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Space Elves

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Space smugness comes in multiple flavors.note 
There are certain races in Speculative Fiction that appear to occupy an equivalent niche that elves do in a fantasy setting: the idealized, In Harmony with Nature culture reaching toward utopian ideals, or the inscrutable, ominous Fair Folk for whom We Are as Mayflies, or both at once, of course. Similar to Angelic Aliens, but Alien Angels are defined more by their ethereal appearance than their own perception of being an "enlightened" species compared to others.

When they are not behaving as a standard fantasy elf or, as is often the case, an enlightened mystic race such as Vulcans or Na'vi, they are off beaming up humans, cattle, and children just like their Fair Folk ancestors.

Sometimes the elf-like race are implied to be Ancient Astronauts themselves, misremembered or otherwise. Sometimes they are literal Elves IN SPACE! or at the very least have elf-like characteristics such as longevity and Pointy Ears.

Some anthropologists have speculated that the tendency to imagine any foreign intruders who are different from us as Elves Versus Dwarves is hard-wired, like the theory that humans are hard-wired to imagine dragons because of our bad experience with snakes. By this logic, we have an innate tendency to classify "powerful" cultures as inscrutable, slender (tall and/or diminutive) beings who were here before us, have better tools and are not to be messed with, versus swarthy, hairy fellows who are industrious, engage in untouchable occupations such as mining, and are migrants. Space Elves would thus occupy an extreme niche in the spectrum.

Your Space Elves may be:

This is a supertrope discussing references to Space Elves in various tropes, including: Our Elves Are Different, Proud Scholar Race, The Fair Folk and/or The Greys. Examples of each type would also fall under such other tropes.

Compare Alien Fair Folk. Contrast Space Orcs; a crude and violent alien culture with technology to match, who might even exist alongside the advanced and sophisticated Space Elves.


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Traditional Elves in Space:

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Elves in ElfQuest. They ironically didn't take on elf form until just before they were stranded on Planet Abode, and didn't get back into space for about 20,000 years.
  • Star Wars Legends: There are some elven beings in Star Wars comics.
    • Star Wars (Marvel 1977) had a major story arc dealing with Space Dark Elves: the Nagai are a race of tall, slender, pale, androgynously beautiful aliens with angular features and pointed ears who try and conquer and enslave the galaxy.
    • Star Wars: Republic: The Jedi Master Fay is a tall and ethereally beautiful woman, so old that she was a myth to most other Jedi but eternally youthful, with pointed ears and a connection to the Force so strong that she didn't age. Obi-Wan remarks that she was the strongest of them all, and speculated that had she not sacrificed herself to save him, she would have been able to recover from being stabbed in the back by Asajj Ventress. With two lightsabres. Fay was unfortunately a one-issue wonder.
    • The species that most resembles elves physically are the Sephi, who appear in a number of comics titles. They are intelligent and refined, have a tendency toward haughtiness, and they're often truly stunning, although some can be just as ugly as baseline humans. They also come in a variety of colours beyond the usual human range. Their lifespan is typically between 200-450 years. They do not dwell in their homeworld's few forests and Force-sensitives are no more common than most races. Fay's species is never stated, but it is widely accepted that she is a Sephi.
    • There is at least one confirmed Sephi Jedi Master, Aleco Stusea, a contemporary of the infamous Revan, whose regal bearing and good lucks made her come off as one of Tolkien's High Elves in space.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Thor: The Dark World has actual Dark Elves in space. They somehow existed before light in the universe and the Asgardians/Aesir fought a war with them 5,000 years ago to prevent their dark lord Malekith from destroying the universe. Now the realms have aligned right for him to try again and the few Svartálfar have awoken from stasis. Also Thor mentioned Aelfheim (the realm of the Light Elves in Norse Mythology) was one of the inhabited realms in the first movie a few times.

  • Alterien: The Alterians are actual space elves that have the capacity for limited shapeshifting. In their true form, they have the elven ears, slightly larger than normal eyes, and no eyebrows. They tend to be exceptionally attractive in either their concealed (human) forms or in their true forms. Alteriens are capable of 4th dimensional movement (teleportation and time travel). They have a host of other abilities and actually inspired an ancient legend that lead to the mythologies of elves, fairies and the Fair Folk.
  • Artemis Fowl: The fairies (including elves) are traditional, native-to-Earth fairies, with magic that does some things, but they're also very high-tech and in a distinctly sci-fi setting. A fairy space probe plays a part in "Atlantis Complex," among other things.
  • Commonwealth Saga: The Silfen are almost physically identical to traditional elves and were the inspiration for elf legends (those legends were specifically of The Fair Folk and their morality proves to be alien in a somewhat similar fashion).
  • Confederation of Valor: The Taykan are the Green-Skinned Space Babe variety. They're an elf-shaped race with pastel "hair" (it's actually a sensory organ), superior senses to humans, and the ability to produce pheromones that can get virtually any mammal in the mood. Because their di'Taykan life stage is sexually mature but infertile, Ethical Slut has become their racial hat. Thanks to Popcultural Osmosis from humans the Taykan are well aware of their physical similarity to classical elves and apparently find the comparison amusing: Torin Kerr once met a di'Taykan named Celeborn.
  • The Abh in Crest of the Stars, who are genetically engineered humans originally bred to be a slave race. Interestingly, the pointy ears bit is a physical trait restricted to the Imperial Family, all other Abh have normal looking ears.
  • The Draka: Unaging. Physically beautiful. Able to read minds and control the emotions of others. Pure evil.
  • Dragaera mixes fantasy and science fiction, and the series is implied to take place on some other planet, to which humans had been brought. Some of these humans were subject to genetic manipulation, producing the "Dragaerans", who are elves. Humans in the setting sometimes call them faerie or elves, and on one occasion, a Dragaeran refers to humans as dwarves.
  • Eldraeverse: The eldrae are seven-foot-tall humanoids who don't naturally age and have pointy ears and a bit of arrogance, especially citizen-shareholders of the Empire of the Star. Mind, they're one of two species in the Associated Worlds to develop wormhole technology, they've achieved a near-post-scarcity economy, uplifted multiple species, become as close to immortal as physically possible, created a collective consciousness that manifests as gods...
  • Fortunes of War: Merete AndrusTaurus is a member of a human-like alien species whose appearance subtly invokes the trope's imagery, as she has platinum-blonde hair, eyes that are a bit more angled than human eyes, and as is revealed later on, lavender blood.
  • Gaea Trilogy doesn't have elves, but it does have Titanides, a race of alien centaurs that fit nearly every aspect of this trope, except the immortality (but they breed very fast to compensate) and long history. As the Titanides were created by Gaea to be a superior race, and Gaea is addicted to human entertainment media, it's likely that she incorporated elements of this trope into them on purpose, especially the artistry and technicolor hair.
  • Honor Harrington: The setting doesn't have Space Elves but Graysons, a short, stocky, stubborn race of humans whose dome cities make an acceptable substitute for underground kingdoms, who, once they opened up showed a considerable talent for the tech side of things and who sequester their women, make for more than plausible Space Dwarves. Likewise the Skrat, genetically engineered by the Mesans into their thugs, are acceptable Space Orcs.
  • Legacy of the Aldenata: The Darhel resemble a cross between elves and japanese kitsune and are the basis for both in Earth folklore. They are a Proud Merchant Race and complete bastards.
  • Liaden Universe: The Liaden. Although to call them this is as much as an oversimplification as it is in most other cases, it does merit special mention for being lampshaded in the second book.
    He glanced up, smiling. "It's my Uncle Richard's fancy that Liadens are the 'little people' of Old Terra's legends. Thus, Arthur Galen, Johnny, Nora, and Annie Galen. And their foster brother, the king of Elfland."
  • Lords Of Creation: The Martians are tall and thin because of Martian gravity with a civilization, now in decline, that was at it's peak when Earthlings were just discovering the joys of agriculture and a science based on Organic Technology.
  • The Martian Chronicles: Martians. Slender, beautiful with copper skin and golden eyes, members of an elegant culture with psychic powers and a psychology bordering on Blue-and-Orange Morality
  • Paradox: The Eldritch are humanoid, graceful, psychic, very long-lived, and isolationist. They're also a Human Subspecies that left earth millennia ago like the Pelted, and are dying out from genetic engineering related infertility and inbreeding.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: The Taredhel were the first amongst slaves; magic users, lovers and diplomats of the Valheru. They eventually left to the stars conquering an empire of planets. Not nice.
  • Saga of the Exiles: The Tanu and Firvulag are explicitly Space Elves. They are Ancient Astronauts who arrived in the Pliocene era, where they interbred with time travellers and became the inspiration for legends of The Fair Folk. A dimorphic species, the Tanu are traditional elves, tall, beautiful, etc., while the Firvulag are more mischievous and monstrous - playing the parts of the Seelie and Unseelie court of British mythology.
  • Star Trek Novel 'Verse has the Selelvians, who are actually nicknamed "elves," since they have Pointy Ears and are generally considered the prettiest known race. They have a low-level telepathic Mind Control called the Knack, and were kicked out of the Federation when it came out that they were using it on other delegates during meetings. They subsequently allied with the Tholians and had a short war with the Federation.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • New Jedi Order: The Yuuzhan Vong are what happens when the mindset of Space Dark Elves meets the appearance and brutality of Space Orcs. Their backstory revealed in the last book makes it plain that they were once more traditional examples before being attacked and nearly destroyed by a race of vicious cyborgs. The Vong succeeded in fighting them off, but in the process became even worse then their enemy. This is also, not incidentally, where their extreme technophobia comes from.
    • The Chiss are xenophobes who consider themselves superior to the other species in the galaxy and rarely leave Chiss space, going so far as to capture and imprison trespassers. They're taller than humans and are all in great shape due to their efficient metabolism. They have their own independently-developed technology, which is as good as, if not better than, the stuff everyone else is using, including their rather nasty signature weapon, the charric. They never strike first, but merrily crush anyone who tries to attack them. What does their (Obviously Just Better) society call itself? The Chiss Ascendancy. Anything you can do, they can do better, indeed. Worthy of note is the fact that Chiss Force-users are exceptionally rare, neatly avoiding the magic-user aspect of the trope.
    • The Arkanians are aloof, arrogant, and obsessed with politeness, not to mention tall and willowy with Prophet Eyes. They consider themselves superior to all other races and try and improve themselves further with cybernetics and genetics. Though they are featured most heavily in the Tales of the Jedi comics, two Arkanian Jedi appear in Yoda: Dark Rendezvous — a Padawan Alpha Bitch whose arrogance hides insecurity about the war, and a Jedi Knight who leaves the Order over her concerns about the militarization of the Jedi. Obi-Wan and Anakin try to talk her into staying, but she runs philosophic rings around them. Separately, Jarael, a Sephi derived Arkanian offshoot, pops up in Knights of the Old Republic, and most certainly looks the part. She also has an odd relationship to the Force ( she's not quite sensitive to it, but is to some degree when Force users are around).
  • Technic History: The Ythrian Bird People have traits of Tolkienite elves, being honorable and aesthetically inclined and In Harmony with Nature(especially the air of course). However they are very much a downplayed version.
  • Uplift: In the Five Galaxies, most oxygen-breathing species are humorless, psychologically inhuman, and at most only roughly humanoid. Not so the Tymbrimi, one of the few Galactic clans to ally with Earthclan; they're telepathic tricksters with nearly maladaptively compulsive senses of humor, lactating mammals almost exactly like those on Earth, and so humanoid they can be mistaken for Humans in bad lighting, especially when they use their almost-but-not-really shapeshifting ability. Nobody in-universe has any explanation for why they're so Human-like, since there's no genetic resemblance. In short, telepathic marsupial Space Elves.
  • Wesshar Wars: The wess'har are tall, slender, ancient and dedicated to preserving the ecological balance, often aggressively to the point of genocide, depending on the faction.
  • Wild Cards: The Takisians are short, long-lived, pretty, flamboyant, posturing, smug, and have "magic" in the form of Psychic Powers and Organic Technology. Their warships even look like colorful seashells. Space Elves in all but name.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Defiance: Castithans. The Tarr family at least has the Machivallian tendencies and hedonism of Dark Elves, whether this applies to the race in general is uncertain. Their son at least seems to be a bit better. Meanwhile the Liberata are Space Dwarves who used to be more typical of the race (they still are physically) but are now a Servant Race after conquered by the Castithans.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The Nox are an Actual Pacifist race who also happen to be Sufficiently Advanced Aliens with the power to turn invisible, bring back the recently deceased, and even teleport people and objects over short distances in addition to having floating cities. They also happen to come off as condescending toward "younger", more primitive races, even when what they're trying to teach falls flat due to technological differences allowing them to do things that the younger races cannot.
    • The Asgard are an example as well, but they legitimately respect the humans and while they technically assumed a God Guise, it was intended as A Form You Are Comfortable With, until the various human derived cultures they encountered were scientifically developed far enough to accept the truth and initiate more extended contact. This is shown with SG 1, with the Asgard giving them technology little by little, mostly just giving them th odd helping hand, teaching them how to use it responsibly and build it as they go, and ultimately pass on their legacy to them in a way that they can steadily unpack as they're ready for it when they finally meet their end.
  • Star Trek: Picard: The Romulan Warrior Monk Elnor is a Space Elf whose elven attributes are exaggerated, so he's essentially a Science Fantasy character in a Science Fiction Series. He's Elfeminate, his name is Sindarin for "Star-Run" note , he has Super-Reflexes that no other non-Qowat Milat Romulans or Vulcans possess in the Trek Verse note , plus he wields a sword instead of an energy weapon. Furthermore, the Qowat Milat monastery that was once his home is carved into a giant tree and it's situated in a Rivendell-like forest.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder: All elves of Golarion are ultimately Space Elves are literally from a foreign planet in the same solar system — they came to the setting's main world through interplanetary teleportation gates, and weathered out the global chaos that followed the Starfall by retreated back to their homeworld for centuries. However, the continent they originally come from is so isolated from the rest of its planet that many thought it to be a Pocket Dimension instead.
  • Rifts: The Three Galaxies sub-setting has the imaginatively named Star Elves. They are one of the leading races of the United Worlds of Warlock, a spacefaring, magic-using civilization. The High King of the Star Elves has even served as the leader of the U.W.W. parliament for thousands of years.
  • Spelljammer:
    • Elves are, by definition, elves in space in a non-standard fantasy setting (that links multiple fantasy settings). Of course, Spelljammer is D&D in space, so the elves are hardly the only fantasy race to have settled the Spheres.
    • The Reigar are the Space Elf concept but exaggerated — being a tall, slim, androgynously beautiful, unguessably ancient race possessed of vast powers and operating on a Blue-and-Orange Morality that even Elves find maddeningly bizarre.
  • Traveller has several subversions, usually Human Aliens with elegant customs and a few unusual traits, but which behave like humans or even worse. The Zhodani are humans dominated by a curious psiocracy and the Darrians are humans for whom everything is For Science! The Vilani when first encountered seemed a little like this but when you got to know them it turns out they were just humans with an extreme taste for Good Old Ways.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Eldar started out quite literally as Warhammer Fantasy's High Elves IN SPACE!. Humanoid, pointy-eared, condescending to the lesser races, and powerful psykers in lieu of having actual magic, they're a Dying Race after the fall of their empire and now live primarily in a handful of Craftworlds — Hidden Elf Villages crossed with planet-sized starships. They're currently locked in an eternal war with the Necrons and the forces of Chaos. Their name is even the one Tolkien's elves used for themselves. Note that despite their arrogance and cold-blooded scheming, they're probably the nicest of the setting's major factions aside from maybe the Tau Empire - they'll throw entire planets of other species under the bus to save themselves, but only out of self-preservation rather than because they can, and will otherwise cooperate with outsiders, leave them be, or if it's mutually beneficial, even help them. Most other major factions in the setting (like the Tyranids, Orks, and the bulk of the Imperium) shoot everyone outside of their faction on sight for the crime of existing.
    • Also, their "Dark Kin", the Dark Eldar, are Space Dark Elves, a particularly terrifying example of Dark Elves no less. They follow the "shoot everyone else on sight" policy of the most of the other major powers of the setting, except in their case replace "shoot" with "drag off to be tortured for decades." Their own Craftworld/Exodite kin are not exempt from this treatment and the races have had their share of wars.
    • The planet-bound Exodites are essentially Wood Elves; they live off the land, have a harmonious relationship with their planets, are not as advanced as the Craftworld or Dark Eldar, and don't really get involved in fights unless the place they live in is threatened. They aren't as prominent as their fantasy counterparts, probably because they can't really get involved in the galactic struggle. So, they stay in the background, until the galactic struggle comes looking to involve them. They have trade and diplomatic relations with the Craftworlders, who consider them kin and will protect them from various alien threats when possible. As noted, the Dark Eldar have no such bonds and are known to carry off Exodites for slave labor.

    Video Games 
  • Jak and Daxter: The dominant species of the games resemble elves that live on an alien planet (even if they refer to themselves as humans in-game).
  • Kingdom of Loathing: The Pork Elves fled to the moons to get away from rude and smelly adventurers. Unfortunately, their living space is confined within the shield generator, because all that cosmic radiation can cause some serious mutations.
  • Rising Angels: Most of the species derived from humans are known by invented names, but there are exceptions, and Elves are one of them. They seem to have a typical belief in their superiority, too.
  • WildStar has at least three pointy-eared races. The luminai are probably the closest to the traditional trope, being tall, lithe, and long-lived, but they're technically Half-Human Hybrids with a mixture of Cassian and Eldan genes. The mordesh are immortal and well known for their scientific knowledge, but their Immortality Inducer causes their flesh to rot while still living and they need medication to stay sane. While aurin fill the "protector of nature" version, and are somewhat animalistic with fur-covered ears and tails.

  • Parodied in a Dork Tower strip, in which Bill describes the setting of Warhamster 40K. The counterpart of the Eldar are the Notelves, who "are definitely elves".
  • Drowtales: A non-canon side comic featured on the website, called Space Age, is a NSFW comic that paid subscribers can read for a small fee. It features an alternate universe from the main comic, where the titular "drow" have advanced into the age of space travel and skin tight Latex Space Suits.
  • Eager Scout: Carl is a space prince elf... who travels along the sister of the most feared Space Pirate in the universe.
  • Outsider: The Loroi are blue space elves. Aside from being mostly female and psychic, they've got an explicit "warrior elf" thing going.
    Jardin: Ah, the old "good elf, bad elf" routine. About fifty impertinent things to say raced through my mind...

    Western Animation 
  • Ōban Star-Racers: The Nourasians come complete with magical arrows.
  • The Transformers:
    • The Mayincatec-themed tall, slender, pointy-eared aliens from G1 episode "Sea Change" — complete with being close to nature and having supernatural abilities.
    • The Japanese-themed aliens in "Mask Of the Nijika" don't look as elfin as the above-mentioned example, but they're still a spiritual people with pointed ears and psychic powers.

Enlightened Mystic Race:

See Proud Scholar Race for more examples.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Green Lantern:
  • The Kymellians from Power Pack fit the bill. Their powers are even often described as magic. Of course, they don't look like Elves — they're a race of pretty white horse people, which of course brings to mind unicorns and pegasi and other such Elf-Friend critters.
  • The Watchers from Marvel Comics are a race of tall, pale, vastly wise and powerful immortals who wear drapery all the time.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): The dainty winged ladies of Venus definitely consider themselves enlightened followers of Aphrodite's pacifistic law, and even go forcibly impose said law on the rugged people of Mercury, who, despite being giants, act very much like dwarves.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avatar: The Na'vi are tall, lean, super strong, and have pointed ears, making them look very elven. They are also In Harmony with Nature, putting them in conflict with humans, and have vaguely-defined magic powers including telepathy. Background material additionally specifies that they're longer-lived than humans despite lacking the humans' modern medicine and comforts.
  • Star Trek: Insurrection: The Ba'ku are a non-human species presented as a Society of Immortals who are enlightened and In Harmony with Nature, similar to the way elves are often portrayed, though visually they look human.
  • TRON: Legacy: The ISOs (Isomorphic Algorithms) are more like Cyberspace Elves, but fit the bill. Unlike anything else in Kevin Flynn's Grid, they were not written by him, but generated by the system itself, and even he is far from fully understanding their code. He describes them as "profoundly naïve" and "unimaginably wise" and hails them as a miracle and the answer to every question ever asked by mankind. TRON: Evolution and TRON: Uprising go on to establish them as a Perfect Pacifist People with a sophisticated culture, clothing and architecture unlike the utilitarian Cyberpunk Basic programs. Naturally, they are doomed.
  • Played with in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which has the Pearls of Mül, a beautiful, slender, glowing-skinned people who live on a primitive, pristine paradise, only to become experts in physics, engineering, languages, architecture and navigation once they leave their home planet and learn about the universe.

  • In Animorphs, the Andalites filled this role at the beginning of the series, being a sort of Proud Warrior Poet Race. They shift more toward the "warrior" part as the series goes on, though, and the series' Graying Morality hits them pretty hard. (Incidentally, the author is a bit of a J. R. R. Tolkien fan, with a lot of references in the early books. You have to admit, "Prince Elfangor" sounds a lot more like a Middle-earth elf than a four-eyed alien centaur.)
  • Sadiri from The Best of all Possible Worlds, a stoic, Proud Scholar Race with psychic powers who are one of the two races who operate FTL ships, in their case due to a psychic bond with their living ships. At the beginning of the book they come close to becoming a dying race when, at the beginning of the book, their home world is rendered uninhabitable by the Ain, their Dark Elf counterparts. The progenitor race, the Caretakers are said to have given them the Gift of Mind.
  • The Color of Distance has the Tendu. They are admittedly small monkey-frog creatures without advanced technology, not as physically strong as humans, but they have allu which can do basically anything, they take care of their environment, they don't have war, they can potentially live forever... With time this characterization is deepened and made more complex, though, and there are times when they can be argued with.
  • The chieri from Darkover. Space Elves bordering on Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, they possess lifespans reaching into thousands of years and extraordinary psionic abilities. They were once a spacefaring people, but have since gone into "retirement" on the titular planet. Can get somewhat pedantic when dealing with humans. The chieri are the ultimate in hermaphrodites with each individual able to physically shift from male to female (or remaining somewhere in the middle) depending on what is going on in their sex lives. However, this overly-complicated reproductive model (completing a gender switch in perfect sync with one's partner can be tricky in the heat of the moment) has resulted in a dwindling population problem that neither their powers nor their technology seemed able to fix. They have a noticeably easier time procreating with humans, and indeed the offspring of these unions often have some of their chieri parent's traits, notably atypically powerful (for humans) psionics and exceptional longevity. However, they may also manifest the chieri's gender-swapping trait, which has led to some families with chieri blood warning against homosexual relations because "If you lie down with a man, you may rise up as a woman!"
  • In Out of the Silent Planet, the sorns of Malacandra are exceptionally tall creatures renowned for their intellect and word-craft. These gifts allow them to understand the edicts of their master, Mars, with greater appreciation and even contemplate truths regarding Maleldil the Young. They directly serve Mars, a high-status which earns them some playful mockery from the more dwarvish pfifltrigg and hrossa.
  • The People from the stories by Zenna Henderson. Refugees from their home planet, destroyed by a natural disaster in the nineteenth century, who crash landed on Earth. The survivors live hidden among the Earth's population. They generally try to keep themselves separate from Earth's human population, after some very bad first experiences with us.
  • In the Robot Trilogy (The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and The Robots of Dawn), the Spacers, although humans in origin, are this: long-lived (they live for 300-400 years), technologically advanced people who live in an utopistic society where robots do every manual work and have no crime (it turns out to be a Crapsaccharine World though). In contrast, the Earthmen pretty much resemble dwarves with their living in underground cities and the conflict between the two "races".
  • The Taysans in the Spaceforce (2012) novels are the oldest of the three galactic superpowers, with a stable culture stretching back many thousands of years. They consider themselves enlightened and civilised compared to the 'barbarians' in the rest of the galaxy. Slightly taller and definitely stronger than humans, they have silver or, more rarely, golden skin.
  • Star Trek Novel 'Verse:
    • In addition to the many live action TV examples from Star Trek (see below), the novels portray the Deltans as this — spiritual, emotionally controlled, older than humans and with a near-mystical sense of peace that comes with their "evolved" philosophies and sexualities.
    • The Vedala (who first appeared in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Jihad"), as portrayed in the Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations novel Forgotten History, fit the bill perfectly. They're generally benevolent, older than other spacefaring races, very advanced and isolationist, and seem ever-so-slightly smug about their status in relation to younger "child" races. Behind their reasonable manner is the clear belief that Vedala are better than you.
    • The Caeliar in Star Trek: Destiny: isolationist, peaceful, convinced of their own superiority and not afraid to express it, as well as dedicated to scientific and philosophical pursuits while ignoring the wider galaxy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Minbari of Babylon 5 like to see themselves as High Elves or Grey Elves, especially the scholarly Religious Caste. However, when they think no-one else is looking, they are highly arrogant and racist. The Warrior Caste are also extremely violent and brutal whether or not anybody's looking, and start a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for almost any offense. Their claim that Minbari Never Lie gets ignored all the time, when they think they can get away with it, and for "honor." They did manage to keep the supposedly sacred Minbari Shall Never Kill Minbari rule in effect for a thousand years, but eventually that goes out the airlock too. Nonetheless, many of them are entirely decent folk. Think of Klingons that look like hairless Vulcans with bony skull-crests. They're also one of the oldest, most advanced spacefaring species aside from the Precursors themselves.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Ur-Obun in Fading Suns are a deeply philosophical and spiritual species with innate psionic abilities and a connection to the Precursors. But unlike most examples they had barely begun to explore their own system when humanity contacted them and they're now a subject race of House Hawkwood, though they're better treated than every other alien race in the Known Worlds. They also have a "dark" counterpart in their savage cousins the Ur-Ukar.
  • The damaya lashunta in Pathfinder are a mix of this and Green-Skinned Space Babe types; damaya are the in-born academia of their species, resembling tall and beautiful humanoids with insect antennae and telepathy with both Intelligence and Charisma bonuses, and due to how humid and hot their homeworld of Castrovel is, have extremely sparse clothing standards. The other caste, the korasha, are aversions, as they are more akin to Space Dwarves (sturdy, short, broad, and hairy enough for the men to grow impressive beards). In 1E, all damaya were female and the all-male korasha were rather off-putting due to their hair, but Starfinder and 2E have had it that this was due to gender roles rather than obligate biology, as well as making korasha not lacking in the looks department either.

    Video Games 
  • The Draenei from World of Warcraft, although judging by appearance they're closer to Space Goats. They fled in a giant crystal spaceship after their home world was invaded by demons. Those that remained became the Eredar.
  • There's also the asari from Mass Effect, a combination of this and a classic succubus. Monogendered blue-skinned women with incredible lifespans, low-level telepathy and high-level gravity manipulation. Other races need to be exposed to element zero in utero to develop those gravity powers, but asari have them inherently thanks to some prothean genetic engineering. They've been in space the longest of any sentient species in this cycle, and the ones who rub this in are often the targets of "Screw You, Elves!"
  • The Syreen from the Star Control series of games.
    • An even better example would be the pacifist, mystic, Pkunk — an offshot of the warriorlike Yehat, who left their brethen long ago due to their cultural differences and are hated by the latter until if you play your cards right they put a Pkunk as their new Queen
  • The Protoss from StarCraft, complete with a "Dark" subrace, the Dark Templar. Though they turn out to be a strong case of Dark Is Not Evil, they were only outcast from the main Protoss Empire because of their rejection of the Khala Hive Mind and caste system. However, StarCraft II introduces the Tal'darim as a more blatantly Dark Is Evil example who govern by Klingon Promotion and serve the Big Bad until one of their leaders decides he's lying to them and asks the heroes' help in taking over. The three factions map well onto the typical fantasy division of high elves (Khalai), wood elves (Nerazim) and dark elves (Tal'darim).
  • The Elerians from the second and third Master of Orion games.
  • Over the course of the Phantasy Star series, the Numans (later spelled Newmans) slowly Flanderized into an Enlightened Mystic Race, leading many fans of the later series to assume they've always been traditional Space Elves. By the numbers:
    • In the original console RPG tetralogy the Numans were Technique-using Cute Monster Girls: they were genetically engineered hybrids of human and musk cat DNA, thereby continuing Myau's legacy from Phantasy Star I. The pointy, cat-like ears and use of claw weapons helped to illustrate the Numans' heritage. During development of Phantasy Star II, Numans also sported a musk cat's tail to drive the point home, but this was removed.
    • When Sonic Team took over development of the series starting with Phantasy Star Online, they downplayed the Cat Girl aspect of Numans. Instead, the developers focused more on the Numans' genetically-engineered nature and affinity with Techniques. The Newmans of PSO, while more psychically-inclined, are genetically unstable creations living on borrowed time. Aside from the Pointy Ears—which in PSO changed to mirror contemporary depictions of elves in anime—as a race they otherwise lack the stereotypical traits of elves. Some individuals, like Dr. Montague, do come off as aloof, but that's more due to his Manchild / Absent-Minded Professor personality.
    • By the time of the Phantasy Star Universe sub-series, the Newmans completed the transition from Cute Monster Girls into an Enlightened Mystic Race. While still a product of human genetic engineering, the Newmans split off from human civilization long ago and developed an idealized expy of Japanese culture on their very own planet, Neudaiz. The Newmans of PSU do not share the genetic instabilities of those from PSO; in fact, they live longer and mature faster than humans. They also completely lack the animalistic nature of Numans from the tetralogy—that's the purview of a different race, the Beasts. Like more typical examples of space elves, PSU's Newmans can be quite aloof and smug about their affinity with photons and hold this over the other races.
    • Phantasy Star Online 2 rolled back on the Newmans' depiction as an Enlightened Mystic Race, since the races of the Oracle fleet don't suffer from Fantastic Racism like the Gurhal System did in the Universe games. They are still depicted as a genetically-engineered subrace of humans, with their distinctive pointed ears being by design, acting as antennae that allow them to better harness ambient photons than the other races. In gameplay, however, their affinity for the use of Techniques was overall a minor advantage, and physical frailty was not as pronounced as other series, such that, by the launch of ''New Genesis, the statistical differences between all of the races were removed.
  • The Lunarians from Touhou Project, who as their name indicates hail from the moon. They're originally from Earth, but left thousands of years ago to escape the Shinto concept of impurity, which they claim is the source of all death. Apparently, it worked, but they're kind of jerks about it anyway.
  • Star Ocean
    • The Nedians from Star Ocean: The Second Story are this along with being literal elves in space. They're extremely intelligent, possess technology far more advanced than anyone else in the galaxy, and can use symbology without having to tattoo themselves like most other species because the prerequisite symbols are already written on their DNA. They once ruled the entire galaxy and claim to have completely isolated themselves for the good of the universe. Turns out they were tyrants who isolated themselves because they ended up destroying their homeworld in a civil war after the bioweapons they created to put down a series of colonial rebellions left them severely weakened and ripe for the rebels to tear apart.
    • The Morphus from Star Ocean: The Last Hope are very similar to the Nedians. "Morphus" is not actually the true name of their species, but means "Enlightened One" in their original language. Instead of complete isolation, they live on an enormous and very well hidden space station and act as secret guardians of galactic peace. It is very heavily implied that they are Nedians who violently split off because they disagreed with the policy of complete isolation.
  • The San'Shyuum from Halo were responsible for most of the Covenant's brain work, and books reveal that they overlapped somewhat with traditional elves in prehistoric times.
  • In a twist on the usual, Grey Goo (2015) presents a spacefaring humanity as a technologically-advanced, enlightened species forced to dust off their old (but still far more advanced) autonomous combat drones and rediscover a martial heritage they have gradually forgotten over centuries of galactic isolation. A race of towering, four-armed alien refugees known as the "Beta" represent the game's battle-hardened, hard-nosed underdogs.
  • The Awoken from Destiny are a Human Subspecies descended from the passengers of a Generation Ship that got stuck in a Negative Space Wedgie, confirmed to be based on elves by Word of God. They look like humans with purple or blue skin and hair, have Psychic Powers, are The Ageless in their home pocket dimension, and tend to be arrogant and isolationist even when they're doing good.

  • The Cotyorites from The Lydian Option are a philosopher race who are "not dangerous to anything but your time."
  • The Nemesites from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! are semi-humanoid butterflies (tall and slender with huge eyes and ethereal wings) who often disguise themselves as attractive humans. They are a multimillion year old civilization who look down their noses at most others. They are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens with taboos against using their most impressive tech when it isn't really necessary, but that tech can be terrifying when it does get used.

    Western Animation 
  • Not from a matriarchy, but other than that, Mira Nova from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command fits the bill perfectly.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender re-interprets the Alteans as a race of Space Elves, who use a blend of technology and magic in their ongoing conflict with the Galra Empire (who are run by your standard Proud Warrior Race Guy).
  • Prince Baral of the Aldebaran empire in the animated series "Valerian et Laureline"

Mystic Alien Intruders:

See also The Greys for similar species.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The nameless "Yellow Aliens" who gave Animal Man his powers. In Animal Man (2011), it has been retconned that they actually are The Fair Folk, more or less, and that they only disguised themselves as aliens because they figured Buddy could accept that more easily.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 2: The Kreel are pointy eared extremely long lived individuals who regularly abuct sentient beings and have a bizare sense of ethics which is partially derived from their own ability to switch sexes as adults and partially derived from their habit of looking down on everyone else. Other races that live within their Sangtee Empire find them mysterious, annoying and difficult to understand.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost explicitly notes the similarity of Alien Abduction to changeling tales. There are quite a few True Fae that imitate aliens, especially The Greys, but only because they've been reading humanity's subconscious. Even they don't know if aliens are real.

    Video Games 
  • The Ariloulaleelay from Star Control II live in another dimension, are as old as dirt, and imply that they performed experiments on humans in the past.

Psychic Green-Skinned Space Babe Variety:

    Anime & Manga 

    Video Games 
  • The Asari from Mass Effect also fit into this sub-trope. They are an entirely monogendered female race, and have contact telepathy. They are often objectified by other starfaring races, since every sentient species finds them attractive and they can reproduce by mating with any species (and have a strong preference for mating with other races).
  • The Elerians from Master of Orion 2 and 3 also fit as well. They are a blue-skinned, psychic race that are matriarchal with the males being mystics while the women are the warriors of the species. They're not an enlightened race as they're an inefficient feudal civilization and rather war-like (they get bonuses to combat because they train so much for battle). Males are never portrayed on-screen and the females are always shown as good looking.
  • The Syreen from the Star Control series of games fit the bill very well, being a blue-skinned, psychic, race composed of females, or at least males do not appear in-game (the manuals indicate that as a species Syreen do have males, but their recent history has led to over 90% of them being female — most of them died when their homeworld was unexpectedly destroyed, and nearly all survivors were from the Syreen space force which thanks to traditional Syreen gender roles was overwhelmingly female).

  • The aforementioned Loroi in Outsider also fall here, as their species is heavily skewed toward females (about 1 in 8 births is a male), their skin tones are various shades of blue, and they have an innate telepathic ability that they use for interpersonal communication and which works to some degree on non-Loroi species...except, apparently, humans, which is a slowly-developing plot point. Atypically, they are also a Proud Warrior Race where civilians are considered lesser than soldiers, and they have a tendency to attack unaligned races.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Enlightened Mystic Race, Elves In Space


Dark Elves

The Dark Elves and the indigenous race of Svartleheim who existed since before the Big Bang. They wish to plunge the universe into eternal darkness and Asgard has made it their duty to stop them.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / OurElvesAreDifferent

Media sources: