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146 votes
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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 ...
Vogon Poet's user avatar
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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 ...
KSmarts's user avatar
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87 votes

What story is Shrek's donkey from?

Donkey, and Shrek and (technically) Princess Fiona are all from... Shrek!, a children's book by William Steig. The plot of the book is considerably different from that of the film, with the exception ...
SpaceWolf1701's user avatar
83 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Hypnosifl's user avatar
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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 ...
Binary Worrier's user avatar
80 votes
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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.....
Mithical's user avatar
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66 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 ...
IMSoP's user avatar
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63 votes
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Did Tolkien base the beacons of Minas Tirith on a real world communication system?

There is historical basis for similar warning beacons that Tolkien would have been aware of Tolkien has never spoken about his inspiration for the beacons of Gondor, but warning beacons have ...
ibid's user avatar
  • 94.4k
61 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 ...
Valorum's user avatar
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53 votes
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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 ...
NKCampbell's user avatar
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 ...
Aegon's user avatar
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49 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: ...
Laurel's user avatar
  • 23k
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 ...
Abulafia's user avatar
  • 8,942
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: ...
Kepotx's user avatar
  • 8,211
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 ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.4k
36 votes

What story is Shrek's donkey from?

In Shrek 2, Donkey claims to have belonged to Jack of Beanstalk fame. He then meets Puss in Boots, and becomes jealous, as he is spending a lot of time with Shrek. By the end of the film, they are ...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
  • 228k
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 ...
Silly but True's user avatar
33 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 ...
Molag Bal's user avatar
  • 4,783
32 votes
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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 ...
Möoz's user avatar
  • 45.5k
31 votes

What story is Shrek's donkey from?

Given the heavy preponderance of Brothers Grimm characters and motifs throughout Shrek, it would be very surprising if Donkey wasn't at least partially inspired by the titular diminutive donkey in the ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 696k
30 votes
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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 ...
Majuj's user avatar
  • 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 ...
dirkt's user avatar
  • 689
29 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 ...
amflare's user avatar
  • 32.6k
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 ...
TheLethalCarrot's user avatar
  • 144k
26 votes
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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 ...
Aegon's user avatar
  • 48.5k
26 votes
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Was the Tumbler Nolan's creation or did something similar already exist?

From an interview with the production designer Nathan Crowley (here), it's mentioned that the Tumbler was partially inspired by random toys from Toys R Us (bizarre, I know). Crowley told Collider that:...
Shreedhar's user avatar
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25 votes
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Did Roger Zelazny ever read The Lord of the Rings?

In a 1973 interview with Zelazny reprinted in the Roger Zelazny book from the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series, and partly available on google books here, he is asked to name masters of SF/...
Hypnosifl's user avatar
  • 56.9k
24 votes
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Was there a literary inspiration for Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland?"

Carroll's whole narrative was ostensibly made up on the spot to entertain the Liddell sisters, but was formally written up later. His influences included scraps from here and there - befitting ...
Imperator Helvetica's user avatar
24 votes

Did Tolkien base the beacons of Minas Tirith on a real world communication system?

Others have pointed out that signal beacons have certainly been used by many European cultures long before Tolkien, however none have explicitly mentioned what I believe is the closest thing to have ...
Crammock's user avatar
  • 341
22 votes

What is the origin of the word "Chewbacca"?

Out of Universe In "The Making of Star Wars (Enhanced Edition)" by J. W. Rinzler, Lucas is quoted as saying that the name came about while he was playing around with combinations of Wookiee-sounding ...
Valorum's user avatar
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