The Grand Canyon of the Pacific – WIF Oceanography

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 Mysteries of

the Mariana Trench

Space may be the “final frontier,” but it’s far from the most alien one. The oceans are still full of mysteries and strange lifeforms, and nowhere in the wet part of the world is more mysterious than the Mariana Trench. This vast ocean pit in the Western Pacific reveals new secrets whenever a brave explorer ventures in its lethal depths, and continues to amaze even the most jaded ocean researcher. Today, we’ll take a look at some of its strangest aspects and most enduring mysteries.

10. The size of the Mariana Trench

To even comprehend all the weird stuff that’s going on in the Mariana Trench, we must first understand its sheer size. Picture an underwater Grand Canyon. It’s easy to think that the place is just some deep, watery hole where a few creepy bioluminating critters hang about. In reality, however, the Mariana Trench is absolutely massive. It’s no less than 1,580 miles long and 43 miles wide, which understandably makes its exploration an incredibly daunting task even if you ignore the water pressure and the terrifying-looking lifeforms that lurk within its depths, which extend all the way down to roughly 36,000 feet below the surface at the trench’s deepest point, the Challenger Deep.

The Trench is technically U.S. territory, but since a giant, super-deep ocean hole that contains all sorts of strange ecosystems is obviously fairly vulnerable to human tampering, President George W. Bush declared it a “marine national monument” in 2009. This means that the majority of the Mariana Trench, along with a whole bunch of surrounding seafloor and several underwater volcanoes, are a protected marine reserve.

9. The Mariana Trench mystery sound

One of the strangest things that have emanated from the Mariana Trench hasn’t been a frightening sea monster, though we’d be surprised if the option isn’t on the table whenever the mysterious “bio-metallic” sound that sometimes emanates from the trench is heard. Marine researchers have dubbed this almost mechanical, “twangy” noise “Western Pacific Biotwang,” and it first turned up in 2014 when scientists recorded ocean sounds near the Mariana Trench with diving robots called “passive acoustic ocean gliders.”

The complex, 3.5-second sound turned up several times during the research period, and while it seemed mysterious, the scientists eventually decided that the most likely culprit is a minke whale, a peculiar small whale that can sound like a Star Wars sound effect. However, the minke whales themselves remain largely a mystery to science, and they still have no idea what the call is about, and why it has been recorded year-round.

Incidentally, this isn’t the first time the elusive minke whales have puzzled scientists. For 50 years, researchers were puzzled by a strange, duck-like underwater sound that seemed too repetitive and rhythmical to be anything but man-made, and far too loud to be a fish. We didn’t figure out that this “bio-duck” sound was minke whales until 2014.

8. Strange undersea volcanoes

When listing deep-sea dangers, one imagines things like giant sharks and maybe huge octopus creatures. What you wouldn’t expect, though, are massive mud volcanoes, spewing hot mud and rock fragments from the depths of the earth to the, uh, depths of the sea. Still, such natural structures exist within the Mariana Trench, which exists in a spot where the Pacific tectonic plate is pushed downwards by the Philippine Sea Plate. This makes the area a hotspot of volcanic activity, and the mud volcanoes are part of the deal.

Incidentally, these massive geological structures bring warmth to the kinds of depths where very little would otherwise exist. Thanks to the heat and minerals of the mud volcanoes, researchers have found evidence of microbial life as deep as six miles under the Mariana Trench. This is a hint that life may survive in the kinds of extreme environs we’re yet to truly comprehend. As project leader Oliver Plumper puts it: ““This is another hint at a great, deep biosphere on our planet. It could be huge or very small, but there is definitely something going on that we don’t understand yet.”

If that quote wasn’t ominous enough, the Mariana Trench can up its volcano game to an even weirder level: It’s also home to a submarine volcano that spews molten sulphur, and another one where the eruptions are liquid carbon dioxide. Life under the sea may not always be fun, but it’s certainly eventful.

7. The Mariana Trench Megalodon

In 2018, the Jason Statham movie The Meg introduced the world to the novel concept of giant Megalodon sharks lurking in the Mariana Trench. The movie depicts the Mariana Trench having a “fake” bottom, behind which these super-sharks have lurked all along, but apart from that novel feature, the conspiracy theories about Megalodons secretly haunting the seas have been around for quite a while — and what better location for them to hide their existence from puny humanity than the deepest pit in the sea?

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your views on massive sharks), this is very unlikely to be true. The Mariana Trench could not even theoretically support a creature as large as the Megalodon, and anyway, the creature used to hang around in fairly shallow, warm waters. But hey, one can always dream, right?

6. The Hadal Deep

The Hadal Deep is technically a joint moniker for the deepest parts of the ocean all around the world, but the Mariana Trench is where it is at its absolute most unforgiving. The zone is named after the Greek mythology’s underworld Hades, and fittingly enough, it’s so intensely hostile to human life that more people have been to the Moon than ventured there. This is a big part of why it holds so many mysteries: To keep people alive (and equipment intact) in the pressures of the Hadal Deep is intensely difficult.

Oh, and here’s where things get really nasty: When it comes to the Mariana Trench, the beginning of the hellish Hadal Deep is pretty much just the halfway point. The Hadal Deep starts at 20,000 feet below the surface, while the deepest (as far as we know) parts of the Mariana Trench are well over 35,000 feet deep. So, before you venture there, maybe do a practice run in one of the other 45 Hadal areas in the world.

Yes, you read that right. There are no less than 46 of these underwater hells scattered around the world, and we’ve barely scratched their surface.

5. Sounds from the Deep

Weird whale noises are one thing, but when scientists managed to capture audio from the deepest ocean pit on the planet in 2016, things got all sorts of creepy. You’d expect that the Challenger Deep would be a serenely quiet place at 6.7 miles beneath the surface, but recordings show that the area is actually chock-full of sounds that seem like something out of a horror movie.

Yes, the deep is full of screeches, moans and rumbles, and while the occasional sound can be traced back to a whale or an earthquake, a whole bunch of them remain a mystery. Perhaps the strangest thing about the recordings is the fact that you can often hear the surface sounds shockingly clearly, and boat propellers and typhoons are clearly audible on some of the tapes. In fact, marine scientists are kind of worried that man-made sounds will only increase in the ocean, even in the pits of the Hadal Deep. So, you know. When the creatures of the deep inevitably rise against us surface dwellers, there’s a fair chance it will be because they’re just coming to complain about their noisy upstairs neighbors.

4. The crazy marine life of the Mariana Trench

Imagine a science fiction monster and there’s a decent chance that a variation of it exists somewhere in the depths of the Mariana Trench. There are relatively huge amoebas that surround and consume their prey like a gelatinous cube monster in Dungeons & Dragons. There are various translucent and bio-luminescent creatures. There are, of course, many-toothed monsters like the freaky anglerfish and the huge goblin shark, not to mention creatures with telling names like “deep sea hatchetfish” and “fanfin sea devil.” What else is lurking down there? Who knows!

To be fair, the marine life of the Mariana Trench is not just pure nightmare fodder. The most fearsome predator of the area is a perfectly unassuming little pink guy called the Mariana snailfish, which gets along simply because it can live a lot deeper than some of its toothier neighbors. As it’s able to exist at a depth of an impressive 26,200 feet, it’s free to feast on smaller marine life without risk of getting eaten itself.

3. The secrets of the ocean floor

In 2012, James Cameron — yes, the Titanic director — climbed into a small specially-made submarine and spent two hours and 36 minutes descending to the lowest point of the Mariana Trench. This was the deepest solo dive in human history, and though Cameron didn’t exactly discover the Kraken, his adventure yielded some mightily interesting scientific results. Apart from various larger and weirder than expected (though not large enough to star in a disaster movie) bottom-dwellers, areas of the trench’s bottom were covered by an “astonishingly bizarre” ecosystem of a thick layer of bacteria that seemed to subsist solely on chemical reactions between the water and the rock.

It’s almost certain that Cameron’s dive was just scratching the surface, too — researchers have estimated that the bottom of the trench might house 50-100 species of xenophyophores (basically giant amoebas) alone, let alone all the other species Cameron saw… and, no doubt, many that we’ve yet to discover.

2. The whole Mariana Trench is a giant mystery

What do we know about the Mariana Trench? At the moment, next to nothing. The researchers keep constantly finding mysterious new species and freely admit that “much of the trench and surrounding areas remain unexplored.”

When you really think about what you’ve read on this list, is it any wonder? It’s almost like our planet custom designed the Mariana Trench to be a mystery wrapped in an enigma, and made it as difficult as possible for a fragile human being to observe. It’s a place of total darkness, cold, and crushing pressures, populated by alien-looking creatures and constantly bombarded by constant noise from both man-made and natural sources. All in all, there are belief systems out there that have less scary hells.

1. The most horrifying beast in the Mariana Trench

Yes, of course it’s humans. It’s always humans, even in the least people-friendly crevasse on the planet.

In 2019, a diver reportedly discovered several candy wrappers and a plastic bag in the Mariana Trench, a good 35,849 feet under the sea. This means we’ve already managed to contaminate the place that we have barely begun to explore, and it’s getting pretty bad. In fact, a group of experts estimated in 2017 that certain areas of the Mariana Trench are more contaminated than some of the most polluted rivers in China.

Interestingly, many deep sea amphipods hanging around at the bottom of the trench (and the oceans in general) are now stuffing themselves with plastics and microfibers that litter the sea floor. It remains to be seen how this affects them, and what effect their new diet will have on the ocean’s ecosystem in the long run. Experts’ predictions, unfortunately, aren’t too great.

The Grand Canyon of the Pacific –

WIF Oceanography

Dreams = Books = Movies – WIF Entertainment

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Books and Movies

Inspired by Dreams

Dreams are a combination of pictures and stories that develop in our minds while we sleep. Dreams can be about literally anything from something funny, to romantic, or even terrifying. While 95% of dreams are not usually remembered, it is believed that people dream anywhere from three to six times per night with each one lasting between five and twenty minutes.

While most dreams are never remembered, some people do recall specific details about them. And on a few rare occasions, people have been inspired by what they dreamed of. As a matter of fact, some great creations were developed from actual dreams. For example, the melody for the Beatles’ song “Yesterday“ was inspired by a dream. Paul McCartney woke up one morning with a tune stuck in his head that he didn’t recognize, so he composed the chords for it on the piano and it became the music for one of their most famous songs.

Another example is that of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry. It has been said that many of his poems and short stories were inspired by the many nightmares he suffered from throughout his life.

There are also several famous books and movies that were inspired by actual dreams, 10 of which we’ll detail below…

10. E.B. White’s Stuart Little

The beloved children’s story of a mouse named Stuart Little was inspired by a dream that E.B. White had in the 1920s. The anything-but-ordinary mouse was born into a family of humans in New York City and lived with his parents, his older brother George, and a cat named Snowbell. While White had the dream in the ’20s, it was only put into a novel in 1945.

While he was sleeping on a train, White dreamt of a little boy who looked and acted a lot like a mouse. He wrote a few episodes about the boy/mouse and put them away with the intent of sharing the stories one day with his nieces and nephews. But around twenty years later his story became a best-seller and even inspired the 1999 hit movie Stuart Little, which starred Michael J. Fox as the voice of the mouse.

9. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

In the mid-1970s, William Styron was struggling to come up with ideas to write another book. That’s when he experienced a dream that would inspire him to write Sophie’s Choice. He described the dream as “a merging from the dream to a conscious vision and a memory of this girl named Sophie. And it was powerful because I lay there in bed with the abrupt knowledge that I was going to deal with this work of fiction.” His vision of Sophie was that of her “entering the hallway of this humble boarding house in Flatbush with a book under her arm, looking very beautiful in the middle of summer with a soft of summer dress on and her arm bared and the tattoo visible.”

He felt like he had to write the Holocaust-themed story and in 1982 an acclaimed movie was made starring Meryl Streep as Sophie.

8. Christopher Nolan’s Inception

The 2010 psychological thriller Inception, a movie that is itself about dreams, was inspired by actual dreams. Director Christopher Nolan took the idea from his own lucid dreams for his seventh feature film. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a talented thief who is very skilled at stealing secrets from people while they are dreaming. This new job, however, requires him to plant an idea inside the mind of a man instead of stealing it.

Nolan claims that Inception was an elusive dream. He said “I wanted to do this for a very long time; it’s something I’ve thought about off and on since I was about 16.” He also mentioned that ever since he was a kid, he was fascinated by how he would wake up and then fall back into a lighter sleep but still know that he was dreaming, and even manage to examine the location of his dreams.

7. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novel written in the 1800s by Robert Louis Stevenson (pictured above) and is about a man who has a split personality – the good Dr. Jekyll, and the terrible Mr. Hyde.

It is said that Stevenson was fascinated with split personality disorder but was unable to figure out how to put it into writing. However, one night he dreamt about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: “In the small hours of one morning… I was awakened by cries of horror from Louis,” his wife Fanny explained. “Thinking he had a nightmare, I awakened him. He said angrily ‘Why did you wake me? I was dreaming a fine bogey tale.’”

Stevenson was apparently sick with tuberculosis and under doctor’s order to rest when he wrote the novel. He produced the first draft of 30,000 words in between three to six days, followed by a second rewritten copy in just three more days. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sold 40,000 copies in just six months, followed by over 250,000 copies in North America. His novel has also inspired several movies over the years.

6. Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher

In 1999, Stephen King was hit by a minivan when he was walking down a road in Maine. During the time that he was recovering from a shattered leg and a collapsed lung, he started to have vivid dreams, which inspired him to write his horror novel Dreamcatcher.

The novel is about four friends who reunite in the woods each year for their annual hunting trip. But one year a stranger ends up at their camp, all confused and muttering about lights in the sky. The friends are then faced with a terrifying creature from another world and need to figure out how to survive.

He was quoted telling the San Francisco Chronicle, “The first really strong idea that occurred to me after the accident was four guys in a cabin in the woods. Then you introduce this one guy who staggers into the camp saying, ‘I don’t feel well,’ and he brings this awful hitchhiker with him. I dreamed a lot about that cabin and those guys in it.”

The novel was turned into a movie in 2003, which featured a who’s who of both on and off-camera talent, including Morgan Freeman and Lawrence Kasdan.

5. Stephen King’s Misery

Not surprisingly, Stephen King came up with the idea for his horror novel Misery from a nightmare. It is about a famous author who is rescued from a car crash by his number one fan. However, he soon realizes that the crazy fan has other ideas in store for him that include abuse and captivity.

King was quoted saying “Like the ideas for some of my other novels, that came to me in a dream. In fact, it happened when I was on Concord, flying over here, to Brown’s (hotel in England). I fell asleep on the plane and dreamt about a woman who held a writer prisoner and killed him, skinned him, fed the remains to her pig and bound his novel in human skin. I said to myself, ‘I have to write this story.’” And that’s exactly what he did. He wrote the first forty or fifty pages on the landing between the ground level and first floor of the hotel.

While his book was published in 1987, the movie Misery was released in 1990, starring James Caan and Kathy Bates.

4. Jason Mott’s The Returned

The Returned is a novel written by Jason Mott about an elderly couple who have a government agent show up at their home with their son. The only thing is, their son drowned fifty years ago on his eighth birthday. The boy looks and acts the same, but there’s no possible way that it could be their deceased son. Or could it?

In an interview with CNN, Mott described how the idea for the book came to him in a dream about his deceased mother. “In the summer of 2010, I had this dream that I came home from work one day and found my mother sitting at the kitchen table waiting for me.” He went on to say, “I came in and sat down with her, and we just talked about everything that had happened since her death.” He explained, “It was one of these really vivid dreams where you wake up and question whether it was real or not.”

He wrote a short story about a couple whose son returns from the dead and received a great response to it, so he continued writing it and a year later he had finished his manuscript which turned out to be a best-seller. It was later turned into a television series.

3. James Cameron’s Terminator

The 1984 hit movie The Terminator starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a futuristic cyborg sent back in time to assassinate a woman whose unborn son will lead humans in a war against machines.

Director/writer James Cameron was staying at a hotel in Rome while working on Piranha II: The Spawning when a horrible flu and high fever hit him, causing him to have nightmares. In fact, he dreamt of a chrome torso appearing from an explosion and dragging itself with kitchen knives across the floor right at him.

He recalled when he came up with the idea for Terminator, “I was sick at the time. I had a high fever. I was just lying on the bed thinking and came up with all this bizarre imagery… I think also had the idea that because I was in a foreign city by myself and I felt very dissociated from humanity in general, it was very easy to project myself into these two characters from the future who were out of sync, out of time, out of place.”

2. Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight

Twilight is the story of a modern day love triangle between a vampire, a werewolf, and a human. The idea for the book came to author Stephenie Meyer in a dream. She explained her dream by saying “It was two people in kind of a little circular meadow with a really bright sunlight, and one of them was a beautiful, sparkly boy and one was just a girl who was human and normal, and they were having this conversation. The boy was a vampire, which is so bizarre that I’d be dreaming about vampires, and he was trying to explain to her how much he cared about her and yet at the same time how much he wanted to kill her.”

Prior to being a best-selling author, Meyer was a stay-at-home mother who was an avid reader but was never a writer. At first, she documented the dream so that she would remember it with no expectation of making it into a novel. But after nine rejections, her dream became a reality and her story is now known throughout the world by her Twilight books and movies.

1. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

In 1816, Mary Godwin and her fiancé, Percy Shelley, visited Lord Byron’s residence in Switzerland. During stormy nights, Lord Byron, who was a poet, would get his guests to read ghost stories to each other. One night, he asked his guests to write down their own horror stories.

After the request, this is what Mary claimed happened to her: “When I place my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think… I saw – with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some power engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion.” She described in great detail the dream that frightened her that night – the dream that inspired her famous novel, Frankenstein.

Dreams = Books = Movies

WIF Entertainment

Fictional Character Back-stories

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Read with me

 Weird Things

That Inspired Your

Favorite Fictional Characters

Nobody pulls a fictional character out of thin air. Even the craziest, most ridiculously over-the-top characters have some basis in reality. Today we want to discuss ten of the most curious inspirations we could find. For example, did you know that …

10. Shredder was Inspired by a Guy

with Cheese Graters in His Arms


Master Shredder is the eternal enemy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: a seven-foot-tall tall, armor-clad master of martial arts capable of punching clear through a man’s chest. Surely such an awe-inspiring and badass character was inspired by something equally as awesome, like a monster truck catching fire or a samurai sword made of crystal plasma?

But alas, no. Master Shredder, easily one of the most intimidating characters from any cartoon, was actually inspired by a guy shoving cheese graters on his arms. To explain, as we’ve discussed before, the guy who originally designed Master Shredder was inspired to create him while he washing his dishes and happened to put his hand through his big-ass cheese grater. At that moment he stopped to think about how radical a character would be if he had two such weapons attached to his arms all of the time. As a direct result of that moment, Master Shredder was born.

9. Dragonball Z Characters are Named After Vegtables.

Goku is Based on a Monkey God


If you didn’t watch Dragonball Z as a kid, then stop reading this, set aside two hours, and go watch this fight scene. Don’t worry if anyone looks at you funny, they’re probably just confused about why you’re not fist-pumping constantly. The series revolves mostly around the adventures of Goku — a super powered alien who can destroy continents with his fists — and his various battles with other similarly-powered entities.

So of course, almost all of the main characters have names based on food puns. Goku, for example, is known as Kakarot within the show, which is a pun on the word “carrot”. His friend Krillin is based on the Japanese word for “chestnut”, in reference to his bald head. Goku’s son, Gohan, is a pun on the Japanese word for “rice”, whereas his mortal enemy-turned-friend, Vegeta, is literally a pun on the word “vegetable” because sometimes it’s easier to just be direct.

As for Goku himself, he’s based on legendary Chinese figure Sun Wukong, a monkey king/god who possessed a staff that could literally fill the entire universe if he wanted it to. Because of course the guy whose name means “carrot” is based on that guy.

8. Patrick Bateman is Based on

Tom Cruise


Patrick Bateman is the main character of the American Psycho book and subsequent movie of the same name. In regards to the latter, Christian Bale was brought in to play the inimitable Patrick Bateman, a self-confessed narcissistic serial killer who butchers people he doesn’t like as and when he feels like it.

To get into the mind-set of such a fundamentally repugnant character, Bale didn’t watch interviews with serial killers or people with comparable mental issues to Bateman. Instead, he watched an interview with Tom Cruise. According to director Mary Harron, Bale called her up out of the blue one day to gush about how freaking creepy Tom Cruise was and how he was the perfect inspiration for how he’d portray Bateman onscreen. According to Harron, Bale was taken with how Cruise “had this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes”, and he incorporated it into his portrayal of the character.

7. Michael Myers was Based on

One Very Creepy Kid


Michael Myers is the star of the Halloween series of movies. He’s a merciless, unstoppable killing machine who has spent more time on camera stabbing things than Gordon Ramsey. He’s a legendary character in his own right, and he stands amongst other 80′s slasher villains as one of the most iconic characters of that era of film making. He was also based on one very scary child.

In his early life, John Carpenter, the director of the original movie, visited a mental asylum for no reason we can adequately explain. On this trip, the young director happened upon a very seriously mentally ill child of around 13 years of age. According to Carpenter himself, this child had a stare that was both deeply unsettling while simultaneously being “completely insane”. Carpenter was so shaken by this experience that he directly lifted the whole thing and incorporated into his movie when the time came to characterize Michael.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go write some fan fiction about what Michael Myers would have looked like if John Carpenter saw the same Tom Cruise interview as Christian Bale did.

6. Batman is Based on Zorro, a Play,

and da Vinci’s Ornithopter


Superheroes don’t come more iconic than Batman; if they did, Batman would probably just punch them through a window and look menacingly towards the sky. Now, fans of the character are probably aware that he shares several similarities with another black-clad hero called Zorro, AKA The Fox. This isn’t an accident — many of Batman’s traits, such as how he masquerades as a rich socialite during the day, are directly inspired by Zorro. Hell, in his actual origin story, the film young Bruce Wayne was watching the night his parents got shot was The Mask of Zorro.

As for why Batman dresses like a giant bat, well that was rather curiously inspired by the villain of a play called “The Bat” (later remade as a movie calledThe Bat Whispers) which features a murderer who stalked his prey while dressed like a big-ass bat. Finally, the wings of Batman’s cape were directly inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Ornithopter drawing, because of course they were.

In other words, Batman, one of the greatest heroes ever known, is directly based on a guy from a play who stabbed people while dressed like a giant bat. Aren’t comics fun?

5. Dory from Finding Nemo was Based on

Ellen before They Cast Ellen to Play Her


Before anyone says it — yes, we know that Dory from Finding Nemo was voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, and we know that she utterly nailed that part. What we’re here to talk about is the fact that Dory was based on Ellen before Ellen even signed on to do the role.

According to Andrew Stanton, one of the film’s directors, Dory was inspired by an interview he saw Ellen take part in, in which he observed her “change the subject five times before finishing one sentence“.  Building upon that, Stanton wrote the character to be more and more like DeGeneres until eventually he realized that nobody but her could accurately portray the character the way he had in mind.

In other words, before DeGeneres agreed to play Dory, the character was already written to be exactly like her in every way, only as a fish.

4. Daffy Duck is Based on a Real Guy

Who Had No Idea He was Being Mocked


Daffy Duck is easily one of the most recognizable cartoon characters to have ever existed, and one of his most memorable feature is his incredibly pronounced lisp. Daffy’s uniquely irritating and oddly charming voice has endeared the character to children for decades, so you’d expect the guy who inspired that voice to have at least been aware of it. But apparently he wasn’t. According to this article about the life of Chuck Jones, Daffy’s lisp was directly inspired by a “humorless Warner Brothers producer” named Leon Schlesinger, who spoke in a similar manner. Schlesinger apparently wasn’t very popular around the studio, and the cartoon duck was given his voice as a rather unsubtle screw you. In fact, some of the animators were reportedly terrified of showing  Schlesinger the first cartoon involving Daffy, fearing his wrath once he realized the character was actively taking the piss out of him.

However,  Schlesinger never noticed and, according to Jone’s autobiography, he actually turned to someone after the cartoon ended and innocently asked “That’s a funny voithe! Where’d you get that voithe?” completely oblivious to the mockery.

3. The Terminator was Inspired by a

Nightmare About a Robot Skeleton Carrying Knives


When someone says something came to them in a dream, they’re almost certainly lying because people don’t remember their dreams — they remember their nightmares. Which is, funnily enough, where the idea of the Terminator came from.

As recounted here, a young, illness-stricken James Cameron suffered from a terrible, horrifying nightmare as a young director, about the top half of a mechanical skeleton dragging itself across his floor. According to the various accounts Cameron has given over the years, the mechanical skeleton was carrying two knives as it edged its way towards him, because apparently his brain thought “a horrifying living skeleton” needed to be just that little bit scarier.

This nightmare was so vivid that it stuck with Cameron for the rest of his life. Eventually the director decided to flesh out the nightmare, both metaphorically and literally, by turning it into the script for The Terminator, a movie about a robot skeleton covered in human flesh hunting people down. Now if you’ve ever seen the movie, you may recall that a scene almost exactly like Cameron’s original nightmare occurs right towards the end, only instead of the skeleton hurting anyone, it’s quickly crushed by a giant mechanical press. Wait a sec — does this mean James Cameron filmed this movie just so that he could get closure on a scary dream he once had?

2. King Joffrey was Based on

Emperor Commodus from Gladiator


Jack Gleeson’s portrayal of King Joffrey from Game of Thrones has been lauded by critics and fans as nothing short of amazing, almost entirely because Gleeson has such a punchable face. Seriously, George RR Martin physically penned a letter to Gleeson after he appeared on the show, just to congratulate him on being such an irritating little butthole. So how did Gleeson pull off being so objectively unlikeable? Well, according to him, he based a lot of his characterization of Joffrey directly on Joaquin Phoenix — more specifically, his portrayal of Emperor Commodus in the Gladiator movie. In fact, according to Gleeson, a lot of the times he was sat on that big iron throne, he was picturing Phoenix’s big smug face and annoying smirk from that movie and trying to emulate it. Considering how many punch holes are in our TV, we think he did a pretty good job.

1. Darth Maul was Based on a Drawing

of a Guy with a Circuit Board on His Face


Because we’re not really into the habit of beating dead horses, we’re not going to discuss how terrible the Star Wars prequels were. We are, however, going to discuss how much we think Darth Maul kicks ass. The answer of course is tons: Darth Maul kicks tons of ass, if only because he settled an office argument about whether or not anyone could actually kill Liam Neeson.

Curiously, the idea for Darth Maul’s unique and rather striking visual appearance was based almost entirely on a caricature drawn by Iain McCaig. The caricature was drawn by McCaig while he was trying to design “Sith Lord” versions of his friends and colleagues as a creative exercise, and it was basically of some guys face with a circuit board pattern on it. This particular drawing just so happened to catch George Lucas’ eye, and he immediately tasked McCaig with fleshing out the idea to create Darth Maul.

Weirdly, McCaig’s initial idea was that of an undead human with red ribbons all over their face, which is what he came up with when Lucas literally told him to just “draw his worst nightmare”. For some reason of another, Lucas didn’t like this idea and he instead just let McCaig wing it, which is when he came up with the idea of drawing caricatures.

From that initial idea, Darth Maul as we know and love him today was born. So let that be a lesson to everyone out there — doodling at work is totally fine, as long as your boss happens to think your drawings looks totally boss.

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