8

We see Vulcans have pointy ears.

Why did the writers choose to make them have unique ears and not eyes or noses?

  • 7
    We see some animals have pointy ears. Why do they choose ear? Why not nose, eyes? – Tom J Nowell Mar 30 '12 at 13:42
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    Likely this had to do with what was easy to do with 1960s era makeup that would quickly visually differentiate Spock from his human counterparts on TV. – Xantec Mar 30 '12 at 13:55
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    Why is Yoda green and has pointed ears? – Secko Mar 30 '12 at 15:29
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    Same reason, the elves have pointed ears. – Secko Mar 30 '12 at 15:29
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    whey do humans have round ears? – Muad'Dib Mar 30 '12 at 22:49
22

From a behind the scenes perspective, prosthetic ears were easy to do, but also, Gene Roddenberry wanted a slightly satanic looking character. He's never explained why, but he liked the look. Most people don't realize that ears do move along with normal facial expressions, but they do -- however they move less than the nose or other facial features.

Remember, this kind of work was still new and they needed makeup they'd be able to apply every single day that would hold up throughout the day. Doing makeup like this for a movie was one thing, since movies are limited in production time. But in the mid 1960s, having a character that needed anything like prosthetic ears (or nose, or anything else) was a completely new idea, so the less that had to be applied every day for 8 or 9 months each year, the more manageable it would be.

When they saw The Cage, the network didn't like it and asked that they get rid of the female 2nd in command and the pointy-eared guy. (On the recording Inside Star Trek Roddenberry joked that when they said that, he married the female 2nd in command and promoted the Vulcan. He added that he considered doing it the other way around, but it just didn't work out well that way.)

From an in-universe perspective, the air on Vulcan is thinner than on Earth, and evolution led to a different shape and slightly larger ear to help catch sound -- look at ears on animals that need to hear for their survival, like deer who hear predators. Many such ears are pointed.

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    From ST:Voyager, s02e22, Tuvok is asked at 17:22 why his ears are different. 'Do they make you hear better?' 'No.'. – Solemnity Feb 19 '13 at 4:30
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    According to Nimoy's second autobiography (I am Spock), they actually considered making him have red skin, too. But the makeup looked really bad on black-and-white TVs, making it hard to see the actor's face. – trlkly Aug 2 '14 at 12:59
4

Not a star trek specialist here, so this is mainly opinion:

Vulcans are a peaceful and wise people. They define some kind of ideal society, similar to humans, but slightly different. From this point of view they have the same position as classic elves in heroic fantasy universe. There have those pointy ears to make a comparison.

It is a bit similar to starcraft's protoss and warhammer's eldars.

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    Although this explanation leaves the Romulans as a dangling thread. – Xantec Mar 30 '12 at 13:54
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    @Xantec No. Romulans mirror dark elves, dark eldars, and dark templars (and so one). A dystopian society where many talents leads to moral disaster. – Simon Bergot Mar 30 '12 at 14:24
  • This explanation have some appeal and I didn't think about it – Yaztromo Mar 31 '12 at 16:54
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    Vulcans, from the first time a Vulcan other than Spock appeared, have displayed irrational grudges, homicidal intent, sociopathic manipulation, envy, resentment... "Peaceful and wise", like hell. – Keith Morrison Dec 6 '17 at 18:04
  • @KeithMorrison They try. – JAB Mar 19 '18 at 19:57

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