145 votes
Accepted

Who or what inspired the character Geordi La Forge?

A long-time Star Trek fan and quadriplegic named George La Forge had been following the original series and was an avid fan. His unfortunate passing in 1975 inspired creator Gene Roddenberry to focus ...
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  • 5,625
100 votes

Was the mythology in "Moana" based on an established myth?

The film is based on stories from myths of various Oceanic cultures, although they take typical Disney liberties to make their own story. Maui is a popular character in Polynesian mythology, and most ...
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  • 4,663
83 votes
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Did Tolkien create any characters based on people he knew?

Beren and Lúthien Beren and Lúthien's story, from the Silmarillion, was based on Tolkien's wife Edith dancing for him in the woods near the military hospital where he was recovering after he was ...
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  • 66.5k
83 votes
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Is the Joker based on anything?

According to this article, Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger created the Joker based on a combination of the playing card (obviously) and the character played by Conrad Veidt in the 1928 silent ...
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  • 50k
83 votes
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Why is the name "Rigel", and especially "Rigel VII", used in multiple universes?

Because it's a bright "star" (it's actually a group of stars, and the 7th brightest in the night sky) and its name is familiar with budding star gazers. It's also enormous and placed in the obvious ...
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78 votes
Accepted

Was the mythology in "Moana" based on an established myth?

Some of them have backings, but others don't. Most of the characters are based on characters from Polynesian myths, but the details in some cases do not line up with the mythology. Let's take a look.....
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  • 37.2k
72 votes
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Was the Hulk based on Jekyll/Hyde?

Yes, Stan Lee said he was inspired by Jekyll/Hyde and Frankenstein's Monster Lee explained this in an interview with Rolling Stone When you read the first issue of the Incredible Hulk, it doesn’t ...
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  • 133k
64 votes
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Was Douglas Adams specifically joking about British small talk?

At the time he wrote the original radio series and first novel, Adams had lived his entire life in England, and was writing for a British audience, so a lot of the cultural references are based on ...
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  • 1,105
58 votes

Were any Star Wars aliens based on national stereotypes?

Watto the Toydarian is indeed a racial stereotype (but not the one you're thinking of...) According to Andy Secombe (the actor who portrays Watto), his character is openly intended to be based on a ...
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  • 609k
53 votes
Accepted

Did Lucille Ball have a creative influence on Star Trek?

Yes... ish By all accounts, no other studio / network was willing to take on Roddenberry's new project called "Star Trek" - so her approval for producing the series at Desilu is probably the most ...
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  • 39.1k
52 votes

Were parts of Harry Potter inspired by James and the Giant Peach?

It's worth noting that parental abandonment in some form or other is an extremely common trope in juvenile literature and particularly prevelant in British literature. Whether due to literal ...
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  • 691
52 votes
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Was Daenerys Targaryen based on Cleopatra?

Real Answer The answer is We do not know. As far as I know, George has never talked about his inspiration behind Daenerys Targaryen, which of course we must note, there need not be any. GRRM has ...
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  • 47.6k
48 votes
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Was the name "Thanos" derived from "Thanatos", the name of the Greek god of death?

Yes, "Thanos" is indeed derived from the name "Thanatos", the name of the Freudian concept of death drive (which in turn is named after the Thanatos of myth), according to Vulture: ...
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  • 17.4k
45 votes

Did Tolkien create any characters based on people he knew?

Treebeard's voice was based on that of Tolkien's good friend C.S. Lewis. From Humphrey Carpenter's J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, p. 258: When work was resumed, Tolkien drew up outlines for the end of ...
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  • 131k
44 votes

Why is the name "Rigel", and especially "Rigel VII", used in multiple universes?

SciFi authors select stars that can be seen in their backyard, are close by, or both. Rigel is featured because it is bright and therefore well known. But it is not close, compared to other bright ...
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  • 8,714
43 votes

Are there any real-life parallels to the Night's Watch and their fall from prestige?

The French Foreign Legion A.K.A. "Légion étrangère" or FFL have some similarities: it is a military branch of french army established in 1831 based on volunteering of foreign people. Similarities: ...
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  • 8,191
40 votes
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Who is Gilderoy Lockhart based on?

Definitely not her husband. All we know is that they were once flatmates. This is J.K. Rowling’s witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry (an inquiry into the standards of the British press) which the ...
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  • 101k
39 votes

Did Tolkien create any characters based on people he knew?

Gerontius "The Old" Took, whose longevity (his sole defining character trait, given that he never appears in the book) was based on Tolkien's grandfathers: [The Old Took] has part of his origin in ...
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38 votes
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Were Tolkien's Ents inspired by Blackwood's "The Man Whom the Trees Loved"?

There is no mention of Algernon Blackwood in the Letters, and neither in the HoME, Unfinished Tales or The Silmarillion. Tolkien seems to suggest that the main inspiration for the Ents would've been ...
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  • 75.3k
34 votes
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Was Batman based on The Count of Monte Cristo?

No. This is Likely a Conflation of Batman’s Three Musketeers Origin With Other Notable Works by Alexandre Dumas 1. Bob Kane’s inspiration: like many old comic book characters, there are legal and ...
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33 votes
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Were the Borg inspired by Lord Dread?

Originally, the Borg were not intended to be the cyborg race they were, but a race of insects: The Borg were initially conceived by Maurice Hurley as a race of insectoids. Hurley wrote in to "The ...
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  • 68.1k
32 votes

Were parts of Harry Potter inspired by James and the Giant Peach?

As far as I know, JK Rowling has never said anything about James and the Giant Peach as a direct influence on Harry Potter, or for that matter, any other book. From a radio show transcript in 2000: ...
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  • 101k
32 votes
Accepted

Has GRRM ever confirmed that he named some ASOIAF characters after the Muppets?

Yes, George R. R. Martin did intentionally name the three Tully Lords after the Muppets. As confirmed by Elio Garcia via Twitter: Yep. Not sure why exactly, other than it amused him, but the ...
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  • 44.2k
30 votes
Accepted

Was Hogwarts named such because of a connection to warthogs?

TL;DR: Out of universe: There's no canon proof it has any connection to warthogs; the Word of God answer is either "Not knowingly" or "no" depending on an interview. In-Universe, a later ret-con by ...
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30 votes
Accepted

Was Constantine's appearance based on Sting?

Yes. Alan Moore has stated that in an interview: Steve Bissette and John Totleben, the artists drawing the Swamp Thing (that Alan Moore was writing at the time) sent him notes, expressing a desire to ...
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  • 1,030
30 votes

Were Tolkien's Ents inspired by Blackwood's "The Man Whom the Trees Loved"?

Tolkien himself described the process (or as much as he consciously can make of it) in a footnote to Letter 163: Take the Ents, for instance. I did not consciously invent them at all. The chapter ...
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  • 649
30 votes

Was the mythology in "Moana" based on an established myth?

It is based on Polynesian Mythology Disney explicitly researched Polynesian Mythology and intended to make the movie based around that. The most obvious example in the movie is that of Maui who was ...
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  • 32.2k
29 votes

Are there any real-life parallels to the Night's Watch and their fall from prestige?

Roman Legions One of George R. R. Martin's main inspirations for the Night's Watch are the Roman Legions who manned Hadrian's Wall, as that is the inspiration for the Wall. Hadrian's Wall, of ...
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  • 140k
26 votes
Accepted

Is there a Batman-Lovecraft connection?

In-universe Gotham City isn't in the same universe as Lovecraft's writings, but Lovecraftian monsters appeared in Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham in the year 2000. It is an Elseworlds story which ...
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  • 4,592
26 votes
Accepted

Has George RR Martin admitted Historical Influences?

George R.R. Martin has explained his historical influences in a rather long correspondence with a fan. From Citadel SSM Entry "Historical Influences": Q: Firstly I'd like to apologize for wasting ...
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