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In Star Trek, basically everyone is a human with facial make-up; are there any instances where character comment on this and attempt at an in-universe explanation of this within this franchise?

Note, I am not asking what the in-universe reason is, rather whether, in-universe, characters have made comment on the abundance of humanoids and attempted to explain it.

Note:formerly this question was for Star Trek and Star Wars, which was too broad. Removed SW because most of the answers and the accepted one related to Star Trek.

marked as duplicate by BMWurm, KutuluMike, Valorum Sep 19 '15 at 6:49

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • For Star Trek, there's a dupe of this somewhere... Not sure if there's one for Star Wars yet. – Iszi Apr 2 '12 at 17:47
  • Out of universe reason: Every fantasy or sci-fi story needs something familiar to connect to. Can you (read: most people) connect to non-humanoid aliens that do not fit a cute cliché either? – Raphael Apr 3 '12 at 9:20
  • I once asked this very question of a friend of mine who’s familiar with the extended universe of Star Wars. He said the humanoid species killed off most of the others out of xenophobia and during colonisation, before there was a more unified galactic culture. I don’t have a source for that, though. – Jon Purdy Apr 3 '12 at 17:58
  • @JonPurdy That’s certainly interesting, but could only be half the answer; killing 95% of intelligent life and having 5% be nearly exactly human in every way is still astronomically unlikely. Thanks for sharing – Alan H. Apr 3 '12 at 23:16
  • Related: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/85602/… – Wad Cheber Sep 18 '15 at 22:46
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It was addressed three times in Star Trek. Two are explicit, one referential.

  1. The ancient humanoid's species from TNG 6x20, The Chase seeded the galaxy with humanoid life first, around 4.5 billion years ago.
  2. Sargon's people from TOS 2x22, Return to Tomorrow, seeded the galaxy a second time, around 600,000 years ago.
  3. VOY 3x23, Distant Origin brings up convergent evolution. In the Star Trek universe, the humanoid shape is one path to sentience that happens to be pretty common - although it may only be common because of the ancient humanoids. It seems likely that the hadrosaurs were also influenced by what the ancient humanoids did on Earth.

Like the other answers, I have yet to see any reference to the phenomenon in Star Wars.

  • 1
    Wookiepedia has a pretty in-depth look at Human development in the Star Wars universe. In short, as of Ep IV, the hyperdrive is an invention over 25,000 years old. Humans, theoretically originating on Coruscant but possibly also from a much more temperate Tattoine, had already colonized a few outlying worlds using sleeper ships before it was even invented. Twenty-five thousand years is a VERY long time in which to colonize the galaxy. In addition, that's long enough for several offshoots of the Human race ("Near-Humans") to develop. – KeithS Apr 3 '12 at 23:40
  • starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Human – KeithS Apr 3 '12 at 23:41
  • @KeithS Near-human, sure. As I read this question, it's more about humanoid than humanlike species - the vast array of H'nemthe, Bothan, Sullustan, Gungan, and Herglic, as quick examples. Convergent evolution is the best thing I can guess, but from my perspective that is pure theory. – Izkata Apr 3 '12 at 23:46
  • @Izkata mind explaining the hadrosaur comment? no comprende – zipquincy Nov 21 '12 at 15:06
  • @zipquincy In the episode Distant Origin, the dinosaur-like aliens had evolved on Earth and left the planet before the dinosaurs were wiped out. According to a simulation by Janeway and the Doctor in the holodeck, their most likely ancestor was the hadrosaur. – Izkata Nov 21 '12 at 15:11
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In Star Trek, yes, this was addressed (a little clumsily, maybe) in The Next Generation sixth-season episode "The Chase". From the synopsis:

"Four competing expeditions — Federation, Klingon, Cardassian, and Romulan — attempt to solve a genetic puzzle that proves to be the key to why Star Trek's version of the galaxy contains so many humanoid life forms."

This was never explicitly addressed in the Star Wars universe, as far as I'm aware. Some have theorized that all humanoid species might actually be descended from Humans. Arguments in favor of this are the unknown origins of Humans and their presence throughout the galaxy before even the Corellians had developed hyperspace (implying a very ancient diaspora). More about this theory here.

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In the TNG episode The Chase, they attempt to address it by explaining that billions of years ago, some master humanoid race seeded the galaxy with their DNA. This explanation doesn't really make any sense at all, considering how evolution actually works, but yeah - at least the creators tried to address the issue.

As for Star Wars, I don't think this is ever addressed, unless there is some obscure EU explanation somewhere.

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    You beat me by 45 seconds. Curse you! Take this upvote. – Plutor Apr 2 '12 at 17:18
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In Star Wars: The Old Republic, this is addressed: during the time of the Infinite Empire, a living machine called the "Mother Machine" (or a series of them) were created by the quasi-humanoid Rakatan. They had found a species of proto-humans which they were experimenting on with the "Mother Machine".

These proto-humans were found very valuable because they had a latent (albeit slight) capacity for connecting to the Force. The Rakatans at the time were under threat of losing their own connection to the Force due to a rapidly spreading plague that severed their ties to it. In an attempt to find out how to reverse it, they created dozens of mutated versions of these humanoids, of which we are shown at least the Ratatakki, Chiss, Twilek, Zabrak, and Esh-Ka (the most alien and aggressive of their creations shown).

As a by-product, they put many of these species to work in their slave colonies as they terraformed the galaxy that they were able to travel to (they could only jump from places strong in the Force because that's how their hyperdrive technology worked). There one can presume they terraformed in ways conducive to other humanoid life to form, which they would then enslave and put to work making their living technology (that may have even further guided their evolution).

TL;DR Rakatans had a big hand in shaping the galaxy's species - before their interactions they were really the only major humanoid species - the other major species were a cephalopod-like race called the Gree, a saurian race called the Kwi, and an insect-like race called the Killik.

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    This question is too broad as is. I'm suggesting removing SW from this question since there are already many good ST questions, and starting a new SW question, where you can port you answer. Works for you? – ThePopMachine Sep 18 '15 at 22:52
  • Please port this answer to scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/103188/… – ThePopMachine Sep 19 '15 at 3:14

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