It took awhile to try to get the storyline down, and the narrative flow. Wanted to make it somewhat interactive, to involve the reader more and try to get them to participate. Wanted to keep the “Neo” character as blank as possible so readers can project their own image onto him, but trying to develop copyright/cyberlaw reference points for some of the other characters, like Agent Smith and the Oracle.
So, Morpheus got based on Cory Doctorow (a la XKCD, suggested by my boyfriend, Albert, who’s been a great source for nerd culture :-). Just finished putting together a Richard Stallman “Oracle”. Stallman has a saintly alter-ego “St. iGNUcius”. Can’t quite figure out whether he looks better with or without a beard (it seems like he’s kinda creepy with the beard, though, to be fair, Stallman can come across as kinda creepy anyways). Stallman was an early programmer/hacker at MIT who pretty much founded the open source movement, and has been considered “visionary”.
While it makes sense to make the agents some sort of movie industry execs or lawyers, it took awhile to think who the archetypal “Mr. Smith” bad guy would be for a parody of the record industry. Distributor? Producer? A parody of a person or an archetype? Finally decided to give Agent Smith Mickey Mouse ears to reference the role Disney has played in extending copyright laws and cracking down on small actors/remixers who use their stuff. The Sonny Bono Term Extension Act was even dubbed the “Mickey Mouse Act”, which extended protection to the author’s life PLUS 70 years.