The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (2024)

Every great story needs a great setting. For years, viewers have turned to television and film to find escape in fictional worlds. Some of the best film and TV universes feature meticulous world-building, detailed lore, and colorful characters, whether fantastical, futuristic, dystopian, or even suburban. Audiences can’t help but feel immersed and a part of these worlds, often wishing they were real and could visit them.

1 of 20

The Wizarding World, 'Harry Potter'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (1)

Warner Bros.

The Wizarding World featured in the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies is one of the most expansive and magical and has everyone wishing they were a wizard and could attend Hogwarts. With magical creatures, wands and spells, flying cars, and more, The Wizarding World is rich with imagination and wonder. Whether it’s Harry’s adventures with Ron and Hermione or Newt Scamander visiting New York, it has captured the hearts of muggles everywhere.

2 of 20

Pandora, 'Avatar'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (2)

20th Century Studios

James Cameron brought the visually stunning world of Pandora to life in Avatar, the highest-grossing movie of all time. Pandora is a habitable moon full of natural resources and home to the Na’vi. When Jake Sully visits Pandora and becomes one of the Na’vi, he is immersed in their culture and way of life. Pandora is full of natural wonders, exotic plants, and creatures, as well as different Na’vi clans who live in different environments. Pandora is a wonder on the big screen.

3 of 20

Panem, 'The Hunger Games'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (3)


In one of the rarer examples of a fictional world you probably wouldn’t want to visit, the nation of Panem in The Hunger Games is fascinating and spectacular nonetheless. Panem is divided into twelve war-torn districts and is under dictatorship by the wealthy and greedy Capitol. This dystopian world offers a timely and thought-provoking exploration into power and humanity, elevated by the excess of the Capitol versus the poverty in the districts, as well as the games themselves.

4 of 20

Middle-earth, 'The Lord of the Rings'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (4)

New Line Cinema

Cinema and literature are full of magical worlds, but none so elaborate and fantastical as Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien spent most of his life crafting the layered mythological world, which laid the foundation for the many fantasy stories that would follow. Middle-earth is grand in scale, from the Shire and Mordor to the Misty Mountains and Rivendell. Featuring hobbits, elves, dwarves, and more, Tolkien’s attention to detail is unmatched.

5 of 20

Westeros, 'Game of Thrones'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (5)


George R.R. Martin’s medieval and political Westeros is the epic setting for one of the biggest shows of all time, Game of Thrones. Made up of the Seven Kingdoms, Westeros is a vast and dangerous playground for the violence and power play that takes place in the series. As the kingdoms battle for the Iron Throne, viewers are taken beyond the Wall and are met by White Walkers, tyrannical royals, and dragons. The prequel series House of the Dragon further delves into the brutal history of Westeros.

6 of 20

Neverland, 'Peter Pan'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (6)


J.M. Barrie’s magical world of Neverland has been brought to life countless times in film and television and through very different interpretations. The most famous adaptation is undoubtedly Disney’s animated Peter Pan, which features characters like Peter, Wendy, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell, and the Lost Boys. Neverland is a place where you never grow up and is full of whimsical wonders like mermaids, hungry crocodiles, fearsome pirates, and much more.

7 of 20

Wonderland, 'Alice in Wonderland'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (7)


Along with Neverland, Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland is another fictional world that has been translated to the screen time after time again. Disney’s animated take is the most iconic, and the one audiences associate the story with the most. Carroll’s dreamy world is wonderfully bizarre and utterly creative, with everything from talking flowers and mad tea parties to Cheshire cats and hookah-smoking caterpillars.

8 of 20

Oz, 'The Wizard of Oz'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (8)

Warner Bros.

L. Frank Baum’s original novel is a children’s classic, but the 1939 adaptation of The Wizard of Oztruly transported viewers to Oz, making sure they knew they weren’t in Kansas anymore. When Dorothy is whisked away to Oz, she finds herself lost in the magical land, with the gleaming Emerald City at its center. Oz presents important morals through characters, including the Scarecrow, who wants a brain, The Tin Man, who wants a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, who wants courage.

9 of 20

A Galaxy Far, Far Away, 'Star Wars'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (9)

Lucasfilm, Disney

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” is one of the most legendary lines in cinematic history, launching the opening crawl at the start of every Star Wars movie. George Lucas’ galactic world is one of the most extensive and singular sci-fi settings of all time and has become a staple of pop culture. As the Jedi continuously fight against the Empire, the character’s adventures take them from Tatooine to Endor, and they encounter jawas, droids, porgs, and more.

10 of 20

Gotham, 'Batman'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (10)

Warner Bros., DC

Gotham City, the crime-ridden backdrop for the trials and tribulations of Bruce Wayne/Batman, is one of the most popular superhero settings, with the versatility to be presented in different ways stylistically. Whether it’s Christopher Nolan’s gritty and modern take on the city or Tim Burton’s more spooky and comical vision, Gotham always presents the perfect playground for the caped crusader, as well as some of the best comic book villains, including the Joker, the Riddler and the Penguin.

11 of 20

Wakanda, 'Black Panther'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (11)

Marvel, Disney

Wakanda is the technically advanced fictional African country in Black Panther, where King T’Challa rules. It is the only home of the element vibranium, which the Wakandans use to create clothes, weapons, structures and other technology. It makes Wakanda one of the most powerful nations on Earth, as well as a common target. Wakanda is a visceral Afrofuturist blend of sci-fi and traditional African culture that is also rooted in mythology and spirituality, making it one of the most fascinating locations in the MCU.

12 of 20

Camelot, 'Merlin'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (12)


Inspired by the history of the Middle Ages and associated with the Arthurian legend, Camelot is perhaps the most prominent and influential medieval kingdom to ever appear in literature and film. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are consistently popular subjects in storytelling — as well as Merlin, perhaps the most famous wizard ever besides Harry Potter. The kingdom of Camelot is home to nobility, chivalry, romance, mythology, and grand adventure.

13 of 20

Narnia, 'The Chronicles of Narnia'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (13)


Along with Tolkien’s Middle-earth, C.S. Lewis’ Narnia is the other literary fantastical world that is the most imaginatively rich and detailed. When siblings Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy enter their wardrobe, they discover the alternate world of Narnia, where Kings and Queens rule and magic is afoot. Narnia is made up of several countries, lands, and mythological creatures, and Lewis uses religious symbolism and themes, particularly from Christianity, to enrich his fantasy.

14 of 20

Springfield, 'The Simpsons'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (14)


Though it may not be fantastical or futuristic, the suburban city of Springfield from The Simpsons is one of the most notable television settings of all time. Home to Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, Springfield has many unique and eccentric characters, from Krusty the Clown and Ned Flanders to Mr. Burns and Sideshow Bob. It also plays host to several iconic locations, including the Kwik-E-Mart and Moe’s Tavern. Springfield works superbly as a comedic and satirical reflection of modern America.

15 of 20

Bikini Bottom, 'SpongeBob SquarePants'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (15)

Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon

Bikini Bottom is the underwater city where a certain sea sponge lives in a pineapple. The aquatic world of SpongeBob SquarePants is always a whimsical delight to visit, whether SpongeBob is completing a shift at the Krusty Krab or trying to get his boating license. Bikini Bottom features hilariously absurd world-building, from Patrick living under a rock to Mr. Krabs having a whale as a daughter. It’s always a thrill to see Plankton try to steal the Krabby Patty formula or SpongeBob drain the life out of Squidward.

16 of 20

Randland, 'The Wheel of Time'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (16)

Prime Video

One of the more recent settings that stands out in the fantasy genre is Randland from The Wheel of Time books, adapted into a Prime Video television series starring Rosamund Pike. Randland, a name adopted by fans and derived from the main character Rand Al’thor, features multiple nations inspired by real cultures worldwide. It is an intelligent mix of history and mythology with more than enough originality to feel distinctive.

17 of 20

Arrakis, 'Dune'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (17)

Warner Bros.

Frank Herbert’s Dune is the very definition of "epic," and his sci-fi opera is set in the equally epic world of Arrakis. Arrakis is the desert planet where the majority of the story takes place. It is the main source of spice that is used for space travel and is home to many large sandworms. The visually unique and arresting world was brought to life in Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 film adaptation, immersing audiences through stylistic cinematography, production design, music, and sound.

18 of 20

Berk, 'How to Train Your Dragon'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (18)


DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon has become one of the most beloved animated films ever and is set in the fictional Viking village of Berk. Full of intriguing geological landforms, including cliffs, rocks, beaches, forests, and caverns, Berk is vast and the perfect place for an adventure. Aside from the Vikings, Berk is also home to many different dragons, including Toothless the Night Fury. Berk once feared and hunted dragons, but they eventually live in harmony amongst the Vikings.

19 of 20

Asgard, 'Thor'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (19)

Marvel, Disney

In Nordic mythology, Asgard is a primary location associated with the gods. However, the most famous iteration of the planetary body is depicted in the Thor films as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the Nine Realms, Asgard is home to the Asgardians, including rulers Thor and Odin, as well as the God of Mischief, Loki. Asgard is saturated in gold and regality, and one of its most visually striking elements is the Bifröst, the rainbow bridge that connects Earth to Asgard.

20 of 20

Atlantis, 'Aquaman'

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (20)

Warner Bros., DC

The legend of Atlantis refers to the lost city, now underwater, that was once a utopia and advanced civilization. Atlantis has been the setting for many films, including Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire. However, one of the more recent portrayals of the city is featured in Aquaman. In the DC Universe, Atlantis is a lavish and lush underwater kingdom ruled by Arthur Curry. It is one of the more unique depictions, as Atlanteans live amongst various creatures, and even features a bongo-drumming octopus.

Alyssa De Leo is a freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia. She has studied both media and screenwriting, and has had her work screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival. She loves writing about film and television just as much as she loves creating her own projects and stories.

The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV (2024)


The 20 best fictional worlds in film and TV? ›

A famous example of a detailed fictional universe is Arda (more popularly known as Middle-earth), of J. R. R. Tolkien's books The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion.

What is the most detailed fictional world? ›

A famous example of a detailed fictional universe is Arda (more popularly known as Middle-earth), of J. R. R. Tolkien's books The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion.

Who is the biggest character in all of fiction? ›

Tallest Characters
  • Exitar the Exterminator. This huge Celestial stands 20000 feet tall and can increase his size to match that of Earth.
  • Arishem the Judge. 2000 feet tall.
  • Surtur. 1000 feet tall.
  • Ymir. 1000 feet tall.
  • Metroplex. 698 feet.
  • Godzilla. 400 feet.
  • Trigon.
  • Anti-Monitor.

Who is the strongest fictional character in fiction? ›

Saitama is regarded as one of the most powerful fictional beings ever. It's nearly impossible to defeat him, especially when he can end most fights with one punch or blow; hence, he is known as the One-Punch Man.

Who is the most famous fictional characters in the world? ›

The 100 Most Iconic Fictional Characters
  • Mickey Mouse (1928) Created by Walt Disney and Ub works for Steamboat Willie.
  • Superman (1938) Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster for Action Comics #1 and DC Comics.
  • James Bond (1953) Created by Ian Fleming for novel Casino Royale.

Who is the most beautiful fictional character? ›

Who Is the Most Beautiful Fictional Character?
  • Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings. ...
  • Mademoiselle Ortie / Elodie Tihange · CC BY-SA 4.0. ...
  • C. E. Brock · Public domain. ...
  • Arrietty from The Borrowers. ...
  • Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings. ...
  • Juliet Capulet from Romeo and Juliet. ...
  • Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games.

Which is the best fantasy world? ›

Best Fantasy World
  • The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) ...
  • The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) ...
  • The Hobbit (The Lord of the Rings, #0) ...
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia, #1-7) ...
  • The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1) ...
  • The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)

What was the first fictional world? ›

One of the earliest examples of a fictional world is Dante's Divine Comedy, with the BBC's Dante 2021 series describing it as "the first virtual reality". The creation of literary fictional worlds was first examined by fantasy authors such as George MacDonald, J. R. R. Tolkien, Lord Dunsany, Dorothy L.

Which fictional universe is most searched for? ›

Best TV show fictional worlds to live in
Most popular fictional worlds in TV showsGlobal Search Volume
Deep Space 933,100
Stars Hollow22,200
1 more row

Is there a realistic fiction? ›

REALISTIC FICTION is a genre consisting of stories that could have actually occurred to people or animals in a believable setting. These stories resemble real life, and fictional characters within these stories react similarly to real people.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated:

Views: 6448

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.