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Old 10-11-2019, 04:55 PM
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Aliens that can shape-shift into human form


The aliens look and act like humans. But when nobody's looking - or when the dramatic moment arrives to reveal themselves - they morph into their true form, be it reptilian or insectoid or some other bizarre physiology. I feel like I've seen this enough for it to have become cliche, yet I'm struggling to come up with any specific examples.

The crew from Third Rock From The Sun assumed human form to infiltrate Earth. If I remember correcty, this transformation was a difficult process, and they were pretty much stuck that way for the duration of their mission. The pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers required a human blueprint of sorts to create a replica that looked, but didn't really act, human. Neither of these examples is quite what I'm talking about.

What I'm thinking of is the alien that can shape-shift back and forth from human to alien form at will (and what a remarkable ability for any species to have evolved!). What examples have you got?
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:00 PM
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Species?
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:06 PM
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Skrulls, in Marvel comics and movies.

The Arrival, with Charlie Sheen and Ron Silver.

Illusion, rather than shape-shifting, but They Live
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:09 PM
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Star Trek's Changelings - While Odo never really mastered humanoid faces, other Changelings became perfect replicas of humans, Klingons, Cardassians, Romulans, and other races.

Similarly, the Durlans of DC comics. Their natural form is never shown clearly, but is highly tentacular, and they have a second default form they use when around other races, but not disguised as them, where they're orange-skinned bald humanoids with antennae. They have at various times used that ability to blend in, or infiltrate other races. (Olivia Marsdin from the Supergirl TV show, and RJ Brande from the Legion of Superheroes comics are Durlans who spent significant amounts of time in human form - Brande was actually stuck in that form for most of his history. Marsdin's default form doesn't resemble either of the comics 'Durlan' forms, probably because the tentacular form would be hard to pull off and the orange humanoid would look a bit silly in live action.)

DC also has several Martian races with the ability to shapeshift, including human - Green Martian J'onn J'onzz and White Martian M'gann M'orzz use it to have secret identities (John Jones and Megan Morse) - M'gann also has a false Green Martian form to avoid being judged for being a White Martian - other Whites frequently use it to infiltrate.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:12 PM
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Lots of them in Star Trek.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:13 PM
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The Thing From Another World is the obvious example. From John Campbell's story, "Who Goes There?"
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Last edited by RealityChuck; 10-11-2019 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:15 PM
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The Changelings in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Maya in Space: 1999.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:19 PM
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From DOCTOR WHO: the Zygons (one of whom replaced Queen Elizabeth!)
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:33 PM
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Dire Wraiths, in Rom: Spaceknight.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:58 PM
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The Piurivar (aka Metamorphs/Shapeshifters) of Robert Silverberg's Majipoor books come to mind. They get annoyed by sentient beings from other worlds settling on their planet and displacing them, and use their abilities to impersonate various ruling figures.

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 10-11-2019 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:41 PM
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Dire Wraiths, in Rom: Spaceknight.
Nope. Fails the OP criterion "What I'm thinking of is the alien that can shape-shift back and forth from human to alien form at will." Dire Wraiths have to suck the essence from a human to be able to take their shape.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:44 PM
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The Thermians in Galaxy Quest.

Guy Fleegman: Oh *that's* not right! No...
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:55 PM
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Hank Henshaw is badass enough in the first season of Supergirl, but every once in a while, his eyes glow red (out of sight of everyone but the camera, and often at the end of an episode, so you're watching and you yell, "Oh, come onnnnn, we want to see what happens next!")

Turns out, he's an alien that can shape-shift back and forth from human to alien form at will. Here's the big reveal, with a bonus whammy at the end.
The writer and actor discuss it here.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:55 PM
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Lifeforce.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:04 PM
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In Marvel Comics the Makulans...extraterrestrial dragons, of which Fin Fang Foom is a member...can shapeshift into human, amongst other forms.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:09 PM
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Various aliens in the Men in Black films had the ability to either take human form or had the ability to disguise themselves as humans using various methods (with varying degrees of effectiveness).
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:49 AM
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Kheldians from City of Heroes. They are a merger of human and alien, and once merged can at will transform between their human and two other forms.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:12 AM
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The Mangalores in The Fifth Element.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:31 AM
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I've always wondered what Orkians natural shape was.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:31 AM
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There is the alien in a South Park episode that can take any shape, including a taco that craps ice cream.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:57 AM
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The Chitauri, from Marvel Comics' Ultimate line, although they're basically alternate universe versions of the Skrulls mentioned upthread.

Reptilians, from modern UFO folklore (David Icke, et al).

Serpent Men, from Robert E. Howard's King Kull and Conan stories, although they're a prehuman terrestrial species, not extraterrestrial. Also, although they can't quite perfectly imitate humans - they can't say the phrase "Ka Nama Kaa Lajerama".
  #22  
Old 10-12-2019, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digs View Post
Hank Henshaw is badass enough in the first season of Supergirl, but every once in a while, his eyes glow red (out of sight of everyone but the camera, and often at the end of an episode, so you're watching and you yell, "Oh, come onnnnn, we want to see what happens next!")

Turns out, he's an alien that can shape-shift back and forth from human to alien form at will. Here's the big reveal, with a bonus whammy at the end.
The writer and actor discuss it here.
He's a Green Martian, already mentioned upthread by Kamino Neko.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:04 AM
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Two more from Marvel Comics:

Poppupians (exemplified by Impossible Man) originally could perfectly imitate virtually anyone or anything. In later appearances they couldn't change color (so they could perfectly imitate a human except they would be green).

The Technarchy, "techno-organic" beings with...inconsistent shapeshifting abilities, exemplified by Warlock of the New Mutants. In at least some appearances, they could flawlessly imitate humans.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
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Skrulls, in Marvel comics and movies.
Skrulls were the first thing that occurred to me for some reason. Seems like about half of all alien species can shape shift to human form, and half of the rest already have human form.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:30 AM
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Skrulls were the first thing that occurred to me for some reason. Seems like about half of all alien species can shape shift to human form, and half of the rest already have human form.
[Church lady]How convenient![/Church lady]
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:46 PM
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Since we’re of course mentioning fictional aliens, maybe someone should bring up the space zombies from Pluto. “It's already mutated into human form! Shoot it!”
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:17 PM
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Scarlett Johansson plays an alien in human form in Under the Skin (2014). Other than seeing Scarlett Johansson nude, there's not much reason to watch it.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:09 PM
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The unnamed aliens in Matt Haig's novel The Humans.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:12 PM
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But was Johansson's character a shapeshifter, or did her natural form just happen to resemble a human?
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:23 PM
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But was Johansson's character a shapeshifter, or did her natural form just happen to resemble a human?
There's a part at the end where she sheds her human skin. It's never really clear what she is, but she's been formed to resemble a human.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:42 PM
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Cocoon
Animorphs - not limited to humans
My Favorite Martian - movie version
Contact - "a form you're comfortable with"
Dreamcatcher - not the villainous ones that need to possess humans, but the good one that opposes them
V

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Old 10-12-2019, 02:49 PM
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It's never really clear what she is, but she's been formed to resemble a human.
Can't tell you how many times I've said this about old girlfriends.
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:35 PM
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X-Files?

Did I miss it? Or was it mentioned? Surprised it wasn't suggested early on, or does X-Files not count?

Also, the guy from UHF. ��

Last edited by MyFootsZZZ; 10-12-2019 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:53 PM
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Wasn't there a shapeshifting assassin in one of the Star Wars prequels? Attack of the Clones, I think?

And the female lead in Cowboys and Aliens usually looked human, but IIRC we get a glimpse of her true form (and she admits that her true form doesn't actually look human).
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Old 10-12-2019, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
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Skrulls were the first thing that occurred to me for some reason. Seems like about half of all alien species can shape shift to human form, and half of the rest already have human form.
If we're talking superhero media (as the Skrulls being the only example suggests) it's the other way around. More than half look passably human (non-blue Kree, Shi'ar, Kryptonians, Thanagarians, etc) and probably half of the ones that don't can shape shift (Skrulls, Martians, Durlans, etc) , or easily disguise themselves as human with a bit of makeup (blue Kree, Coluans, etc).
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Old 10-12-2019, 05:37 PM
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Many of the monsters & spirits in the webcomic White Noise can shape-shift into a perfectly passable human form. Some can shape-shift into other forms as well.
  #37  
Old 10-12-2019, 06:33 PM
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Cocoon
V
The ones in Cocoon and V (like the Slitheen) wear special suits to look Time Lord, so not shape-shifters.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:23 PM
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Scarlett Johansson plays an alien in human form in Under the Skin (2014). Other than seeing Scarlett Johansson nude, there's not much reason to watch it.
You say that as if I need another reason.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:29 PM
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From DOCTOR WHO, Carrionites “resembled a giant skeletal raven or crow”, but one who messed with William Shakespeare “could assume the form of a beautiful young woman” and worked as part of a trio — and you get the idea, right? When wearing a hooded robe, can morph to a form that could pass for ‘old hunched crone with a beaklike nose’; uses alien tech that’s built around biological samples and voice commands, which looks a lot like ‘getting a lock of hair from someone before casting a magic spell’; and their other accoutrements run the gamut from ‘oh, the crystal happens to be shaped like a ball’ all the way over to ‘okay, that right there is clearly a cauldron’.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:06 AM
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Lyekka, the carnivorous plant in Lexx
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Old 10-13-2019, 01:46 PM
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The "Martians" from Larry Niven's The Meddler - not their real name, just what the protagonist calls them. They are basically just a lump of alien flesh in their rest state but can mold themselves into other forms as convenient, including a human-looking one. Skill seems to be involved; the more recent arrival looks oddly rounded and unfinished, while the longstanding resident of Earth looks normal except for needing a wig (apparently hairs are too fine to fake).

They are self-described as genetically engineered, so there's no telling how much of their ability is natural.
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Old 10-13-2019, 01:50 PM
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Never been clear about something, was the shape shifting cat in the Star Trek episode with Gary Seven an alien, or just a regular earth cat that could shape shift?
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Old 10-13-2019, 02:52 PM
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Isis came to Earth with Gary Seven, so I'm saying alien.
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Old 10-13-2019, 02:55 PM
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Isis came to Earth with Gary Seven, so I'm saying alien.
I was under the impression Gary Seven was a human from the future. Minimal browsing tells me aliens sent him back in time, but no real details about the cat (Isis).
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:02 PM
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The Andromedans, in Blake’s 7.
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