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The Most Memorable Onscreen Kisses Between Aliens And Humans

Kisses between star-crossed lovers. Kisses that are out of this world. That put you on cloud nine. That make you see stars. That put you over the moon. That make you space out. That eclipse all others. Kisses you'd suffer through a list of space-related idioms for — these are some of the most memorable kisses on the silver screen.

When kisses are filmed between two humans they are magical because... well, actually, they often aren't. They're something the audience can realistically relate to or pine for. If we ever fall in love, it will be with a human. It's written in the stars: If there is intelligent (and more importantly, romantic) life out there, it's playing very hard to get. So the magic of a kiss between an alien and a human is something else entirely: It's a fantasy in the literal sense, not just figurative. It's the difference between Ross asking Rachel to dress up as Princess Leia (his fantasy) and Ross making out with Chewbacca (actual — non-canon — fantasy).

Check out these fantastic onscreen kisses that will stay with us to infinity and beyond.

When love makes you blue

Deep connection is a theme that drives Avatar, and it's one that clearly resonated with audiences: James Cameron's 2009 science fiction epic held the title of highest-grossing film for years, until it was unseated by Avengers: Endgame in 2019. (The Avengers universe, of course, contains another memorable kiss between an alien and a human that you're probably already thinking of.)

The depth of connection in Avatar is orchestrated by distance and separation. Linking their minds to artificial avatars and the minds of the natives is the only thing that allows humans to move around the planet of Pandora due to its toxic atmosphere. However, within this system, technically, their bodies don't come into contact with any of the planet's inhabitants. (We'll still count this as a human-alien kiss, though.) The physical divide illustrates that the colonizing humans are lightyears out of touch with the culture and survival of the indigenous people of Pandora, as well as with the effect their overtaking of the planet has on their world.

The scope of this divide makes it all the more magical for Jake to overcome it. He and Neytiri fall in love after he is initiated into their culture, and their kiss is not only a powerful symbol, but also a beautiful scene due to the groundbreaking visual effects throughout the film.

Lois and Clark, before he was Superman

Clark Kent shares many touching moments with love interests in his young adult life, but Lois Lane is special (and not just because she is Superman's most recognizable partner). Of course, we do know her from Superman's story. However, the backstory created on Smallville, which ran for 10 years to its finale in 2011, isn't about Superman. The two fell in love before Clark ever donned the "S" emblem and red cape. Whereas the characters in Avatar develop their romance while a human lives an alien life, Clark falls in love while he, an alien, is living a human life.

His relationship with Lois is well-paced, building from season four all the way up to their first kiss in the sixth episode of season nine. The romance is full of depth, tension, and passion: Their kiss during the episode in question, titled "Crossfire," comes in the midst of an emotional moment that showcases how well the two show up for each other as partners in life and in love. And it doesn't come as he's blocking a bullet or taking her on a romantic flight through the sky. It comes at Lois' desk at theDaily Planet, where the two eventually work together. Lois is struggling with feeling a bit dejected about her job, but Clark, a super-powered alien being, still finds that she is one of the most impressive, valuable people in his life. This alien and human are each other's heroes.

The kiss of life

There's a lot of room for (re)inventing romantic storylines in Doctor Who. The titular alien Time Lord can take any form he wants when one life ends, which means that successive storylines can keep up with changing social conceptions of romance over time while sidestepping unrealistically-paced character developments. The creators are free to redefine and re-depict love.

The Ninth Doctor is one of the best examples of this timeless ability. The first Doctor in the rebooted series after the classic era ended its 26-year run in 1989, he's decidedly less eccentric than his ancestors, which opened the door to more modern romantic avenues. The 2005 inaugural season of the Doctor Who revival contains the first episode ever to include the name of a Doctor's companion in its title.

This companion, Rose Tyler, eventually shares the literal kiss of life with the Ninth Doctor. The season's 13th and final episode in 2006, "The Parting of the Ways," depicts the pair bathed in light, energy, and time (and other super-romantic abstract concepts) as they kiss. However, the kiss is also a sacrifice — Rose has looked into the time vortex, absorbing too much energy to contain and survive. With the kiss, the Doctor absorbs the energy, damaging himself so much that he eventually dies. Consequently, new audiences see the process of regeneration for the first time, making Rose not just a memorable love story but an integral part of the series' revival.

Gamora's last wish

Of course Quill and Gamora made the list. But which kiss? Their romance is full of endearing, awkward, and passionate moments that, despite the fantasy of the story, make their chemistry seem very real. What better meet-cute is there than for your future girlfriend to attack you and steal the Orb? OK, maybe that's a stretch. But what's compelling about their relationship is the way climactic moments of sci-fi action are juxtaposed against the hallmarks of a love story, like mixtapes, awkward mumbling, and accidentally seeing the other person change.

The ever-present threat of danger, though, elevates their love story even as it derails it. Just before their kiss in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, Gamora asks Quill to promise that he'll kill her if necessary. (Just before this grave conversation, Quill asks her an equally important question: whether "these grenades are the blow-off-your-junk kind.") To be fair, she has good reasons for her request due to her complicated past with Thanos. Still, it's a bit of a mood-ruiner... but also unarguably emotional. She knows him well enough to make him swear on his mother that he'll do what needs to be done, aware that this is the strongest oath he can make. Then she kisses him in low purple light, a somber reflection on the twilight of their story together.

Defying destiny

Defiance's Irisa and Tommy La Salle begin their romantic relationship after sharing their first kiss against a set of jail bars in the 2013 episode "The Serpent's Egg." Saucy. In many ways, though, Tommy La Salle plays a role in setting Irisa free from destructive ideas about herself and her destiny. Destiny is a theme that recurs in her storyline as she struggles to differentiate and navigate PTSD symptoms (enslavement to the past) from what she discovers is actual clairvoyant ability (enslavement to the future).

The details of her traumatic past emerge over time. In the fifth episode of the first season, she has captured a Castithan who she believed was responsible for some of that childhood trauma. Tommy discovers her torturing him and convinces her to stop, after which the Castithan reveals that he had acted in the service of propelling Irisa into her destiny as a "destroyer/saver goddess." Her first step toward that destiny would be to kill him for torturing her, something she had been narrowly prevented from doing as a child.

Instead of fulfilling her "destiny," however, Irisa decides to release him, marking a crucial moment in which she acts against that which seemed to be predetermined. Her attachment to Tommy is another: Her attachment to Joshua Nolan was based in security and necessity, while the attachment she forms with Tommy goes hand in hand with her own autonomy.

Take a picture, it'll last longer

Supergirl, a.k.a Kara Danvers, and photographer-boyfriend-type James Olsen had great chemistry throughout Supergirl's first season, and their first kiss in the season finale did nothing to suggest that the writers would abandon their romance before it even started. Instead, the creators answered the will they/won't they question not with that first kiss as viewers thought, but with Kara informing James that things didn't feel right and she felt they would be better off as friends. Can we get a gut-punch sound effect, please?

Still, it was magical in the moment — a moment that showcases Kara coming into her own as someone who takes initiative. This is an essential quality for a hero and a journalist, both of which are roles she takes extremely seriously. Just before she kisses James, she finds herself somewhat stumbling through her thoughts and feelings, and he asks, "What are you saying?" She answers, "No more saying, I'm so much better at doing," and kisses him.

Regardless of its duration, Kara's relationship with James was an important one, both romantically and otherwise. And audiences had been waiting for that kiss for a long time. Just because the writers seemed to quickly forget Kara and James doesn't mean fans will do so anytime soon.

A polarizing attraction

The Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond share one kiss in the 2010 Doctor Who episode "Flesh and Stone" that is awkward, racy... and occurs on the night before Amy's wedding. Though it wasn't part of any grand romance, the kiss did prove memorable enough to become infamous.

Although Amy doesn't ultimately pursue her attraction to the Doctor, she plays an important part in defining the role of a Doctor's companion. The Eleventh Doctor tells her how he has lost elements of the human experience that allow him to wonder at the universe, and that traveling with companions enables him to do so vicariously. This does not always result in or require a romantic component, but the relationship is deep regardless, as Amy and the Doctor prove.

This depth is, however, something that former head writer Steven Moffat regrets neglecting in the kiss scene. Instead of writing it more seriously, Moffat laments that he "played it for laughs, and it was so wrong." Whether he was right or wrong, he definitely made an impression with this fifth episode of season five: the BBC received as many as 43 complaints about the raunchiness of the scene.

Fourth and only

Despite selecting the extremely human name "John Smith," the alien protagonist of I Am Number Four somehow ends up in the kind of cosmic trouble that is bound to throw a wrench into a new relationship. The 2011 film follows John after he settles in the also-subtly-named town of Paradise and attempts to live a normal life as a high schooler while also learning to control his alien superpowers. He is one of nine alien refugee children who are being hunted and can only be killed in numerical order, and three are already dead. Unfortunately, I Am Number Four died at the box office, too.

But while a bit derivative, the film does ramp up the drama by not having John reveal his identity and powers to Sarah right away. When he is forced to rescue Sarah, a point at which we might expect the typical awkward reveal, John is instead able to hide his powers and even convince Sarah's bully ex-boyfriend to keep his mouth shut. When she does discover his powers, she immediately joins him in spinning a story for the police. Where similar sets of characters would face contention, the two almost always find themselves on the same page.

The unique chemistry isn't enough to risk taking her on his departing mission, though, and they share a tender goodbye kiss at the end of the movie. John must leave to protect the Earth and his kind — a good reason to break things off, but still a bummer.

It was mutual...

Any kiss that's followed by someone ascending into a swirling vortex is going to be memorable, though maybe it's the kind of heartbreaking moment you'd like to forget. Thor depicted another instance of the all-too-familiar emotional goodbye in 2011 between Jane and the titular Asgardian heir. This type of farewell seems to be one of the more common drawbacks of dating an alien.

Luckily, none of us will ever have to worry about that. Probably. And for Jane, dating an extraterrestrial being was apparently more than she could handle. At least, this is the explanation offered in Thor: Ragnarok in 2017, which features the notable absence of Natalie Portman's character for various offscreen reasons. Her disappearance especially differs from the comics, in which Jane had an epic story arc that was something a little more than human — a story that seems like it'll be picked up with Ragnarok's sequel, Thor: Love and Thunder.

But although Thor claims he doesn't see Jane anymore, he also claims that she didn't break up with him. Let's hope he's just putting up a front on both counts, and that deep down, he remembers her as well as she deserves.

How to talk to aliens at parties

Enn and Zan are a couple as good as the punk-meets-alien vibe proposed by director John Cameron Mitchell in 2007's How To Talk To Girls At Parties. In fact, many critics say that their screen chemistry and acting talent were the strongest points of the film, while the tone the creators attempted to set didn't quite reach the clarity it was aiming for in spite of admirable ambitions. The film is based on a short story by Neil Gaiman, and without a wormhole, it can be difficult to stretch such a small amount of material to the length of a feature film.

But maybe that's a good thing, because it allowed the story's unconventional romance to really shine. In fact, the most memorable extraterrestrial kiss is actually more alien than human, if you allow for a looser definition of kissing. Zan comically licking Enn's face is a pointed portrayal of what an alien experience love can be. Enn realizes what truly matters to him through the process of sharing his world with Zan. And though she must leave (of course), Zan learns that love means rebelling against the antiquated nihilism of her elders. And isn't that what punk is all about?

The rub of the green

One of the most memorable and colorful alien kisses, between Marta of Orion (or the "green woman") and Captain Kirk, aired in 1969. (Well, sort of. This 14th episode of Star Trek's third season was banned on the BBC and wasn't broadcast for U.K. viewers until 1994. Apparently, "Whom Gods Destroy" was one of a handful of episodes that "dealt most unpleasantly with... already unpleasant subjects" like sadism and torture. The executives weren't such huge fans of Marta's seductive dance, either.)

Marta's kiss with Kirk is especially memorable as part of a short and tragic story which begins with the ostensibly delusional slave attempting to seduce and then kill Kirk. She fails, and Marta's story ends with her being "made an example of" as a hostage of Garth of Izar: expelled to the inhospitable surface of Elba II and then blown up.

In reality, actor Yvonne Craig was an entirely different kind of "example": a trailblazer for women in science fiction. She was television's first Batgirl, one of the most well-known roles, along with Marta, in her extensive filmography. As Batgirl, Craig did all of her own stunts, buoyed by her ballet training. (Maybe if Batman and Robin had taken ballet, they wouldn't have had to use stunt doubles.) Her dance background likely also helped her nail the seductive dance that helped get the episode banned by the BBC.

Leeloo means love

Just like love, The Fifth Element spans centuries both past and future, beyond its release year of 1997. Even if some critics thought it was too campy, there's no denying that the film is richly creative, and leaves its audience with a feeling that might not be on par with avoiding cosmic doom by mere seconds, but is still something very special. That in itself is the whole point of the movie: to highlight the importance of love as a universal foundation equal to water, earth, fire, and air.

It's always daunting to create a sci-fi movie, but it's even harder to create one that so transparently meditates on the concept of love without making it some kind of saccharine sermon. In this respect, the alleged campiness may actually be an asset. (Roger Ebert called it "preposterous," but unlike other critics, he meant it as a compliment.) The culminating kiss between the hardened taxi driver and the alien Leeloo (who is really the fifth element... which is really love, remember) joins the four basic elements together, explodes into a column of rainbow light, and prevents the destruction of the world. Of course it's preposterous. Of course it's memorable. Of course the audience fell in love.