The sci-fi movie Forbidden Planet from 1956 was exceptional. The special effects team were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 29th Academy Awards. The sound track was the first one produced completely electronically. In 2013, the picture was entered into the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Two of my favourite scenes were the view down the power station's core from the gangway, and the land speeder seen in the distance. They rival anything Star Wars did in 1979.

For such a masterpiece, were there any derivative works, or even a movie based loosely on possible future plot directions?

I find it remarkable that in a world of remakes, re-dos, sequels and prequels, that nothing has been done with this movie's story line since?


5 Answers 5


Star Trek

Forbidden Planet is indeed a real masterpiece, and one of the strongest impressions that I had when watching it for the first time was: "This movie looks like it's a Star Trek long and detailed episode".

Some later research, revealed that Gene Roddenberry was indeed inspired also by Forbidden Planet when he created Star Trek; even Wikipedia reports this:

In the authorized biography of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, Roddenberry notes that Forbidden Planet "was one of [his] inspirations for Star Trek"

I also suggest you to read this article (whose title is self-explanatory): The Influence of Forbidden Planet on Star Trek and Star Wars. Here are the parts of this article that talk about Star Trek:

At any rate, the crew's interactions aboard the C-57D are remarkably akin to Star Trek, which made its debut on American television in 1966; Leslie Nielsen's somewhat self-regarding performance as Commander Adams could also be seen as a precursor to William Shatner's Captain Kirk, and as Star Trek Fact Check notes, Adams’ relationship with Dr Ostrow is similar to that of Kirk and McCoy.
There are other similarities between Forbidden Planet and Star Trek, too. The exploration of an unknown world in a faster-than-light ship. The tendency to explain things scientifically rather than fantastically. Most of all, Star Trek shares Forbidden Planet’s fusion of pulp sci-fi and influences from elsewhere in literature; indeed, a far-future updating of Shakespeare’s The Tempest is just the kind of thing Star Trek would do throughout its long run. The Star Trek episode "Catspaw" reworked elements of Macbeth, while other episodes in both the original series and The Next Generation either borrowed from the Bard for their titles or made reference to his work in the episodes themselves (“Dagger Of The Mind,” “All Our Yesterdays”, “Sins Of The Father” and so on).

  • Sorry but I'm not sure how this answers the question of "Are there any sequels to Forbidden Planet?" Though I suppose you could argue it's a derivative work but I don't really think it is.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 31, 2018 at 15:36
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    He asked also for loosely based works, such heavy influences and similarities seem fitting to me.
    – Sekhemty
    Jul 31, 2018 at 15:39
  • Darn it! I was going to mention all those Star Trek: TOS episodes, but you beat me to it. +1 vote. There was a documentary about The Forbidden Planet where the production crew acknowledged Star Trek: TOS as a direct offspring from the movie.
    – RichS
    Aug 1, 2018 at 5:48
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    TOS "Requiem for Methuselah" is pretty much an adaptation of Forbidden Planet/The Tempest
    – Anthony X
    Mar 9, 2019 at 1:56

As Ty Hays mentions above, Return to the Forbidden Planet is technically a sequel to it. When I first saw it, it was done as Musical Theater at a local community college, and it looks like it was always meant to be something similar – it was billed as 'Shakespeare's forgotten rock and roll masterpiece.'

Poster for Return to Forbidden Planet

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    I played Captain Prospero in a High School production of it. Can't help but feel it might have been a good idea to have watched the film before putting on the play...
    – Ty Hayes
    Jul 31, 2018 at 18:26

It's not a sequel, but there is an excellent novelization of the movie. It was written by Philip MacDonald (normally a writer of mystery fiction, as well as the grandson of the eminent fantasy writer George MacDonald), under a pseudonym W. J. Stuart. I found it to be quite good, fleshing out a number of plot points, including character motivations, as well as Morbius's and Altaira's abilities.

Per Wikipedia:

Shortly before the film was released, a novelization appeared in hardcover and then later in mass-market paperback... which chapters the novel into separate first person narrations by Dr. Ostrow, Commander Adams, and Dr. Morbius. The novel delves further into the mysteries of the vanished Krell and Morbius' relationship to them. In the novel, he repeatedly exposes himself to the Krell's manifestation machine, which (as suggested in the film) boosts his brain power far beyond normal human intelligence. Unfortunately, Morbius retains enough of his imperfect human nature to be afflicted with hubris and a contempt for humanity. Not recognizing his own base primitive drives and limitations proves to be Morbius' downfall, as it had for the extinct Krell. While not stated explicitly in the film... the novelization compared Altaira's ability to tame the tiger (until her sexual awakening with Commander Adams) to the medieval myth of a unicorn being tamable only by a virgin.

The novel also includes an element never included in the film: when Dr. Ostrow dissects one of the dead Earth-type animals, he discovers that its internal structure precludes it from ever having been alive in the normal biological sense. The tiger, deer, and monkey are all conscious creations by Dr. Morbius using the great machine as companions ("pets") for his daughter and only outwardly resemble their Earth counterparts. Since the Krell's Great Machine can project matter "in any form" it has the power to create life. Thus, the Krell's self-destruction can be interpreted by the reader as a cosmic punishment for misappropriating the life-creating power of the universe. This is why Commander Adams says in his speech to Altaira "... we are, after all, not God".

  • Nice one! I actually own this, but I had forgotten about it. I am looking forward to re-reading it now. Aug 1, 2018 at 2:55
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    Frederik Pohl mentioned somewhere (I forget whether it was in his autobiography or his blog) that he was originally asked to write the novelization of FP, but turned it down (without reading the script) because he figured it was going to be just another crappy sci-fi B-movie. He regretted the decision after seeing the movie.
    – Ross Smith
    Aug 1, 2018 at 23:49
  • @RossSmith some real regret indeed -- seems like writing novelizations is all the fun with none of the work of writing from scratch -- you can do the script verbatim, only choosing to expand when you find something interesting to explore. and arguably fp is one of the greatest scifi flicks of all time -- head and shoulders above any film i can think of from the 1950s, certainly in the "space" genre.
    – releseabe
    Mar 30, 2023 at 13:11

About the nearest thing to a derivative is The Invisible Boy (1958), in which Robbie the Robot features. However, it is set in the 20C, and I'm not too sure how he is supposed to have got back in time.

In the end Robbie saves the boy from the schemes of a megalomaniac computer which has learned to think for itself and iirc seeks world domination.

  • 3
    Robbie (the prop, not the character itself) also made a cameo appearance in the original Lost in Space tv show. Jul 31, 2018 at 14:12
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    And in an episode of Colombo. Jul 31, 2018 at 14:17
  • Robbie is not the same robot as in FP -- IIRC he provides the means of invisibility. Not a swell movie by any means (again, IIRC).
    – releseabe
    Mar 30, 2023 at 13:14

The Invisible Boy (1957) is sort of a sequel and/or a prequel to The Forbidden Planet (1956). Due to time travel it is sort of a prequel, happening centuries earlier, and sort of a sequel, happening later in the time frame of Robby the Robot.

Thus if there are ever a series of The Forbidden Planet movies, or Robby the Robot movies, or Commander Adams movies, or Forbidden Planet space force movies, etc., or a television series on any of those subjects, The Invisible Boy could be watched either before The Forbidden Planet, and possibly as the first in the series, and/or after The Forbidden Planet, and possibly the last in the series.

Of course there are some purists who might claim that there is no 100 percent certain proof that The Forbidden Planet and The Invisible Boy are in the same series, but there are probably millions of people who believe that those two movies are part of the same series.

As K-H-W says in his answer there is a stage play Return to the Forbidden Planet which is said to be a sequel, though how people can return to an exploded planet is beyond me.

And as Buzz said in his answer there is a novelization of The Forbidden Planet written by Philip MacDonald under the name of W.J. Stuart.

And a number of people have tried to make remakes, reboots, sequels, and prequels of The Forbidden Planet, and there could have been story outlines and scripts written for such projects which someone might be able to read somewhere.

And as far as I know that is just about everything that exists in the same fictional universe as The Forbidden Planet (1956) at the present time.

A lot of the props from The Forbidden Planet (1956) were used in other science fiction and fantasy productions.

The original Robby the Robot costume has been used in many movies and television episodes, as have copies of it.



I believe that Forbidden Planet uniforms have been reused in other movies and TV shows.

I believe that the "Amazon Women on the Moon" segment of Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) featured uniforms based on those in The Forbidden Planet (1956).

Some scenes in the time tunnel complex in The Time Tunnel (1966-1967) seem inspired by the Krell Machine, as dose the Great Machine on Epsilon 3 in Babylon 5 (1993-1998).

The Star Trek episodes most like The Forbidden Planet (1956) to me include "The Cage" (1964), "The Menagerie" (1966), and "Requiem for Methuselah" (1968).

The Wizard of Mars (1965) may seem to some like a mixture of The Wizard of OZ (1939) and The Forbidden Planet (1956).

  • 1
    A dvd has been issued containing both FP and TIB, so evidently it's not just members of the viewing public who see them as connected.
    – Mike Stone
    Aug 1, 2018 at 9:31
  • Had not thought of Requiem for Methuselah but clearly similar ideas. The woman/android actress from that episode is still with us although "Methuselah" (whose normal ageing process resumed) passed away. The actor I just saw in the von Braun biopic as a reporter who disliked the former SS rocket scientist.
    – releseabe
    Mar 30, 2023 at 13:32

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