I don’t always have the sharpest eye for clothes that are worn by two celebrities but one thing I do notice is when costumes appear in a movie or TV show that I know I’ve seen before. Sometimes it’s when a show is made on the cheap, like Power Rangers. Other times, it’s just something used in the background so there’s an assumption that no one will really notice, as has happened many times on Doctor Who. I’m talking just costumes so something like Robbie the Robot that appeared in The Forbidden Planet and later TV shows like Lost in Space and Twilight Zone aren’t included. Also, TV shows like Star Trek or Once Upon a Time have reused costumes many times but I’m only talking about costumes made for one TV show or movie and then used by a different one later. Here are some of my favorite examples from Star Wars to Starship Troopers.
The Outer Limits/Star Trek
The alien mask used in Outer Limits‘ 1964 episode “Fun and Games” later appeared in the Star Trek episode “The Cage.” The rest of the suit seems to be different but the mask is definitely the same.
Forbidden Planet/Queen of Outer Space/The Time Machine
The gray uniforms worn by the astronauts in 1956’s Forbidden Planet showed up looking the same in 1958’s movie Queen of Outer Space and 1960’s The Time Machine.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Doctor Who
First worn by the King of Hearts in the 1972 movie Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, it later popped up in Doctor Who in 1974. In the first episode for the Fourth Doctor, he tries on several outfits while deciding what kind of person he is. Among his outfits is the same outfit the King wore.
Doctor Who/Blake’s 7
In 1978’s season of Doctor Who, his companion Romana wore the outfit above. The same costume designer worked on another BBC show, Blake’s 7 and outfitted the character Servalan in the same costume in 1979.
The Outer Limits/Mork and Mindy
In the 1964 episode of The Outer Limits “Soldier” (writer Harlan Ellison successfully sued The Terminator for basing its story off of it), actor Michael Ansara plays a time-travelling soldier who wears a unique helmet. The same helmet is later worn by Mork on the 1978-1982 sitcom Mork and Mindy. Best guess is that since both shows were made by ABC, it ended up in the prop room and got reused.
Empire Strikes Back/Doctor Who/First Men on the Moon
In Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back we get a short but notable scene on the bridge of Darth Vader’s ship when he hires bounty hunters to track down the Millenium Falcon. Among them is Bossk, a lizard alien. His outfit was recognizable to some genre fans though. It had appeared on a character in the 1966 Doctor Who story “The Tenth Planet,” the last story to feature the First Doctor and the first appearance of his recurring enemies, the Cybermen. But really savvy fans might have recognized them as the space suits seen in the 1964 movie First Men on the Moon. All of these things were filmed in the UK so was there just a prop store that had one outfit reused a bunch? Not exactly. The suit was actually a real flight suit worn by the Royal Air Force, called the High-Altitude Windak Pressure Suit and used in the 60s. They quickly ended up with costumers who could use them without any modifications.
2001: A Space Odyssey/Babylon 5
Supposedly when director Stanley Kubrick finished making 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, he requested all sets, props and blueprints be destroyed. He did not want to risk a cheap sequel being made. But at least one prop seems to have survived as it appeared in a 1994 episode of Babylon 5. Michael O’Hare plays Jeffrey Sinclair wearing the same astronaut suit from 2001, with some very minor adjustments.
Starship Troopers/Power Rangers Lost Galaxy/Firefly
In 1997’s Starship Troopers, the prop department manufactured hundreds of suits of soldier armor. It was basically the last time movies did something like this because now they can duplicate stuff with CGI. The outfits were used again in Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy in 1999. They weren’t altered at all. Power Rangers is a show made for a pretty low budget so it was probably a handy way to add some value for an affordable rental price. Finally, the uniforms were used in a 2002 episode of Firefly called “The Train Job,” and were very slightly modified to have purple highlights. Their reuse is mentioned on the DVD commentary for the episode. You can notice some bug blood patterns that still remain from their original use.
The Chronicles of Riddick/Doctor Who
In the 2004 movie Chronicles of Riddick, an army of Necromongers wear unique armor. It then popped up with a different helmet but same body armor in the 2013 Doctor Who episode “The Rings of Akhaten.”
BONUS: Wonder Woman/Harry’s Law
In 2011, Adrianne Palicki starred in a Wonder Woman pilot that wasn’t picked up. The episode never aired. But the costume was used by the producer on his next show, a legal drama called Harry’s Law. Actress Erica Durance wore it, and her character had mental issues that made her think she was Wonder Woman.