The Legacy of “2001: A Space Odyssey”


This is a continuation of my “2001” post. You should read that first.

“2001” has such a strong impact on pop culture it warranted a second post. And be sure to keep scrolling for a few of my other “2001” related musings.


  • “2001” simultaneously revived and killed the science fiction movement. The film was a triumph in terms of its pure science fiction beliefs, but every film that was influenced by it leaned more towards the visual scope, churning out films more accurately described as “science fantasy” (“Star Wars” being the prime suspect). Who wants to think about our future evolution as a species when there’s cool spaceships flying in hyperspace and gross-looking aliens bursting out of people’s chests? Regardless, that’s still quite a lot of films that got the green light because of “2001”.
  • Arthur C. Clarke wrote several sequels to the original novel, which abandon the first book’s continuity in favor of the film’s. The first follow-up, “2010: Odyssey Two”, was made into a film in 1984 with Roy Scheider and Helen Mirren. “2061” and “3001” have yet to be adapted for film, but Tom Hanks has expressed interest.
  • Effects supervisor Douglas Trumbull was asked by ABC to recreate the “Star Gate” sequence for the introduction of the ABC Movie of the Week. Now viewers could trip out in their own home while watching “Brian’s Song”!
  • Douglas Rain would voice a similarly disturbed computer in Woody Allen’s “Sleeper”.
  • Both Clarke and Kubrick made the cover of Time Magazine. Well…sorta.


  • Christopher Nolan made his own technologically impressive, yet somehow more baffling space epic: “Interstellar”. Muuuuurph!
  • Every bit of artificial intelligence since 1968 has been compared to HAL. Watson, Siri, they’re all going to take over one day.
  • A lot of musical influence. For starters, the title of one of the greatest songs ever recorded.
  • If you’re going to make a comeback as the King of Rock and Roll, this is the song to open with.
  • The album cover for “Who’s Next”.


  • Is this where John Landis got “See you next Wednesday” from?
  • My beloved MST3K is heavily influenced by “2001”. From the design of the SOL and Gypsy’s all-seeing eye, to “William Sylvester Trivial Pursuit” and the ultimate fate of Dr. Clayton Forrester.
  • “Careful, they’re ruffled!”

Further Viewing: A shameless plug for my own endeavors. I’ve been lucky enough to play a HAL 9000-esque computer in two different parodies: The 2013 short film “Future Toilet” (the only time I’ve ever played the title character in a movie), and a 2015 episode of my short-lived podcast/radio show “Spoiler Alert” where Clay and I pondered what the show would sound like in the futuristic year of 2018!


Things About the Year 2001 I Wish “2001” Had Predicted

  • “Shrek”
  • Smash Mouth
  • That scene in “Shrek” where they play “All Star” by Smash Mouth
  • The Ravens winning the Super Bowl
  • Bjork’s dress at the Oscars
  • Alex Trebek shaving his mustache
  • The ending of “Rat Race” where they play “All Star” by Smash Mouth (Jesus, that song was everywhere)
  • Hot Topic
  • The inexplicable fanbase around “Moulin Rouge!”
  • Dick Cheney
  • Kelly Ripa replacing Kathie Lee Gifford on “Live!”
  • The high school football documentary “Go Tigers!” which features a scene where they play…oh Christ, are you kidding me?
  • Popped Collars
  • And I wish this film had advised me NOT to take Mr. Wehrle’s 2nd period Freshman English class, because he was the only teacher who wouldn’t let us watch the news coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks while it was happening. Fuck you, Mr. Wehrle.

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