The Martians are a race of aliens from the planet Mars, who have tried to invade Earth by travelling from their homeworld via gigantic cylinders, containing material to be assembled into handling-machines, fighting-machines, and flying-machines.
Martians are about the size of a bear, in fact bigger, with a V-shaped mouth and sixteen slender, whip-like tentacles grouped in two bunches of eight around the mouth. Their skin colour is oily-brown, which glistens like wet leather in sunlight. They have two dark-coloured eyes. Yet despite their disturbing appearence they are extremely intelligent beings with knowledge in engineering that spans beyond a human's knowledge.
Martians are mainly brain and little else. They have a heart, lungs and eyes but no digestive system, so their energy source is not entirely known. Martians reproduce by growing more on the side of their bodies, due to having no actual gender.
The Martians on Earth are eventually killed by earth-borne bacteria, of which their immune systems couldn't cope due to having destroyed diseases on their home world of Mars.
Little is known about the Martian language. They seem to use telepathy to communicate, and have very little spoken words. There is one exception: "Ulla" which is a form of war cry and it is uttered when the Martians are dying.
In the Spielberg film, the aliens do indeed have a language, even having hieroglyphic style writing on their tripods, but the language is never explained in any detail.
The War of the Worlds (1953) Edit
The Martians first appeared onscreen in George Pal's adaptation of The War of the Worlds. In this version, they do not resemble the squids from the novel. They have no mouths, have a single sectioned tricoloured eye, and have suction cups on the three fingers of their long arms. Although the bottom part of this Martian is never depicted onscreen, blueprints that have circulated show that they have three legs with what appears to be a foot featuring a single toe (the same suction cup tips as those on the end of their fingers). A more likely description would be that the Martians were bipedal. They walk awkwardly, but don't seem to be greatly hindered by Earth's gravity, unlike their predecessors. Because Mars does not have as much light from the sun as earth, these Martians are realistically depicted as being unaccustomed to any form of bright light.
The aliens in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of The War of the Worlds are shown as having a somewhat similar appearance to their tripods. They have two minute arms appendaged to their chest, two long, skinny arms with three fingers on each hand, and one leg. These aliens come from an undisclosed planet, so it is not known which planet they originate from. As well, they planned their invasion for at least 10,000 years, so it's safe to assume their home world is rather far away. They also appear to be very inquisitive as one is shown playing with a found bicycle.
The Martians from the Pendragon adaptation are the most true to the novel in appearance, having many tentacles and rather elongated bodies/heads.
The Asylum Martians resembles insects more than octopi, though have only four legs. Their fighting machines also have six legs versus only three.
Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds (1978)
The Martians were recreated for the 1978 album of Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds Alive and for the live on stage tours. The are much more accurate and draw heavily from the H.G.Wells descriptions, Jeff Wayne himself had great input into their creation.
Wells' Martians are the basis of the modern "bug-eyed tentacled monsters" that are usually referred to alien or beings who are extraterrestrial in origin, such as the Rigellans of The Simpsons and the Daleks of Doctor Who.
The TV series retconned the origin of the Martians as from the planet Mor-Taxx (later called Mor-Thrai). In keeping with what we now know of other planets in our own solar system (and the improbablility of Mars currently harboring native intelligent life), More modern adaptations of War of the Worlds tend to also mention Mars as definitely not the home planet but as a base or outpost for invaders who originate from a different star system altogether. Therefore, the script still has a pretext to refer to them as Martians.
- ↑ Although taken in the context of the TV series (i.e. Operation Deep Ice), the aliens illustrated reflect those the 1953 film, so the officialism (as well as the origin) of these blueprints are unknown.