Director Paul Verhoeven admits to never finishing the novel, claiming he read through the first few chapters and became both bored and depressed and told screenwriter Edward neumeier to tell him the rest "It's a very right-wing book". Verhoeven told Empire magazine.
When Rico, Carmen and Carl meet with the recruiting officer after pledging, and the officer shakes hand with Rico, it is revealed that he has lost both his legs. This is not done with any means of special effect or other trickery, as Robert David Hall--the actor who plays the officer--had both legs amputated after an accident in 1978.
Most of the arachnids appearing on film are CGI but a few life-sized, robotic models were built. However, during the battle scenes, the actors wound up looking at director Paul Verhoeven himself who would stand in front of them and jump and scream to elicit their reactions.
The cow that was killed by the Arachnid in the media break commercial was completely digital but was still censored. A bonus video feature form the DVD shows what occurred behind the censoring bar: an FX tech used a small hose to spray the walls with fake blood.
Most of the adults in authority positions in the movie are scarred in some way: Rasczak (Michael Ironside) lacks an arm; the biology teacher has scars on her face, and is blind; and the recruiting sergeant has lost both his legs. Director Paul Verhoeven included them as a symbol of the belligerent history of the Federation.
The classroom walls display portraits of major philosophers; Aristotle, Baruch Spinoza, Friedrich Nietzsche and Hannah Arendt. All these thinkers are known for their influence on politics and political theory. Arendt notably worked on totalitarianism, an important theme of the movie.
The base that houses the Fleet Academy is named "Tereshkova" after Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. There are many more examples in the movie of the future being gender-neutral (meaning there is no bigotry based on gender), such as the mixed-shower scene and the female captain.
During filming Jake Busey (Ace) suffered heat stroke after working all day in 120 degrees desert sun, this stopped production for a week, when he recovered several large holes were cut into his uniform so he could cool off, many other cast members suits had this modification as well in order to prevent further cases on average there were 25 people per day being treated for heatstroke during filming.
When Carmen Ibanez is taking the starship out of dock the first time, she flicks a switch to release the hoses attached to the docking platform. That switch is the power switch from a 1982 era IBM PC, the very first PC to see widespread use in home and office.
In the movie Jonny Rico's and some of the other characters' nationalities have been significantly altered from the original novel. In Robert A. Heinlein's novel the story focuses on the first-person narrative of Juan "Jonnie" Rico, a son of a wealthy Filipino family who enlisted in to the Mobile Infantry--a highly futuristic military unit equipped with powered armor and an arsenal of advanced weaponry. In the movie, instead of an elite fighting force equipped with Powered Suits they are a conventional army armed with conventional weapons but apparently without armored vehicles, artillery, most heavy weapons and other vital equipment. The Powered Suits would not feature in the series until Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008).
In a 2014 interview on the Adam Carolla show, Michael Ironside (Jean Rasczak) who read the book as a youth, said he asked director Paul Verhoeven- who grew up in a Nazi-occupied Netherlands, "why are you doing a right-wing fascist movie"?, Verhoeven replied " if I tell the world that a right-wing fascist way of doing things doesn't work then no one will listen to me, so I'm going to make a perfect fascist world everyone is beautiful, everyone is shiny, everything has big guns and fancy ships but it's only good for killing Fucking bugs!"
Fort Ticonderoga is a real fort in upstate New York that was active during the 18th century. It was used by the British during the Seven Years War with the French and then again by American troops during the American Revolutionary War against the British.
The view that people acquired citizenship and the right to vote through military service reflected the views of "Starship Troopers" author Robert Heinlein his views were influenced by his years in military service during World War II and what he saw as the supposed " laziness" of civilians.
The use of Nazi imagery for the film's American Heroes occasioned comment at the time of the film's theatrical release, the filmmakers did not explain their reasons for this choice with the result that some viewer's interpreted it as satire,while other's read it as a celebration of Fascism.
Casper Van Dien says he was often asked why a blonde-haired, blue-eyed actor would play the Argentinian Juan Rico. He suggests that his character was the descendant of exiled Germans. Argentina was famously a hiding place of German war criminals after World War II.
This movie, along with RoboCop (1987), Basic Instinct (1992), Showgirls (1995) and Hollow Man (2000), is one of five separate movie franchises in which the first movie of their respective series (directed by Paul Verhoeven) were more successful than their respective sequels (not directed by Verhoeven); all the sequels either had low box office numbers or were released directly to DVD.
Right before the battle of Klendathdu, Lieutenant Willy (Stephen Ford) says to his trooper's "remember your training and you will make it back alive.", Ironically Lieutenant Willy is the first one to get killed during the battle by a warrior bug, showing he didn't remember his training.
Director Paul Verhoeven say's his satirical use of irony and Hyperbole is "playing with fascism or fascist imagery to point out certain aspects of American society of course the movie is about lets all go war and let's all die".
The "Bug planet" scenes (Klendathdu,Tango Urilla,Planet P) were filmed in the Badlands of Hell's Half Acre in Natrona county Wyoming, during filming in the park it was nearly a 110 degrees which prompted the production crew to let the actors and Extras to wear only their black t-shirts under the armor this is because the neck wrap and the jacket is made out of thick rubber wetsuit /clothing which is very hot to wear.
The German dubbing of this film, although changing a lot of the political issues of the story, is partly regarded as cult especially due to lines like "Das ganze Gehirn weggelutscht" ("They sucked his brains out") as performed by Joachim Kerzel.
The design of the bugs are slightly edited revisions of an unused Shrieker design from "Tremors 2: Aftershocks". Both films special effects were supplied by 'Phil Tippett', who had been working on both films at the same time.
In the back-story of Jean Rasczak (Michael Ironside): Rascazk lost his left arm which had been grabbed by a Warrior Bug, during a mission on Klendathu and retired from the Mobile Infantry and became a teacher of History and Moral Philosophy in Buenos Aires.
The heavy weapons mounted on towers featured in the bug assault on the base at Planet P were Degtyaryov-Shpagin Krupnokalibernyi DShK's ("Degtyaryov-Shpagin Large Caliber"), in a twin-gun arrangement on a gimbal mount. The DShK was designed in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and fires a 12.7x108mm cartridge, roughly the Soviet equivalent of the American .50-cal. BMG.
In the German version the news commentator you hear all the time was dubbed by Egon Hoegen. This results in additional comic relief because he is the man who, with his rather dry and sarcastic voice, narrates every episode of Der 7. Sinn (1966) (a very well known traffic education show).
Some changes from the novel: 1) Carl is killed in a bug raid on a research station. 2) After Rico is promoted to sergeant He is sent to O.C.S. At a transfer station he sees his father has joined the M.I. There is a brief reunion. 3) The wore battlesuits in the novel. Each suit gave a soldier with incredible strength and tremendous firepower. Thus the name Mobile Infantry. 4) Carmen wasn't Rico's girlfriend. She was everyone's friend. After joining up they meet when he's a "third lieutenant" on a ship bound for combat.
The tune Ace plays during R&R time is "Dixie," known as the de facto national anthem of the Confederate States of America and still played often in the Southern US. This is a reference to Ace's Southern heritage.
In a propaganda scene near the start of the movie, mormon extremists are reported to have been massacred by bugs on another planet. Space faring mormons are also depicted in the sci-fi series "The Expanse" (2015). In the mormon compound in the movie, a golden statue with a trumpet can be seen. The same golden statue is the figurehead of the mormon ship the "Nauvoo" in "The Expanse".
Before the battle of Klendathdu,when Rico,Dizzy,Ace and Kitten are "Getting Cut together", Kitten say's "we're going to fight and we're going to win" ironically durig the battle of Klendathdu during the general retreat, Kitten gets killed by a warrior bug.
In the commentary track on the DVD or Blu-ray release, Director Paul Verhoeven remarks that he had hoped to cast actors who's age closely matched that of the characters and indeed of real-world soldiers but the producers felt such actors would look too young, the teacher and the lieutenant of the Roughnecks in the novel are combined into one role played by Michael Ironside.
In the DVD commentary, Director Paul Verhoeven state's his intentions clearly the film's message is that "War makes fascists of us all" he evoked Nazi Germany's fashion,Iconography and Propaganda because he saw it as a natural evolution of the post-WWII United States: "I've heard this film nicknamed All quiet on the final frontier" he said, even Screenwriter Edward Neumeier broadly concurs although he see's the film as a satire on human history rather soley on the U.S.
Some critics in The Netherlands, Paul Verhoeven's native country, jokingly referred to the movie as 'Soldier of Orange in Space', referring to Soldier of Orange (1977), one of Verhoeven's earlier Dutch movies. Both movies are about a group of friends who each go their separate ways when war is declared. Some end up working together, while others find themselves at odds with each other.
The film was released into cinemas uncut in the UK with a '15' rating, but the BBFC (the British censors) felt they had been too lenient and the same version was upgraded to an '18' rating for video and DVD.
The powered armor technology that is Central to the book is completely absent in the movie, according to Verhoeven this- and the fascist tone of the book reflected his own experience in Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II.
When Carmen meets Johnny at the Spaceport she tells Johnny that "My dad had to help me pack suddenly he's afraid he's never going to see me again" it foreshadows the destruction of Buenos Aires which kills Johnny's parents and Carmen's father.
In an early Federation broadcast, there is a psychic who says, "If you think you're psychic, maybe you are." The psychic is played by Timothy Omundson, who stars in the TV series 'Psych'. In the series, he plays a police detective who is constantly at odds with 'psychic' Shawn Spencer and determined to prove him a fraud.
The line "C'mon you apes! You wanna live forever?" is a tribute to Sgt. Maj. Daniel Daly, who is remembered for yelling a similar quote when he led his USMC company against the Germans in the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I.
The Seattle indie rock band Minus the Bear used quotes from the film as song titles in their album Highly Refined Pirates including "you kill bugs good man" "Damn bugs wacked us Johnny" and "Your some kind of big fat smart bug aren't you?"
During the newsbreak which focused on the massacre of Port Joe Smith it shows a spire with the Statue of Angel Moroni on its top. According to religious custom with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the statue of Moroni is only used on the top of dedicated temples and is not found on any other structure regardless of its purpose.
The short-lived Australian political party, One Nation mimicked the use of the "would you like to know more?" advertisements in a 1998 campaign at recruiting youth to the party presumably unaware of the satirical nature of those ads especially given the party had a nationalistic far-right ideology.
Michael Ironside, Clancy Brown, Dina Meyer, and Brenda Strong were in DC comics based animated and live-action series. Michael was the voice of the evil tyrant Darkseid on Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League/Justice League: Unlimited, Dark Knight Returns Batman in one episode of The Superman/Batman Adventures. He also played as General Sam Lane in Smallville. And, he played the father of the villain Leonard Snart/Captain Cold in The Flash. Clancy was the voice of Lex Luthor in Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League/Justice League Unlimited. Also, played as General Wade Eiling in The Flash. Dina played the Batgirl/Oracle in the series Birds of Prey. And, Brenda Strong plays as the mother of the villain Lex Luthor Lillian in Supergirl (2015).
In the novel, The Mobile Infantry were also fighting a war against the Skinnies- a tall, green, humanoid species who were allied with the Arachnids. Also, the Arachnids weren't mindless, savage creatures they were rather intelligent and had advanced technology somewhat on par with the humans such as H-Bombs (which they used to attack Buenos Aires) ray guns, missiles and space ships.
The original text also included the Cap Troopers wearing Powered Armored The Mobile Infantry in the movie has nothing of the sort until Starship Troopers Marauder (2008) (even though they are experimental Mini-Mecha).
While it's never explicitly stated in the novel in the film its strongly implied that Fleet and the Mobile Infantry have a rivalry as Dizzy says to Rico after he fights with Zander, "Mobile Infantry and Fleet don't mix".
Although we don't see Katrina Mclntire (Blake Lindsey) get killed when she is dragged into a bug hole by a Warrior bug even though it is stated bug's dont capture enemies and Starship Troopers Dominant Species, original script and commentaries have mentioned that those who don't retreat from the Battle of Klendathdu are killed.
The Boot camp Arthur Currie was named for Sir Arthur William Currie of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Sir Arthur Currie had the unusual beginning of a pre-war militia gunner and eventually worked his way through the entire scale of ranks to eventually become Canada's first Four Star General. His nickname was "Guts and Gaitors".
It is debatable by fans whether the Arachnids were even responsible for the attack on Buenos Aires, given that the bug meteor is asserted to have been launched from Klendathdu, on the other side of the galaxy and therefore tens of thousands of light-years away (especially considering that the asteroids where shown moving slower then light and where allegedly able to cross 80,000 light years without hitting anything or being pulled off course, yet still hit Earth with pinpoint accuracy) this, combined with the informative nature of the film narrative as a recruitment advert, can be interpreted as a commentary on the propagandistic nature of contemporary media and its role often as a willing accomplice to militarism. However, given that in one scene the Rodger Young is shown to be on a collision course with one of these asteroids, and that they are able to take evasive action after Carmen and Zander sight the asteroid visually would seem to suggest that the simpler explanation is that Director Paul Verhoeven just ignored the physics of the situation for cinematic effect or simply because that is what the plot required.
Film composer Basil Poledouris daughter Zoe makes a cameo in the prom dance scene. She's on stage, and sings "Into It" and a cover of David Bowie's "I have not been to Oxford Town" from the 1997 album "Outside" minor lyrical changes have been made, woth the song changed to "I have not been to Paradise".
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Several references are made to WWII Medal of Honor recipient Rodger Wilton Young. During WWII as a small arms instructor, Sgt. Young was denied the opportunity to deploy with his unit when Japan entered the war. He requested that he be voluntarily demoted to private in order to see combat. His wish was granted. Career Sgt. Zim makes a similar request when Buenos Aires is destroyed. His wish is also granted. Also, during WWII, Young gave his life in combat by single-handedly bombarding a Japanese machine gun position with rifle fire and grenades during an ambush, allowing his platoon to escape. While rescuing Carmen from the Brain-bug, Sugar Watkins gives his life in an almost identical fashion by laying down rifle fire and detonating the Nuke so his friends can escape; The starship that Carmen is assigned is also named the Rodger Young.
In the shower scene, Shujimi (Anthony Ruivivar ) says that he joined the Mobile Infantry so that the federation would pay for his studies, which would otherwise have cost him "an arm and a leg." Shujimi later has his limbs ripped off by the bugs.
Several scenes were filmed following Carmen (Denise Richards) coming to grips with the supposed death of Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien), while starting a relationship with Zander (Patrick Muldoon). However, test audiences started to hate her character for hooking up with another man so soon after the death of her former lover, and were very vocal about it. The scenes were subsequently deleted, although a relationship between Carmen and Zander is still implied in the rest of the movie.
In the film, during live training, Djana'D (Tami Adrian George) shoots and kills Breckinridge accidentally, resulting in Rico's flogging. In real life, the two actors are together and have a child. They met on this film.
Test audience reactions led to several minor changes before the film was released. Originally, it was clear that Carmen was torn between Rico and Zander. Test audiences, regardless of gender, strongly felt that a woman could not love two men at once, so scenes which portrayed this were cut. These audiences also felt it was immoral for Carmen to choose a career ahead of being loyal to Rico, to the extent that many commented that, in so doing, Carmen should have been the one to die instead of Dizzy. While admitting it may have been a bad commercial decision not to change the film to accommodate this, the directors did cut a scene from after Zander's death where Carmen and Rico kiss, which the audience believed made the previous betrayal even more immoral.
When Rico's father says he would rather take ten lashes in public square than see him ruin his life, it foreshadows what happens to Rico after Breckenridge's death; Rico himself receives ten lashes in a public square, and ruining Djana'D (Tami-Adrian George) (who killed Breckenridges) chances of becoming a citizen to go into politics.
The reason Carmen's (Denise Richards) father detests Johnny is further elaborated in a deleted scene. Johnny parents aren't citizens; they have money. This is why Ace continuously says to Johnny "you got some guts for a rich kid" and during training "you rich kids are all the same".
In the scene where Carl influences his ferret Cyrano to go "bug" his mom; Rico tells Carl not to do anything like that to him. This foreshadows a scene near the end, wherein Rico saves Carmen as Carl psychically guides him though. Carl later says it's "classified."
The tune Ace plays while Johnny Rico is dancing with Diz is the Mexican song "Las Golondrinas" (The Swallows). Since this melody is mostly played in farewells and closures as a way to say 'good-bye' to someone, it foreshadows the fate of Diz.
The recruiting sergeant says to Carl, who was chosen for military intelligence, "next time we meet, I'll probably be saluting you." Ironically, near the end, Sergeant Zim (who busted himself to Private to get combat) salutes Johnny Rico, who is now a lieutenant.
When Sergeant Zim is roughing up the recruits, he hits Shujumi in the right leg with his baton, this is interesting as Shujumi later gets his right leg cut off by an Arachnid during the battle of Klendathdu.