We all have that one movie that we love to watch even though we have no good explanation as to why we love it so much. For me, one of those movies is the 1997 science-fiction gong show Starship Troopers.
Looking back on the movie now, I completely understand why some people found it to be outrageously stupid; the writing isn’t great, the story line is lacking a few key elements, the acting is a little over the top, but overall it’s great for mindless enjoyment. Plus, Neil Patrick Harris has a great role in it.
20 years after it was released, we’re going to take you down the road of “fun facts” you didn’t know about this truly epic 90s movie.
1. It’s actually a commentary on a pro-war novel.
When you actually think about it, it makes perfect sense. Robert Heinlein published his book in 1959, the book feels more like a political commentary on the virtues of war. Ed Neumeier was the co-writer of Robocop, and he wanted to do a hilarious movie rendition of Starship Troopers, filled with fascist overtones and a bunch of kids fresh out of high school getting mowed down on the field of battle.
2. The movie was going to have a completely different title.
Movies based off of books often get titles that separate them from their original content. In this case, the filmmaker didn’t secure the rights to the book until they had already started filming. It was originally going to be called Bug Hunt At Outpost Nine.
3. The uniforms are modeled after the Third Reich.
If you are going to have a movie filled with spoofed fascist overtones, might as well go the extra mile. The black and grey uniforms complete with jackboots and eagle pins were modeled after the Nazis.
4. The shower scene shocked audiences, but did it really?
The shower scene where you have male and female soldiers all showering together gave audiences a little jolt in their seats. The cast said that they wouldn’t do the scene unless filmmaker Paul Verhoeven and cinematographer Jost Vacano were also naked. We all know how that turned out.
5. Mark Wahlberg was considered for the lead role.
Can you imagine late 90s Marky Mark playing the role of Johnny Rico? I can’t.
6. Even a Golden Girl made an appearance.
Rue McClanahan, one of the iconic Golden Girls even had a part in the movie. She played a blind biology teacher giving her students a more in depth look at the “bugs”.
7. Opinions of the movie have changed over the last 20 years.
Critics originally took shots at the movie for its clean cast, brutal violence and one-dimensional view point. But over the years they have changed their tune after realizing Verhoeven was actually trying to do his own movie rendition of 1984.
8. Starship Troopers didn’t end with the movie.
The movie actually helped produce an animated spin-off series, as well as two straight to DVD movies (2004 and 2008). Van Dien actually came back to play Johnny Rico in the third movie. Of all the projects to come after the original movie, the animated series Roughnecks: The Starship Trooper Chronicles was the most popular.
9. Dean Norris from Breaking Bad.
It’s only a small role, but Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris had a small role as the commanding officer who reinstates Johnny Rico after he decides to quit the mobile infantry.
10. They had to get creative with stand ins for the CGI bugs.
In 1997, CGI computer animation was nothing like it is today, and on the set of Starship Troopers they had to get really creative with stand ins for the bugs during filming. At one point Verhoeven would go out on set himself with a bullhorn, jump up and down screaming ‘I’m a big f**ing bug! I’ll kill you!”.
Are you a fan of Starship Troopers?