Why Are All Aliens Humanoid?

Whether it be Mass Effect or Guardians of the Galaxy, every alien seems to have a human being’s general physique. And it’s starting to grate on my nerves.

In Mass Effect, all of the aliens are human-shaped, to some degree. Only the weirdest of the mix, the Krogan, managed to differentiate themselves enough to look somewhat “alien”, but even they shared a humanoid shape.

In Guardians of the Galaxy, literally every alien is a human, albeit with different colors of body paint sprayed on. Some blue people, some green people, etc. But no one actually appears to be alien. Groot is as close as we get to a truly unique intergalactic organism, and even he shares obvious similarities to his Arbor Day brethren.

Thinking more on the matter, the last alien I remember really being wowed by was the xenomorph from, you guessed it, the movie Alien.

What I’m trying to say is, why are there no unique, different looking fictitious alien species in sci-fi? Feel free to sound off in the comments, as I’m dying to get an answer to this perpetually aggravating question.


7 thoughts on “Why Are All Aliens Humanoid?”

  1. 1. It’s cheaper to hire actors with makeup on them than create CGI unique aliens.
    2. You can cater to the alien sex fantasies of nerds doing it this way.
    If you’re looking for truly unique aliens, try District 9 or Animorphs.

    1. 1.) This is a sad truth.

      2.) This is an even sadder truth.

      And in regards to District 9, while I absolutely loved that movie, the aliens don’t quite meet my criteria for truly original, they just felt like bipedal, humanoid cockroaches.

  2. I’m afraid the answer is obvious. It’s all about the money. It’s MUCH cheaper and easier to do it that way than it is to be imaginative and think outside the box as far as alien life forms and biology goes. Also, audiences relate more easily to “almost human” characters. They wouldn’t be able to easily or consistently interpret the behavior from shapes without faces etc.

    1. In regards to the money thing, while movies can use that as an excuse, video games and comic books really can’t. Which begs the question, other than human relatability, why do artists confine themselves to strictly humanoid creatures?

      1. It’s the other thing I said. Artists want to reach an audience and make a living. You can’t require your readers or players to work too hard, or it won’t be fun enough for them to want to pay. Also, it’s not so easy to think up original, feasible non-carbon-based beings.

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