Did Christopher Nolan Rip the Plot of ‘Inception’ from an Uncle Scrooge McDuck Comic Book?

by 9 years ago

Pulling in $193.3 million in 17 days, the cinematic sorcery of Christopher Noland's “Inception” continues to scratch heads in movie theaters around the country. As audiences continue to deconstruct the multilayered entanglement of dreams in Cobb's subconscious and mull about whether or not the totem actually falls, a user on the online community Reddit has unearthed an Uncle $crooge McDuck comic book from 2002 that has an eerie resemblance to the plot of Nolan's visceral odyssey. It's the quackiest whackiest “Inception” theory you'll read today. Spoilers galore after the jump, along with evidence that Nolan may have adapted “Inception” from a Disney comic book.

As bloggers at Video Gum, I Watch Stuff, and Comicbookmovie.com point out,  Nolan's cerebral dream puzzle has quite a few remarkable similarities to “Dream of a Lifetime”, a comic book from Don Rosa's “Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” series. Both employ the idea of shared dreaming via some high tech, sci-fi device. Both involve villians running rampant through a maze of dreams-inside-of-dreams. Browse the high-resolution pages of the comic book here.


Here's a take from Comicbookmovie.com

In the Scrooge McDuck story, “Dream of a Lifetime,” the Beagle Boys — a gang of canine criminals that historically try to steal from McDuck — use a contraption to enter into Scrooge McDuck's dream while he's sleeping to try to “steal” the secret combination to McDuck's vault of goodies. McDuck's nephews, including Donald Duck, use the same contraption to enter McDuck's dream and thwart the Beagle Boys.


One such panel from Scrooge McDuck's “Dream of a Lifetime” is below.

According to Video Gum, Scoorge McDuck even carries a totem to help him navigate through dreams: a 25-pound bar of gold. Check out a panel by panel analysis and breakdown between major plot parallels in “Inception” and Scrooge McDuck here.

Back in early July, Nolan told the New York Times he was worried about cinemaphiles thinking the dream-based narrative of “Inception” rips heavily from Alain Resnais' classic French New Wave film L’Année dernière à Marienbad” (“Last Year at Marienbad”). He told the paper he didn't watch the Resnais's 1961 film until after completing “Inception.”


I’m ripping off the movies that ripped off “Last Year at Marienbad,” without having seen the original. It’s that much a source of ideas, really, about the relationships between dream and memory and so forth, which is very much what “Inception” deals with. But we have way more explosions.

Perhaps Nolan's name-dropping of “Last Year at Marienbad” to the New York Times was an attempt to come across as across as a high brow auteur. If we learned anything from “Inception” about the embryo of an idea, we can postulate that Nolan may have planted a seed, so to say, to Dave Itzkoff of the New York Times in order to create a diversion from the movie's true plot origins (Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck).


Of course, the Internet is a clearinghouse for asinine theories and half-baked criticism about movies. However, Nolan's track record in the director's chair might warrant a little examination into whether or not the “Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” lit the creative spark for “Inception.” As a blog post at ComicBookMovie.com points out, all of Nolan's other films were conceived by other sources. “Memento” was born out of a short story called “Memento Mori,” penned by his brother Johanthan Nolan. The Prestige was adapted from  Christopher Priest's novel, The Prestige. Insomnia was a remake of Norwegian director Erik Skjoldbjærg's 1997 film, “Insomnia.” Of course, the Batman movies were based on Batman comic books.


What do you think? Examine the evidence closely and sound off in the comments.