Altair IV

Altair IV

Altair IV, is a fictional planet featured in the 1956 MGM classic science fiction film "Forbidden Planet". This fourth planet orbiting the star Altair, 16.7 light-years distance (98 trillion miles) away from our Sun, is a rocky, terrestrial world. It supports Earth-like life due to its oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and an approximate Earth gravity field. The planet is home to philologist Dr. Edward Morbius, Ph.D. (Walter Pidgeon), the final survivor of the ill-fated "Bellerophon" expedition of some 20 years prior, and his daughter Altaira (Anne Francis). The one other inhabitant is the "Remarkable Gentleman", Robby the Robot.

Per Dr. Morbius, Altair IV was once home to the Krell, a technologically highly advanced, nonhuman civilization, before they suddenly annihilated themselves 2000 centuries ago. It was visited by the United Planets Cruiser C-57D, captained by Commander J.J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen), with Executive Officer Lt. J.P. Farman (Jack Kelly) and ship's physician Dr. C.X. Ostrow (Warren Stevens), with a crew of sixteen. The ship was dispatched to the fourth planet in the star system Alpha Aquilae, as a relief mission to search for colonist survivors of the lost "Bellerophon" expedition.

Unlike the novel version, discussed below, the 1956 Forbidden Planet movie version did not mention the "time-squeeze" effect in the C-57D's journey, with its flight requiring only about one year on board ship (as stated in its dialogue, " 378 days in hyperspace "). The movie version did not specify event dates beyond A.D. 2200.


* The novel by W.J. Stuart is based on the film, and approaches the story as chapter narrations from the viewpoints of each of the main characters — Commander Adams, Dr. Morbius, and ship's medical officer Dr. Ostrow.
* In the story, the saucer-shaped C-57D Cruiser is launched in A.D. 2371 on its 10-year voyage (one year ship-time, due to "time-squeeze" effect of its quantum-gravitetic drive). Traveling at "670 million miles per hour — more than the speed of light!" in the flight to the Altair star system, the ship arrives in A.D. 2381.
* Prior to landing, preliminary findings reveal the gravity to be 0.897 of Earth's, with the oxygen level 4.7 [%] richer. On the ground, ship's engineer Chief Alonzo Quinn notes that broken pieces from nearby blue-gray stalagmite rocks were lighter than pumice, but harder than granite. The planet's soft, heady atmosphere, lit by turquoise sunlight, is described as being so full of oxygen, a breeze would be felt, even when there wasn't one. Areas of the desert ground around Morbius' home are covered by a gold-hued grass, and there are green-gray mountains and deep blue water rivers in the distance. Nearby trees and plants appear somewhat Earth-like, except for color, shape and foliage. At night, the planet's two moons reflect turquoise light onto the distant mountains, giving them a copper color.
* The United Planets Cruiser returns to Earth in A.D. 2391, and Cmdr Adams relates the remarkable story — and delivers Robby the Robot.

Other references to "Altair IV"

* Altair IV is mentioned in the Stephen King novel "The Tommyknockers", as the location to which a child is sent.
* Altair 4 is the designation for the lunar lander in the Orion 19 mission, tentatively scheduled for A.D. 2020.

Subject references

* The movie images and subtitles from 1999 and 2006 Forbidden Planet movie DVD releases.
* 1979 CINEFANTASTIQUE Magazine Double-Issue (Volume 8, Number 2 & Volume 8, Number 3) — Article: "MAKING FORBIDDEN PLANET" by Frederick S. Clarke and Steve Rubin.
* Forbidden Planet Screenplay Draft - May 14 1955.
* 1956 Forbidden Planet novel by W. J. Stuart (published by Bantam Books)

External links

* [ Altair System summary]
*IMDB 1956 "Forbidden Planet":

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