Common Items Transformed Into Unrecognizable Props For Their On-Screen Debut - geek spin

Common Items Transformed Into Unrecognizable Props For Their On-Screen Debut

This article was originally published on whythese

Ever wondered why certain elements from certain Sci-Fi movies feel too familiar? You might have dialed it down as some déjà vu, assuring to yourself that you might have seen it somewhere else – like in the trailer for the movie in question or a dream – for instance. There are times when you have secretly wished for what you see on the movie screen to be available in real life, too. For example, hovercars or hoverboards from Back to the Future! This thread recounts the moments when people saw these commonplace, unassuming items they first saw in movies and TV shows but came across them in real life! Naturally, they couldn’t help but share them with the rest of the world. And, yeah, once you notice these behind-the-scenes elements, you’ll never experience a movie the same way again. Have fun looking at some of the innovative, fantastic, and unreal movie props you could potentially find for you’re home.

(Qui)ping it real

Remember the commlink Qui-Gon Jinn used to communicate with Obi-Wan Kenobi when the two of them were not together in Star Wars? It looked pretty sleek with its chrome finish and futuristic look, which suited the whole vibe of the BBY Galactic Republic.

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It turns out it’s nothing but a Gillette women’s razor from the ’90s. It was marketed to have a soft, non-slip grip, and once the blades are removed and given a good coating of chrome paint, even a skilled Jedi can be tricked into thinking it’s real.

Everybody wants to be like Mike

Ask anyone who their favorite superhero is, and most of the time, the answer is quite apparent. It’s Batman. Not everyone can relate to Bruce Wayne with his playboy billionaire schtick, but it’s tough to find anybody who doesn’t want to be the caped crusader.

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Michael Keaton, who starred in The Batman Returns, is a fan favorite. What’s more interesting is the fact that Batsy’s boots are repurposed Air Jordan 6’s with glued-on foam and the tips extended. What a way to merge his trademark shoe with the world’s greatest detective.

“This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight”

Star Wars will forever be an eternal phenomenon. Ever since A New Hope premiered in 1977, it has continued to rise in popularity, making its cast legendary. There might be a few who don’t know who Luke Skywalker is, but the millions that do balances it out.

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This has become one of the most sought-after props in movie history of all time. But not everyone knows that this is made out of a flash handle from a Graflex 3 vintage camera. You know, the kind of old-time cameras with a big flash from the ‘40s?

“Compassion – the one thing Michael Myers never had”

John Carpenter’s horror masterpiece Halloween was a sleeper hit. They made it on a low budget of 300,000 dollars, and it went on to earn 200 times as much in box office collections during its run. The character of Michael Myers is what put the film on the top.

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Due to budgeting, the production designer had to use a William Shatner mask as a prop. He widened the eye holes and gave it a ghostly bluish-white paint job to make it really spooky. Well, that’s one thing that turned out well.

Bolt cutter pro max

Among Sci-Fi TV series with an action-thriller twist, Alias has a special place in film and TV show history. With its own band of devoted fans, it has claimed the top spot in many lists, and it put the lead actor, Jennifer Garner, on the map.

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In one episode, she uses a high-tech utensil to cut through a wire fence like butter. A closer inspection of this item reveals that this is a torch used to caramelize the sugar on crème brûlées. It looks really cool, though.

High sugar isn’t only bad for your body…

The chances of you knowing about the Resident Evil movie series are pretty high. Developed from the Capcom series of games, they have been around for more than a decade, and the lead actress, Mila Jovovich, isn’t someone you can forget quite easily.

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The movie series has performed well, even with a few negative reviews. It also encompassed some unique props along the way, like this access code transmitter they used to gain entry, which happens to be a glucose meter with an antenna.

The fleek is strong with this one

We read about the real history behind Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber, and now, we’ll be looking at something equally memorable. Who can forget the all-white getup of Luke’s ensemble while he was in Tatooine? It is a special outfit among cosplayers and collectors alike.

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Who knew that something as iconic as that outfit had a very humble beginning? Luke’s genre-defining slacks happened to be a pair of Levi’s blue jeans that were bleached to the point of being off-white and the back pockets removed. Less is more!

What a way to TIE in two franchises

Jim Henson, the beloved creator of the Muppets and an American cultural icon, was also the mastermind behind the cult classic, The Dark Crystal. Although it’s a far cry from his bubbly creations, such as Kermit and Miss Piggy, it’s quite popular among its fans.

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In the 1982 Dark Crystal movie, you might remember Skektek, the scientist. One of the eyes in the Skektek animatronic happens to be a TIE Fighter die-cast from Star Wars. Now, that’s one interesting way to use your everyday toys. We say that it’s quite innovative!

Nanny Cam: If (uni)d to keep your eye on the (ball)

Who can forget the brilliant comedy that is Meet the Parents? From Greg’s weird name, milking the cat, and all the wedding shenanigans, they are plenty of memorable moments. It was followed by a sequel called Meet the Fockers, which was also successful.

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In the movie, Jack Byrnes, who loves using his former CIA tactics, uses a nanny cam that is so well hidden to spy on Greg because he has trust issues. The hidden camera is actually a pen cap from a uni-ball pen.

Close enough

Not many of us remember the TV series Zoo, which was based on a novel by James Patterson. The plot was about a group of diverse professionals tasked with investigating the strange global outbreak of violent animal attacks on humans.

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In one of the episodes, there was a specific shot of a leopard cub. Since leopards are endangered animals, they somehow managed to pass off a Serval as a leopard cub. It kind of works, but if you’re an animal lover, it’s easy to spot.

It’s totally a futuristic computer!

Mutant X! Ah, that’s one name we haven’t heard in ages. If your mind wanders towards X-Men, you’re not entirely in the wrong there. The story revolves around Mutant X, a group of “new mutants” with superhuman abilities thanks to genetic engineering.

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In one of the episodes, one of the leads, Jesse Kilmartin, is seen using this highly technical gadget. Out of sheer coincidence, a user identified the gadget as a compact eyeshadow palette because they used to have one since high school!

German engineering is universal

The Mandalorian took the world by storm. The adventures of the renowned bounty hunter Din Djarin and his young ward, the child was quickly embraced by millions of fans all over the world. We can’t wait to see the third season.

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In episode two of the first season, the Mandalorian runs into some Jawas who stripped his ship for parts. In one of the parts, one of them the Jawas are handling was identified by a fan as a fuel injection rail which is used in Volkswagens.

Cargo space? It sure does

The Expanse has the rare distinction of handling themes of science fiction and political narratives quite well, which is evident by the critical acclaim it has received over the years. As a TV series, it has some masterful visuals, and the character development is quite noteworthy.

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In one of the episodes, a cryo chamber which is used for the character Mei Meng is shown. While it looks like it was specially designed for this, in reality, it’s a cargo box (Thule 624) that was repurposed for this show.

As long as it looks out of this world

The Star Wars fever was reignited with the release of The Phantom Menace in 1999. Fans were once again taken on a journey to see the inner workings of the Galactic Republic they loved as kids. No wonder it became such a huge hit.

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As the movie explores Anakin’s background, we’re shown how tech-savvy the kid really is. In one particular scene, when Anakin is working on C3PO, the audience sees a familiar tool. It’s not some space-age tool, but a dog toy painted silver, as one fan identified.

Vista would have suited the garbage setting more

Joss Whedon may have his faults, but he definitely gave the world a taste of his genius with Firefly and The Avengers (2012). Firefly still remains a solid favorite among fans. Sadly, it was canceled too soon for some reason.

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In this particular episode, the plot is based on dealing with an automated trash bin. The episode is also named Trash. The system is seen running Windows 2000, another fan favorite in the same breath as Windows XP Service Pack.

As long as it works

Remember the novel Swiss Family Robinson? It’s about a family who gets stranded on an island after a shipwreck. It was then reimagined in space for a TV series in 1965 called Lost in Space and was reimagined again in 2018 for a Netflix series.

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The Netflix series proved to be quite popular among viewers. In this image, you can see a military crew member wearing high-tech body armor. That body armor is actually a foam vest commonly worn by Airsoft players. That’s pretty neat.

It certainly does look the part

Lost was a real phenomenon when it aired all those years ago. It was a TV series that was considered a good blend of science fiction and supernatural elements with a stellar cast and good writing, which in itself is quite a rare thing.

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Dr. Daniel Faraday, who is a character portrayed by Jeremy Davies, is seen wearing a gadget called a GPS transponder in one of the episodes. Actually, these neat-looking things happen to be an emergency car tool with multi-function options.

Well that’s a face you can get behind

Remember the battle on the forest moon of Endor? Who doesn’t! That’s when we were first introduced to Ewoks. Also, this is where Warwick Davis, the beloved English actor who played Ewok Wicket, got his big break. Return of the Jedi was truly something else.

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Endor, being a forest moon, is home to quite a number of alien creatures. The prop designers really thought outside of the box when they decided on this creature. They attached eyes and teeth to a deer “behind.” Creativity really can come from anywhere.


Doctor Who is as British as it gets. It is an important part of British popular culture and has entertained people for more than 50 years. The doctors are the most memorable characters, but their contrasting villains are not far behind.

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When you think of Doctor Who villains, there are the Daleks, and there are the Cybermen. Both are iconic in their way. To get the cybernetic vibe, these particular cybermen are wearing cricket gloves. Cover them with chrome paint, and no one can tell the difference.

Watch and learn

You have to be a true ‘70s or an ‘80s kid if you enjoyed the Last Starfighter when it came out. It is a space opera film just like Star War, and it’s actually one of the first films to use CGI!

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In one of the scenes, a universal translator device is attached to Alex’s collar. By using this, he can understand the alien languages. It looks very official, but it’s actually a circuit board from a Seiko LCD watch. Innovation at its best!

Knights of Ren(ovation)

Even though the sequel series doesn’t hold up to the pure majesty of the original trilogy, it does have its memorable moments. Kylo Ren is a strong contender for that. Plus, his entourage of bodyguards in Knights of Ren was also unique, even though they didn’t have much screen time.

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One really eagle-eyed fan noticed that the prop grenades that one of the knights (Identified as Ushar) was carrying were all too familiar. It turns out that these grenades are made from the grill-like parts present in echo mic toys for kids.


Those who love building models know how good Tamiya products are. This Japanese manufacturer is one of the best when it comes to plastic model kits, sailboat models, and various supply tools and paints. The joy of building a Tamiya model is unlike any other.

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This is why we think the designing team behind the T-800 model Terminator are also fans of Tamiya. They incorporated a gearbox that is part of the special racing buggy (SRB) into a circuit in the Terminator’s head. Now, how cool and creative is that?

The panels seem quite familiar

An intergalactic ark is fleeing a terrible plague on Earth. It’s attacked by a new threat, a shape-shifting alien, and its intent on destroying what’s left of humanity. That’s the synopsis of the movie Breach. We won’t judge you if you decide to skip this movie.

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This particular scene you see here is from the cryo bay. If the high-tech, futuristic-looking paneling looks eerily similar, you’re not alone. These are the styrofoam blocks used for packaging in TV boxes. You know, the kind which keeps the TV in place and safe?

Guess it supports Flash

After the CW had a hit on their hands with Arrow, they moved on with The Flash. It turned out to be a great decision because the fans went crazy over it. Moreover, it is a flagship series of CW, along with Supergirl.

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Flash has a great supporting cast and among them is the mechanical engineer, Cisco. Being a genius, he creates all these new inventions. The holocube is a good example. It’s actually made from a fisheye lens that is stuck to a projector.

As long as they get the job done

Remember the Doom movie? The one with the Rock and Karl Urban, we mean. It might have had its faults, but that first-person shootout was really gratifying. On the other hand, Karl Urban’s presence there actually saved the day, in a way.

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However, Doom: Annihilation is not a sequel to the 2005 movie. It’s actually a reboot. Most importantly, it included an ingenious use of props that can be seen in a Sci-Fi movie. They glued two phone covers onto a hatch to make it more advanced-looking.

We will not be responsible for any chocolate cravings

Sigourney Weaver became the undisputed queen of Sci-Fi with her role in the Alien movies. Her portrayal of Ellen Ripley as the rebel female lead was lacking in the movie scene for the longest time. As a result, those two movies are highly regarded to this day.

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The fourth installment of the Alien franchise – Alien: Resurrections – is set 200 years in the future. In one scene, we see a crew member using a control device. If you look closely, you can identify it as the handheld game “Lights Out.”

Calculated risk

1990s science fiction movie Total Recall follows a construction worker (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) who becomes engaged in spycraft on Mars and is unable to figure out whether his experiences are real or the effect of a memory plant.

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In one scene, the Mars colony dome cracks. Because of the vacuum it creates, people try to hold onto something. You can actually see a calculator in the hand of a soldier, which passes off as a high-tech communicator.

All you need is your imagination

Darth Vader summoned this bounty hunter and assassin droid named IG-88B onboard the Executor Dreadnought in his pursuit for the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. Most of us tend to confuse him with the IG-11 model found in The Mandalorian.

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Firstly, we have to admire the creative process that went on here. Secondly, how imaginative can one be to see something like this and go, “Hey, that’s a robot’s head!” IG-88B’s head is a combustion chamber from a Derwent engine made by Rolls Royce.

What are the odds of that happening?

We almost always get confused with these two titles. Firstly, they’re both Modern Warfare installments. Secondly, both have fan favorites. But this is actually a reboot of sorts. The gameplay happens to be much darker and grittier than the previous games.

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But, at the end of the day, these can be enjoyed as FPS games. But, what are the odds of finding the exact model of a flash drive that you own in the game you’re playing? Slim, at best. That’s what happened to this fan.

Z Nation

When you speak about zombie-related media, you can’t forget The Walking Dead TV series. Similarly, there are hundreds of movies. Some are great, while others are on the fence. In the same vein, if we don’t talk about Z Nation, it’ll be a shame.

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Z Nation had everything – comedy, action, drama, and horror all in a post-apocalyptic setting with zombies. That’s a handful. Also, they had great props. In one episode, we see a makeshift radio. The mike on it is a hot air intake part from a hairdryer.

Here’s a small tip on how to handle crowds

Ah! That podracing scene in Phantom Menace was really something. To those who don’t know, podracing was a deadly racing event in the Star Wars universe in which repulsor crafts known as podracers, which were a small, one-man craft propelled by massive motors, competed against one another.

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Like the Formula 1 and Daytona 500, these races are hugely popular and draw massive crowds. So, the set designers wanted to simulate large crowds. What they did was paint and insert almost 450,000 Q-Tips into a wire mesh. To simulate movement, the blew fans from underneath.

Now that’s creative!

Mandalorian season 2 was a class of its own. There are three main things. Firstly, seeing Boba Fett’s armor for the first time. Secondly, seeing Timothy Olyphant killing it as Cobb Vanth. And thirdly, the Tusken Raiders and the krayt dragon. All in all, it was awesome!

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Some of you might remember the desert scene where Cobb Vanth plans the mission with Mando and the Tusken Raiders. One of them hands Cobb a drink in what looks like a fancy cup. As it turns out, it’s actually a sea urchin shell!

No one does gadgets like Q

“The name’s Bond, James Bond.” Most people will recognize this classic line. Before Daniel Craig added a bit of realism into the series, 007 was all about the gadgets and the women – Alligator Submarine, Laserbeam Polaroid, and the Identigraph to name a few.

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In the movie, The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond, played by Sir Roger Moore, gets a message to his watch, which then gets printed out. If you look closely, you will notice that the high-tech message is actually a silver-painted Dymo label.

Cradle for the child

He’s called the child by Mando – Grogu by Ahsoka Tano. However, he is Baby Yoda to most of us still. Whatever he is called, there is no denying the fact that the little one stole our hearts. He’s the breakout star that we all needed.

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It’s hard to miss how much Mando loves Grogu. Also, the compartment Grogu is in is called a mermite can. It is used by the military to store hot and cold food for front-line troops. It is as heavy as it looks.

As fancy as it can get

Marvel does an exceptional job when it comes to casting actors for their movies. Just look at Robert Downey Jr. Can you imagine anyone else as Iron Man at this point? Also, when it came to the celestials too, they scored big time with the casting.

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The talented Benecio del Toro is the collector. He really brought the eccentric character to life. It might be a very small scene, but in the end credits, he’s seen drinking a martini from a fancy cup. It’s actually an ice cream bowl called “Big Love” by Alessi.

What’s the difference?

The Back to the Future movies really took the world by storm. We think it’s because of the perfect cast, quality writing, and even greater acting. When looking at Marty and Doc Brown, you know that we make a good point.

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One eagle-eyed fan noted that it looked familiar in one of the scenes where Doc Brown is telling Marty about the Mr. Fusion engine in the DeLorean. They were right, and it is actually a repurposed Krups coffee machine.

That’s awfully clever

We remember that funny SNL sketch they showed about Kylo Ren. Most importantly, who knew Adam Driver had such good comedic chops? He was excellent, and above all, had great comedic timing. It happens to be one of our favorite SNL segments.

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In the empire, the ranking officials have their rank displayed on a pin. It’s pinned to the left side of the chest. Since the real thing was quite expensive online, the costume designer had the bright idea of going ahead with a pack of gum instead. Brilliant!


Stargate SG 1, the perfect follow-up to an equally perfect science fiction movie. It begins a year after the events of the movie. The US Government is now aware of the existence of stargates that allow for interplanetary travel.

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In one scene, Jack O’Neil, portrayed by Richard Dean Anderson, is examined by a doctor. The doctor places a futuristic-looking device close to his temple. If you look closely, you can see that it’s just a nose and ear hair trimmer. It’s a genius use of props!

Even the name sounds futuristic

Zack Snyder as a director has some great style. Just take a gander at the movie Watchmen. Even though there are disputes with the creator Alan Moore, the movie is actually great. The TV series exceeds all expectations. In conclusion, it’s great storytelling.

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One of the scenes in the TV series happens inside an interrogation room. We see a very advanced-looking remote being used. But, it’s not something that’s made just for this TV series. It’s a Dyson fan controller. In other words, Dyson appliances do look the part!

Dual function

It’s incredibly fascinating to get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in another sector, particularly in a TV show like The Expanse. People work so hard on their own projects that we rarely see the efforts of other departments such as cosmetics, props, and so on.

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The best example would be this gadget. For a second there, they really made us think that they built a scanner from scratch. Nope. They used their imagination. This is actually a mosquito repeller. So in a way, it scans and protects.

Sci-Fi is finally letting techonology catch up to it

Science fiction focuses on the possibilities and effects of new technological ideas. Authors have taken new breakthroughs and technologies and built on what they may be and how they could be used. This is something that goes both ways.

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Look at this example. Fitbits are quite common electrical appliances in this day and age. But, during the time of the early Resident Evil movies, as you can see here, they happened to be the peak in technology. Amazing, isn’t it?

Creative thinking

Remember Bones? Each episode of this hit TV show is built on forensic anthropology and archaeology, with each episode focusing on an FBI case, including the riddle around human remains. It really got us interested in forensics, not going to lie.

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In one of the episodes, we see something called an FBI dexterity test. In other words, it happens to be a game called perfection that’s arranged sideways—figures as to why they would use it. For example, the ticking sounds can play your nerves in a way.

Destiny 2

Players step into the role of a Guardian, defenders of Earth’s last safe city, holding a power known as Light to guard humanity against many alien races while also battling the approaching danger of the Darkness. This is why Destiny 2 appeals to many.

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But, this has not stopped them from repurposing. For example, one user saw that the cinder pinion gauntlets in their character’s armor looked familiar. Well, it was because the design is taken from a headset, as you can clearly see here.

Recycling and upcycling

Most of us remember the original Mad Max movies starring Mel Gibson. They were in a class of their own. Meanwhile, there’s the fourth installment which came in 2015, which starred Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, two powerhouses of their own regard.

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Max Rockatansky is introduced to us in chains and with a leash of sorts around his face. You know, the kind of extreme braces you’ve probably seen in horror movies? It turns out that it’s made out of a common garden fork because almost everything the producers used was recycled.