Near the beginning of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (while the opening credits are running), the gradual creation of Alpha is shown when at first, different Terran cultures join the spacefaring community, and then various alien species are greeted likewise.

Who are the different groups of people? I am particularly interested in (and could more or less guess some1 of) the Earth cultures/nationalities joining the space station crew, but if the aliens are named, they should form a part of the answer just as well.

1: For instance, I think the first group of "foreigners" was supposed to be a Chinese team, then someone (?) brought artificial gravity, followed by India, and then Saudi Arabia or maybe UAE?


1 Answer 1


The film's official novelisation covers this. It's a bit wordy, so bear with me.

The Europeans

What happened in 1998, at Alpha Space Station in orbit around the blue-green world, was not merely two nations meeting. When the European Hermes spaceplane, proposed in the same year as that first historic handshake, arrived to dock at Alpha, it represented a coalition of nations. Space was no longer the province of a few tiny humans, but was rapidly evolving to belong to humanity.

The Chinese

The space station grew as time went by. In the year 2019, China’s massive Tiangong-3 spaceship was warmly welcomed when it came to take its place at Alpha. The captain of the Alpha Space Station, one thirty-year-old James Crowford, enthusiastically greeted his Chinese counterpart Wuang Hu, who himself could not seem to stop smiling. Later historians would mark this moment as the end of international tension, and the beginning of what was the first Great Age of human cooperation.

Pretty much everyone else

More nations had ventured into the stars, and wanted to be part of this symbol of unity. By 2029, every country on this third planet from the sun had at least one scientist on board to represent them.

In 2031, an artificial gravity system was installed. The station’s denizens could now walk its corridors as easily as they walked on their home planet. Captain Crowford was now a distinguished man of forty-one years. He had the honor to welcome captains from India, the United Arab Emirates, Korea, Africa, Australia, Brazil, and Japan— who, instead of the iconic “handshake in space,” offered and accepted a traditional bow.

The Kortân-Dahuks

Three aliens stepped from their ship onto Alpha station.
They were slightly taller than their human hosts, and were roughly humanoid—“Such a telling, Earth-centric word,” lamented Norton, “and we still don’t have anything better”—but there the similarities ended. Norton and his fellow delegates recognized arms and legs, heads with eyes and mouths, but these were appendages affixed to reptilian bodies, and eyes and ears on faces without noses.
Their primary skin color was orange, with blue, yellow, and red blending in those large, noseless faces. Protruding blue-gray lips were set in hard lines. They wore armor on their torsos, lower arms, and legs, and their feet ended in what looked to human eyes like cloven hooves.

The Mercurys/Mirrors and the Doghan Daguis

Mercurys, beings that had transformed over time from primarily organic into mineral beings. Analytical, bordering on emotionless, they were almost more alien than the Kortân-Dahuks. Their more accessible “ambassadors,” the politically astute Doghan Daguis, were invaluable in smoothing out communications between humans and these beings also called the Mirrors.

The Palm Murets and the Arysum-Kormn

The Palm Murets followed, gaseous beings encased in soft metallic exosuits and wearing elaborate, intimidating masks that belied their inherently peaceful nature. So, too, did the stars behold the arrival of the Arysum-Kormn, a nomadic race of explorers and travelers who prided themselves on familiarity with every species in the galaxy.

The KCO2s and the Martapuraïs

The KCO2s, beings who fed on the negative emotions of others, were received with mixed emotions. While they needed to be near beings who suffered fear, pain, or despair, their feeding on such things, as Norton would famously say, “sure cleared the air for the rest of us.” Martapuraïs arrived, introduced to the humans by their allies, the Kortân-Dahuks. They were aquatic beings encased in bulky full body suits that the captain who first met them, Ezekiel Trevor, likened to “old-fashioned deep-sea diving suits,” which permitted them to live outside of their watery environment. They were large, benevolent, and ichthyoid with long, tentacular arms. Their round-eyed heads were set in the center of their chests.

  • 2
    The initial handshake is described as "The momentous “handshake in space,” both a literal one and a figurative one, occurred between astronaut Brigadier General Thomas Stafford of the Apollo, and Alexey Leonov of the Soyuz." but this pre-dates Space Station Alpha
    – Valorum
    Aug 5, 2017 at 21:56
  • 1
    This is quite a good answer, but unfortunately, the quoted text passages are still a bit sketchy on one of the primary targets of my question. The UAE team is followed by what is more likely the African team than the Korean team (the latter probably not shown in the film). Then, there's just one more team (maybe the Australian one) right before the Japanese are shown. On the other hand, the notion that all nations have visited Alpha by 2029 and all the international handshakes shown are just random other visits after that makes this part of the question rather less interesting, in my opinion. Aug 5, 2017 at 22:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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