This is a look at what Gremlins and Mogwai might be like from a pseudo-scientific perspective. This project was originally conceived in the late 1990s and early 2000s by Lynne S. & JP Cupertino. It has been updated from time to time over the last 18 years for accuracy and clarification.
Most of the information is considered canon by the fan community from various sources such as the original screenplays (by Chris Columbus) and much of the in-depth history and inner workings are from the fantastic novelization by George Gipe.
While the term “Gremlin” was coined by humans and adapted by Mogwai, both species of Mogwai are known as “Mogwai” in the early scripts and beginning of the Novelization. For clarity, we use the term “Mogwai” to apply to the first stage of development, which is known to have a fur-covered body and more aesthetically pleasing appearance. “Gremlin” refers to the the third and final stage of development, after the pupal stage. At this point the Mogwai has completed its metamorphosis and has a green, scaly appearance, and a more malevolent demeanor.
(Please note: The in-page links are not up yet, but all the sections are updated!)
|Lifespan and Growth
The digestive system & process
Mogwai can eat almost anything, although they prefer tasty things rather than things with little or no flavor, such as cardboard. The digestive system of the Mogwai is very capable and is able to use just about anything. Mogwai also have an innate ability to analyze their food instantly, judging whether or not it will harm them. Mogwai have a speedy metabolism; they digest food quickly and are often hungry. This is caused by one of the genetic miscalculations made by the creator of the Mogwai.
After a Mogwai swallows its food, the food enters the stomach where it is mixed with gastric juices. It then travels to a second stomach, where a chemical change takes place in the food that reduces it to atoms and then composes it into a nutritious food, no matter what it is. The only by-product of this is an enormous amount of heat.
This heat is used to keep the body of the Mogwai warm. For an animal of its size, the Mogwai’s pulse is extremely slow. The heat generated by the creation of food components in the Mogwai’s second stomach is used to energize and keep functional the Mogwai’s body. Therefore the by-products have an efficient use in the Mogwai’s body, and there is no other waste. If there is any unneeded heat, the Mogwai dispels it by cooling the blood in its ears. This is one reason why the ears are so large. An overheated Mogwai will spread its ears outward and forward for the most efficient cooling. The creator of the Mogwai built this into his creatures because it was both efficient and less messy for the Mogwai’s owners!
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Reproduction and Breeding
Mogwai reproduce asexually upon contact with water. With most asexual creatures, the offspring are exact clones of the parent. However, with Mogwai this is not the case. Mogwai will produce offspring with many different traits and genes.
Water is necessary for a Mogwai to breed. When water touches a Mogwai or Gremlin, it triggers delicate nerves just under the skin that send a message to the creature’s brain, inducing the release of the hormone that causes the process of reproduction to begin. For a Mogwai to use water in reproduction the water must be at a certain temperature; for example, a Mogwai cannot use the water vapor in the air, nor snow or ice. It can only reproduce with water in liquid form. Other liquids that are primarily composed of water do not cause the reproduction process to begin, as the quality of the water has to be reasonably pure H20 to trigger the nerves.
The quantity of water required for multiplication differs between the Mogwai and Gremlin form, due to the physical makeup of the creatures. A Mogwai’s fur does not protect against minute amounts of water touching the skin, while a Gremlin’s armor-like plating will make it difficult for water to affect the nerves. Small quantities such as melting snow or ice will not trigger the process in a Gremlin, but would likely for a mogwai.
Genes are passed on to the Mogwai’s children from a special set used only for reproduction, that the Mogwai is born with. These genes are not part of the parent Mogwai’s genetic setup. Different sets from these genes are selected for each baby Mogwai. However, that gets old really fast. So how do the Mogwai get fresh and unique genes to use for reproduction?
There are not any known genders however, every Mogwai has both specific gene patterns with the potential to create both male and female offspring. There has been no reported evidence of sexual reproduction in the Mogwai species, but they have shown traits of typical Male and Female personalities. This may be simply mimicry on the part of the actor, but this is up for further debate.
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A morsel of food at a certain time, (thought to be the darkest point of night relative to location) causes the metamorphosis of Mogwai to Gremlin. From midnight to dawn a Mogwai can eat to begin the process of metamorphosis.
Once the Mogwai’s internal clock says that it is time to eat and begin the metamorphosis, the Mogwai may become hungry. After getting mixed with juice in the first stomach, the food goes not to the second stomach but to an organ where it is converted into a form of energy to help with the metamorphosis. This process triggers a hormone that starts the metamorphosis. After the food reaches this organ, the hormone knocks the Mogwai out, and it curls into a ball, unconscious.
Glands under the skin, also triggered by the hormone, begin to secrete a sticky fluid through the Mogwai’s pores. This fluid surrounds the Mogwai. The sticky fluid begins to harden after a while, forming a pulpy, tough pod around the Mogwai. The Mogwai, curled up, is surrounded completely by fluid inside the pod. The process of creating the pod takes approximately three hours. After the pod is complete, the food energy in the organ that released the hormone is used to change the form of the Mogwai. The fur falls out, and the Mogwai grows rapidly in size, developing muscle tissue, armor, and changing its shape. This takes about four hours. Then, the development of Gremlin features ensues, including the ears, claws, tail, scales, and facial features, and any other details (such as Stripe’s mohawk). Also, the genes of the Gremlin mutate slightly from what they were as a Mogwai. This takes about five hours.
After the rapid metamorphosis is complete, the newly formed Gremlin regains consciousness. It will have no memory of the transformation, its last moment of consciousness being right before losing unconsciousness due to the hormone. The Gremlin instinctively heads towards the light coming from outside the pod, although it is intensely painful for the creature.
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Aversion to Light
Due to a genetic miscaculation by Mogturmen when he created the Mogwai species, Mogwai are repelled and injured by light radiation. In small doses, bright light causes pain and damage, and in large, constant doses it can kill. Sunlight is especially dangerous because of all the radiation from the rays that come from the star. Aritificial lighting is still potentially quite dangerous, but it has much less harmful radiation then does sunlight.
A Mogwai is born with an instinctive fear of any bright light. Although it does not know in its mind that light is harmful to it, the Mogwai knows that there is something that is extremely fatal to it, but it does not know what.
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Lifespan and Growth
When a Mogwai or a Gremlin is born, it will grow to an adult within ten minutes. Both Mogwai and Gremlins are adult creatures, fully mature, although it is a common misconception that the Mogwai are the baby stage of the Gremlins. The maximum lifespan of the Mogwai is several centuries; but the same chemical mutations that eradicate the chance to create a minority when the Mogwai goes through metamorphises shorten’s the creature’s lifespan. A Gremlin, in contrast to a Mogwai, lives only for a century or so.
Baby Mogwai and Gremlins cannot breed until they reach the adult stage. This means that if you get a not yet fully grown Mogwai wet, nothing will happen. This is true because the young of ANY species has to DEVELOP before they can breed.
In that ten minutes from the time the parent Mogwai or Gremlin gets wet until the baby reaches adult stage, a lot goes on. The set of genes is created, and a mass of cells is formed in a bubble-like pod on the Mogwai’s back. This mass of cells becomes a furry ball, which is released from the Mogwai’s body. It begins to grow, the features forming rapidly, and the brain evolving, developing the wrinkles of instinctive information that are passed on from the parent. The metamorphosis-triggering hormone and the reproduction-triggering hormone are both developed and produced to wait for the right signals.
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The Nature of Mogwai
The majority of the Mogwai, by fault of genetic miscalculations caused by their creator, are best described by the word evil. They are sadistic, with a twisted sense of humor and a taste for slap-stick style comedy. Mischeivous and conniving from the moment it is born, a majority Mogwai is truly a Gremlin at heart and will stop at nothing to create more of its kind, become powerful in the form of a Gremlin, and of course pull all sorts of deadly pranks and have a good laugh afterwards.
The minority Mogwai are gentle and charitable. They wish no one any ill, and they are the most wonderful creatures to have for pets, as long as one follows the three rules. Minority Mogwai will always try their best to keep less knowledgeable species out of trouble with Gremlins. All they want is to be loved and cared for responsibly, to prevent an outbreak of the majority by cause of only a few drops of water.
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Mogwai are born with an immense amount of knowledge and instinct. They do not have to be taught to speak, or to fend for themselves. They know all they will need to know when they are born. There are some tidbits that are kept from them, such as the three rules. The Mogwai will know that there are three important pieces of information that it must discover, but it will not know what this information is, only its nature. For example, it will know that one of the tidbits is the key to reproduction. But it won’t know what the key is.
Mogwai also have an instinct built into them that does not allow them to kill each other. Violent thoughts toward another Mogwai are quickly eradicated before the Mogwai can get a hold on them. It may hate the other all it wishes, but it will never be able to lay a hostile paw on the other. This built-in loyalty to other Mogwai ends when the metamorphosis to a Gremlin begins. Gremlins have no instinctive restraints on killing Mogwai, but they do for each other. A Gremlin can not kill another Gremlin any more readily than a Mogwai could kill another Mogwai. Mogwai, as well are justified in killing a Gremlin or seriously thinking about it.
The topic of Gremlins killing one another has been discussed in length. In the first Gremlins film, Stripe shoots a Gremlin that cheated at poker in Dorry’s Pub, and in Gremlins 2, The Brain Gremlin shoots a gremlin that pops up and annoys him during the Grandpa Fred interview. Both of these instances have two traits in common: first, and most importantly, both Stripe and The Brain Gremlin are higher-thinking Gremlins. Each posesses a different, more independant mode of thought than the generic Gremlin. It is the generic Gremlin and mogwai that this document pertains to. The other trait that they have in common is neither of them killed the other gremlin unprovoked, and neither did it by hand. This is somewhat important in exploring the Gremlin’s mindset. A Mogwai or Gremlin is incredibly intelligent and quick-thinking. While they are not innately aware of the “Three Rules” or their limitations, they can however, discover them through experimentation and accident. This often will lead to attempts to work around those rules or restrictions. The simplest example is knowing that the sun kills them by the Mogwai’s, (Clorr) death when locked out on the patio. Then the mogwai know to only leave at night.
The same may be applied to them not being able to kill one another, where one of the Higher-Thinking Gremlins discovered that using a gun would not be directly killing the other Gremlin, since the bullet or ensuing wound may acutally be what kills the other Gremlin.
It is also explained in the novel that Gizmo was talented at tricking his own brain into thinking things taste different than they should, as well as his amazing control over his mind in general. This again alludes to a Higher-Thinking Gremlin or Mogwai would be able to trick its mind into believing that it was “not aiming for the gremlin” or “I am not killing a gremlin, The bullet is actually killing it.”
There is also the idea that Gremlins and Mogwai are Logical creatures to an extreme, therefore they will adopt a “Laizzes-Faire” policy to situations where they can manipulate their own minds into it being acceptable to indirectly, or by ommision of action, allow a fellow Mogwai or Gremlin to perish. For Example: When Lynne Peltzer killed the gremlins in the kitchen, not one made an attempt to save another. In fact, just the opposite occurred. One waited until she was done murdering another of them before renewing an onslaught of kitchenwares.
Another instinct of the majority of the Mogwai is their hatred for the minority. This is due to another of Mogturmen’s genetic miscalculations, and there is no way for a minority Mogwai to hide the aspects of its character. Majority Mogwai are enraged by those same aspects, and they seek to eliminate them in any way possible.
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Language and Language Capacity
The Mogwai language is very complex and flows at an extremely rapid pace, far too quickly for a human mind to be able to speak or comprehend it. Likewise, a Mogwai cannot speak human languages for the simple reason that the languages are just that: simple! They operate much too slowly for the Mogwai to be able to comprehend. Its mind moves much too quickly, and learning such a language would force it to slow down its thought processes to a primitive level.
There are very few Mogwai who can slow down enough to do this. Some very flexible Mogwai can change the speed of their thought processes and so can learn such languages. This does not mean they are stupid, it actually means they have more capacity and flexibility in their intelligence.
Body language in Mogwai consists of mainly facial expressions and ear movements, although there are many other subtle ties. The emotions portrayed by facial expressions are very much the same as in humans; teeth can be bared in a smile or a snarl for example. The ears are a more involuntary way of displaying the Mogwai’s emotions. Like a cat’s tail, they can help tell what the Mogwai is feeling. Ears perked high and forward indicate interest and attention, or excitement, flattened ears can mean anger or fear.
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Intelligence and Brain Capacity
Mogwai are incredibly intelligent beings, with an intellectual level far above that of a human. They can also control their minds and thoughts much more easily than can a human. Thus a Mogwai can entertain itself for hours with the simple activity of daydreaming. The daydreams of a Mogwai, often referred to as “mental tours” are vivid and realistic, and can be called up by the Mogwai for his entertainment at anytime, in any place. The Mogwai’s brain does not resist manipulation by its owner, as the human brain does.
Mogwai, being an intelligent species, have a profound sense of intuition along with a well-developed logical process. Their minds operate a lot on the nonverbal aspect, with an awareness of things but without connection with words. This intuition and nonverbal aspect allow a Mogwai to grasp the basic content and meaning of what alien beings say, though the language is completely foreign to them.
Mogwai are also logical and rational creatures, some individuals being extremely clever at such things (one example is Stripe; he was a rational creature, and an exceptionally smart one). A Mogwai’s mind moves at such a quick rate that humans cannot even begin to comprehend some of their reasoning.
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Mogwai are able to adjust rapidly and splendidly to, theoretically, any enviroment. With the obvious exceptions of course, such as dead space. The composition of the Mogwai’s blood changes in repsonse to temperature, pressure, and a number of other things. Mogturmen wanted his creatures to be distributed to all worlds, so naturally he created them to be very adaptable.
The adaptability of the Mogwai allows them to be able to adapt well to any situation, not just their enviroment. Their intelligence and quick learning ability also helps their adaptability.
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The Minority Mogwai
Each time water touches a Mogwai, and the cloning, fusion, and mixing of genes begins, there is a one in a thousand chance that the Mogwai will be of the type they were originally all meant to be. All majority Mogwai carry the recessive genes for the personality and characteristics of the minority, but there is only a one in a thousand chances that those genes will be the ones passed on.
Majority Mogwai instinctively hate minority Mogwai and want them dead, ironically. The minority Mogwai, with their gentle nature, actually help to fuel the continued existence of the majority because as long as they exist, there is a danger of them getting wet. They’re so kind and gentle that humans love them and want to keep them alive, no matter what kind of horror their kind causes.
Minority Mogwai live much longer (due to their less violent existence) and have much more knowledge than the majority. They live for centuries, and they have been around long enough to acquire a LOT of knowledge.
If a minority Mogwai ate after midnight and began the metamorphosis, it would become one of the majority. During the last stage of metamorphosis, the genes of the Mogwai are mutated, and this mutation would cause a minority Mogwai to acquire the personality traits of the majority, in effect, becoming one of them. For this reason, the minority can only be in the form of Mogwai: reproducing Gremlins will not have the slightest chance of producing a minority, because Gremlins do not have the genes to produce them; due to the mutation and differences in setup from Mogwai genes.
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The Mogwai were created centuries ago, in another galaxy, by an alien being named Mogturmen from the planet Enz. Species creation was a very popular thing in those times, although it is unknown exactly why Mogturmen set out to create the Mogwai. His idea was to create a creature which could reproduce quickly, was very adaptable, and would inspire alien beings with peace and harmony, reducing the chance of violence and extinction.
Mogturmen’s creatures were hailed as a success, despite the few minor drawbacks. Some of these were the creatures’ inability to communicate (due to their high intelligence), and their aversion to light. Ignoring these flaws, the galactic powers had the first batch of Mogwai (which had come out just as planned) on three planets: Clinpf-A in the Beehive Pollux, Kelm-6 in the Poraisti Range, and the third planet orbiting MinorSun #67672, called Earth by its inhabitants.
It was soon discovered that Mogturmen’s creatures were highly unstable. Fewer than one in a thousand retained the sweet disposition and charitable aims built into it by its creator. The minority were successes: the majority were a nightmare. Mogturmen’s genetic miscalculations ensured that all kinds of unforeseen horrors were present in the majority of the Mogwai. The awful famines, landslides, and wars that had occurred on Kelm-6, Clinpf-A, and Earth were terrible evidence of failure to Mogturmen. (Source-Gremlins novel by George Gipe)
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Mogwai are extremely social creatures, driven by an urge to be with a large group of others of their kind. This social urge is partly their reproductive drive, since they reproduce instantaneously with water, and it gives them nothing but pain. Within a large group of their kind, a Mogwai will have no urge to reproduce. If alone or even in a small group, a Mogwai will want to seek out water as quickly as possible to create more of its species. This is especially true among Gremlins. Mogwai view themselves as being “weak” and will sometimes wait on reproduction until the Gremlin form is achieved.
Although sadistic pranksters with a wacky sense of humor, Mogwai do have the ability to care for others. Whether the bond is between siblings, good friends, or mutually gene-exchange driven couples, the social Mogwai can become very close and even dependant on the other for their emotional well-being. This is an extreme case, however. Mogwai cannot kill each other, and they thrive wonderfully in the company of their own kind. They will get upset if seperated from other Mogwai, and they also hate to see others of their kind killed, no matter how close they are to that particular individual. This extends to rivals as well. A Mogwai will never even wish another Mogwai harm.
A Mogwai may have his or her customary group that he or she likes to associate with. The group can be small or as large as ten or so members. These groups are completely unofficial and are formed by common interests among the Mogwai. A Mogwai may be a part of several different groups, at different times and frames of mind. A Mogwai will often share a close association with blood relatives, but will seek out Mogwai from a different bloodline for the gene exchange for a good, fresh set of genes.
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Mogwai are equipped with five senses, just as human beings are. Though all of these sense are extremely acute, probably the sense of hearing is the most important and best developed in a Mogwai.
The sense of hearing is aided by the Mogwai’s large, pointed, swiveling ears. The ears can be flattened to reduce the number of sound waves captured from the air. They can be perked up and forward, to the side, or in the relaxed position, which is slightly up and out to the sides.
The sense of smell is more acute than that of a human, but much less than in a creature such as a dog. The closest comparison could be to the sense of smell of a cat. A Gremlin has a much better sense of smell than does a Mogwai, a bit less than an average dog. The Mogwai do not have a very good sense of smell for the simple reason that there isn’t enough room for complex olfactory chambers. Gremlins, with their longer muzzles, have well-developed olfactory senses that they use often and in addition to their hearing.
The sense of sight is extremely well-equipped for darkness and very little light. Too much light will cause a horrendous stabbing pain in the eyes which spreads to the rest of the body, that can immoblize the Mogwai and possibly even kill it. Mogwai have very acute nocturnal vision, and they are nearly colorblind, able to see colors dully and faintly, much as a human cannot see colors when the light fades. Nearly pitch blackness looks like dusk to a Mogwai, and dusk looks like the brightest, most sunny day.
The sense of taste is as well-developed as the sense of smell (in the Mogwai more so) and is used by the creature to analyze potential food items along with the sense of smell, intuition, and inherent knowledege. A Mogwai will more readily eat a tasty food item than a tasteless one.
The sense of touch is perhaps not as important to Mogwai as to other species. They often use their other senses to identify or learn about something long before they will try to touch it. Although they are social, Mogwai prefer each other’s being there than actual physical contact between them. The most intimately they will ever touch is during a gene exchange.
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