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Shout Out / Warhammer 40,000

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Warhammer 40,000 features tonnes of Shout Outs, some subtle, some just plain obvious.

Anime and Manga

  • The Imperial Guard regiment known as the Arkhan Confederates seem at first glance to be a straight up Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Confederate States of America, but consider that they're they're an Old South-themed army that's also fond of Mini-Mecha cavalry and are best known for holding their own against foes with much more advanced mechs.
  • The sixth edition Eldar codex introduced a new unit called the Wraithknight: a Humongous Mecha piloted by a sole Eldar... who just happens to have lost his/her twin, whose soul was kept in a Spirit Stone, which in turn powers the whole construction. As the time passes by, it is quite possible for the pilot to mentally merge with the construction, thus never able to be separated from it. Sound familiar?
  • The many battlesuits used by the T'au were intended as a broad homage to mecha anime.
  • Not sure if this was intentional or not, but in the 8th edition codex for the Adeptus Mechanicus one of the new Arcana Mechanicum is called The Solar Flare that creates a blinding flash of light allowing the user to teleport away.

Comic Books

  • To Judge Dredd:
    • The Adeptus Arbites are the Imperium's police, with big guns, eagles and ginormous shoulder pads. Also, the Ciaphas Cain novels reference a holodrama called Arbiter Foreboding, with the title character being known for carrying a big gun.
    • Void shields were clearly picked up from the Apocalypse War storyline.
    • The Chaos warband known as The Purge long ago grew disgusted at all the lies and corruption in the galaxy, and determined that the cause was life itself. They're obviously based on the Dark Judges.
  • The 5th ed Space Wolves Codex has Logan Grimnar who isn't one. But it also has a different Logan mentioned in the backstory who fought with dual Lightning Claws. You know, like that Logan. Also, it's not at all a stretch to think of the Wulfen as 40K's version of Wolverine in the middle of a berserker rage; the Wulfen pack leader especially looks the part.
  • The Doom Legion is a Space Marine chapter painted primarily in metal with green highlights. As a result, they bear more than a passing resemblance to another Doomy-character. They also are similarly named to the Legion of Doom from the Superfriends show.

Fan Works

  • 4chan gets a LOT of shout outs in Dark Heresy:
    • Dark Heresy: Ascension has a quote by Vindicare Assassin cognomen-designate LIIVI, which in itself doesn't sound very weird. However, if you snoop around fanon, you'll see that LIIVI also appears in the popular 40K Fan Fic Love Can Bloom, where he falls in love with Farseer Taldeer from Dawn of War: Dark Crusade. The picture on the quote's page also shows a Vindicare Assassin and a female Eldar Farseer, just to drive the point further. To really drive the point home, LIIVI is quoted as saying "one chance is all I need", one of the Vindicare's voice clips from Dark Crusade.
    • The fan campaign The Guy Who Cried Grendel is referenced on one page of The Radical's Handbook supplement.
    • A jumble of random letters and numbers at the end of a transcript in one book has "'sup /tg/?" hidden in it, /tg/ being 4chan's Tabletop Games board and sup/tg/ being that board's thread archive.


  • The entire Necron race is one big Shout-Out to the Terminator franchise, especially their SkeleBot appearance, durability, determination, the (formerly) extreme hostility to organic life, and their "Reanimation Protocol" rule, which used to be called "We'll Be Back".
  • Several to Star Wars:
    • One of the elite fighting forces in the Imperial Guard are know as the storm troopers, and most wear fully enclosed gas masked helmets. The Imperial Guard also heavily relies on lasrifles that are essentially blaster rifles in all but name and reloading mechanisms.
    • The latest Imperial Guard codex states that some of the older members of the Cult of Mars are "more machine than man".
    • In first edition, back when 40K was Rogue Trader, they had a canon character named Obi-Wan (an Inquisitor). Not to mention the main protagonists of the setting are an Empire ruled by a morally ambiguous (extremist rather than evil) Emperor...
    • In the Blood Angels codex, there is a story about a Librarian defending a world from a Tyranid fleet. It specifically states that his "force can't repel a Tyranid onslaught of that magnitude".
    • To the Star Wars EU: The Rogue Trader-only Rak'Guls are apparent references to the mutant Sith race of Rakghouls.
  • The Tyranid Genestealers from 5th Edition onward draw heavily from the Xenomorphs; there was even an option to give the Broodlord (squad leader) acid blood. The original metal Hormagaunt models also heavily resembled Xenomorphs.
  • The 5th edition Space Marines Codex makes reference to the Zeist Campaign, a shout out to Highlander II: The Quickening. The fandom was not pleased.
  • Eldar Striking Scorpions have helmets that make them look uncannily like the Predator.
  • Some of the novels refer to a foodstuff called soylens viridiens.
  • The cover art for the 3rd edition Blood Angels codex (back when they were somewhat more vampiric) has someone who looks suspiciously like Christopher Lee. (Compare the lower left Marine to the DVD cover for Scars of Dracula.)
  • The Black Templars get a super-grenade-thing called the Holy Orb of Antioch, carried (of course) by Brother Maynard.
  • Catachan Jungle Fighters are all Ramboes, from the huge muscles to huger guns to the lack of respect for authority figures, with a bit of Predator when fighting aliens. Oh, and red headbands are quite a popular fashion accessory. Sly Marbo doesn't even try to hide it, being repeatedly referred to as a One-Man Army.
  • Dark Eldar have a melee weapon called scissorhand.
  • The Dark Eldar Haemonculi Covens' aesthetics (such as their penchant for body modification) and pain fixation were inspired by the Cenobites.
  • The new model for Magnus the Red as a Daemon Primarch, with his red skin, angular facial features, and enormous horns, is more than a little reminiscent of the demon Darkness from Legend.
  • In addition to Alex Mercer (see Video Games below), Legienstrasse's innate ability to alter her body at will to form natural weapons such as claws, absorb organic beings by touch and survive without her head sound very familiar to John Carpenter fans. She is also similar to a Darker and Edgier version of Dren.
  • One quote by the ogryn Nork Deddog is a reference to Forrest Gump:
    Da Sergeant Major asked me what my job was an' I said it was to, uh, do what I was told. He said I was a genius and gave me another medal. I likes da Imperial Guard!


  • Dune has several notable influences:
    • The God-Emperor of the Imperium is one of the most key figures in the setting.
    • The Navis Nobilitae eventually turn into something like the mutant-frogs-in-a-jar from the movie, and they have more or less the same function.
    • In the Dark Heresy rulebook under "Sanctioning Side-effects", one of the rolls gives you the starting condition of "Pain by nerve induction", complete with a fear of bald women.
    • The planet Tallarn is an equivalent to Arrakis.
    • The Space Marines have a lot of the Fremen and the Sardaukar in them.
    • Ollanius Pius, when returning to the setting with Resurrective Immortality, seems rather more like Duncan Idaho.
    • The Cybernetic Revolt, the uprising of the Men Of Iron that contributed to the end of the Age of Technology and the galaxy's descent into a six-thousand-year dark age, is likely a reference to the Butlerian Jihad. Notably, both conflicts resulted in true Artificial Intelligences being outlawed by the empires that rose in their wake, in favour of human computers.
    • "Fear is the mind-killer", the second line of the Litany of Fear, is occasionally included in codices and rulebooks as a "thought for the day", usually accompanying lore snippets presented as Fictional Documents.
  • The Inquisitor Lord Fyodor Karamazov is a Shout-Out to The Brothers Karamazov.
  • "All Orks is equal, but some Orks are more equal dan uvvas".
  • The Grey Knights special character Kaldor Draigo (from the same writer as the Zeist campaign, incidentally) is likely a Shout-Out to Khal Drogo.
  • The aforementioned Inquisitor Obi-Wan's full name is Obi-Wan Sherlock Clousseau, from the Sherlock Holmes and the Pink Panther franchises which originated in literature.
  • One of the Requisitions in the 9th edition Imperial Knights codex is called The Arts of War.
  • In the Battlefleet Gothic rules there is a mention of something named Portis Cthulhus, which takes its name from H. P. Lovecraft's works.
  • There is mention of a quarantine planet named Proxima Trantor. The name is similar to the capital planet in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Empire.
  • Thallarna is the villain's capital in Edmond Hamilton's The Star Kings.
  • A quote from Frodo about the shiftiness of elven counsel is parodied by a quote from Inquisitor Czevak:
    Ask not the Eldar a question, for they will give you three answers, each true and terrifying to behold.
  • The Radium weapons available to Skitarii Vanguard and their ability to cause extra wounds are a nod to the "radium" bullets used on Barsoom, which explode in sunlight.
  • Lion El'Johnson's entire backstory is nothing less than King Arthur Recycled In Space with a dash of Richard the Lionheart as told by the story of Robin Hood.
  • The Tyranid bioform known as a "hormagaunt" gets its name from Jack Vance's novel The Killing Machine.

Live-Action TV

  • The two gods of the Orks are stated in Gorkamorka to be Gork and Mork.



  • Caliban and Prospero, home planets of the Dark Angels and Thousand Sons respectively, are named after characters from The Tempest.

Video Games

  • In the comic mini-series The Redeemer, the titular hero has to climb some construction beams and platforms to do battle with a four-armed mutant ape throwing down barrels of toxic waste to hinder his progress.
  • An uncharacteristically subtle one in the second edition of the Forge World supplement Imperial Armor Volume 2: War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, so much so that it may have been a coincidence: the rules for the Spartan Assault Tank are on page 117.
  • The fifth edition Necron codex makes mention of a planet called Eden Prime, as well as a Necron cyber-warfare device called the "mechanophage", a shout out to Mass Effect's Genophage.
  • The basic combat gear of T'au Fire Warriors is clearly based on Brataccas.
  • One of the Tyranid Swarmlord's names is stated to be "The Destroyer of the Kha'la Empire". There is also a unit upgrade called "adrenal glands".
  • Legienstrasse, a rogue assassin with the ability to absorb living things and turn the extra biomass into weapons, is described by 1d4chan as "an expy of Alex Mercer from [PROTOTYPE]. Only a billion times worse because it's 40K".

Western Animation

  • There used to be a Dark Eldar character with black hair and a white skunk stripe called "Kruellagh the Vile".
  • In a regimental standard page they had this little Shout-Out to Futurama:
    For more information on chronal dilation during warp transit, please consult your regimental library for Avoiding Becoming Your Own Grandfather And Other Paradoxes That Create Unnecessary Paperwork for the Administratum by Inquisitor August Helden IIV the Elder/Younger of the Ordo Chronos.

Multiple media

Real Life

  • The naming of the Dark Angels Legion and their Primarch, Lion El'Johnson. No relation to Lionel Johnson, the poet who wrote "The Dark Angel".
  • Rumour has it The Rock, the remains of Caliban which house the Dark Angels' fortress-monastery, was named after a gay bar near Games Workshop's headquarters. However, it could also refer to Castle Rock on which Nottingham Castle is built. That's just round the corner from Games Workshop's old headquarters and has a warren of tunnels carved into it including the oldest pub in England, Ye Olde Trip, where the Angels of Darkness launch party took place. It would make sense though, since Lionel Johnson was openly gay.
  • The entire story of Lord Commander Solar Macharius is cleanly ripped off from the biography of Alexander the Great.
  • In the 3rd edition Craftworld Eldar book, the section on the craftworld Saim-Hann has a footnote consisting of an Edit War about how to properly pronounce it that refers to the oft-fumbled pronunciation of Samhain.
  • Most of the Space Wolves fluff derives from either Norse Mythology or mythology concerning wolves from around the world.
  • It has been argued that the current biggest Ork in the galaxy and ravager of a massively industrialized planet, Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thrakka, is a Take That! towards Margaret Thatcher; it's denied from official side though, since "we just wanted to forget about The Witch, the real names come from a drunk RPG session where we used characters with names similar to what you know".
  • Many Imperial Guard regiments are basically the snazzy uniforms and laughable combat tactics of various periods of Earth warfare: the Praetorians are extremely disciplined, red-uniformed and pith-helmeted chaps with astounding mustaches from British armies, Kriegsmen are World War One Gas Mask Mooks taken up to eleven, the Tallarn are Arab Legion, etc.
  • The quote on the T'au character page is based on part of a sermon by Henry Melvill and often misattributed to Herman Melville.
    Ye cannot live for yourselves; a thousand fibres connect you with your fellow-men, and along those fibres, as along sympathetic threads, run your actions as causes, and return to you as effects.
  • In addition to their American movie inspirations, the Catachans must have Australian in them too, given the place's reputation. Not to mention Catachan Barking Toads and the Australian military's history in the jungles of Malaya, New Guinea and Vietnam. Plus, the organization of Catachan infantry companies practically mirrors that of the WWII-era Australian commando Independent Companies.
  • A quote by "Helem Bosch" that foreign travel narrows the mind wonderfully is a takeoff on Helen Bosch, who wrote that foreign travel broadens the mind wonderfully.
  • Nikola Tesla gets a couple of nods:
    • In the Skitarii codex one of the relics of Mars is called the Skull of Elder Nikola. In the description it is said to be from "the early days of mankind, when primitive Terrans had barely evolved the ability to conjure light".
    • Necron Tesla weapons fire a kind of living lightning.
  • The Necrons' Gauss weapons are named after mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, renowned for his contributions to many fields including analysis, differential geometry, mechanics, and astronomy. Indeed, his name was originally used for many theoretical magnetic weapons that are more commonly known as coilguns.
  • Magistus Amon, a very important character in the Thousand Sons, was finally given an un-helmeted appearance before he fell during the Horus Heresy. He very much looks like Ben Kingsley.
  • After it was revealed that the new Primaris Marines are equipped with Mk X power armor, an upgrade to the Mk VIII armor used by regular Astartes that completely skips Mk IX, it's become a joke in the fandom that the power armors run on Windows OS.
  • Inquisitor Torquemada Coteaz's name is a reference to Tomás de Torquemada, the creator of the Spanish Inquisition and Hernán Cortez the conquistador.
  • The ubiquitous Rhino transport of the Space Marines finds its inspiration in the Normandy campaign of World War 2 and a very specific modification for tanks in that region. Not only were tanks fitted with hedgerow breaching spikes called "Rhinos" by US troops, but the tabletop models unique version of the Dozer Blade upgrade looks exactly the prongs on such tanks.