There is a surprising similarity between the James Cameron's movie "Avatar" and Time for the Stars by Robert Heinlein. Both stories involve twin brothers, one of whom is crippled. Was Heinlein's influence ever acknowledged by Cameron or by critics?

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    I don't think a single point of similarity is really that surprising. It's equally surprising to me that there's a bad guy in black armour in Star Wars and in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who gets multiple limbs cut off. Was John Cleese's influence ever acknowledged by Lucas (or vice-versa)? May 1, 2014 at 22:13
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    Lucas' Black Knight crying NOOOOOO! was funnier than Monty Python's, though.
    – Oldcat
    May 1, 2014 at 22:56
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    IMNSHO: I found "Avatar" to be more like an anti- western Cowboys and Indians film. The visuals were spectacular, but it was a so-so movie. Not sure why it took the country by storm. May 2, 2014 at 0:43
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    @MajorStackings, James Cameron's Avatar is Fern Gully in space. The only thing missing is Tim Curry singing about pollution. :)
    – Brian S
    May 2, 2014 at 14:45
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    @BrianS - I think you mean "Pocahontas meets Ferngully meets Dances with Wolves meets Smurf-porn" (in space).
    – Valorum
    May 2, 2014 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


This article points out multiple Heinlein correspondences in Avatar, including Time for the Stars. Cameron has said Alien was based on the bugs in Starship Troopers, so it's plausible that the twin brother idea was also borrowed from Heinlein.

But as @Ward mentions, it's just one point of similarity. Avatar has a wide range of correspondences to many previous works. My favorite is: Greedy human is jealous of nature-adapted blue people, and creates an artificial one as a spy. It rebels against him, saves the day, and becomes a real blue person by magic. In other words, Jake Sully is Smurfette.

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