We have something to declare: We didn’t really look into the word ancient closely enough, until after we had written this week’s list. Ancient declares that it’s not only from the past, but indeed it’s also not in existence any longer. So, we took some creative liberties this time, by declaring that from today, this list has gone from ancient aliens to very old aliens. Hah! We managed to evade disaster again. Anyway, read on for this week’s list.
10) Precursors – Mass Effect
You know, we thought we’d give the Precursors a rub on this list. They’re indeed as old as they come, in terms of the Mass Effect universe. They’re so old, that they decided that the best name for them is “Precursors”, which, you know, implies that they came before everything else. I don’t know how on-the-nose you can get with this sort of naming, but Mass Effect decided that was the best name they had.
This isn’t criticism however, as much as it is an interesting way to be as blunt as possible about how old the race is. I don’t have too much more to say about the Precursors, as they were literally written to be a vague “before all this happened” type of race.
If you know a bit more about them – Share your knowledge in the comments!
9) Forerunners – Halo Franchise
Well we couldn’t have two Progenitor races in the list, so while the Forerunners may not be Halo’s oldest species, but – so far as we can tell – hold far greater prominence in the universe, having built the Halo Array, an Ark that would exterminate the zombie-like Flood by cutting off their food supply: any race the Forerunners could not justify saving.
They believed themselves the inheritors of all responsibility from their own Progenitors, custodians, wardens and gardeners of life. What a shame a garden occasionally needs to be pruned, or carved back to the roots to promote healthy new growth. Despite the fact that the Covenant once new the Forerunners as godlike beings, their gods sidestepped them to pass their responsibility onto humans instead, seeing the Covenant as intrusive and problematic. Do we tell them what happens when humans get their hands on super-weapons?
8) Engineers – Alien Universe
Prometheus may not have been the best film (it definitely wasn’t) but it did offer some context to the first extra terrestrial we ever see across the whole of Ridley Scott’s seminal franchise, the giant in the chair previously known as the Jockey, or the Pilot. Not only does it predate the xenomorphs in the history of the films, the Engineers may even have created – or at least modified the xenomorph species. It is very heavily implied that they also created us too, not as humans per se, but seeding the tumultuous rock with life that would eventually crawl from the mud and give itself a name.
Their motives remain a little uncertain, perhaps we were farmed, raised as food and/or hosts for their living weapons, or perhaps as subjects for scientific study? Perhaps their just a beatific creator of life but… well evidence speaks to the contrary. Odd though, that creatures willing to destroy themselves in the pursuit of creating life would then be so callous towards the product of their efforts.
7) The Mudokon – Oddworld
If you don’t know what a Mudokon is, Abe from Abe’s Odyssey is one! Now, they live up to 150 years old, but the Mudokon were, originally, a very widespread, proud race. Instead, they fell victim, becoming slaves in the process. The Mudokon, including Abe with his sewn-mouth, are not individually old then, but their race has been around for many a generation.
As is always the case with age, it’s somewhat vague as to how old, but hey, in terms of their universe, they may be amongst the oldest race. Once a proud people, fallen victim to more powerful races, the Mudokon are there to be saved by the Mudokon prince, Abe. His mother had sewn his mouth shut as a child, as his cries would have possibly gotten him killed. His quest is to save his fellow Mudokon from being turned into processed meat, due to declining sales of the existing product. Grim!
6) First Ones – Babylon 5
Among the many races that swarm the galaxy, there are those making their first faltering steps among the stars, those who are well practised at the arts of interstellar diplomacy and trade, and still those who have wandered beyond the edge, into the darkness, immortals by all normal reckoning, and advanced past even the need for flesh, blood and bone. A few linger, guiding us like parents, badly as it turns out – the Vorlons and the Shadows have their own ideas of what makes a race great and worthy of ascension, but the best thing a parent can do is let their children learn for themselves.
If you’re looking for a more thorough study, I might shamelessly divert you here to learn about the many varied species that wander our galaxy and beyond, born on tremendous knowledge and technology into the great blackness to discover more than we mortal beings could ever conceive. They have tampered with our history, manipulated our actions, and toyed with our very lives in order to see what we might become, and we became better than them.
5) Eldar vs Necron – Warhammer 40,000
It’s only fitting that if we’re going to include very old aliens, that the Warhammer races should get involved in some capacity. To pit them against one another feels just right, so check out our arguments for both races and then choose which is the most dominant faction!
The Eldar have been around for a very long time, but along with their ancient traditions, the Eldar are also very technologically advanced. Indeed, they are the most advanced race in terms of their technology. Whilst they command avatars and farseers, they also possess the technology of vipers and even the deadliest vehicle of all – The Fire Prism. We’ve not even begun to look at their devastating Wraithlords!
60 million year old robot skeleton army. I think that says it all, but the Necron were once controlled by the powerful C’tan. Fascinatingly, the Necron have a link to the Eldar, as the C’tan are powerful gods from Eldar teachings. What’s interesting is the powerful, grim Necron are definitely older than the Eldar – Having been an “extinct” race until they started to reawaken not too long ago.
Now vote for which is the greatest of these two alien races with ancient traditions and customs:
4) Goa’uld – Stargate
As if ripped straight from the passages of Chariots of the Gods, Stargate tells a tale of aliens who came to subjugate lesser beings in the guise of gods. The parasitic worms infected the bodies and minds of their hosts, modified humans called Jaffa, and with the faces of men, the weapons of aliens, and the names of gods they made us into servants and soldiers to serve their own purposes.
So yeah, aliens made the pyramids, and then a couple of thousand years later we stole their toys and shot them. We don’t like being infested with mind-altering parasites and being made slaves, even if our masters hurtle through space in flying pyramids and have eyes that flash with light to let us know that they’re not entirely human anymore. With their technology we have encountered others, aliens with Norse and Greek names. Turns out a lot of aliens are really interested in us, despite the fact that SG:1 proved there are a lot more interesting things in the galaxy connected by the Stargate network.
3) Old Ones – Lovecraft
We can’t ignore the grandaddy of cosmic horror and ancient beings on this one. Not when his body of work is littered with the long forgotten and sunken temples that predate empires of man, the reign of dinosaurs, or the slow crawl of life onto land. They were old as the world cooled beneath their pseudopods, and waged wars as our constituent chemicals coalesced, and their temples haunt those places our conscious eyes have barely glimpsed.
Look above this place in our list and you will see the same story told in many ways as Lovecraft told a dozen times over. Names might change but it doesn’t change the notion of curious creatures that crept onto our planet to tinker with our development, and leave their indelible fingerprints in our genetics. The difference being that they simply no longer care, we bare no importance to their kind, and they could – and might – exterminate us with a casual movement.
2) The Q Continuum – Star Trek
So, we actually don’t have a clue how old the Q might be, but the fact that they exist across time and are able to bounce back and forth as they please and have seeming omnipotence suggests incredible age rather strongly. Their immortality might make them gods, but Star Trek rarely presents us with actual gods, just aliens that possess power beyond our imagining, like the Crystalline Entity, or the Cytherians, but we were never going to include them.
To their age: they claim to have always existed, and certainly nothing can be proved for or against the fact. A creature that hops time without thought could be considered to have always been, being able to hop from beginning to end and any point inbetween – there’s a case to be made, but surely they must have started somewhere in the intervening time. And in that time it mostly seems to be screwing with random spaceships for a few decades before wandering off elsewhere.
1) The Doctor – Doctor Who
And while we’re talking about creatures that bounce backwards and forwards through time, how about the single most famous time-travelling alien in sci-fi history? Certainly one of the oldest in television history. A being who dies on a semi-regular basis, only to return with a new face and a new set of mental health problems, and possessing the most famous time-machine of all time. By some estimates – certainly the one that pops up on google – the Doctor is around nine centuries old, making him (her these days) but notoriety counts for a lot, and 900 is older than most empires at least.
The infamous Gallifreyan is middle aged by Time Lord standards, who can live for as many as twelve thousand years, and perhaps longer by far, having technology capable of artificially extending their lives beyond their already impressive natural lifespan. If The Doctor would stop hurling himself (herself) into dangerous situations then who knows how long he (she) might have left, and previous iterations might have died of old age rather than habitual deadly encounters.
There may be life out there in space – But we’ve yet to find an alien species out there. Humanoid, plantoid, plasmoid – You name it, we’d really like to meet them! However, whilst we’re looking at very old aliens, here are two more examples of very old aliens that we absolutely had to give a nod to. So long as they understand what a nod is, I guess… Oh god, I didn’t insult them, did I?
Yoda – Star Wars
The force is strong in this one, as Yoda has been around for many years. Like, we couldn’t count how many years on our fingers and toes! Yoda uttered out a line which might explain that he was 900 years old, probably, but as is the case with everything, it’s never a definitive answer. Apparently science-fiction has a penchant for describing things using as much vagueness as possible.
An interesting Stack Exchange question suggests that 900 might not be the exact age, but rather somewhere between 800-900. As such, compared to some on this list, Yoda is actually somewhat young! Nevertheless, Yoda needed a special mention, as hey, who do you think of when you think of old aliens? If you were looking for a specific named old alien, then Yoda’s as good a one as you’re going to get.
This is a TV Series which goes into detail about perceived ancient alien encounters on Earth, which sounds like an excellent premise, except for the fact it’s been criticised quite heavily for not delivering facts, whilst presenting itself as a documentary series. Having reached season 13 this year though, that’s no small feat, which is more than enough for this to earn its place on this list.
Whilst there is a lot of theory, rather than fact, there are some genuinely interesting points to take away. There are discussions about cultures here on Earth, such as the Dogon people of Mali, which talks about their standpoint on astrology and more. All in all, whilst you might take what is said with a pinch of salt, it’s actually an interesting series, if you allow yourself to enjoy people’s views on the subject matter.
You can rest at ease, not all of these aliens are bad. The good ones typically outweigh the bad, so don’t worry. Oh sure, they may not be used to our customs here at GeekOut South-West, but we’re going to make sure they’re given a warm welcome – So long as they don’t try to kill us. Go ahead, vote for one of the options below and let’s see if our alien pals stick around!
Wait you chose THAT one?! The aliens are all leaving Earth now. Ah well, it’ll be easier for them to be home, they probably just miss their families! As ever though, we’ve got an article to wrap up, so let us know what you thought of this week’s Top 10? Did you enjoy this week’s list, or do you think it’s a bit meh? Do you like the order, or did we get that wrong? Did we forget an awesome alien? As ever, share your thoughts below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.