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I Come in Peace

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"I am Buzz Lightyear, I come in peace."
Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story

Okay, so you've had your first encounter with an alien race. They don't seem hostile, and might even be friendly. So, how do you let them know you don't want to hurt them?

You say hello. You tell them you don't want to hurt them. The classic way to do this, of course, is with the old standby of "I Come in Peace", but other greetings may be offered. If all goes well, diplomatic relations might be established. If not, well...

This can happen in reverse, of course, with the alien race indicating their peaceful intentions this way. If a character uses the specific phrase, it can overlap with I Always Wanted to Say That.

If this is said by the Big Bad, this will be his/her way of saying "I'm not looking for a fight.", or "I just want to talk."

Of course, this can be subverted, with a visitor indicating peaceful intentions just before slaughtering the Puny Humans. Or the peaceful party getting mauled by the non-peaceful party. Or a suspicious member of one group or the other might still be convinced that the visitors are dangerous. Or whatever.

We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill is another name for subversions of this trope. Compare Take Me to Your Leader. If the characters start out with numbers instead of language, it's First-Contact Math.

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Straight Examples

    Comic Books 
  • A more sensible version than most in Star Wars Target Vader. "I come in peace, and more importantly..." (opens Briefcase Full Of Credits) "...with money."
  • Superman is an alien. In his debut appearance in Action Comics #1, his first words to Lois, after rescuing her from some goons, are "You needn't be afraid of me. I won't harm you."
  • Invoked in Marvel's Voices Comunidades when Risque encounters a race of alien Fish People.
    Gloria: I come in peace.
    Gloria's internal monologue: That works in the movies, right?

    Fan Works 
  • Captain Proton and the Planet of Lesbians.
    "They said they came while pissed with their planet's dirt," explained Princess Aylarna.
    "I said I came in peace from the planet Earth!" said Proton.
  • In the Parody Fic "Farce Contact", Captain Archer does a test run of the Universal Translator, which isn't fully perfected in Star Trek: Enterprise.
    "I am Captain Archer of the starship Enterprise. We come in peace from the planet Earth."
    "Organ used for sight is the leading bowman of the prime vessel undertaking," chirped the translator. "We ejaculate in portion from the world of dirt."
  • The Next Frontier manages to play it straight, lampshade it and then subvert it all in one line in the epilogue. Jebediah Kerman would make an excellent troper.

  • In Explorers, one of the young heroes greets an alien with "We come in peace", because it seems like the right thing to do. The alien, in turn, replies, "Ehhh, what's up, doc?"
  • In The Abyss, Bud Brigman tries a more casual approach when confronted by aliens: "Howdy. Uh... How are you guys doin'?"
  • In Independence Day, the government sends military choppers displaying greetings in all the languages of the world. It ends badly.
  • The alien beings in Close Encounters of the Third Kind take the time to teach the Earthlings a tonal language as a gesture of greeting.
  • Star Trek: First Contact has the Vulcans greeting humanity with their customary "Live long and prosper".
  • In Predator 2, a young boy encounters the cloaked Predator and is nearly shot before it recognizes that his plastic machine gun is only a toy. The kid's response? "Want some candy?"

  • In the book Aliens Are Coming, the final interview concludes with a person saying "And if an alien spaceship ever DOES land in my backyard, I hope I will have the good sense to invite the occupants inside for tea."
  • Thanks to "Blind Idiot" Translation in the Iain Banks short story Cleaning Up, the alien's Universal Translator converts this phrase to "First person singular obtaining colloquial orgasm within a Caledonian sandwich." The human thus greeted immediately tries to shoot the alien, who fortunately has a personal forcefield.
  • In the short novel The Librarian (2015) the alien protagonist whose been living as a human for years, wakes up inside an MRI machine and deduces he's been captured. He slightly waves his hand in greeting and promptly says, "My name is Nick Logan. I need to speak with my wife."
  • Star Surgeon, by Alan E. Nourse. The protagonist has the power to influence emotions, which he resists using until It's the Only Way to handle a hostile mob of aliens who have surrounded their spaceship. Naturally the first words he mentally projects to them are: I come in peace.
  • Chindi by Jack McDevitt. Priscilla Hutchins gently mocks the leader of the Contact Society who—when he finally encounters the alien spacecraft he's been searching for his entire adult life—can only think to give this trope.
  • A Martian Odyssey. Due to having broken his nose earlier, the human astronaut's attempt at this trope is repeated back to him as, "We are v-r-r-riends! Ouch!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Altered Carbon. At the start of the series finale, our heroes are preparing to fight off a squad of C-TAC soldiers lead by Kovacs Prime, when suddenly there's a long burst of gunfire. They cautiously open the door to find Kovacs Prime has decided to switch sides and shot down his own men.
    Kovacs Prime: (lowering his rifle) I come in peace.
    Poe: (eyeing the dead soldiers) All evidence to the contrary...
  • In Stargate SG-1:
    Jack O'Neill: We come in peace. We hope to leave in one... piece.
    • Also, Daniel's usual operating procedure: 'We're peaceful explorers'. And if it's a language he doesn't understand, probably sharing food.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Gift", Williams tells the mob that he has come to Earth in peace shortly before they kill him. Similarly, the document that he gave to Pedro says, "We come as friends and in peace."
  • For All Mankind: After the Soviet Union beats the US to the Moon, astronaut Gordo Stevens wonders what he would have said if he'd been the first instead. After some distraught rambling about the recent Chicago riots and the hope that a man on the Moon might have caused people to look past their hatred, he decides that he would have said, "I'm Gordo Stevens and I come in peace. (beat) Three times a night." (everyone cracks up laughing)
  • The Six Million Dollar Man: When Steve Austin encounters aliens in "The Secret of Bigfoot, Part 2", he asks "Do you come in peace?"

    Religion and Mythology 
  • In the Bible, when an angel appears to someone, his first words to the terrified mortal are usually some variation of "Don't be afraid."

    Video Games 
  • In possibly the oddest straight use ever (and possibly a Stealth Parody), the player-character in Homeworld Cataclysm quotes the trope word-for-word... whilst trying to convince the setting's resident Space Pirates to help you take on the monster that's clobbered you and them both. It doesn't turn out very well, to say the least.
  • The first Vahnatai you meet in Avernum 2 (in the flesh, at least) uses this line nearly word-for-word—however, she's not quite fluent in English, and it comes out as "peaceness" instead.
  • In Another World, the protagonist tries to greet the aliens with a smile and an open palm. This didn't end well - he got zapped and put into a cage. One can assume he unwittingly flipped the aliens off.
  • The trope is implied with the Golden Ending in Undertale. With the monster race emerging to the surface of the world after being imprisoned underground by humans for who knows how many years, they attempt to make peace with the human race after Frisk, a human themselves, spared all the monsters and didn't hurt a single one. Everything works out as the ending shows the monsters successfully integrating with human culture.
  • Stellaris is all over the place when it comes to First Contact. Xenophiles and Pacifists tend to come in peace, while Xenophobes are prone to vivisect the species they make contact with, and so do Hive Mind species. Sometimes the attempt ends up becoming an abject failure, and sometimes, it ends up in an outright First Contact War.

  • In Meaty Yogurt, the Sxlzfyrk apologize for their rudeness in not introducing themselves to humans sooner, state that they "hope to become friends," and promise to return to Earth later with pizza and beer.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: When Bob meets the alien Officer Zodboink, the alien greets him with “¿Que pasa, amigo?” Followed a moment later with, “¿Que?… Oh! You speak ‘Eng-glish! Sorry. Your little gibbering native languages are very confusing.”

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The last line said on the Moon was:
    "We leave as we came, and as we shall return. In peace for all mankind."
  • When John Glenn was orbiting in the Friendship 7 in 1962, the mission planners weren't exactly sure where the capsule would land—somewhere near Australia, as in any part of Australia or the surrounding oceans or islands for a pretty far distance. Glenn was worried what the aboriginal Australians might think when seeing a man in silver emerge from something that fell from the sky so he took a short speech with him rendered phonetically: "I am a stranger. I come in peace. Take me to your leader, and there will be a massive reward for you in eternity."
  • The 1980s/90s UK prank show Beadles About had a famous and very elaborate hoax involving dozens of actors and extensive special effects to convince a woman that an alien had landed in her back yard. On finally seeing the alien emerge from the saucer, her first words to what she genuinely believed to be an alien were, brilliantly, "Do you want a cup of tea?"


    Comic Books 
  • In one early Dilbert strip, Dilbert discovers a microscopic civilization. After saying the line, he decides to adjust the lens of his scope...and ends up crushing the tiny world. Dogbert's comment on the event? "I loved the part where you said 'I come in peace.'"

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • I Come in Peace: Subverted. The alien criminal says this to the Earthlings almost out of reflex, but in reality, he wants to steal their brain fluid for the intergalactic drug trade. He's not trying to deceive us however, as he uses the line the moment he appears and starts attacking. Perhaps he believes the phrase is a standard human-alien greeting before getting down to business.
  • In Mars Attacks!, the Martians' translator indicates that they are all shouting "We come in peace! We come in peace!" as they're blowing everything to kingdom come.
  • Independence Day:
    • A rooftop full of people holding up welcoming signs to the 15-mile-wide saucers are the first to be annihilated on-screen. Hilariously, earlier in the movie a news item is shown on TV warning the people of L.A. not to fire their guns at said ships, to avoid accidentally sparking an interstellar war.
    • An interesting variation later on comes at the end of an action-packed dogfight between some fighter jets and some alien fighter ships, culminating in the immortal line:
      Captain Steven Hiller: [punches the alien in the head] Welcome to Earth!
  • In both The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and its 2008 remake, Klaatu steps out of his ship in the presence of roughly half the U.S. military, who are already a bit jumpy on account of the aforementioned spaceship. He wordlessly thrusts an alien device in their direction (actually trying to offer a gift), and somebody twitches and shoots him.
  • The Xilians in Invasion of Astro-Monster and Godzilla: Final Wars start off with a show of generosity to Earth before trying to take over, preferably with kaiju.
  • Flash Gordon (1980): Doesn't work for our hero when he first arrives on Mongo; the friendly hand he thinks is being held out to him in response shoots off the alien's wrist, grabs Flash around the throat and chokes him.
  • A porn movie about beautiful aliens Boldly Coming to Earth was titled They Come in Peace.


    Live-Action TV 
  • In V (2009), the Visitors' catchphrase is "We are of peace, always." Guess what? They aren't.
  • In the Babylon 5 TV movie In the Beginning, Captain Jankowski's expedition to covertly investigate the Minbari stumble across a Minbari fleet carrying their central governing council. During the ensuing encounter, Jankowski orders that a signal be sent assuring the Minbari that they come in peace. Unfortunately, the Minbari can't understand English and the situation degrades further from there due to compounding cultural misunderstandings.
    • On the other hand, Earth's first contact with the Centauri went over much more smoothly, with Earth's technology base receiving a substantial boost due to the new interstellar trade. It helped that the Centauri Republic's initial policy was that Earth was a lost Centauri colony (Earth wasn't, and the Centauri claim it was an honest mistake. The Humans are somewhat doubtful on that matter.)
  • Star Trek: Discovery presents this as the Federation's catchphrase. The Klingons consider it an insidious lie, believing the Federation to be targeting them for an Assimilation Plot. In "Battle at the Binary Stars", Captain Georgiou attempts to defuse a standoff between Federation and Klingon starships with a message indicating this trope, and the Klingons respond by opening fire. Admiral Anderson even attempts to invoke the trope a second time once he arrives on the battlefield after both sides have taken losses, offering the Klingons a ceasefire. The Klingons respond by accepting the ceasefire — and then they destroy the admiral's flagship.

  • The Firm's "Star Trekkin'" on Captain Kirk's verse:
    Ah, we come in peace
    Shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill
    We come in peace
    Shoot to kill, shoot to kill, men

    Video Games 
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time has Dr. Nefarious's robots telling the eponymous characters that they come in peace, and that they might go have some pie or take in a holofilm together. These are robots that tend to be shooting at the characters as they say this.
    • "Mr. Zurkon", a floating robot that defends the player (and is a weapon in his own right) perhaps lampshades this by proclaiming that "Mr. Zurkon does not come in peace."


    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Garfield and Friends, Garfield and Jon are watching a B-Movie about aliens, and making fun of the fact that the aliens always announce "We come in peace" in these types of movies. Then a real alien lands in their front yard, announcing that he comes in peace, at which point Garfield turns to the audience and says, "Wow, they really do say that." Eventually, it turns out that the alien doesn't come in peace at all, as he's actually the spy for a hostile invasion force.
  • Subverted in the very first Rocky and Bullwinkle episode ("Jet Formula") when Rocky And Bullwinkle return from the moon in their ramshackle rocket ship and a group of dignitaries believe them to be of moon origin. The dignitaries make the first vocal move.
    Dignitary: Welcome, moon people. You dig-um Earth talk?
  • The second segment of the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Cinemaniacs" is a Star Trek parody, so Plucky (who's on the role of Captain Kirk) says the trope when they run into Gossamer the hairy monster. Hilarity Ensues when Plucky ends up angering Gossamer with his Condescending Compassion by calling him "an intelligent animal capable of rational thinking and good feelings".

Alternative Title(s): We Come In Peace