(Trying to avoid spoilers with my wording)

It seems like a lot of work to have humans repair the drones in Oblivion. If the TET is advanced enough to make intelligent drones, why not some sort of repair drone?

Especially given the space required to produce the humans and the possibility that they may rebel.

Is it just to make the movie possible? Or is there some deeper reason?

  • The primary directive of the TET is to gather and suck as many resources as possible from the planet. The drones aren't likely able to do field repair of themselves because they lack the precision to do so -- humans that are on TET's side are best way to do it. Also, cloned humans use resources of the planet TET is sucking dry -- they eat enemy's food, they breathe enemy's oxygen, they are able to use enemy's guns, etc. This is chessmaster's gambit -- use none of your own resources while converting opponent's resources against the opponent.
    – HMage
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 15:18
  • During the film, it's stated that when the 'aliens' first arrive, the alien army is actually made up of Tom Cruise clones - which raises the question, why bother with the false memories at all? Apparently the clone army was fine fighting alongside other clones against fellow humans. Oops, wrecked the whole film's premise in one line of dialog.
    – ChrisH
    Commented Sep 15, 2013 at 22:52

3 Answers 3


If one stretched oneself, one could reason this out like so:

  1. Jack and Victoria are being used just like drones. Their minds are wiped and they are programmed to do their jobs.
  2. The dexterity of human hands and our ability to reason is a huge plus over the drones. Couple this with the emotional motivation provided to Jack that he's battling against the Scavs who have destroyed his planet and you could say that you have an efficient team.
  3. The humans are not necessarily only maintaining the drones. They are also maintaining all the planet-sucking machinery as well.
  4. The Tet is unaware of Jack's flashbacks. It doesn't know that the mind-wipe was not perfect.
  5. Lastly, what is Tet going to do with all the remaining Jack-clones from the war? Reprogram them and send them out into the field.

If somebody could get their hands on the original comic, more could be explained.


They did have the technology but then who would fix the repair drones?...It could be that the 'scavs' would just shoot down a drone and bait a repair drone so they can ambush it and shoot that down...and so on. If you have a human being, he can get killed and replaced much more easily I think than building a new repair drone (genetics takes care of engineering and growth as opposed to getting supplies and manufacturing each drone.

Also, humans can heal over time if they are injured. They can reason and make plans and use tactics to engage the enemy instead of just flying in guns blazing. And they don't need to 'scan' a location to know somebody's there, their recognition of hostiles is instantaneous and doesn't blatantly give them away in their environment (like the drone's bright scanning light).


I would assume that since it was nothing to replace Jack...they needed the Human factor to get the job done since other limitations could arise. Also, because Cruz lends to making this a great story.

  • But it clearly wasn't nothing to replace Jack. The Tet had to 1. have a specimen to clone. 2. have the elements (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen) required to clone the specimen 3. use a massive amount to ship space to house and grow the clones. 4. convert a large portion of the ship to a climate and environment that wouldn't kill the clones. 5. use a lot of time to grow clones. 6. reprogram the clone's memories. 7. make on-planet housing and transport for the clones 8. Hope the clone doesn't rebel. 9. Make sure the clones don't met each other. 10. repeat for every new species... or just have drones
    – Coomie
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 5:06

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