The Imperium invaders and their equipment are based somewhat in appearance to DC Comics' villains the White Martians but show a tribute to H.G. Wells's classic, War of the Worlds (General Wells, introduced here, is named after Wells). Like the Imperium, Wells's Martians use three-legged war machines equipped with ray devices that easily overwhelm Earth's military, and a "black smoke" that blots out the sun.
J. Allen Carter, one of the astronauts on Mars from the premier episode "Secret Origins" is named after John Carter, Warlord of Mars from several classic science fiction novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It could also be viewed as homage to the names Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, & Carter Hall (the "Golden Age" versions of the Flash, Green Lantern & Hawkman, respectively).