- Sequel First: In the afterword to some editions of the novel, Gaiman refers to it as Book 2 of a trilogy he hasn't gotten around to writing yet.
- Write Who You Know: The beech tree that talks to Tristran and offers him advice is based on Gaiman's friend Tori Amos.
The radio adaptation
- Casting Gag: The Beech Tree has an incongruous American accent because she's voiced by Tori Amos, who Gaiman based her on he wrote the novel.
- All-Star Cast: Oh yes—Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Ricky Gervais, Mark Strong, and then-unknowns Charlie Cox and Henry Cavill... Heck, even The Narrator is Sir Ian McKellen, and Peter O'Toole has a One-Scene Wonder as the King of Stormhold. Not to mention cameo appearances by Rupert Everett, Mark Williams, and Nathaniel Parker.
- Billing Displacement:
- Ricky Gervais is featured on the poster, yet he appears in only three brief scenes before dying.
- Claire Danes gets top billing despite not being the protagonist. The main character is then-unknown Charlie Cox's Tristan.
- Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: Many reviews of the movie mention the Lightning Pirates as an example of ways in which the movie was different from the book, claiming that they do not appear in the book at all. This is untrue, it's just that what happens on their ship is glossed over in the book, and expanded on here. The film does invent some attributes: the airship crew in the book are not pirates, just fishermen of a sort who harvest lightning. And their captain was not an (admitted) transvestite.
- Deleted Scene: Several that change the tone of the story. A scene at the ending establishes Tristan and Yvaine as a Mayfly-December Romance, with Yvaine outliving Tristan by a long time. In the actual film, Tristan is immortal because he "possesses the heart of a star", though after reigning for about 80 years he and Yvaine feel it's time for them to pass the Crown on. So they light the Babylon Candle and are translated to the heavens (and Tristan turns into a star!)
- Fake Brit: Claire Danes and Michelle Pfeiffer do British accents, although their characters aren't exactly British. Robert De Niro's character speaks about "my beloved England" but uses his own accent.
- Fake Shemp: The inn scene was particularly tricky to shoot, as not all the actors were available at the one time. So there was heavy use of this technique to give the impression that Lamia, Tristen, Yvaine, Primus, Billy and Bernard are all in the scene together.
- Playing Against Type: Robert De Niro, who has a reputation for such roles like a mobster or a bank robber with a noble code of honor, playing a cross-dressing, gay pirate captain?
- Real Life Writes the Plot: When Michelle Pfeiffer came on board, the role of Lamia was greatly expanded. She's a minor character in the book but becomes the film's primary antagonist.
- Star-Making Role: This helped Mark Strong break into Hollywood, typecasting him as an Evil Brit - something he loved, having been stuck playing one-note lovers in period pieces beforehand. This was also Charlie Cox's first break into the spotlight, and leading to other acclaimed roles including Owen Sleater in Boardwalk Empire and Matt Murdock in Daredevil.
- What Could Have Been:
- The glass knife that Lamia uses was actually a prop made for X-Men: The Last Stand when Matthew Vaughn was still attached to direct. It would have been a weapon for Magneto.
- The studio really wanted a more recognisable name in the role of Tristen - and they were pushing for Orlando Bloom. Once stars like Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes and Robert De Niro were attached, Matthew Vaughn was allowed to cast Charlie Cox.
- Terry Gilliam was offered the chance to direct but turned it down. Having just completed The Brothers Grimm, he wanted a break from fairy tales.