If Thor and Superman are Aliens, How Come They Look Like Us?

Budgets are a chastity band for the imagination. If you work in entertainment, money (or a lack of it) can put the kibosh on many great ideas. Deadpool’s the perfect illustration. Writer Rhett Reese told io9 that they ‘basically had Deadpool forget his guns as a means of getting around’ an expensive battle in the climax. Its script actually references this elephant in the room when he visits Xavier’s school; it’s pointed out that he only ever sees Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, almost as if ‘the studio couldn’t afford another X-Man’.

Aliens are a prime example of cost-cutting, too. Prosthetics are cheaper than CGI and animatronics, so they often aren’t much better than humans with a splash of makeup (like Star Trek’s Vulcans). This opens up a whole can of worms. If you ignore the practicality of moviemaking, the fact they’re a dead-ringer for us is distracting. Science suggests that we’re lucky to exist as it is, yet we still look indistinguishable from a civilisation which evolved light-years away. It’s a bit of a stretch.

Thor explores Asgard's history - concept art by Craig Shoji
Thor explores Asgard’s history – concept art by Craig Shoji

DC’s Kryptonians and the Asgardians from Thor face that same problem, even if their appearance can be attributed to comics rather than a lack of funds. Strip away a lifespan which far outshines our own and you’re left with what is essentially a normal person. Why?

I appreciate that this is a pedantic argument. However, it lays the groundwork for some intriguing theories. One explanation would be convergent evolution. As explained by Science Daily, it’s ‘the process whereby organisms not closely related… independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments’. They point out that you can see evidence of this on our own planet; the flight of insects and birds is alike, despite having evolved in isolation. Seeing as most fictional aliens live on worlds that’re comparable to Earth, it’s logical they’d echo us.

It still doesn’t justify how we’re exactly the same, though. There would be differences, regardless of whether these seemed cosmetic. Luckily, a crackpot theory might do the rest. While it makes sense to be sceptical about claims that humanity resulted from alien intervention, such a conspiracy is plausible in the Marvel and DC universes. Both have history with interstellar travellers, raising the possibility of a common ancestor.

This is easy to explain within The Avengers mythos. During Guardians of the Galaxy, we see footage of those who crossed paths with the Infinity Stones. In one clip, armoured giants lay waste to all in their path – including some who are undeniably human. That genocide took place eons ago at the other end of space, meaning humanity’s history is far from straightforward. That’s especially true when you consider that these giants (known as Celestials) are supposed to have tampered with our ancestor’s DNA in the comics.

Alternatively, Thor: The Dark World lets us know that the humanoid Dark Elves were kicking about before our galaxy began. As with the Celestials, it’s implied they came from an older dimension which went on to form ours (modern thinking goes that a singularity from an imploding universe caused the Big Bang) Is it possible these proto-humans spread across the cosmos, mingling with our ancestors? That’d plug any missing links in the evolutionary tree, potentially making the Asgardians and Xandarian Empire (who arrest Chris Pratt’s Star Lord) offshoots of this precursor race as well. They don’t look like us; we look like them.

The same explanation could be levelled at Krypton from Man of Steel. As indicate by the surrounding ice, the crashed scout ship Superman finds has lain dormant on Earth for around 18,000 years. Because one of the pods is open and empty, it’s highly probable some of the ancient Kryptonians escaped. Funnily enough, 18,000 years ago is roughly when homo sapiens first appeared – a species whose direct predecessor we’re still uncertain of. The implication seems obvious.

This kind of revelation would upend everything we know about us. Just think of the impact such knowledge would have on religious communities; it contradicts the Bible more than evolution already has. Accordingly, faith in the world of Marvel and DC must be a sore, contentious topic.

This is why budgetary limitations can be a force for good; they demand that we think harder. As director J.J Abrams said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times, you realise ‘that the money you don’t get forces you to rethink something and challenges you to figure it out in a new way’.

SOURCES: Science Daily, io9, Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki, Wikipedia, The Los Angeles Times

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