In the movie District 9, Wikus van der Merwe goes through a transformation into an alien after being exposed to an alien artifact. Throughout the development of the story, it is revealed that the artifact contains a type of fuel needed to operate the alien ship.

When Wikus first discovered the artifact, he tried to open it. Some of the contents was expelled (looked like it may be under pressure) into his face, triggering the transformation.

Was the substance that triggered the transformation, and the fuel collected by the alien Christopher the same thing? In addition, given the potent nature of the substance that affected Wikus, would he not have been spreading it to everyone he came into contact with?

  • I think the fact the prawn were aimless when discovered, that Christopher is familiar with the transformation and that wikus changes into the prawn points towards the prawn being something else. – user19525 Mar 10 '15 at 0:03

Both the fluids are same, as it's revealed in the plot lines of Wikipedia

Christopher discloses that the fluid in the canister is fuel which would allow him to reactivate the dormant mothership and reverse Wikus' mutation.

As we saw in the movie only Wikus transforms into an alien. That means only direct contact with fuel triggers the transformation (but it's just a speculation). The nature of the fuel is never explained in the movie, it's just an alien spacecraft fuel of unknown origin/properties.

As per District 9 Wikia

The Fluid is a liquid that seems to fuel everything that the Prawns use like their weapons and ships. The Fluid probably powers their everyday technology on their home planet. It also seems to contain prawn DNA, where the observed effects of coming into contact with Wikus seemed to initiate a genetic reaction, eventually resulting in his apparent transformation into a Prawn. It seems 1 canister of The Fluid can power a whole ship for hyperspace.


It is worth noting that even though he was spayed in the face by the black fluid, it was Wikus' injured arm was the first part of him to begin transforming. Possibly the alien genes were assisting in healing the arm and accelerated the transformation. As to whether the liquid could have been spread to other people through Wikus, we don't know that skin contact caused the change. Perhaps the aerosolized form that he inhaled/swallowed was the mechanism of transmission.


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