In Defiance, Syfy’s latest ambitious series, it’s 2046 and aliens are your neighbors. You see them every day, living out their lives as normal. Or trying to, at least. But this isn’t some sitcom, where everything gets resolved with a hug and a smile. They should be so lucky.
Seven alien races (collectively known as the Votans) came to Earth in our present day after their star system was destroyed. In the years that followed there was war that caused enough destruction that the planet we know today is gone. In its place is a rough frontier where survival is not guaranteed, and everyone must work together to ensure they can share what’s left of their ravaged world, called, aptly, New Earth.
You want a primer on all the peoples trying to get by on New Earth? You got it! After you become familiar with the likes of the Liberata and the Castithans, be sure to check out Defiance on Syfy tonight at 9pm ET to see what this future world has in store for us.
What it meant to be human changed the day the Votans arrived. When before so many of us were born and raised on fast food and TV, the period of strife known as the Pale Wars made cheeseburgers a little more scarce. Most people live life trying to get by. Some even suffered horrific mutations. And the wreckage of the Arks the Votans arrived on continue to rain fire down on to human settlements every year.
These days, humans are forced to get by however they can. That might mean scavenging amid the wrecked carcasses of fallen Votan ships, or trying to build new communities where once-proud cities once stood. But rest assured: if there's a way to thrive on this New Earth, humanity is going to find it.
Castithans are the ghostly pale aristocratic race of Defiance’s futurescape, and hold a seat of power among the Votan peoples that arrived on Earth in 2013. They brokered this power with their intrinsic cunning and ambition, and it’s rumored that they dominate the leadership in the Votanis Collective, the principle ruling body of the five alien species now living on terraformed Earth.
Castithans love to lord themselves over other races, which most find rather...annoying. Particularly the Indogenes, who bicker with them about which race is superior (they shared a homeworld called Daribo once. They’ve been at this for some time). Used to getting what they want, they feel quite comfortable using their intellect and even sexuality as a means to an end.
Irathients are the most common of the alien races now living on Earth. A proud and aggressive people, they’re unafraid of conflict and are particularly adept at hand-to-hand combat. So if anything is said against them, it’s usually when they're not around. But that’s just what’s on the surface. Underneath it all, they have a deep connection to nature, one that’s rooted in their destroyed homeworld, Irath. As such, they mostly keep to themselves on the far frontiers of Earth.
Irathients live a tribal lifestyle, and their culture and religion are built on a love of nature and reverence for the body. For them, the brain (or Gyabire) is the seat of intellect, the heart (Gyagbe) houses vitality, and the stomach (Gyargye) is the source of emotion.
Irathients have an affinity for the Liberata and Sensoth, since they all called Irath home. The Castithans, on the other hand...
The Indogenes are cyborgs. Alien cyborgs.
Hailing from the same planet as the Castithans, they have a unique, complete devotion to science and technology. So much so that they augment their bodies with cybernetic implants to better serve as New Earth’s scientists and physicians. But being the stewards of Votan technology meant that when they arrived all those years ago, most Indogenes remained on the Ark ships. And when those were destroyed, so were they.
The remaining Indogenes on Earth get along okay, seeing as they’re able to analyze and adapt to most situations. For instance, their implants allow them to learn languages far quicker than most species, so they are able to communicate like native speakers. However, they tend to feel uncomfortable around humans. Too unpredictable.
The Liberata are New Earth’s working class, and Marx would have a field day with their lot in life. They function as menial laborers and even as servants to the rather, shall we say, bourgeois Castithan elite. They’re often chided by the Irathients and humans alike for their unwillingness to stand up for themselves.
There was a time when they were an economic power among the Votans, but their greed brought them to ruin. Today, they do their work with humility as penance for the failings of their ancestors.
Sensoths are ape-like Votans — you wouldn’t miss them loping down the street. Considered less politically active than their fellow aliens, they don’t seem to trouble themselves with the political wheeling-and-dealing that runs rampant throughout New Earth. But, as the longest-lived species, they’ll surely have a few stories to tell after everyone else is gone.
Due to their size and slow lifestyle, Sensoths tend to be the heavy laborers. Like the Liberata, they are often seen as a servant class by the Castithans. Still, they often view their masters as family and will defend them passionately if the need arises.
The Gulanee are energy beings, aka, big balls of light that can think. However, as cool as that sounds, the lack of a corporal body means they require complex encapsulation suits to maintain their form. Otherwise they’d dissipate into nothingness.
Gulanee are extremely rare on New Earth since most stayed behind on their home planet Gula. Those who stayed thought they could survive the cataclysm that destroyed the Votanis star system. As such, you’d be hard-pressed to actually meet a Gulanee. They don’t have much in the way of political clout, and were excluded from the Votanis Collective.
The Volge are a race of robotic killing machines, and their presence on Earth was a surprise to everyone, because most of them were intentionally left behind by the Votans. Someone smuggled some of their numbers onto the Arks that made their way across space to Earth. They were a major threat during the wars, but have since gone underground and haven't been seen in years.