In the classic 1956 science fiction film, ‘Forbidden Planet,’ the extinct race of advanced beings of the planet Altair IV are known as the ‘Krell.’

The Krell had reached a stage of technological and scientific development so advanced that they were able to construct a machine with virtually unlimited power, a machine that turned their thoughts into reality.

Another Krell device that played a prominent role in the movie was their educator, a device that operated directly on the brain to measure intelligence and impart knowledge. It was used by Dr. Morbius to enhance his intelligence and begin learning the knowledge of the Krell. When Lt. ‘Doc’ Ostrow tried it, it imparted the knowledge of what happened to the Krell, but also caused fatal injury to his brain.

At the opening of the film, the lone researcher studying the extinct Krell, Dr. Morbius, does not know exactly what happened to the Krell; nor does he know what they looked like. No record of their physical nature has survived. Except in the form of their characteristic arch, the doorway they used to move between rooms. The doorway, much wider at the middle than at the top and bottom, suggests a being of enormous girth.

Dr. Morbius has discovered that in a single day and night, this entire race disappeared with no trace remaining above ground (likely a nod to Plato’s tale of Atlantis). Later in the film we learn that the Krell’s 8,000-cubic-mile machine was so advanced that it gave physical form and life to their Id. For the advanced Krell, this Freudian personality characteristic was long forgotten, yet not eliminated; combined with the power of their machine, the unbridled emotions of their Ids were able to eradicate the entire Krell race. Thus two thousand centuries before the film is set, the Krell had become extinct.

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