Easter eggs

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Version

Outliner top.png
This article is timeless and should be accurate for any version of the game.
Why? Why?! WHY?! - Embracing the futility of life's questions in the Improbable Ceramics event
My circuits hurt. - Same option for machine empires

Easter eggs are inside jokes and references to popular culture, included for the player's amusement. This is a non-exhaustive list of Easter eggs present in Stellaris. For others, also see the TVTropes page.

The Blorg

The Blorg portrait

During the pre-release stream series former Stellaris game director Wiz was inspired by one of the fungoid portraits to create a very friendly but hideously ugly species called the Blorg. The Blorg Commonality was a fanatic xenophile misunderstood empire that desperately wanted to make friends, and also had a militarist side in order to force others to be their friends if everyone rejected them. Due to fan requests, the empire was included in the game at launch, together with the Fanatic Befrienders AI personality, unique only to the Blorg and any empire with the exact same ethics and traits.

The Blorg became something of an inside joke within the game. The xenophile advisor references to the Blorg as friendly, the Subdermal Stimulation tech shows a Blorg body-pillow, the Chemical Bliss drugs it unlocks include Blorg bodily fluids, and the Uncanny trait (which describes machines made in the image of one of the most horrific species in the universe) shows a robotic Blorg. Finally, a possible name for black hole systems is Blorg's Bane.

Species with the Blorg portrait have a 1 in 140 chance to say "Umm...friends?" instead of regular fungoid sounds when contacted via the Contacts menu.

Collectivism and Individualism

Before the 1.5 patch Stellaris featured two additional ethics: Collectivist.png Collectivist and Individualist.png Individualist. In patch 1.5 they were replaced by the Authoritarian.png Authoritarian and Egalitarian.png Egalitarian ethics respectively. Those ethics were very controversial and the source of many long-lasting forum arguments and thus were replaced with the more carefully-designed ethics present in the current version.

Those two ethics and the arguments they brought are referenced in an anomaly event describing how a primitive civilization destroyed itself after an ideological schism over the definitions and morality of collectivism and individualism. One of the dialogue options is Those aren't even real ethics..., referencing how they're no longer present in the game.

Fallen Empires

The Fallen Empires are inspired by the Vorlons and the Shadows from Babylon 5 with their ancient technology, dogmatic focus on a single ethic and millennia of stagnation that eventually allow the younger races to catch up and surpass them.

The War in Heaven, named after a biblical event from the Book of Revelation, is also a reference to the Second Shadow War in the series Babylon 5. Humanity is caught in the middle of a war between two ancient forces: the awakened Shadows and their ancient rival - the Vorlon Empire. Humanity led the Army of Light opposing both ancients, by allying with the League of Non-Aligned Worlds and the Minbari Federation.

The achievement Last, Best Hope.png Last, Best Hope also refers to a line repeatedly said within the show that the eponymous station was the last, best hope for peace, and formed the aforementioned League of Non-Aligned Worlds. The achievement requires leading the said league to victory against both Awakened Empires.

When a Fallen Empire awakens the dialogue box also repeats a line from the series: Giants in the playground....

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Stellaris contains a number of references to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novel series. More importantly though, the actual book is present in the game. One of the anomaly events from the Distant Stars.png Distant Stars DLC called Honeymooners leads to the discovery of the "alien travel guide", identically named The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which supposedly describes "many sights and phenomena still unknown to us". Xenophile.pngFanatic Xenophile.png Xenophile and Xenophobe.pngFanatic Xenophobe.png Xenophobe empires can use it to boost their respective ethics' attraction for 10 years.

One of the diplomacy messages when at war with a Fanatic Purifiers empire is This war will bring about an era of peace, justice, morality, culture, sport, family life, and the obliteration of all other life forms.

One of the unique systems from Distant Stars.png Distant Stars contains a species called Prikki-Ti, which is sealed on their Shielded world inside a time warp and will become a Fanatic Purifier empire if they manage to get out alone or with player intervention. They are a reference to the Krikkit species from the third novel, which fails to exterminate all other life in the galaxy and gets sealed that way.

In Apocalypse.png Apocalypse if Earth is shattered with a World Cracker there is a 50% chance of creating a wormhole in the system leading to another newly created wormhole, something that also happens in the novels.

Government

Civic citizen service.png Citizen Service
Reference to Federal Service from Starship Troopers (originally a novel by Robert Heinlein, loosely adapted in a series of films), with similar logo to the film.
Civic fanatic purifiers.png Fanatic Purifiers
Inspired by the xenophobic Imperium of Man in Warhammer 40,000, complete with descriptions and dialogues common in the setting.
Civic devouring swarm.png Devouring Swarm
Inspired by the Tyranids from Warhammer 40,000 and the Zerg from StarCraft.
Civic machine terminator.png Determined Exterminator
Reference to the genocidal robots from the Terminator film series. In the game files the civic is even called 'terminator'.
Civic machine assimilator.png Driven Assimilator
Inspired by the Borg from Star Trek.

Technologies

Tech droid workers.png Droids
Contraction of "android" apparently first used in a 1952 SF short story by Mari Wolf, but popularised by Star Wars.
Tech gene seed purification.png Gene Seed Purification
Reference to the Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000.
Tech morphogenetic field mastery.png Morphogenetic Field Mastery
The description includes the words 'cradle' and 'pharmaceutical', referencing the video game series Zero Escape in which the company Cradle Pharmaceutical covertly researches morphogenetic fields.
Tech sentient ai.png Positronic AI
Reference to Isaac Asimov's robot stories, as well as the sapient android character Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Traditions

Tradition prosperity sct.png Standard Construction Templates
Reference to Warhammer 40,000
Tradition discovery to boldly go.png To Boldly Go
From the opening monologue of Star Trek.

Armies

Army clone.png Clone armies
Reference to the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
Army xenomorph.png Xenomorph armies
Reference to the Alien franchise.
Army gene warrior.png Gene warrior armies
Reference to the Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000, made more overt by the name of the enabling technology.

Planetary features

D city.png BosWash Metropolitan Axis
Reference to William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy of cyberpunk novels, beginning with Neuromancer.
D crystalline caverns.png Portal Research Area
Reference to the Doom series
D bunker door.png Underground Vault
Reference to the vaults from Fallout

Traits

Nerve Stapled.png Nerve Stapled
Reference to the 4X game Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, where nerve stapling is an unspecified medical atrocity that suppresses riots.
Leader trait scroll.png Towel-bearer
Reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: the major character Ford Prefect "always knows where his towel is". The event giving the trait is appropriately named Stay Calm (i.e. "don't panic").
Leader trait hells heart.png Hell's Heart
Reference to Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick.

Strategic resources

Living Metal.png Living Metal
Possible reference to the Necrodermis from Warhammer 40,000, the substance that the Necron race's bodies are made from.
Zro.png Zro
Reference to Element Zero from Mass Effect

Species portraits

Humanoid 02.png Second humanoid species
Similar to the Klingons from Star Trek
Humanoid 05.png Pointy-eared humanoid species
Similar to the Vulcans from Star Trek, the Eldar/Aeldari from Warhammer 40,000, and other "space elves" from numerous properties
Humanoid 04.png Fourth humanoid species
Similar to the alien character Diva Plavalaguna from the film The Fifth Element
Mammalian slender 03.png Fox mammalian species
Reference to the Star Fox series
Mammalian slender 01.png Winged mammalian species
Similar to the flying attack monkeys from The Wizard of Oz
Reptilian normal 07.png Fifth Reptilian species
Similar to Kowakian Monkey-lizards from Star Wars
Molluscoid massive 14.png Fifth molluscoid species
Similar to the Yahg from Mass Effect
Arthropoid massive 17.png Creatures of the Void arthropoid species
Similar to the Shadows from Babylon 5
Avian massive 16.png Chirpy avian species
Reference to the social media logo from the Paradox-published game Cities: Skylines
Humanoids Species Pack
Half of the portraits from the species pack are inspired after common fantasy races

Flags

Flag human 8.png 14th human flag
Reference to the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek
Flag human 7.png 13th human flag
Reference to the Crux Terminatus badge from Warhammer 40,000
Flag domination 10.png 2nd domination flag
Reference to the Terran Empire from the Star Trek mirror universe
Flag spherical 7.png 22nd round flag
Reference to the Mantle of Responsibility from the video game series Halo

Achievements

Brave New World.png Brave New World
Reference to Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel of the same name
Emissary.png Emissary
Reference to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Clever Girl.png Clever Girl
Reference to a famous line from Jurassic Park
Deus Vult.png Deus Vult
"God wills it", the Christian motto from the First Crusade and a common line in Crusader Kings II
Domo Arigato.png Domo Arigato
Reference to the 1983 song "Mr. Roboto" by Styx
Power Overwhelming.png Power Overwhelming
Reference to the invulnerablity cheat code and archon quotes from the StarCraft series
Faster, Stronger, Better.png Faster, Stronger, Better
Reference to the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man
Voight-Kampff.png Voight-Kampff
Reference to the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Break On Through....png Break on Through
... To The Other Side.png ...To the other side
Reference to The Doors' song "Break On Through (To the Other Side)"
Building Better Worlds.png Building Better Worlds
Reference to the Weyland-Yutani company motto from the film Aliens
Suffer not the Alien.png Suffer not the Alien
Reference to the motto of the Deathwatch, who excels in fighting alien threats for the Imperium of Man in Warhammer 40,000.
Payback.png Payback
Reference to the 1983 TV series "V" where an entire fleet of a seemingly human extraterrestrial civilisation arrives in peace to offer its help to mankind. The achievement picture is an also an inverted version of the series' poster.
Then Virgil, Now Beatrice.png Then Virgil, Now Beatrice
Reference to Dante's Divine Comedy
Outside Context.png Outside Context
Reference to the Iain M. Banks book Excession. The author coined the term "Outside Context Problem" to indicate a surprising and unexpected situation, such as an invasion by massively superior alien force occuring in the middle of World War 2.
The title of this achievement references the famous monologue of Roy Batty from the film Blade Runner. The subtext is (also) a nod to the System Shock series of games where the main antagonist is comparing pathetic creatures of meat and bone with itself.
Distinctiveness Added.png Distinctiveness Added
Reference to the Borg from Star Trek ("We will add your distinctiveness to our own").
Planet of the Mechs.png Planet of the Mechs
Reference to the Planet of the Apes series.
Rise of the Machines.png Rise of the Machines
Reference to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
Clash of the Titans.png Clash of the Titans
Reference to the 1981 film Clash of the Titans.
Exterminatus.png Exterminatus
Reference to an extreme course of action in Warhammer 40,000, in which forces of the Imperium of Man eliminate a threat by obliterating a planet's surface.
Pandora's World.png Pandora's World
Reference to Pandora's Box from Greek mythology. Lowering the shield also brings similarly bad results.
Stay on Target.png Stay on Target
Reference to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
1999 A.D..png 1999AD
Most likely a reference to the 1995 JRPG Chrono Trigger, as in that game a creature named Lavos falls from space and burrows down into the planet's core in the prehistoric age where it grows in size over many millennia before emerging again in the year 1999 AD, destroying the planet as it does so.
A Hump Like a Snow-Hill.png A Hump Like a Snow-Hill
Reference to Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick.
Raiders of the Lost Galatron.png Raiders of the Lost Galatron
Reference to the film Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Our Fleets will Blot Out the Stars.png Our Fleets will Blot Out the Stars
Reference to a legendary boast of a Persian messenger at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, as reported by the Greek historian Herodotus, that "our arrows will blot out the sun". The specific translation is from the comic book series 300, a fictionalised retelling of the circumstances surrounding the battle.
With Thunderous Applause.png With Thunderous Applause
Reference to Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith.
Sic Semper Tyrannis.png Sic Semper Tyrannis
Reference to the Latin phrase "Sic Semper tyrannis" (thus always to tyrants), supposedly said by Brutus on the day of the assassination of Julius Caesar. The phrase is also the motto of the U.S. state of Virginia and was shouted by John Wilkes Booth after his assassination of U.S. president Abraham Lincoln.
Modern Cincinnatus.png Modern Cincinnatus
Reference to Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, a general in the Roman Republic who was twice granted dictatorial powers by the Roman Senate to respond to a crisis and twice relinquished it as soon as the crisis had passed.
Burn Notice.png Burn Notice
Reference to USA Network show Burn Notice.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Blorg.png Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Blorg
Reference to the novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carré.

Slavery types

Battle Thralls
Reference to the Ur-Quan Masters from the Star Control series.
Grid Amalgamation
Reference to the Matrix series. In the game files the slavery type is even called 'matrix'.

Megastructures

Ring World
Reference to Larry Niven's novel Ringworld. The hostile reaction of the security system in the Sanctuary system resembles events of the novel involving an asteroid defence system.
Interstellar Assembly
Reference to the Babylon Project from Babylon 5.
Mega Shipyard
Inspired by the Star Forge from the RPG Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
Strategic Coordination Center
Possibly inspired by the Battle/Command School from the novel Ender's Game.

Endgame Crises

The Contingency
Reference to the Reaper cycle from Mass Effect.
Extradimensional Invaders
Reference to the Devidians from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The Prethoryn Scourge
Inspired by the Tyranids from Warhammer 40k or Yuuzhan Vong from Star Wars.
The Reckoning
Possibly inspired by the Fall of the Eldar in Warhammer 40,000.

Ship names

The standard human name list used by the United Nations of Earth is loaded with references; for instance, all Destroyers are named after cities, whilst Cruisers are named after battles (Somme, Hastings, Bunker Hill) and military commanders/leaders (Julius Caesar, De Gaulle, Genghis Khan), construction ships are named for oceans and rivers (Pacific, Atlantic, Volga, Ganges, Rhine), science ships are named for explorers and scientists (Grissom, Gagarin, Asimov, Hawking), and so on.

Enterprise (battleship)
The main ship featured in most Star Trek series and films.
Firefly (corvette)
Reference to the TV series Firefly, named for the ship class of the featured ship Serenity.
Greased Lightning (corvette)
Reference to the film musical Grease.
Serenity (colonizer)
Reference to the TV series Firefly (and spin-off film Serenity), whose featured ship is named Serenity.
Thunder Child (destroyer)
Reference to War of the Worlds.
Yeager
Reference to Chuck Yeager, the first person to travel past the speed of sound.

Pirate ship names

Aside from pop culture references, many pirate ship names are reminiscent of the naming conventions of Culture starships, from Iain M. Banks' fictional setting.

The Slings, The Arrows, and Outrageous Fortune
Reference to Shakespeare's play Hamlet.
Black Earl
Reference to Black Pearl from the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
Attack on Freighter
Reference to the manga series Attack on Titan.
Tycho, Durandal, Leela
Reference to the FPS series Marathon, namely the eponymous colony ship's three shipboard AIs.
Oh, That's a Pirate!
Reference to a video game in Part 3 of the anime series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
Soylent Green
Reference to the film of the same name.
Resonance Cascade
Reference to the game Half-Life.
Hell's Bells
Reference to the song by AC/DC.
Pillage and Reconciliation
Reference to the ship "Truth and Reconciliation" from the video game Halo: Combat Evolved.
Comet Sighted!
Reference to the "Comet Sighted" event in various Paradox Interactive games, particularly Europa Universalis.

System names

Alderaan, Dressel, Jabba and Lando
All are planet or character names from Star Wars.
Amlitzer
Reference to the battle in the Amlitzer system in the novel series Legends of the Galactic Heroes by Yoshiki Tanaka.
Arrakis
The arid planet that is the primary setting for the novel Dune and its sequels, by Frank Herbert. (In universe, it is in the Canopus system.)
Astarte
Canaanite goddess; specifically, a reference to the battle in the Astarte system in the novel series Legends of the Galactic Heroes by Yoshiki Tanaka.
Belgium
Nation of Earth, present in the Victoria and Hearts of Iron series; also "the rudest word in the universe" in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Cknoor
Nickname of Anders "cKnoor" Carlsson, Streaming Producer at Paradox.
Covfefe
Nonsense word from an infamous incoherent tweet from then US President Donald Trump.
Eye of Hawking
Black hole system and tribute to theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking; the name was added in the first patch after his death. He famously proved theoretically that black holes could lose mass over time.
Giedi
Giedi Prime is the homeworld of House Harkonnen in the novel Dune and its sequels, by Frank Herbert.
Heaven's Gate
American UFO religious millenarian group.
Higashik-Ata
Reference to Part 4 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, "Diamond is Unbreakable"; protagonist's last name.
Hillos
Reference to and pun of the gothic horror novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. The system is "haunted" by a literal ghost ship.
Kazon
Reference to the Kazon tribes, an aggressive and sectarian species from Star Trek: Voyager. Dogar and Kazon are also the twin gods of Evil and Darkness in the game Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters.
Kazoo
Reference to cKnoor's kazoo, as seen in the pre-release stream.
Kerbol
The central star in the spaceflight simulation game Kerbal Space Program. (This is a fan term; in game it is simply "Sun".)
Kuma
Nickname of Björn "Kuma-kun" Iversen, Audio Director at Paradox.
Mar-Adetta
Reference to the Battle of Marr-Adetta in the novel series Legends of the Galactic Heroes by Yoshiki Tanaka.
Manward
Reference to Martin Anward, formerly Stellaris Game Director.
Olimar
Reference to the protagonist of the game Pikmin.
Omicron Persei
Though this is a real star system, it is likely also a reference to the animated TV show Futurama, where the overlord Lrrr of the Omicronians lives on Omicron Persei VIII.
Polgara
Reference to the sorceress Polgara of the Belgariad fantasy novel series by David Eddings.
Rantemario
A star system in the novel series Legends of the Galactic Heroes by Yoshiki Tanaka.
Tammpere
Almost identical to Tampere, the third-largest city in Finland and the most populous inland city in the Nordic countries. Paradox Interactive is from Sweden, Finland's neighbor.
Tantanga
The alien invader from the Game Boy game Super Mario Land.
Targon
Reference to Mount Targon from the setting of the MOBA game League of Legends.
Tiamat
Babylonian goddess; also a dragon goddess in several Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings.
Ulm
City in southern Germany, a state of the Holy Roman Empire in the Europa Universalis series, another grand strategy game by Paradox, used as a meme (humourously claimed to be one of the most powerful nations in the game, despite being a one-province minor).
Vermillion
A star system in the novel series Legends of the Galactic Heroes by Yoshiki Tanaka.
Vohaul
A villain (Sludge Vohaul) in the Space Quest games.
Yildun
Headquarters of Technodyne Industries of Yildun in the Honor Harrington series of military sci-fi novels by David Webber.
Yump
A joke at the expense of Game Director Martin "Wiz" Anward, for his repeated (mis)pronunciation of 'jump' as 'yump' (in relation to FTL travel) during prerelease livestreams. In the random name list (Stellaris/common/random_names/base/00_random_names.txt), it appears directly below 'Kazoo' and 'cKnoor'.

Planet names

Alpha Complex (Ring World)
The name of the facility the tabletop RPG Paranoia takes place in, which is also taken care of by a Custodian Matrix.
Dune (desert world)
Another name for Arrakis from Frank Herbert's Dune series.
Kipling (jungle world)
Reference to Rudyard Kipling, an author famous his short story collection The Jungle Book.
R'lyeh (ocean world)
Reference to the sunken city from the Cthulhu mythos by H. P. Lovecraft.
Dagon (ocean world)
Syrian god; in this context an ocean-dwelling deity from a short story by H. P. Lovecraft.
Walled Garden (Gaia world)
Translation of Rannoch, the Quarian homeworld's name from Khelish, their language, in Mass Effect.
Melpomenia
One of the Spatian's worlds in Isaac Asimov's Foundation novel series.
Solaria
Reference to Isaac Asimov's Foundation novel series.

Asteroids

1337- prefix
An asteroid may get the random name 1337, which means "Leet" (elite) in leetspeak, a type of computer and Internet slang.
AT-, R2-, C- prefixes, and -AT, -ST, -D2, -3PO suffixes
All references to Star Wars.
THX- prefix and -1138 suffix
Reference to George Lucas' first movie, THX-1138. This name would appear several times in other movies made by Lucas, usually in the background or as subtle references in dialogue.
HAL- prefix and -9000 suffix
Reference to HAL-9000, the sentient computer in the film and novel 2001: A Space Odyssey.
TLDR- prefix
Relatively common internet slang; stands for "Too Long, Didn't Read".
UL1M- prefix
Might be a reference to the EU4 state of Ulm.
OD1N- prefix
Odin, of Norse mythology.
VIR- prefix
Likely a nod to the tutorial AI, VIR, and possibly Vir Cotto of Babylon 5.
WPR- prefix
Possible reference to WOPR, the military supercomputer antagonist of the 1983 film WarGames.
LV- prefix
Reference to LV-426, a moon in the film Alien.

Random events

Comet sighted
An event present in most other Paradox games.
A Species of Ice and Ice
Reference to the fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.
Anti-Alien Task Force
Reference to the XCOM and UFO game series.
Eddic, Monolithic
Reference to Arthur C. Clarke's 2091: A Space Odyssey.
Glancing Hit
Reference to Mass Effect 2 dialogue about Sir Isaac Newton and the dangers of kinetic weapons missing their target, and subsequently traveling as long as required until they hit something.
Improbable Ceramics
Reference to Russell's teapot, a philosophical analogy about the burden of proof.
Mharin Kharin
Reference to the Marin Karin move from Megami Tensei, which charmed/brainwashed enemies and gained infamy among the fanbase for its inaccuracy and overuse by a character in Persona 3.
Nimkip
Reference to Pikmin, a video game developed by Nintendo.
Olfactory Study
Reference to Futurama's "Smell-O-Scope".
Purple Rain
A song by Prince.
Rogue Agent
Reference to James Cameron's film Avatar.
Speed Demon
Reference to the endings of Mass Effect 3.
The Tree
Reference to the iconic scene from the 2006 film The Fountain.
Horizon Signal
Reference to the film Event Horizon.
The Gun Pointed at the Head of the Universe
Word-for-word title reference to a track from the soundtrack for the first Halo game. Appropriate, given the series' ringworlds are designed to unleash a Neutron Sweep-esque pulse to wipe out possible hosts for the Flood.
Broken Union
Reference to the Trill symbionts from Star Trek (in particular Deep Space Nine).
MegaCorpse Concert
Reference to the animated series Metalocalypse. The player reply also references a memetic line from the series.
Dimension of Suffering
Toxoid's new event and the 'fill it with rocks' option (only available to those with the Feudal Society civic) are a reference to the 'Gate to Hell' event in Crusader Kings 2. The third choice (send knight in) might also be a reference to Doom Eternal.

Messages

"The galaxy is dark and full of terrors."
Adaptation of a religious saying ("The night is dark and full of terrors") from the novel series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.
"Alert all commands. Deploy the fleet."
Quote from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
"I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been infected by it."
Line spoken by Agent Smith in the film The Matrix.
"You will embrace the greater good, eventually."
Reference to the T'au Empire from Warhammer 40,000. The reply is only available if your ethics match the T'au's (Authoritarian, Militarist, Xenophile).
"The spice must flow."
Quote from the novel Dune by Frank Herbert.
"You are a rock tricked into thinking..."
Quote from a tweet by @daisyowl on the nature of computers.
"What a talentless looking [fox mammalian race]."
Reference to the Tails Gets Trolled webcomic.
"Make it so."
Catchphrase of Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
"Look at the size of that thing!"
Reference to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
"You may be wondering about the meaning of the mural behind us. That's a very good question with a very interesting answer! The price for the answer is 15 quadrillion Credits."
Reference to the game Star Control.
"The enclave is in a frisky mood. The creation of Scentilus Rift has caused many an artist to change their primary focus to creating new experiences for it."
Reference to the Oculus Rift, the first mass-market VR headset.
"May their reign stretch into infinity... and beyond!"
"To infinity and beyond" is a catchphrase in the animated film Toy Story.
"Well secluded, I see all."
Reference to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
"Is Unit A5091-b in possession of a soul?"
Reference to the Geth question from Mass Effect.
"Wonderful! Prepare the gift baskets."
Reference to the Disney animated film Pocahontas.
"Brutal."
Reference to a meme related to the animated series Metalocalypse.
"Life, uh, finds a way."
Quote from the film Jurassic Park.
"My precious!"
Quote from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Diplomacy Messages

"Soon, communications from all your vessels will be blocked. None of you are free of sin." (Evangelizing Zealots negative greeting)
Reference to the Weird Twitter account @dril. ("blocked. blocked. blocked. youre all blocked. none of you are free of sin")
"The [ruler title] Protects." (Evangelizing Zealots war greeting)
Religious mantra in the Imperial cult in Warhammer 40,000.
"Please notice me senpai." (Fanatical Befrienders greeting)
Non-specific reference to Japanese anime.
"We are the [empire name]. Lower your shields and surrender your ships." (Hive Mind war greeting)
Line spoken by the Borg in Star Trek.
"Our words are backed with the planet-destroying power of a Colossus!" (neutral Colossus owner greeting)
Reference to the "nuclear Gandhi" bug from Civilization II.
"Pray that you will never have to witness the firepower of our fully armed and operational Colossus!" (neutral Colossus owner greeting)
Near-quote from Star Wars Episode VI: A New Hope.

Descriptions

"Some species are more equal than others." (Caste System citizenship)
Near-quote from George Orwell's novel Animal Farm.
"Space is the final frontier" (Voidcraft technology field)
Near-quote from the opening monologue of Star Trek.
"There may come a time when intellects, vast and cool and unsympathetic, regard our worlds with envy and draw plans against us." (Planetary Defenses technology)
Reference to H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds.
"Where we're going, we won't need skin to feel!" (Subdermal Stimulation technology)
Near-quote from the film Event Horizon.
"Let the enemy come to us. We shall fight them for every planet, every moon, every asteroid that lies within our space. We shall never surrender." (Defense in Depth war doctrine)
Reference to the second of Winston Churchill's three famous speeches.
"The swarm consumes. The world trembles. We grow." (Consume World decision)
Reference to Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
"Livestock is Pops!" (Livestock slavery description)
Reference to the film Soylent Green.
"We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us." (Assimilation citizenship)
Line spoken by the Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
"Glory to organics." (Bio-Trophy citizenship)
Reference to the game NieR: Automata.
"Assuming direct control." (Machine Integration citizenship)
Reference to Harbinger from Mass Effect 2.
"I am the senate." (Change Council Size to 1 resolution)
Quote of Senator Palpatine in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
"The galaxy is vast and full of dangers." (Unyielding tradition tree)
Reference to Stellaris' slogan "The galaxy is vast and full of wonders."

Advisors

Militarist advisor
Reference to the Klingons from Star Trek':.
Spiritualist advisor
Reference to Babylon 5.
Xenophobic advisor
Reference to the Imperial Guard Commissars from Warhammer 40,000.
VIR (tutorial advisor)
Click the portrait repeatedly for some funny comments, also a reference to Blizzard Entertainment games where units would have silly and often fourth-wall-breaking responses if clicked on multiple times in succession. VIR's name is possibly a reference to Vir Cotto from Babylon 5.
Diplomatic
One of the samples of the diplomatic advisor's voice says "...and hot tea", a reference to Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, whose favourite drink is "Tea, Earl Grey, hot".

Enigmatic Observers

The Enigmatic Observers have a tendency to lean against the fourth wall in their dialogue.

"All the world's a stage, and all the species are merely players. You are a player, are you not?"
Neutral greeting, including a near-quote from As You Like It by William Shakespeare.
"Don't break the fourth wall, you clever child you."
Neutral greeting. Possible refrence to Clara Oswald from Doctor Who.
"You have ceased to amuse. Your little game will soon be over."
War greeting. Ironically they cannot give an empire game over unless awakened.

Leviathans

The Infinity Sphere & Gargantua
Reference to the film Interstellar. One possible outcome causes the system to be renamed to Pantagruel, making it also a reference to Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel novel series. The damage modifier against it that can be obtained from the Curators is described as relying on a crew member "to constantly make calibrations to the ship's guns", a possible reference to Garrus Vakarian from the Mass Effect series.
Tiyanki Matriarch and AH4B
Reference to the novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. The swallowed admiral is also coded to be humanoid if the DLC is installed.
The Shard and The Rubricator
Reference to Smaug and the Arkenstone from The Hobbit.

The Shroud

The Shroud is modeled after the Warp from Warhammer 40,000, and the Shroud entry dialogue contains plenty of references to various franchises.

Patron entities

Composer of Strands
Inspired by the Chaos God Nurgle.
Eater of Worlds
Inspired by the Chaos God Khorne.
Instrument of Desire
Inspired by the Chaos God(dess) Slaanesh.
Whispers in the Void
Inspired by the Chaos God Tzeentch.

Entry Lines

"Do you think that is air you're breathing now?"
Quote from the film The Matrix.
"They should have sent a poet..."
Reference to the film Contact.
"Do you hear the voices too?"
Unit chatter for the Chaos faction in the RTS game Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War.
"Horror... horror has a face."
Quote from the film Apocalypse Now.
"What senses do we lack that we cannot see and cannot hear another world all around us?"
Quote from the Orange Catholic Bible from the Dune novel series by Frank Herbert.

Other

Galactic Community and Galactic Imperium
Inspired by the Galactic Republic and Galactic Empire from Star Wars.
Despicable Neutrals (placeholder personality)
Reference to the people of the Neutral Planet in Futurama, and possible reference to the Despicable Me film trilogy. The description (beginning "What makes a man turn neutral?") is a quote from Futurama.
Mario and Luigi (the first two names in the Italian section of Humanoids 3 name list)
The main protagonists of Nintendo's flagship franchise.
Zelda (female name from Humanoid 3 name list)
The title character from the Legend of Zelda series.
Crystalline Entities are Unbreakable special project
Reference to Part 4 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manga, Diamond is Unbreakable.
Guardians of the Galaxy (ascension perk)
Reference to the Marvel comic book series of the same name
Chinorr Stellar Union preset empire
A reference, albeit misspelled, to Paradox Studio's stream producer cKnoor.
L-Cluster Nanites
Inspired by the replicators from Stargate: Atlantis. Gray is a reference to the theoretical concept of "gray goo", the endpoint of runway self-replication of nanomachines.
Enigmatic Cache
Reference to Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama.
Miniature Galaxy (relic)
Reference to the first Men in Black film.
Gas Giant Structure (archaeology site)
Reference to the Titanic.
Never Forget (archaeology site)
Reference to the film Blade Runner, specifically the "Tears in the Rain" monologue.
Toxoids 3 name list
All of the names found in this name list appear to be inspired by names and words from the Finnish language as well as the rest of the broader Finnic language family. [1][2]
Two of the more obvious examples include the ship names "Nauma", "Haantali" and "Pori Aahe", which are almost certainly derived from the Finnish cities of Rauma, Naantali, Pori and Raahe, respectively, while the default fleet name "Tähtaalaivasto" is almost exactly the same as "Tähtilaivasto", the finnish word for "Star fleet".
One of the planet names in this name list is "Harkoonlinna", which may be a reference to House Harkonnen in Frank Herbert's Dune, whose name is derived from the Finnish surname Härkönen, while the "-linna" (castle in Finnish) suffix is often found in the names of cities in Finland that evolved around castles, such as Hämeenlinna and Savonlinna.
Game concepts
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