|Height||Somewhat taller than Humans|
|Behind the Scenes|
|Designed by||David Meng|
The "Prawns", also known as Poleepkwa, are a spacefaring, sapient species of bipedal insectoids whose ship landed on Earth in the late 20th century.
"Prawns" is the derogatory term that Humans use for a sapient species of extraterrestrial insectoids that, for unknown reasons, stopped running upon the arrival on the planet Earth. The term "prawn" has led to a bit of confusion for some, as they are in fact not called this due to a resemblance to prawns, but instead this name was given to them by the local people of Johannesburg, South Africa, due to their resemblance to a species of pest from that area, known as the parktown prawn, a species of king cricket as opposed to a crustacean. Their homeworld has seven moons. It is also possible that the species' true name is "Poleepkwa".
Physically speaking, they are toothless, and use a variety of feeding tendrils along the edge of their face to help quickly feed them. They are opportunistic carnivores and will eat just about anything they can come across, although for currently-unknown reasons wet cat food affects them in a manner similar to how catnip affects a cat. Unfortunately for them, this addiction has caused them to lose much in trades with the local humans. This cat food addiction is used against them as a racist stereotype. Their bodies are covered in a tough exoskeleton, and they are also notable for their three-fingered hands, large humanoid eyes, two pairs of antennae, and apparent inability to speak Human languages, although they can comprehend them. Prawn reproduce by laying eggs in batches, which are then fed from the blood of animal corpses. When young are born they appear to soon be capable of fully understanding their species' technology and also appear to undergo an incomplete metamorphosis, most likely shedding their exoskeletal carapace over time in order to grow in size.
Prawn are apparently interested in a vicious faunal battle ring that functions in a manner similar to cockfights, which they produce using a species apparently indigenous to their homeworld.
Prawns technology is all bio-mechanical, and will only function with their DNA, although this includes combined DNA of themselves and any sapient organism hit with their fluid. They are best known for their battle-oriented power suits and weaponry such as their arc guns, although other technologies include starships, environmental bio-suits, other weaponry and presumably the fluid itself.
In March 1982, a large alien spacecraft comes to Earth and hovers motionless above Johannesburg in South Africa. After three months of no contact and no signs of activity, a team enters the ship, discovering a large group of sick and malnourished extraterrestrials, who are then given food, shelter, and health-care on Earth. The aliens, derogatorily referred to by some locals as "prawns", are confined to District 9, a government camp inside Johannesburg. Following their settlement, periodic unrest occurs between aliens and locals.
In the first decade of the 21st century, the South African government hires Multinational United (MNU), a private military company under the direction of its CEO, Dirk Michaels, to relocate the aliens to the new District 10. In August 2010, Wikus van de Merwe, an Afrikaner bureaucrat, is appointed by Piet Smit, an MNU executive and his father-in-law, to lead the relocation with the serving of illegal eviction notices.
Meanwhile, three aliens (Christopher Johnson, his son, and a friend), search for alien technology from which they distill a mysterious fluid, storing it in a small canister. Later, while raiding the shack of Christopher's friend, Wikus discovers and seizes the container, which sprays an unidentified substance onto his face. Christopher's friend is subsequently killed by Koobus Venter, a xenophobic soldier leading the operation.
The mysterious fluid makes Wikus ill and begins to turn his DNA and body into those of a "prawn". MNU finds out and they force Wikus to test various alien weapons which only function when used by an alien; he succeeds at using them. The MNU scientists then decide to vivisect Wikus' organs because they are deemed to be worth billions for biotech research, but he overpowers his captors and escapes. Smit lies to the press, saying that Wikus is infected with an alien STD and is highly contagious. He also sends Venter and his men to capture him.
Wikus finds refuge in District 9 and seeks help from Christopher, who reveals that the canister would allow him to reactivate the dormant mother-ship and reverse Wikus' mutation. He then reveals the lost command-module hidden under his shack, and agrees to help Wikus if he retrieves the canister from MNU. Wikus agrees and steals weapons from Nigerian arms-dealer Obesandjo and his gang.
Wikus and Christopher break into the MNU offices and successfully retrieve the canister; they flee back to District 9, with MNU forces in pursuit. Outraged by illegal experiments he saw at the MNU headquarters, Christopher tells Wikus that he will need to seek help for the other aliens before curing him. Unfortunately, the trip to the alien planet and back will take three years. Enraged, Wikus attacks Christopher, then hijacks the command module. Soon after takeoff, the craft is shot down and crashes. Venter and his men arrest Wikus and Christopher, but Obesandjo's gang ambushes the MNU convoy, disables the vehicles transporting Wikus and Christopher, and after an intense firefight, Wikus is taken to Obesandjo, who believes that by eating Wikus' mutated alien hand he will gain the ability to use alien weaponry. Obesandjo's base is then surrounded and besieged by MNU and a firefight ensues.
In the downed command module, Christopher's son activates the mothership and an alien mechanized battle suit which, upon detecting a threat to Wikus, kills Obesandjo and his men before they can butcher Wikus. Wikus takes control of the battle suit and rescues Christopher, shielding Christopher as they run to the command module and killing many MNU men firing upon them. Wikus then aids Christopher's escape by staying behind and holding off the MNU troops in his ailing mechanized battle suit. Wikus kills all the troops except Venter, who cripples his suit and forces it to eject him. He is cornered by Venter, who tells him he plans to execute him to prevent further repercussions. However, a group of aliens surround Venter and tear him to pieces before eating what remains. Christopher promises to return in three years and leaves in the mothership with his son as Johannesburg's residents celebrate its departure.
A series of interviews and news broadcasts are shown, with people theorizing about Wikus' whereabouts. MNU's illegal experiments on the aliens are uncovered and exposed by Fundiswa Mhlanga, Wikus' former trainee, who is incarcerated and awaiting trial on a false charge of corporate espionage. District 9 is completely demolished, with all the aliens having been moved to the new larger District 10 240 km (150 mi) outside the city. Wikus' wife, Tani, reveals the finding of a metal flower on her doorstep, which gives her hope that her husband is still alive. Interviews are given implying whether or not Christopher's return will either mean reconciling Earth and the Prawns, or war declaration against humans. The film ends with a shot of a fully transformed Wikus crafting a similar flower in a scrapyard.
Notable Poleepkwa Edit
- The name "Poleepkwa" comes from what one South African guard calls the species in the Alive in Johannesburg documentary. This is not a South African word and the director of District 9 has yet to confirm the validity of this as the official name for the species