34

We know that Vulcan blood is copper based instead of iron as in Humans, making it appear green instead of red. This is shown when bruised or bleeding as well as in Bones' insults to Spock.

The lips of (especially Caucasian) Humans are red(dish) because the blood shines through the skin. Consequently, Vulcan lips should be green:

Spock with green lips

Is there a decent explanation why this is not the case, both In-Universe as well as Out-Of-Universe? This would be a terribly cheap thing to do, while making Nimoy look even more alien than the ears and eyebrows alone. The fact that Spock's blood is green was established very early in the series if I remember correctly, so it is safe to assume they planned it all along.

  • Not a cannon answer but they often used green light when filming scenes with Spock. My guess is that body makeup would have been too expensive for a main character. Also, any green lipstick would wear off during scenes and show skin color beneath it. That added to the fact that no one really cared about high levels of accuracy. – ShadoCat Sep 19 '18 at 17:19
25

As the link you provide indicates, caucasian-equivalent Vulcans have not only green blood, they have green skin. (In a caucasian, most of the skin colouration is from the blood, this is why sick caucasian people tend to become so pale as their blood withdraws from their skin.)

Thus I would expect that while they may have wanted to colour the lips and skin green, it was not feasible in the budgets of the time to do more than just colour the lips. The combination of pink with green is aesthetically unpleasing to many people, so they probably decided to avoid combining pink skin with green lips, and accept it as a limitation.

Over time, people have gotten used to the skin tone of Vulcans as portrayed in the series, and as such it would be economically infeasible to use modern technology to provide the correct skin tone and lip colour.

  • 2
    People in the US at that time tended to have weired ideas concerning skin color, so maybe it was just a mistake. – Raphael May 15 '12 at 17:58
  • The didn't flinch at changing the appearance of the Klingons with the launch of TNG/the '80s movies, though. – Jerry Schirmer Jul 20 '14 at 15:13
  • @JerrySchirmer: Right but the 80s movies did not have a Klingon main cast member. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 12 '15 at 22:53
  • Interesting- does this mean that Spock is a non-caucasian-equivalent Vulcan? – Kevin Workman Sep 19 '18 at 18:10
27

The copper Vulcan blood only becomes green when it is saturated with oxygen. When it's in the Vulcan cardiovascular system, it has, apparently, a rust or copper metal colour.

  • 3
    That's actually a pretty plausible theory I hadn't thought about. Can you corroborate this other than with the tone of his skin/lips? – bitmask Jul 20 '14 at 22:14
  • 2
    @bitmask This seems to be from en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Vulcan#Physiology tho it also says oxygenated blood in the arteries is also green, it's only reddish in the veins (which, if Vulcan anatomy follows human in this area, are on the surface as compared to arteries) – Shisa Jul 29 '14 at 12:53
  • Damn! This is really good. – Conrad Bennish Jr Sep 20 '18 at 5:46

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