquering tyrant, and getting embroiled in a war between two interstellar superpowers in the process. The main hero is the dashing captain of the aforementioned starship. There’s action, romance, robots, Lost Technology from a bygone era, Space Pirates, and plenty of space battles. The only thing missing is the presence of intelligent aliens.
  • Super Mario Galaxy is a Space Opera WITH MARIO!
  • The Wing Commander franchise, which was conceived by its creator Chris Roberts as being "World War II in space". It also has elements of Top Gun as well (with main character Christopher Blair's [canon] callsign "Maverick" being a direct shout out).
    • Chris Roberts' current project, the MMO game Star Citizen is also an example. Furthermore, it has been conceived as a persistent online universe that's constantly evolving. In addition, there's also its single player campaign "Squadron 42", described as a Spiritual Successor to the above mentioned Wing Commander franchise.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Dune (1984)

Set in the distant future, the film chronicles the conflict between rival noble families as they battle for control of the extremely harsh desert planet Arrakis, also known as "Dune". The planet is the only source of a drug known as "the spice", which allows prescience and is vital to space travel, making it the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe. Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan, in his film debut) is the scion and heir of a powerful noble family, whose inheritance of control over Arrakis brings them into conflict with its former overlords, House Harkonnen.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpaceOpera

Media sources: