15

We all know that there are a huge number of different alien species created for the Star Wars and Star Trek universes.

I'm wondering if there's a pair of species that are so similar, it doesn't seem like it can be a coincidence. The creators may be influenced, intentionally or not. Or if there's evidence of plagiarism, that would be a good part of an answer.

Before someone answers "people": In order to satisfy the question, it means the candidates can't be human (obviously) and can't match some simple description whose conception predates Star Trek and Star Wars (examples: human with green skin; anthropomorphic lizard, etc).

31

The Breen vs. the Ubese bounty hunters

Comparative picture showing The Breen on the left and The Ubese on the right; the Breen's helmet is silver and pointed at the mouth with a single green horizontal visor slot to see out of; the Ubese is similar in shape but brown on the bottom, silver on top and the visor slot it black

This is probably the best and most definitive example of a character's appearance being copied between the two works. Many Internet forums report the existence of an interview in which Deep Space Nine costume designer Robert Blackman addressed the Breen issue explicitly, indicating that the Breen helmet was based directly on the Ubese helmet (specifically, Leia's in Return of the Jedi), and that this was intended as an homage.

If I can locate a transcript or video of the interview, I will add it here.

| improve this answer | |
  • Now I'm wondering if the question IS a dupe... – Rand al'Thor Sep 13 '15 at 15:06
  • 2
    @ThePopMachine Dupe-closing is for questions that have an answer elsewhere as well as for those that have been asked elsewhere. At least that's how I understood it. – Rand al'Thor Sep 13 '15 at 15:17
  • 1
    @WadCheber: I know you don't, no worries. I didn't take it as a notice at all, just as a legitimate question about whether it fits the question. I was uncertain myself, and in previous edits I had cautionary statements. But new comments from OP below the question indicate the answer is acceptable. I completely agree that there is a nonzero probability of a human shaped bag of tribbles! :-) – Praxis Sep 16 '15 at 16:43
  • 1
    @WadCheber: Meant "didn't take it as a nitpick at all"...Android's autocorrect thought "tribble" was fair game but not "nitpick". – Praxis Sep 16 '15 at 16:56
  • 1
    @ThePopMachine : It's more like Jabba the Hutt in the remastered A New Hope was supposed to look like Jabba the Hutt, but they messed up the CGI. – Praxis Sep 30 '15 at 14:57
13

The Mon Calamari from Star Wars...

Admiral Ackbar in the white uniform with a fish-like head: brown bulbus at the top with yellow eyes on the side, big nostrils with no nose and small tentacle-like beard

...and these guys from The Next Generation.

2 purple coloured Antedeans side by side in a room; they have similar shaped heads to the Mon Calamari with fin like mohawks and white eyes on the side of their heads

The latter are Antedeans from the TNG episode "The Manhunt".

| improve this answer | |
  • 12
    I think we should stick with the new convention that the answer to every question is "these guys" – ThePopMachine Sep 13 '15 at 15:17
  • 2
    @ThePopMachine : I agree. There should also be a these-guys tag. – Praxis Sep 13 '15 at 15:19
  • 2
    Squid != fish. They're mollusks. ;) – Lexible Sep 13 '15 at 16:55
  • 1
    I think one could argue that anthropomorphic animals of any sort are likely to predate both ST & SW. Unless it was something really unusual & specific, like an ant-lion or something. – xdhmoore Sep 13 '15 at 21:19
  • 4
    Fun fact: one of those guys is Mick Fleetwood! – Often Right Sep 13 '15 at 23:07
6

Gorn from ST and Bossk from SW look similar.

Comparative image showing Gorn on the left and Bossk on the right; Gorn is a green skinned anthropomorphic lizard with a red and gold coloured tunic and red gloves, its head it crocodile-like; Bossk is the same but more of a scale-like skin and browner: he wears a yellow spacesuit with a white vest

| improve this answer | |
  • (examples: human with green skin; anthropomorphic lizard, etc) – DCShannon Sep 23 '15 at 4:47
4

I'd say the greedy, big nosed, big eared Ferengi and the greedy, big nosed and big eared flying merchant from Star Wars I.

I assume it's no direct plagiarism, but in both cases the character designers where influenced by the same antisemite stereotypes:

Gerald Krefetz summarizes the myth as "[Jews] control the banks, the money supply, the economy, and businesses—of the community, of the country, of the world".[66] Krefetz gives, as illustrations, many slurs and proverbs (in several different languages) which suggest that Jews are stingy, or greedy, or miserly, or aggressive bargainers.[67] During the nineteenth century, Jews were described as "scurrilous, stupid, and tight-fisted", but after the Jewish Emancipation and the rise of Jews to the middle- or upper-class in Europe were portrayed as "clever, devious, and manipulative financiers out to dominate [world finances]" (Wikipedia)

(See also: TV Tropes)

As for the imagery - large ears and noses, you should find good examples from Nazi-era propaganda posters, maybe I'll add some after a search later.

Note that I'm not saying that in both cases the character designers were intentionally hateful antisemites, but I think it's fair to say that they used visual and other tropes also very present in modern antisemitism.

| improve this answer | |
  • 4
    but in both cases the character designers where influnced by the same antisemite stereotypes Got a source for that? – Crow T Robot Sep 14 '15 at 11:30
  • 1
    No. But the same stereotypes are present. Why should I assume that the greedy, big nosed, big eared merchant was invented independently in these cases, when the trope and visuals cues are older? – mart Sep 14 '15 at 11:39
  • 5
    "they used visual and other tropes also very present in ..." - this might move the answer beyond the scope laid out in the question, that the similarity should not be based upon a "simple description whose conception predates Star Trek and Star Wars". FWIW, Forgotten Trek lists as inspirations for the Ferengi "I just looked around at 80s America where greed was good and Gekko was one of our heroes.", "[The Ferengi] could provide the ideal contrast to Gene Roddenberry’s highly evolved crew.", and "the Ferengi would stand in for the ... – O. R. Mapper Sep 14 '15 at 11:40
  • 4
    ... forces of unrestrained capitalism". Concerning the visual appearance, it says "the idea was to take them away from looking like us but of course they do look like us in some ways." and early drafts "had distinct echoes of ancient Babylonian sculptures". Lastly, it should be noted that in their first appearance (and in the original plan), the Ferengi were quite a bit more warlike than the mere greedy (and not always very smart) traders that they appeared as in later installments. With all these in mind, the similarities to antisemitic stereotyping may or may not be coincidental. – O. R. Mapper Sep 14 '15 at 11:43
  • 1
    I think antisemitic (incl. Arab)/anti-German/anti-Japanese stereotypes and Ferengis have shared cultural ancestry, but that's different from one being inspired the other. Part of character design is trying to embody personality traits in physical traits, and we typically associated corrupted morality with deformed physique. Being hunched over, sickly looking, physically feeble, etc. are often associated with avarice. Exaggerating facial proportions is part of that theme. So Ferengis have exaggerated ears and comical-looking large noses. – Lèse majesté Sep 16 '15 at 6:11
3

This Guy

Evazan a humanoid creature with a disfigured face: large nose; left side of his face looks burnt with a missing eye

Dr Cornelius Evazan. Wookieepedia suggests that he is human, but the Databank doesn't indicate a species, so he could very well be alien!

And the Tellarites

A Tellarite; a pink skinned humanoid with black holes for eyes and an upturned pig nose; he is very bushy haired all over the head

From Star Trek: TOS.

Just looking at these two, they both have 'snouts' rather than noses and I think that they look rather like each other!

| improve this answer | |
1

Well the Orions from Star Trek and Twi'leks from Star Wars are pretty similar.

Female Twi'leks have been considered especially attractive and slender, which made them favorite subjects for slavery and entertainment. link

Orion females were very animalistic in nature, known for their extreme carnal appetites and their innate skill of seduction. A Human male could rarely resist the alluring dance of the Orion slave girl. link

| improve this answer | |
  • 5
    The wording of the question excludes Orions on two counts: (a) they have human facial features, (b) green skin predates both works. – Praxis Sep 13 '15 at 15:11
  • 6
    Well, even if they weren't discounted by the question, they just don't look that similar. One has head-tantacles and the other doesn't. – ThePopMachine Sep 13 '15 at 15:48
  • 5
    A sex slave is not a new idea either. – xdhmoore Sep 13 '15 at 21:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.