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Released in 1984, The Last Starfighter is sometimes accused of borrowing too many themes and plot points from contemporaneous sci-fi fare, including the Star Wars trilogy.

But conversely, one element of The Last Starfighter reappears only a few years later in Star Trek: The Next Generation: the term Betazoid.

  • In The Last Starfighter, the term refers to a type of robot / android / replicant.

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  • In TNG, the term refers to a race of telepathic / empathic humanoids from the planet Betazed.

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Given that TNG hit the air only three years after Starfighter was released, is there a connection here, or is the appearance of the term in TNG a mere coincidence?

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The simplest answer is that there's no obvious linguistic connection. In the film, there's no mention of the Beta Unit being a "Betazoid". The most likely explanation is that the people you've referenced in your comments are mis-remembering the line from the film where he's referred to as a "simuloid"

Beta: Course I do. I'm the beta unit.

Alex: What the hell's a beta unit?

Beta: A beta unit is a simuloid...

Interestingly, in the official Alan Dean Foster novelisation, he's referred to throughout as a simulacrum, not a simuloid...

"I told you," the Beta snapped as he tried to get a fix on the assassin's position. It had to be moving now, wondering why its first shot hadn't turned its target into a motionless mass of smoldering flesh. Confusion would buy the Beta some time. "I'm not Alex. I'm a duplicate of him, a simulacrum, a Beta unit."

  • I think your explanation for the mutation is probably spot on -- thanks. – Praxis Jun 5 '15 at 21:17

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