After they recover the only living cells left from the accident when the Mondoshawans' spacecraft is destroyed, they rebuild a body using the the genetic information from those cells. That body is Leeloo (Milla Jovovich), who obviously isn't human and is the living representation of the fifth element.

Why, though, is she in human shape? Is there any official explanation for this?

Also, an extra question, the recovered hand from the accident looks like the hand of a Mondoshawan still grasping the handle of something (maybe an empty case that was supposed to have the stones?). Wasn't it the fifth element the statue taken from Egypt? Didn't it have the hands in a completely different position?

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    What I want is that ginormous 3D printer ... :D – CGCampbell Sep 22 '14 at 18:41
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    -1 for not including a picture of Leeloo's shape for...ahem...reference purposes. – Valorum Mar 6 '15 at 22:40

TL;DR : No official explanation, but we can speculate Leeloo represents humanity and its potential.

Ok, some of this is supported by comments by Luc Besson, but it's mostly based on speculation & discussion among fans. Besson purposely left the film's various meanings ambiguous because he wanted viewers to make their own conclusions. We're therefore left to infer from dialogue in the script, film & novelization.

The Fifth Element is humanity, and Leeloo is the perfect specimen representing that element. Basically, Leeloo is the "perfect" human, with her DNA containing the blueprint for everything that humanity has the potential to become. It's never stated in the film, but there has been speculation among fans that Leeloo is, in fact, the first human being - the genetic "template" from which all other humans & animals on Earth were created. Simpler versions, yes, but based on the same DNA. This speculation comes not only from her tightly-packed DNA, but also from her weapon against evil being the "Divine Light of Creation".

Here are some quotes from the film that support the "perfect human" theory:

In 1914, the Professor (when reading the inscription on Leeloo's chamber):

The Professor keeps reading over the inscription.

PROFESSOR: "..this perfect person.. this perfect being.. I do not understand this.. perfect?"

Then later, when Leeloo is resurrected:

MUNRO: Have you identified it?

MACTILBURGH: It's not that easy.. we've never encountered anything like it before.. you see, normal human beings have 40 DNA memo groups, which is more than enough for any species to perpetuate itself. This one has 200,000.

MUNRO: Talk English, Doc.

MACTILBURGH: This cell is like a huge library. It has infinite genetic knowledge stored inside. Almost like it was...engineered.

Leeloo is not "perfect" because she kicks ass and looks good doing it. She is perfect from a biological standpoint.

The theory of humanity in general being the Fifth Element is largely supported by the fact that the great evil (the black planet) existed to destroy all life, yet its first target was Earth. There are obviously other planets in the universe with civilizations on them, so why make a beeline straight to Earth? Because humanity, or what it can potentially become at some point, is the greatest threat. It also backs up the concept that Leeloo had to embrace her humanity before she could destroy (attack?) the great evil. If anything, the overall message of the film (and Leeloo's self-discovery) is "Humanity has its flaws, but also the potential to be more."

As for the statue at the beginning, the "statue" taken by the Mondos was actually Leeloo's stasis chamber - like a "coffin" of sorts with her inside. Later, when returning to Earth, we can assume that the Mondos had brought her out of stasis and she was wearing one of their environment suits when the ship was shot down. This explains why her hand was in a Mondo glove, and she would have been the natural choice to carry the case (even though the stones weren't actually in it at the time). Either its mere coincidence that her hand was the recovered material (and not a Mondoshawan), or it was because of her enhanced durability that even the hand was recovered.

UPDATE: According to AMC Story Notes (the trivia that can appear on-screen before a movie), Director Luc Besson said the real fifth element is "life, love, and art."

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    This sounds like a fan theory, not in-universe canon fact. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Sep 22 '14 at 19:49
  • It's fan speculation based on dialogue from the film. When there is no in-universe explanation or information from the film-makers, that's all we have left. I'll add some quotes that support the theory, however. Will that help? – Omegacron Sep 22 '14 at 20:00
  • will help, as well as explicitly stating that this is not canon but inference. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Sep 22 '14 at 20:03
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    "The Diva Plavalaguna knows that in order for Leeloo to defeat the Great Evil. Korben has to tell Leeloo that he loves her so as to trigger the fifth element once the four elemental stones are arranged." - Neither Leeloo nor humanity is the Fifth Element, since it has to be "triggered". Supposedly, the Fifth Element is sex and that was actually stated by Luc Besson at one point (gives extra meaning to that last scene, eh?), but I've been unable to confirm it. – Izkata Sep 23 '14 at 2:57
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    The Fifth Element is not humanity, it was love. Not just eros, anake, or agape, but every type of love and empathy to overcome evil. The "Light of Creation" based speculation does not make sense in the rest of the 5th Element universe, as humans are simply not important enough on the galactic scale. The only reason the Mondoshawan were interested in earth was due to the "Great Evil" orb returning. – Rampant Jun 28 '15 at 1:59

Maybe Leeloo is a member of a perfect species, and one day the Mondoshawans came to earth and tweaked a few hairy apes' DNA to make them look more like the perfect beings. I don't think there's a direct explanation in the movie, but the story that was in Luc Bessons head involved Corban and Leeloo falling in love and that wouldn't have been practical if she was a big shambling Mondo.

Or maybe they create the weapon specific to the population of the planet it has to protect. As Leelo says:

 I was made to protect not to love.
  • I wouldn't consider that Corban and Leeloo falling in love would require them to be equally human. If StarTrek has taught us something is that :) on the other hand, using human DNA to create the weapon for the human world would make a bit more sense. It is still not a very good reason though, since the recovered hand is clearly non-human. – Jorge Sep 22 '14 at 15:35
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    Yeah, Star Treck taught us if you stick pointy ears or nose ridges or body paint on a cute girl, she's still cute. So yeah, no need for Leeloo to be human. And I always thought that was a gauntlet, not a hand recovered, hence the arm that they grow out of it. – Mikey Mouse Sep 22 '14 at 15:39

i would hazard to say that she is of an ancient species or race, or created by, some precursor to humanity. some race that became humanity, after mingling with primitive humans, ect. (the ancients from stargate, cylons from new bsg some examples) after 100s of thousands of years of mutations you get humanity of today. and we know shes ancient because this evil has been around for a long time, and i dont think she even destroys it in the movies just pushes it away for another x million years.


I think that because Leeloo was reconstructed in a human-made machine, perhaps was only designed to reconstruct human bodies,so maybe it inadvertently created a human shape out of the thousands of "memo groups" she had in her DNA? Like if she was reconstructed on another planet with a different race of beings, would she have been reconstructed to look like their perfect ideal? It's a real stretch but I like thinking it happened that way.

Maybe the remaining piece was really just a mondashowan gauntlet with tiny bits of splattered DNA, I dunno.

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