Interstellar: A nod to Heinlein?

Interstellar:  a question & a nod to Heinlein? (MOVIE SPOILER)

InterstellarThis is an awe-inspiring wonderful film and I highly recommend it.  But one part at the end left me puzzled a bit.

When Cooper is saved by the humans who left Earth, and many years have passed for them while only a few for him, he is directed in to where his aged dying daughter lies amid family.  He is still about 40 years old or so, while his daughter is quite old.  Her family, hence his family, surrounds her bed.  Why doesn’t he greet them as family?  They would have undoubtedly seen his photo before and would recognize him and want to meet their grandfather or great-grandfather, or whatever.  And wouldn’t he be curious to know who they were since they were his decedents?  At least say hi?

I know it would have stalled the end of the movie, but I think it would have been good to have a brief interaction between them to clear this strangeness up.


When he is led into the hospital room where his daughter is, the nurse refers to “the family” being there around his daughter.  Perhaps this is the detached attitude of a nurse but wouldn’t she say “her” family?  Or even “your” family?  But no she says “the family”. Could this be a nod to Heinlein’s “The Family” from his Future History series?

Another possible nod to Heinlein could be the name Lazarus that is mentioned multiple times.  The Lazarus Missions are the ones that went through the worm hole 10 years before our protagonists do.  The name Lazarus is a historical and biblical name that conjures resurrection and coming back from death, so it is certainly applicable in this use in Interstellar, but it is also one of the most well-known characters in Heinlein’s works, Lazarus Long, being the head of “The Family” in the Future History series.

(There are various comments about Interstellar in regards to Heinlein and other sci-fi writers if you do a Google search.  A couple of people see some of the philosophical or political statements as being Heinlein-influenced.)

Just speculation, but it could be that the creators of this film read Heinlein in their younger adult lives and wanted to do a little shout out to him, that man of science fiction who made us familiar with aliens, the stars, and ourselves over many a decade…

Heinlein quote


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