The Martians (also known as "Molluscs" or "Sarmaks") are a race of aliens from the planet Mars, who tried to invade Earth when their own homeworld became an inhospitable, frozen desert. Despite their primitive appearance their intelligence and technology far exceeded our own prior to the invasion.


A typical Martian.


"A big greyish rounded bulk, the size, perhaps, of a bear, was rising slowly and painfully out of the cylinder. As it bulged up and caught the light, it glistened like wet leather. Two large dark-coloured eyes were regarding me steadfastly. The mass that framed them, the head of thething, was rounded, and had, one might say, a face. There was a mouth under the eyes, the lipless brim of which quivered and panted, and dropped saliva. The whole creature heaved and pulsated convulsively. A lank tentacular appendage gripped the edge of the cylinder, another swayed in the air.

Martian by caberwood-d4w8ufn

Martian Model

Those who have never seen a living Martian can scarcely imagine the strange horror of its appearance. The peculiar V-shaped mouth with its pointed upper lip, the absence of brow ridges, the absence of a chin beneath the wedge-like lower lip, the incessant quivering of this mouth, the Gorgon groups of tentacles, the tumultuous breathing of the lungs in a strange atmosphere, the evident heaviness and painfulness of movement due to the greater gravitational energy of the earth—above all, the extraordinary intensity of the immense eyes—were at once vital, intense, inhuman, crippled and monstrous. There was something fungoid in the oily brown skin, something in the clumsy deliberation of the tedious movements unspeakably nasty." - Chapter 4, The Cylinder Opens.

War of the Worlds original cover bw

An early cover of the book, depicting the Martians

Biological systemsEdit

The main focus of Martian anatomy is their brains. Although they do have a heart and a bulky set of lungs they lack any sort of digestive system and so they feed via blood transfusion from other beings; on Mars, these are humanoid creatures native to the planet, on Earth, human beings are used as a substitute.

Their reduced musculature system means that they don't need to sleep and in fact are constantly active.


The Original Martian

Martians reproduce asexually by growing polyps 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.

Appearances on screenEdit

The War of the Worlds (1953) Edit


A Martian from 1953. Not to be confused with relative Mor-Taxan.

The Martians first appeared onscreen in George Pal's adaptation of The War of the Worlds. In this version, their appearance is rather unusual; they do not resemble the squids from the novel. They are short Reddish-brown creatures with long arms with three fingers that have suction cups on them. they have a large eye that has three colored lenses, which are red, green, and blue. they appear to have no mouths.

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).[1]A more likely description would be that the Martians are 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. they appear to have no use for humans.

War of the Worlds (2005) Edit


Spielberg's aliens. They are not Martians.

Though the Tripods in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of The War of the Worlds are shown as having a somewhat similar appearance to those of the original book's Martians, the aliens are not from Mars.

Their form instead seems to resemble that of their fighting-machines, with the aliens having a large head and walking on three legs while having two small arms hanging underneath their bodies.

Pendragon Edit

200 px pendragon martians

Martian from Pendragon Pictures

The Martians from the Pendragon adaptation are the most true to the novel in appearance, having many tentacles and rather elongated bodies/heads.

Asylum Film Edit

Asylum Martian

The Martians from Asylum's War of the Worlds.

The Asylum Martians resemble green disks that have four tentacles acting like legs. the bottom of the tentacles have mouths that spit an acid that melts anything it touches. inside the mouths are three tongues that resemble the fingers of the Martians from the 1953 film. they aren't refer to as Martians in the film.

Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds (1978) Edit

The Martians were recreated for the 1978 album of Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds Alive and for the live stage tours. They draw heavily from the H.G.Wells descriptions, Jeff Wayne himself had

Jeff Wayne's Martian emerging from the Cylinder in the New Generation's live tour

great input into their creation.

Appearances in Comics/Graphic NovelsEdit

(To be added)

Influence Edit

Wells' Martians are likely the basis of the modern theme of aliens and extraterrestrials being "bug-eyed tentacled monsters", such as the Rigellans of The Simpsons and the Daleks of Doctor Who.

See alsoEdit


The TV series retconned the origin of the Martians as being from the planet Mor-Tax. In keeping with what we now know of other planets in our own solar system (and the improbability of Mars currently harboring native intelligent life), modern adaptations of War of the Worlds tend to use Mars as the staging post rather than the homeworld of the invaders who originate from a different star system altogether.

References Edit

  1. Although the blueprints were taken from the TV series (i.e. Operation Deep Ice), which are Mor-Tax, they are based on the style of the 1953 film, so the relevance of these blueprints is debatable.