A number of the film's screenwriters were writers from Marvel Comics.
When Wolff (Peter Strauss) kicks his ships communicator console after receiving the distress call message, you can clearly hear the beeps and whines of R2-D2.
This science-fiction film was first released stateside on 20 May 1983, just about one week before the debut of the highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), that was launched on 25 May 1983. This was a carefully timed strategy, that aimed at scheduling the film to be released just ahead of the third "Star Wars" movie, when the hype for new science-fiction stories was at its peak.
The movie was part of an early 1980s cycle of 3D movies that also included Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985), Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983), Jaws 3-D (1983), Parasite (1982), Amityville 3-D (1983), Comin' at Ya! (1981), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983) and El tesoro de las cuatro coronas (1983) ["Treasure of the Four Crowns"].
While it was common for 3-D movies to also be released simultaneously in flat versions, the two versions of this movie were shown at different aspect ratios. 3-D prints were projected at 2.35:1, while flat prints were only 1.85:1. Thus, the flat widescreen DVD version from Columbia TriStar is correctly presented at 1.85:1 and not 2.35:1, as erroneously listed on the DVD case.
The "tape machines" were on loan from Brainstorm (1983), which was being filmed on an adjacent set.
Executive Producer Ivan Reitman labeled this movie "a space adventure with a sense of humor".
Ernie Hudson was cast as Washington due to a resemblance to Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) who had just recently first appeared in the "Star Wars" film franchise in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
Some movie posters for the film featured a long text preamble that read: "Wolff and Nikki. He's an interstellar adventurer. She's a young rebel. Together they set out on a mission to rescue three stranded women. From a planet no one has warned them about. Because no one has ever returned".
The film takes place in 2136.
During production, the name of the villain, played by Michael Ironside, was changed from "King Creep" to "Overdog".
It was only decided to shoot the picture in 3D during the interval in production between the firing of director Jean LaFleur and the hiring of director Lamont Johnson. During this phase, producer Don Carmody and executive producer Ivan Reitman decided to make the movie in 3D.
Executive Producer Ivan Reitman is said to have formed his view to shoot in 3D within a day. Reitman felt the further cost would enhance the picture. There had been as yet no big blockbuster space movie in 3D in the modern era since Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and the current 3D cycle of movies. Reitman felt that the recent cycle of 3D pictures had been limited to low budget horror movies. Examples of these included Parasite (1982), Amityville 3-D (1983), and Friday the 13th Part III (1982).
An estimated US $2 million extra was spent on the film's budget by the Columbia Pictures studio on the acquisition of specialty lenses for theaters so the movie could be effectively projected in 3D in cinemas.
The "Roadox" vehicle was a converted Canadian snow-cat snow-mobile.
The "Ramrod" and "Scrambler" vehicles were both built on Dodge make and model pick-up truck chassis.
Overdog (Michael Ironside) uses the same gesture that Kenneth Hickey used in the 1952 Summer Olympics held in Helsinki, Finland to "let the games begin". Overdog raises both his claws and arms next to his head with upper arms parallel to the ground. Then lowers both claws/arms down at the same time while keeping his upper arms parallel to the ground. It was used in the Olympics for deaf viewers.
Because of the film's 3D format, taglines on film posters boasted that this film was, "The first movie that puts you in outerspace".
Due to 3D projection requiring silver screens, cinemas and drive-ins which only had white screens showed the movie in 2D, so as such, the picture rolled out in both 2D and 3D formats, as well as in 70mm in select locations.
The picture's theatrical release date in the USA was brought forward from 3rd June 1983 to 20th May 1983 so as to make sure that the movie, which was being released in 3D, had launched and was well into release prior to the picture's main 3D competitor Jaws 3-D (1983), which was scheduled to be debuting in July 1983.
Lamont Johnson replaced Jean LaFleur as director. Trade paper 'Variety' said that "Lamont Johnson...entered the picture midstream after original helmer Jean LaFleur (author of screen story with Stewart Harding) was bounced".
Colin Mochrie's film debut.
Publicity for this picture declared that it was the first 3D space adventure since It Came from Outer Space (1953) which had been made and released about thirty years earlier. In fact, another 3D sci-fi film was released later in the same year "Spacehunter" debuted, that was Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983).
The 5th April 1983 edition of show-business trade paper 'The Hollywood Reporter' announced that The Making of Spacehunter (1983), a made-for-television behind-the-scenes documentary which publicized the movie Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), was in post-production.
A 25th April 1983 dated press release from the Columbia Pictures studio stated that the twenty-three minute made for TV production, The Making of Spacehunter (1983), which publicized the movie, had been "made available" to more than one thousand public, cable, and commercial television stations.
In the USA, the movie was available to be screened in 70mm format in the following major cities: Los Angeles, California; Seattle, Washington State; New York City, New York State; and Washington DC, District of Columbia.
The name of the planet was "Terra XI" (aka "Terra Eleven"). The nickname for the planet's "Forbidden Zone" was "The Zone". The planet's marauders were called "Zoners" whilst the band of nomads were named "Scavs".
The name of the four-wheel drive vehicle was the "Scrambler".
According to the May 1983 edition of the publication 'Marquee', director 'Lamont Johnson' was brought on as director (and replacing Jean LaFleur) with only about seven days notice for preparation prior to the resumption of principal photography.
Harold Ramis: Uncredited, the executive producer as a voice on an intercom.
When Wolff wakes Chalmers, she has been reading a copy of R.U.R. in her bed. This is the famous 1920 science fiction play which first introduced the word "robot". This presages the fact that Chalmers is later revealed to be an android.