Originality no longer means coming up with something completely new. That would be impossible. Originality now means taking something that already exists and twisting it in such a way to make it one of a kind. Being first doesn’t even matter anymore, because it’s all about being the first one to be successful. There are many franchises that have graced the movie world, including Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, but new evidence suggests that even these monumental stories might not be as original as people think them to be. Let’s take a look at the 5 Most Popular Franchises that may actually be Rip-Offs.
1. The Lion King
The Lion King is without a doubt one of the most important Disney animated movies of all time. It has moved viewers from all the corners of the world. It seems, however, that the story of the Lion King isn’t original. Many people believe that it is nothing more than a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (it also shares many similarities with the recently released Frozen movie). Anyway, Lion King and Hamlet have many, almost identical, plot details. There is also another accusation which states that the Lion King has actually plagiarized a Japanese anime story called Kimba the White Lion. Although the two stories are very different from an artistic point of view, the two share striking conceptual similarities (including the elaborate sequences, savannah animals which acknowledge the newly born lion cub etc.)
To be honest, I really enjoyed the Eragon movie, and was extremely sad to hear that there will be no sequel to it (this is because book fans were very displeased with the way that the story unraveled in the movie). The first book from Cristopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle series has several plot points in common with the Starwars Movie and Lord of the Rings events. If you already know the story, just switch around some character names and events and you will obtain a different version of the before-mentioned franchises.
3. The Lord of the Rings
This breath-taking franchise was also not spared from speculation and accusations. Sure, it was the book that started it all (including the Warcraft games and fantastical world of Orcs, Elfs and dwarfs), but recent studies show that it is not 100% original. Have you ever heard about The Ring of the Nibelung story by Richard Wagner. The story of the Nibelungs comes from German mythology, and it tells the story of Fafnir the Dragon, Brumhilda and Sigfried. In both stories, there is a ring that offers great power (including invisibility) to the wielder. They also come at a great price: their sanity. Although the storylines follow different events, there are several similarities: the murder of family members, reforging an old sword and immortals losing immortality.
4. The Hunger Games
Leaving aside the fact that the Hunger Games movies managed to enrage the entire community of book lovers, it seems that the story itself was inspired from the novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. Here are a few similarities between the two: they are set in the future, romantic relationships, and the world is governed by tyrannical leaders that force children to fight to the death in a jungle setting. And that pretty much sums up both stories.
5. Star Wars
Even the epic Star Wars Saga seems to have some similarities with a 1958 Japanese movie (“The Hidden Fortress”) by Akira Kurosawa. As a matter of fact, George Lucas admitted that the many parallels between these two stories are no coincidence. The director of Star Wars was actually thinking of casting Toshiro Mifune, who starred in The Hidden Fortress, for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi. While the story lines are not very similar, both movies share several cinematography scene transitions and effects. The biggest similarity, however, is the use of unimportant characters to greatly influence the plot-line.