Holography in fiction


Holography is often used as a plot device in science fiction, appearing in a wide range of books, films, television series, animation and video games. Probably the first reference is by Isaac Asimov in his sci-fi novel series “the Foundation Trilogy” in 1951.

Holography has been widely referred to in movies, novels, and TV, usually in science fiction, starting in the late 1970s.[1] Science fiction writers absorbed the urban legends surrounding holography that had been spread by overly-enthusiastic scientists and entrepreneurs trying to market the idea.[1] This had the effect of giving the public overly high expectations of the capability of holography, due to the unrealistic depictions of it in most fiction, where they are fully three-dimensional computer projections (more like real-life volumetric displays) that are sometimes tactile through the use of force fields.[1] Examples of this type of depiction include the hologram of Princess Leia in Star Wars, Arnold Rimmer from Red Dwarf, who was later converted to "hard light" to make him solid, and the Holodeck and Emergency Medical Hologram from Star Trek.[1]

Holography served as an inspiration for many video games with the science fiction elements. In many titles, fictional holographic technology has been used to reflect real life misrepresentations of potential military use of holograms, such as the "mirage tanks" in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 that can disguise themselves as trees.[2] Player characters are able to use holographic decoys in games such as Halo: Reach and Crysis 2 to confuse and distract the enemy.[2] Starcraft ghost agent Nova has access to "holo decoy" as one of her three primary abilities in Heroes of the Storm.[3]

Fictional depictions of holograms have, however, inspired technological advances in other fields, such as augmented reality, that promise to fulfill the fictional depictions of holograms by other means.[4]

In books

(Alphabetical by author's surname)

  • In J.G. Ballard's book Hello America (1981), holographic technology is used by President Charles Manson to scare nomad peoples along the United States of America, showing images of American pop culture icons such as Gary Cooper, Mickey Mouse, or the starship Enterprise.
  • In R.M. Gonzales' novel Holo.Wars: The Black Hats (2014), chambers use "holostereoscopy".[5]
  • In V. Hanacik's script Expozium: The Secret (2014), the key technology uses "holointerféric" patterns.[citation needed]
  • In Paul Levinson's novel The Pixel Eye (2003), holograms of living and deceased people play a major role.
  • In Joseph Robert Lewis' novel Ultraviolet (2014), the heroine Carmen Zhao uses solid holograms projected from her clothing as tools, vehicles, and weapons.
  • In Sujatha's novel En Iniya Iyanthira (1980s), a character named Jeeva, who is the president of the country, is not real but a holographic image.
  • The plot of Jules Verne's novel The Carpathian Castle (1893) revolves around prima donna La Stilla, represented at the times of the events as a projected still image.
  • In K. A. Applegate's Animorphs series, the Chee are androids who use holograms to appear human.

Live-action films

  • Zardoz (1974) Crystal rings used by the Eternals project holograms to display information and other visuals.
  • Logan's Run (1976) utilized holograms in a scene where the titular character was interrogated by a computer.
  • Star Wars (1976 media franchise), makes use of holograms to display people remotely communicating with each other. It also appears in the Star Wars: Legends sub-franchise.
  • Batman (1989 film), the entry to the batcave is disguised using a hologram.
  • Back to the Future Part II (1989 film), a giant projection hologram is used as an advertisement for the (fictional) 2015 film, Jaws 19. McFly comments that it "still doesn't look real."
  • Total Recall (1990 film), Lori uses a hologram to practice her tennis, and Quaid uses a device similar to a wrist watch to produce a hologram of the wearer and deceive his foes.
  • Lost in Space (1998 film), June Lockhart (Maureen Robinson) appeared as Will's school principal "Cartwright" in a hologram.
  • Vanilla Sky (2001 film), a holographic projection of jazz musician John Coltrane appears in the main character's apartment during his birthday party.
  • The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest (2002 film), computer geeks develop a $99 computer using a holographic projector as both the display and user interface.
  • Minority Report (2002 film), a holographic female store greeter is seen greeting customers by name who are entering a department store.
  • Resident Evil (2002 film), Red Queen, artificial intelligence which monitors the Hive and the Spencer Mansion above it, appears as a holographic avatar to communicate with other characters in the movie. It also made appearance in Resident Evil: Retribution (2012 film). White Queen, another artificial intelligence which runs the Umbrella facility outside Las Vegas, Nevada, also appears as a holographic avatar in the Resident Evil: Extinction (2007 film).
  • Paycheck, (2003 film) the character Jennings (played by Ben Affleck) uses hologram technology to create an advanced desktop computer display.
  • Ocean's Twelve, the character of Roman Nagel (played by Eddie Izzard), recreates the Fabergé Imperial Coronation Egg using his holography skills.
  • The Island (2005 film), a holographic projector surrounded the military compound where clones were kept to give the illusion of a tropical environment; holographic displays are present on various terminals, including the MSN information terminal in Los Angeles and a futuristic version of the Xbox gaming console.
  • Iron Man (2008 film), Iron Man 2 (2010 film) and Iron Man 3 (2013 film), holographic displays appear in Iron Man's suit.
  • Avatar (2009 film), holographic displays are used extensively on terminals and HUDs.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009 film), Hawk, Destro, Baroness, and Storm Shadow appear as holographic projections.
  • Enthiran (2010 film), Chitti the robot can be telecommunicated using a "virtual calling" where each caller can be seen as a holographic projection in front of the robot during the call.
  • Prometheus, the android David discovers a control room containing a large holographic star map highlighting Earth.
  • Her (2013 film), A holographic video game is played that detects bodily gestures to control the game.
  • The Giver (2014 film) In the movie adaptation of The Giver, The Chief Elder woman often talks on the 3d hologram video phone with her holographic image projected.
  • A Hologram for the King (2016 film) In the movie adaptation of A Hologram for the King, Alan Clay arrives in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in hopes of selling revolutionary Hologram technology to the King.
  • Blade Runner 2049 (2017 film), holograms appear extensively in the futuristic Los Angeles. The replicant K lives with his holographic girlfriend Joi, an artificial intelligence product manufactured by Wallace Corporation.
  • Black Panther (2018 film), T'Chaka (played by Atandwa Kani) projects a holographic display of Ulysses Klaue about a vibranium theft and a Dora Milaje bodyguard (played by Danai Gurira) projects a Wakandan hammer, which was stolen from a British museum, along with remote driving systems such as a car in Busan.

Live-action television series

  • Quantum Leap (1989-1993 television series), characters communicate through a hologram.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994 television series), uses the holodeck extensively; beginning with this series, various episodes and films throughout the Star Trek series feature holographic characters and ships.
  • Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001 television series), introduced the Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH), a realistic simulation of a human doctor designed to serve as a replacement medical officer. The series also used a similar holographic environment as in the aforementioned The Next Generation.
  • Red Dwarf (1988–2018 television series), after a catastrophic radiation leak inside the Jupiter Mining Corporation spaceship Red Dwarf, crew member Second Technician Arnold Rimmer is resurrected as a hologram. Because he is a "soft-light” hologram, he cannot touch anything and objects just pass right through him. However, much later – in series VI – the Red Dwarf crew meet 'Legion', a being with advanced technology, who upgrades Rimmer's light bee – the small object that projects his hologram by hovering around inside him – changing his projection to what is called in the show "hard-light" giving him a hologramatic equivalent of a physical body.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993–1995 television series), Inside the command center Zordons head is a hologram who's in charge of giving orders and advice to Alpha 5 the robot and the Power Rangers.
  • Power Rangers Time Force (2001 television series), their chrono morphers use holographic communication
  • Stargate: SG-1 (1997–2007 television series), various characters appear as holograms in various episodes: The Asgard masquerade themselves holographically as Norse gods to the primitive peoples under their protection, Morgan le Fay in "The Pegasus Project" and Myrddin as a Merlin in "Avalon" and "Camelot" as a holographic sentry; Heliopolis "Book"; the puddle jumper starship has a holographic HUD. After the Goa'uld leader Anubis probed the mind of Asgard leader Thor, he was able to acquire their hologram technology and he used it frequently.
  • Stargate: Atlantis (2004–2009 television series), the Atlantis city-starship features a hologram room that allows access to the Ancient database in the form of holograms; an Ancient Control Chair contains holographic projectors; in the episode "Rising", Melia (a member of the Atlantean High Council during the first siege of Atlantis some ten millennia ago) is first seen as a hologram describing the history of the Ancients in the Pegasus Galaxy; Aurora-class battleship can project holograms remotely for communication purposes
  • Aaron Stone (2009–2010 television series) In this Disney channel TV show, a hologram video phone of S.T.A.N.s head can be seen.
  • The Flash (2014 TV series), there is a room in which an AI displays holographic videos and pictures. There is also a gauntlet in the future with a holographic display.
  • Legends of Tomorrow, holographic displays are used often.
  • Andromeda (TV series) (2000-2005 television series) The Commonwealth ship Andromeda Ascendant's AI is represented as a hologram.

In animation

  • Astroblast! (cartoon), A Sprout cartoon of animals that own a diner in space hows that they are a little bit in the future so a couple of times I have seen holograms, for example, one episode they find a lost pet then the owner hologram chats the animals.
  • Treasure Planet (2002 film), Jim as a little boy reads from a 3D hologram book the story about Captain Flint and Treasure Planet; later, Jim as a teenager finds a sphere map and uses it to look at the galaxy map to Treasure Planet
  • Pinocchio 3000 (2004 film), Mayor Scamboli owns a 3D hologram map on his table; Cabby and Rodo change channels on it; later, at Scamboland, Mayor Scamboli welcomes kids as a giant 3D hologram version for Scamboland carnival opening.
  • Meet the Robinsons (2007 film), Michael Yagoobian has a discussion with a robotic bowler hat about getting revenge and the hat shows him a 3D hologram image of a time machine
  • Wall-E (2008 film), Inside the spaceship, there are hologram video phones used by the people in hover chairs.
  • The Jetsons (1962–63 1985–87 television series), holograms used as entertainment devices, replacing the television in many episodes
  • ReBoot (1994 – 2002 television series) There are hologram projectors in the city of Mainframe.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series (1974 television series) episode "The Practical Joker", the holodeck is introduced
  • The Simpsons (T.V. series), Lisa is angry at a company that uses Bleeding Gums Murphy and other deceased celebrities' holographic projections as an advertising method.
  • Jem and the Holograms (1985 television series), Jerrica Benton, the lead singer of a band uses hologram projections to help create her alter-ego persona, Jem; micro-projectors in her earrings allow her to project a hologram over herself and produce hologram objects and images in her surroundings.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! (1996–present manga, film, television series, video games), use of holographic[citation needed] technology used in order to make a game called Duel Monsters appear to be more life like; Duel Monsters is a game where players using a wrist mounted Duel Disk summon monsters and cast spells and traps in order to bring a players life points to 0 or diminish all the cards in a players deck; used throughout the entire series.
  • 1987–1996 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1991) - During season 5, Shredder develops solid holigrams from the Kojima Brothers from 17th century Japan.[6]
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward (2007–2008) In season 6 When the 4 mutant turtles visit the year 2105, holograms are often used in video phones and electronic tablets and in holodecks and virtual reality video games.

Video games

  • Apex Legends, a playable character Mirage can use holographic decoys to confuse and distract the enemy.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 and its expansion, the "mirage tanks" used this principle to disguise as trees.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the "mirage tanks" use reactive camoscanner technology, which envelops the vehicle in a camouflage field that causes it to resemble a nearby mundane object, such as a tree or a truck.
  • Crysis 2, the holographic decoy is an underbarrel multiplayer attachment, which emits a lifelike hologram of a hostile soldier that will run through the battlefield, attracting gunfire.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved (2001 video game), uses "holotanks" to display the avatar of an artificial intelligence construct called Cortana; in Halo: Reach (2010 video game), an armor ability called the "hologram" allows the user to create an identical decoy. Several systems in the whole game franchise use holographic projections as the main working method; such as cartographers, communication systems and control panels. Also, a holographic related technology known as 'hard light' is introduced, which allows systems to project structures such as walls, bridges or shields made of solid light rays.
  • Heroes of the Storm, the Starcraft ghost agent Nova has access to "holo decoy" as one of her three primary abilities.
  • Starcraft series, as a form of photography utilized by Terrans, holograms (often nicknamed "holos" or "holovids"), allow an image to be recorded in three dimensions. They are present in many forms of communication, ranging from military matters to televised media.
  • The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve, Herlock Sholmes becomes inspired by what telephones do for sound, into producing the same concept for imagery, which he is successful at achieving. This ultimately results in him appearing via holographic image during the climax of the final trial to deliver a decree from Queen Victoria.
  • Dead Space (2008 video game), to replace the player's HUD, a holographic display shows up in front of the player's character.
  • F-Zero GX, Hologram projectors can be seen in Mute City, Casino Palace, and Aeropolis.
  • Fallout: New Vegas, holograms appear in the Sierra Madre Casino. These holograms are positioned as security personnel and greeters.
  • Final Fantasy VII, There are holograms projectors featured inside the Shinra Headquarters, also at Gold Saucer, a holographic game called 3D battler features a hologram version of Cloud fighting his hologram opponents. Also at Cosmo Canyon an old man named Bugenhagen has a 3D hologram projector of a solar system in his Astronomy room.
  • Final Fantasy VIII, There are hologram projectors used in Final Fantasy VIII, in Galbadia Garden there are hologram screens in the auditorium, in Deling City during the parade of Sorceress Edea the hologram clowns can be seen dancing, during the riot of Balamb Garden a hologram image of Headmaster Cid is used to in the parking lot area to trick the facility member. In the port town Fisherman Horizons, the Master Fisherman shows Squall a hologram recording of Mayor Dobe in his robe costume in Esthar City. In Shumi Village a hologram image of Shumi is used during the elevator ride to the village. Also in the City of Esthar Laguna tricks Sorceress Adel with a hologram image of Ellone to seal Adel up. Hologram images are used in the shopping mall of Esthar, as well.
  • Final Fantasy XIII, There are hologram projector screens seen in the cities of Nautilus, Bodhum, Lindblum.
  • Half-Life (1998 video game), the scientific research company Black Mesa is known to use holograms as recorded messages in their facility.
  • Mass Effect (2007–12 video game series), computer GUIs are explained in the codex to consist of a projected holographic display, combined with the use of force feedback gloves that allow the user to experience simulated tactile sensations when manipulating them; the game's "omni-tools" are holographic user-interfaces that act as a cell-phone-like device, serving as a port between computers, tablets, and other devices, giving the user many capabilities, including the ability to transfer information via wireless technology to others with an omni-tool.
  • Mega Man X, For Super Nintendo Entertainment System, In the Mega Man X series X, X2, X3, a hologram of Dr. Light can be seen once Mega Man approaches the upgrade capsule and Dr. Light will explain the upgrade before turning off and X can jump into the capsule to receive his upgrade weapon or armor or special move.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Gamecube, There are hologram projectors called Luminoth Holoprojectors that playback hologram messages.
  • Pokémon X and Y, a communication device known as the "Holo Caster" is used by the game's main characters as a means of communication through holograms.
  • Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (2007 game), Red Queen, holographic artificial intelligence first introduced in the first Resident Evil film, was featured in this game also as a holographic avatar.
  • Space Quest I, After Roger Wilco bypasses the traps in the cave, a hologram alien appears to Roger Wilco and tells him to kill Orat and bring back the part as proof so he can enter the computer lab.
  • Space Quest IV, Under the sewers of the ruined city Xenon, if Roger Wilco pushes a button on the table, a hologram human named Professor Lloyd appears to Roger Wilco and tells him the story of what happened to Xenon.
  • Star Trek Online, a holographic environment is used in at least one mission, and if the player wants to replay a mission, the mission contact is a holodeck.


  1. ^ a b c d Johnston, Sean (2006). "The Hologram and Popular Culture". Holographic Visions: a History of New Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, UK. pp. 405–408. ISBN 978-0191513886. OCLC 437109030.
  2. ^ a b Johnston, Sean F. (2015). "11 - Channeling Dreams". Holograms: A Cultural History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0191021381.
  3. ^ "Nova - Heroes of the Storm". us.battle.net. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  4. ^ Richardson, Martin (2017-11-13). The Hologram: Principles and Techniques. Wiltshire, John D. Hoboken, NJ. ISBN 978-1119088905. OCLC 1000385946.
  5. ^ Gonzales, R. M. "Holo.Wars: The Black Hats". ASIN B00JNFFWRO.
  6. ^ "My Brother, the Bad Guy". TV.Com. 14 September 1991. Retrieved 1 November 2017.

Further reading

  • Pizzanelli, David. "The Evolution of the Mythical Hologram". Proceedings of the SPIE, The International Society for Optical Engineering, 1732 (1992). Pages 430 to 437.