Today we are applying our impressive powers of sorting to the many wonderful aliens that have graced the silver screen. The aliens in our list shall have an “it” factor. We are looking for individual aliens that have achieved an undeniable level of greatness during their brief stay on the screen.
The entries shall be unique characters. That is, they must each have a name and identity. We will not include Martians or Jawas, but individual aliens.
The aliens in our list must have appeared in a movie. Expanding our list to include novels and other media could possibly overload our database and send smoke pouring from our silicon thinking machine.
The other advantage of limiting ourselves to movies is the shared experience. In the Golden Age of Science Fiction readers had a shared experience in that they all read the same novels and stories. This was due to the smaller number of titles available. With today’s ever-expanding list of new books and stories, a shared experience is no longer possible.
Science fiction movies, on the other hand, have not yet gone that far. Most of us can still experience a shared knowledge. That is, we’ve each watched the same movies. Obviously this has some exceptions, but far fewer exceptions than our shared reading experience.
Now on with the list. I hope you enjoy the top ten greatest aliens of all time.
1) Spock (Star Trek)
Spock managed to find his way into nearly all of the Star Trek episodes that made their way onto to the big screen. Sometimes he was even amazing enough to appear as two characters in the same movie. (His older and younger self.) Spock’s pointy ears and peculiar mannerisms set him apart from us inferior humans. His massive intellect and critical thinking make him invaluable to the Federation. Spock breaks out the Vulcan neck pinch and mind meld from time to time to impress us with his remarkable powers. A slight taint of human blood coursing through his veins allows Spock a few moments to relax his nearly robotic personality. Spock represents the pinnacle of alien superiority.
2) Yoda (Star Wars)
Yoda is short and green and immensely alien. His speech patterns suggest an alternate thought pattern to us lowbrow humans. As the unspoken leader of the Jedi, Yoda uses his alien ways to guide and teach others in the ways of the Force. His small, frail looking body disguises his formidable physical prowess. In a galaxy filled with aliens, Yoda sets the standard.
3) Kal-El (Superman)
Normally we might not think of Superman as an alien, but he is a refugee from the planet Krypton. Fortunately for him, his race grew up looking nearly indistinguishable from humans. This allowed him to blend into the background as he uses his enormous powers to protect and guide Earth towards a better tomorrow. Kal-El grew up amongst humans, allowing him to learn our ways. Maybe one day he will share the alien technology from his Fortress of Solitude with those he protects. Even if that day never arrives, he will always be the most heroic of all aliens.
4) E.T. (E.T. The Extra Terrestrial)
The movie E.T. helped usher in the new era of science fiction movies. Steven Spielberg created this vastly popular film that starred a very alien looking creature. The story played on humanity’s fear of unknown creatures from space and showed that aliens can be lovable, too. E.T. may go down as the most adorable of all aliens.
5) Neytiri (Avatar)
Neytiri is daughter to the leader of the blue aliens in the movie Avatar. She is smart and resourceful and thoroughly bad to the bone. She teaches a human to be an alien through the course of the story. Neytiri has two of the greatest warriors on the planet vying for her attention. She helps lead her people to victory despite overwhelming odds.
6) Chewbacca (Star Wars)
Tall and furry, Chewbacca is a combination of bear and ape. Never lowering himself to speak anything but his native tongue, Chewie makes sure everyone knows his meaning. Rumored to have a bad temper, he never exhibits anything but loyalty and competence as he flies across the galaxy as sidekick to Han Solo. Chewbacca is perhaps the coolest sidekick ever created.
7) Bumblebee (Transformers)
Bumblebee is an alien robot killing machine who manages to be funny and likable while not actually speaking. When transformed to his robot form, he speaks with the use of a radio, changing stations to use sound bites to convey his message. Bumblebee transforms into a sporty car in the films, which enables his human companion to speed around the world fighting bad guys. Bumblebee is the kind of alien companion anyone would be glad to have.
8) Stitch (Lilo and Stitch)
Stitch is an alien experiment gone awry. The small, mischievous alien provides humor and adventure in the animated movie. This alien is nearly indestructible, vastly intelligent, and easily bored. It takes a young girl to tame him. Dr. Frankenstein wished his experiments had been so successful.
9) Silver Surfer (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer)
The Silver Surfer rides his surfboard across the cosmos as the herald of the alien Galactus. Although the film may not have lived up to expectations, the character of the Silver Surfer remains one of my favorites. Surfboard underfoot, he shows off his amazing cosmic powers to everyone around. We can only hope he gets proper treatment in a future movie.
10) Uncle Martin/The Martian (My Favorite Martian)
This entry is really a tribute to all those Martians out there. Uncle Martin appeared in two versions of My Favorite Martian and serves as a good spokesman for his people. No other alien race has been as widely represented in film as the Martian. One day soon, humans will finally invade their planet. We’ll see how they like it.
- Darth Maul, Kit Fisto, Jar Jar Binks, Jabba the Hutt (Star Wars)
- Thor, Loki, Galactus, Thanos (Marvel Comics movies)
- Sinestro (The Green Lantern)
- General Zod (Superman)
- Prince Vultan, Ming the Merciless, Prince Thun (Flash Gordon)
- Mota (Flying Disc Man from Mars)
- Klaatu (The Day the Earth Stood Still)
- Martians (The War of the Worlds)
- The Alien (The Alien)
- Centauri, Xur, Grig (The Last Starfighter)
- Jeriba Shigan (Enemy Mine)
- The Predator (Predator)
- Diva Plavalaguna (The Fifth Element)
- Edgar the Bug, Frank the Pug (Men in Black)
- Mathesar, Gen. Roth’h’ar Sarris (Galaxy Quest)
- Aereon (The Chronicles of Riddick)
- Zaphod Beeblebrox (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
- Optimus Prime, Megatron (Transformers)
- Mo’at, Eytukan (Avatar)
- Lem, Neera (Planet 51)
- Number 4 (I Am Number Four)
- Paul (Paul)
- Dejah Thoris, Tars Tarkis (John Carter)
- Jamarcus (The Watch)