There are three chapters in the movie, each sharing its name with a song by an alternative music artist. "Temptation Waits" is a song by Garbage ; "Memory Gospel" is a song by Moby (who also composed the film's score); and "Wave of Mutilation" is a song by Pixies.
In addition to the feature film, an expanded version of Southland Tales will be presented as a six-part interactive experience with the prequel saga to be published as three separate 90-130 page graphic novels, each written by Kelly. The graphic novels will be released over a six month period early in 2007 leading up to the film's release with the feature film comprised of the story's final three chapters. In addition, the film's official website will be one of the largest and most elaborate ever designed for a feature film. Richard Kelly describes the graphic novels as a "work in tandem with the website, creating a more epic multimedia experience for those interested in taking the plunge."
The Doomsday Scenario Interface in the beginning of the movie resembles the TV interface in Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers (1997). Verhoeven's next film after "Troopers" was to be Hollow Man (2000), a title pretty close to T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men", from where Justin Timberlake's lines "This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. This is the way the worlds end. Not with a bang, but with a whimper." with the last line reversed so it reads, "not with a whimper, but with a bang."
When the Prime Minister of Japan got his hand chopped off, he claims that it only should be the finger. Baron von Westphalen answers that he had probably missed the 6 inch deviation clause in his contract. The German dubbing of the movie obviously got confused about the US customary units and translated 6 inches with 1.80 meters, which is actually 6 feet.
The line "We saw shadows of the morning light/shadows of the evening sun/till the shadows and the light were one" is from Jane's Addiction's song "Three Days", which is featured on the soundtrack of the film.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Although the character of General Teena MacArthur, played by (Janeane Garofalo) is largely absent from the theatrical cut of the film, she can be briefly seen at the end of the film at the party where Pilot Abilene and others are celebrating.