The idea that the governments of the world are secretly controlled by lizard people is most prominently supported by David Icke, a former soccer player and sports broadcaster. That’s what comes of letting him hit the ball with his head. A proponent of multiple New Age conspiracy theories, Icke holds that these humanoid reptiles came to Earth thousands of years ago from a planet in the Alpha Draconis system, which he probably chose because it’s in the constellation identified as a dragon, but obviously that’s only true from our vantage point; people in that star system wouldn’t know about the connection. They’ve interbred with humans, however that works with what would almost certainly have to be totally different genetics. Many world leaders are secretly reptilian, which you can tell from such traits as color-changing eyes, smiles that show their bottom teeth, and red hair. Wait, what reptiles have red hair? Oh, yeah.
In the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie, Bowser was basically human with some reptilian features, but he didn’t have red hair.
Anyway, the Icky guy sounds pretty superficial. Thinking gingers are evil seems to be particularly common among the British, but I don’t know that Icke is in the position to be criticizing anyone else’s hair.
And these aliens are shape-shifters, but have problems disguising their eyes and mouths? Mind you, I’ve never been a shape-shifter, and maybe those are particularly hard to maintain. I’d probably check the tongues first. Icke also might be antisemitic, but he insists that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion aren’t actually about Jews, but about aliens. Actually, I’ve read that a lot of it comes from a satirical dialogue between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, but with antisemitism mixed in. I’m not entirely sure why being ruled by lizards would be that much worse than having humans in charge, but apparently they feed on anxiety and hence create chaos on Earth on purpose.
The Wikipedia article on reptilian humanoids suggests that the original idea comes from “The Shadow Kingdom,” a 1929 short story by Robert E. Howard that introduced the character of Kull of Atlantis. He encounters and battles a bunch of serpent men, which are basically humans with snake heads in their natural forms, but can take other forms at will. When they take human form, the only way they can be identified is their inability to pronounce a particular phrase, due to the shape of their serpent mouths.
I’m not sure where the idea of people with lizard features comes from, but both sorts of reptilians show up quite often in fantasy and science fiction.
Pretty much every sort of animal has been combined with humans at some point, although it varies how they’re supposed to have originated and whether they can interbreed with humans.
Nagas in Asian mythology are often shown as being human on top and snakes below, and the Greek Lamia is much the same in more modern depictions. In Theosophy, which is known to have influenced Howard and other fantasy writers, the inhabitants of Lemuria had reptilian features, as well as eyes on the backs of their heads. Chrono Trigger has the Reptites, humanoid dinosaurs who rule the world sixty-five million years prior to the founding of the Kingdom of Guardia.
And Terry Pratchett’s The Last Hero has Evil Harry Dread employing the last two Stupid Lizard Men, who are both named Slime.
Picture by Paul Kidby
Perhaps the idea of reptilian people infiltrating governments is much older than we think. In Greek mythology, Cecrops, King of Attica and founder of Athens, is often depicted as having a snake tail instead of legs.
Alexander the Great was said to have been fathered by Zeus in the form of a snake, although this might have been a combination of two different legends, one that Alexander was a demigod and the other that his mother Olympias slept with snakes.
Much the same is told of Caesar Augustus, although it was Apollo who impregnated his mother while in serpent form. So if being part snake is a sign of favor from the gods, maybe it’s a good thing. Just remember to vote, or the wrong lizard might get in.