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Not all space aliens in fiction are evil invaders who terrorize our fair planet with their high-tech war machines, and demand to be taken to our leader. Some of them are in fact quite nice. They're not looking for any trouble, and all they want is to be left alone, make a friend, or just get by in our strange and unfamiliar Earth culture.

The Innocent Aliens are like this. They've just arrived at our planet (though in some, rarer cases, we go to theirs, instead) and are total babes in the woods, displaying a very warped understanding of the humans' way of life. They're wide-eyed and childlike, and occasionally even need protection from hostile human beings, often trigger-happy military types who think they're up to no good and need to be exterminated for the common good.

In some kinds of stories, these aliens are used to prove that Humans Are Bastards, especially if they or the rest of the interplanetary community live peaceful, enlightened lives and we humans are the ones who go around shooting things and generally being destructive.

Often the "come in peace" part of We Come in Peace, Shoot to Kill. Contrast Aliens Are Bastards. If they're played for laughs, they may also be amusing aliens as well.

Examples of Innocent Aliens include:

Anime

  • In Gantz, during the first Onion Alien mission, the Onion Kid seems like this (complete with Kato trying to protect it from the other trigger-happy Gantzers). Of course, they have no choice over whether to continue killing once its father tries to get revenge. A few other aliens are non-aggressive before being attacked, making it murky who you're supposed to be rooting for.
    • Of course, Gantz is the bastard here, for forcing humans to hunt and kill aliens.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, there was the Roswell Incident. Tony, the alien, ends up living with America, playing video games, watching movies, and other things.

Comics

  • The Firstcomers in Elf Quest took the forms of elves and meant to land on an Earthlike planet during a time when such spirits were respected. Due to a bit of sabotage they landed in prehistoric times surrounded by superstitious, violent cavemen, and had no idea how to deal with the planet.
  • Alan Moore wrote Skizz during his time at ~2000 AD~, which can best be described as "ET meets Crapsack World," the Crapsack World, of course, being Birmingham, England.

Film

  • Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still may qualify. The original version does, especially considering he is a text book example of the first variety of We Come in Peace, Shoot to Kill. The Keanu Reeves remake one is more of a Jerkass, apparently due to Executive Meddling trying to make the remake as little like the original as possible.
  • The title character from ET the Extraterrestrial.
  • MAC, from the infamous MAC & Me.
  • The aliens from Earth Girls are Easy.
  • Leeloo from The Fifth Element, to a degree.
    • To a degree meaning 'until she grabs your throat/ puts a gun to your head for almost kissing her/ jumps off abuilding into your cab/ kicks a roomful of alien warrior ass'
  • The Thermians from Galaxy Quest.
    • To the point that they don't realize "Galaxy Quest" was an Earth television show, simply because their race doesn't understand acting; at best they liken it to lying (and even that is an unfamiliar new discovery, learned at great cost from the race that was wiping them out).
  • Men in Black features everything from 'the worst scum of the universe' to aliens that worship humans, as well as several aliens that more or less fit this trope.

 Kay: At any given time, there are approximately 15,000 aliens on the planet, most of them right here in Manhattan. And most of them are decent enough. They're just trying to earn a living.

Jay: Cab drivers.

Kay: Not as many as you'd think.

  • The aliens from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Short Circuit: Subverted when the alien turns out to be a Ridiculously Human Robot, much to Stephanie Speck's disappointment.
  • The aliens from District 9 aren't exactly childlike or innocent, but they genuinely mean no harm, and in fact were in desperate need of aid when they arrived. Poor prawns.
    • Then again anyone armed to the teeth with weapons that blow up anything they hit, can't be that friendly. One common fan theory is that they're an army falling back.
      • Word of God says they're colonists that have gone off track. All those fantastic and powerful weapons? Their equivilent of a gun locker.
  • Both astronaut Chuck Baker and the aliens he encounters in the subversive Planet 51.
  • After the Phoenix makes its historic first ever warp-speed flight in Star Trek: First Contact, humanity sees the Vulcans, who basically just want to drop by and congratulate the funny-eared people on finally doing something really awesome. They even stick around for the next couple centuries and become fast friends of humanity; if highly snarky friends.
  • The aliens in Cocoon have no desire to hurt anyone. They just want to retrieve their lost friends.

Literature

  • Ashley from the Nursery Crime series is a blue-skinned, partly-translucent tridactyl from the planet Rambosia working as a cop in Reading, England. Though not quite as naive as most Innocent Aliens, he's confused by human mannerisms and even more so by our biology. One time, he needed Jack to explain to him how human mating worked.
  • Acorna from the Acorna series.
  • The piggies from the Ender series of books. That being said, they had previously ritually sacrificed several scientists, but they didn't know that humans follow a different life-cycle than them.) Likewise the Buggers, who didn't realize for many years that humans were sentient beings and resolved to leave them alone after the first two invasions of Earth, but then Ender blew them all up.
  • All the aliens on Mars and Venus in the Space Trilogy are Innocent--in a technical sense as well as mostly following this trope; they are unfallen beings, in the Christian sense, Satan being local to Earth. ~C. S. Lewis~ plays with it a little in Out of the Silent Planet; the Hrossa, Sorns, and Pfiffltriggi have reasonably sophisticated cultures and gradually come to realize that humans can be dangerous, while the Eldila (angels, really) know almost immediately that Weston and Devine are up to no good on Mars.
  • Amy Thomson's The Color of Distance plays with this using the Tendu, a species of froglike aliens who communicate squid-style by changing the colors of their skins. Tendu have no war and strive to be in harmony with each other and the environment. They hunt with an eye to local populations, and they don't murder; they also have very little in the way of technology, though they have an incredible biological-modification ability that actually allows them to clone and alter things. But they also metamorphose three times, from large tadpoles called narey, then into adult-shaped semi-intelligent tinka; tinka are then selected by elders and transformed into the intelligent child/apprenticelike bami. They eat their narey and allow animals to do the same. They use the tinka as servants, ignore when predators get them, and the ones not chosen to become bami die. The human protagonist, Dr. Saari, only finds this out after she's been eating fertilized eggs and narey for a while, and is absolutely horrified. But there are thousands of unintelligent narey and hundreds of tinka, and elders who have raised/trained a bami to become an elder then have to either die or be exiled. It's presented as normal to them, and Dr. Saari eventually comes to grips with it.
    • There is also a greater subversion later in the book, when the human protagonist explains human war to an older Tendu and is deeply ashamed. Humanity has gotten better about peace by her time, but it still happens. She herself grew up starving in a refugee camp. The older Tendu, Naratonen, asks why humans go to war and is told that in part it's because there are too many people and not enough food and water for all of them; they're working to reduce their population, but it's still too high. Naratonen tells her about a time in which the Tendu were far too numerous, and the oldest among them designed a genocidal plague too complex for others to cure and spread it from village to village. Half of the population died before the last surviving oldest one - the others had also died of the plague - taught others the cure and let himself die. Since then they've eaten their narey and changed their ways to keep their population down.

  "You have wars, we have sickness. Is there a difference? Which one of us is better than the other?"

    • Its sequel, Through Alien Eyes, in which two of the Tendu come back to Earth with Dr. Saari, plays it a little more straight. The Tendu don't understand the degree of suspicion and distrust humanity is capable of. All the same, they're not unsophisticated, and there is never a point where either of them seriously thinks of humanity as without its good points, like curiosity and adaptiveness.
  • Domingo Santos' story The First Day of Eternity (published in Analog) features an alien species, "rollers", which respond to human colonists with curiosity and cautious friendship.
  • Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth makes his journey to our world to acqure the means to bring the rest of his people (numbering a few hundred) here before they die of thirst back home; they would then be able to blend in with humanity and become a positive influence upon it. Tragically, he gradually loses his innocence as he lives amongst humans...
  • Zenna Henderson's The People are this when they first come to Earth and almost immediately run afoul of the Soulsaving Crusader and his followers who give them A Taste of the Lash and then Burn the Witch. She initially wrote of the after-effects on the People's earth settlement a century later in "Pottage", which was used as the Film of the Book.
  • A few different species from Animorphs:
    • The Hork Bajir were peaceful, none-too-bright herbivores before the Yeerks arrived.
    • The Pemalites were total pacifists who did not even bother trying to fight back as they were killed off by the Howlers. The Chee, a race of androids they created, are at least capable of understanding violence, but their programming makes them incapable of committing it.
    • The Mercorans, who settled on Earth in the Cretaceous period, were also nonviolent, to the point that they committed ritual mutilation the only time they were forced to fight against another sentient being.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth has Loads and Loads of Races, so it stands to reason that some would be peaceful. However, this is taken to an extreme with the Ulru-Ujurrians, giant ursinoids who are nevertheless utterly innocent and devoid of malice. They eat, sleep, mate, and play games. Until Flinx shows up and starts teaching them the "game of civilization", at which point they turn out to be exponentially intelligent and rapidly assimilate all knowledge that the Commonwealth and AAnn societies have to offer. However, they remain utterly nonaggressive except when they or Flinx are threatened -- which is a good thing as by the end of the series their capabilities approach Reality Warper levels.

Live Action TV

  • Mork from Mork and Mindy.
  • The Solomons from 3rd Rock from the Sun.
  • The alien, Josh Exley, in The X-Files episode "The Unnatural" just wants to play baseball.
  • Occasionally present on Doctor Who, in the form of the Doctor's (usually human) companions meeting aliens on their homeworld before they save them from other, less well-intentioned aliens.
    • The Thals in The Daleks. Subverted in that the Doctor's companion, Ian, deliberately dismantles their innocent so that they can stand up to the Daleks.
    • The nameless aliens (implied to come from Mars) from The Ambassadors of Death.
    • The Doctor's Human Alien companion Nyssa.
    • The Kinda in Kinda.
    • The Doctor himself, at times, during his Fourth and Eleventh incarnations. Though the Doctor's people, the Time Lords, in general, and for that matter, the Doctor himself, has generally not displayed this trope.
  • Cole, from Tracker

Video Games

Web Animation

  • One Starship Regulars (an Affectionate Parody of sci-fi shows, mostly Star Trek) had a Koraeg kid. Their race was devoid of vices and was in a war with The Federation. The protagonists managed to capture one of them, and while The Captain contemplated whether he should inject him with a lethal virus to wipe out their race, the less-than-perfect regulars get him drunk and laid.

 Captain: You created the ultimate biological weapon for their society! A lazy profligate boozer!

Wilson: Don't forget gambler and whore-manger!

Tycho: We were thoroughgoing.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama, an especially pathetic example.
    • Well, until he got in trouble with the Earthican government and the Decapodians conquered the planet in response, anyway.
    • So innocent, that in the Robot Santa episode where said killer robot declares that every single being is Naughty and deserves punishment (even the Orphan Robot), goes ahead and gives Zoidberg a pogo stick for Christmas.
      • Which Zoidberg then uses to defeat Robot Santa; judging by Zoidberg's "yoink" and very deliberate reaching up to cut the cable, he knew exactly what he was doing. Very naughty indeed.
  • Starfire from Teen Titans, at least in the cartoon adaptation. The original one in the comics was older, dressed much more fanservicey, and had rape in her Backstory.
  • Now M'gann aka Miss Martian from Young Justice plays a similar role. She might not be quite as innocent as she seems.
  • Mo-Ron from Freakazoid- who, as the name suggests, was not exactly the brightest star in the galaxy.
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