1970s – Humans As Aliens

When you think about aliens in science fiction movies, the most common images that our brains conjure up are hairy, scaly, maybe shiny, mean and very different from us. alien01 However, if you think about it, aliens that take on a human form are prominent in several movies.  They are not Earth humans but humans none-the-less.  Let’s look at two examples:

Battlestar Galactica (1978) was about a group of humans that escaped the Cylon attack on the Twelve Colonies.  The remaining survivors become part of a rag-tag fleet, led by the battlestar “Galactica” in which they seek out what is often referred to as the sister planet of Kobol, Earth. bsgposter Kobol is the planet where humanity supposedly began.  As the planet died, humans left Kobol to colonize the twelve, nearby planets.   These colonies were based on the zodiac signs; Caprica, Scorpia, Taura, Virgon, Sagitara, Piscera, Aquarus, Leon, Gemini were the only ones that were ever referred to.  Earth is considered to be the 13th colony.  In the movie and following television series, the Galactica decides to search for the lost 13th colony since their homes are now destroyed.  These are humans, no matter what their “nationality.”  Commander Adama, Lt. Starbuck, Captain Apollo, Cassiopeia, Athena and Col. Tigh were just a few of the humans that fought the Cylon Centurions, their biggest enemy, who threatened to destroy them and the entire human race.  These aliens were once reptilian creatures fitted with armor but as their technology grew they became a fighting machine.  The humans meet other aliens, some bad, some good, and do not look human at all; the Ovians and Imperious Leader are a couple of examples. bsg01badaliens

Battlestar Galactica Fan Trailer

Star Wars (1977) is another example.  Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi are very much human, but hailing from places in the vast reaches of space other than Earth.  Luke Skywalker was raised on Tatooine but born of Polis Massa. swposter Han Solo, a smuggler and captain of the famed ship “Millennium Falcon,” is from the planet Corellia.  Princess Leia is from Alderaan (born on Polis Massa) – which is blown to bits by the Death Star, by the way.  Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Master, is from the planet Stewjon.  Even the Imperial Stormtroopers and Darth Vader are human.  Like most evil or bad humans, we dislike the bad guys because they want to inflict harm on the good humans.  Yet we have many aliens that are not human looking in the least: Jabba the Hutt, Chewbacca, the Jawas and Wicketts, to name a few.swchewie01

Star Wars Trailer

Now why do we use humans as aliens?  We can relate to humans better than a slimy, screeching, or even metallic creature.  They are humans like us so therefore we understand their feelings, their passions, and their desires.  The human race in these movies is the collective protagonists.  We root for them because they are human, and we can easily picture ourselves in their place.  It’s hard to relate to a creature that dislikes, uses, or kills members of our race.  We tend to hate them as the antagonists.  At the same time, it’s easy to like those aliens that are on “our” side such as Chewbacca.  Even robots have endeared themselves to us as a type of alien like Muffit, R2D2 and C3PO.swbsgrobots

Battlestar Galactica has humans looking for Earth…for us.  Star Wars just has humans with no mention of Earth.  Yet we relate to both sets of humans.  We are the heroes and heroines.  That’s how we believe our race to be:  better than anyone else in the endless depths of space.

by:  April Albrecht


Works Cited (other than from my own memory):

“Star Wars Characters.” StarWars.com Characters. StarWars.com, 2013. Web. 08 Apr. 2013. <http://starwars.com/explore/encyclopedia/characters/1/episode4/&gt;.



~ by allaliens on April 9, 2013.

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