Lightyear: Easter Eggs and Classic Sci-Fi Movie References
Battlestar Galactica (1978)
But if we’re talking about pet robots, we can’t ignore the real robotic animal that clearly inspired SOX: Muffit II. In the original, kitsch Battlestar Galactica, which is far more campy than its 2000s reboot, Muffit II is a robotic dog meant to replace the loss of a beloved pet. A main character has lost his dog Mufit to falling debris, so his doctor offers the creature above as a form of therapy (and a way to create an adorable toyetic sidekick).
Star Trek IV: The Journey Home
There are also plenty of sci-fi movies that play with the idea of lassoing the sun and tying it to time travel, but none are as vivid and beloved as 1986. star trek film about saving whales. Whereas in Light year, Buzz’s attempts to lasso the sun result in time travel in the opposite direction – he moves so fast that time passes more slowly for him than for those left behind on the planet – the nostalgia of another crew trying to save the day by looping around a star comes through.
Still, the perspective of the title character remaining relatively the same age as all the people he left behind years or decades ago seems to be inspired by a much more recent sci-fi movie: Christopher Nolan. Interstellar. In this film, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and several other actors portray astronauts who go through a wormhole to save Earth. But on the other side of this wormhole is a massive black hole whose gravitational pull dramatically distorts gravity (and therefore time), causing severe time dilation of the variety seen in Light year.
Thus one of the most memorable scenes of Interstellar is that after being trapped on a planet near the black hole for an hour, McConaughey’s Cooper discovers that 22 years on Earth have passed him, and he has a video notebook where he can watch his young children become bitter thirty-somethings who have careers, and in one case, their own children. And the two adult children have now lost hope that their father will ever return home.
Light year softer riffs on that when Buzz finds out that his best friend Alisha has died after watching her gradually age day by day, or year by year in her case. Eventually, Buzz ends up working with Alisha’s granddaughter, just as McConaughey’s Coop one day encounters her own child on her deathbed as an old woman surrounded by children and grandchildren.
2001: A Space Odyssey
The first film on this list, Kubrick’s 1968 classic 2001 features a robot named HAL, whose creepy eye glows with red light. The Eye becomes progressively more malevolent as the story progresses and HAL plots the death of astronaut David Bowman. Light year borrows some of that weird factor in the eyes of its evil robots and artificial intelligence.