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tomorrowland movieJoe Raedle/Getty Images


Not much is known about mysterious Disney "Tomorrowland" movie other than it focuses on a washed-up inventor (George Clooney) and a bright teenage girl (Britt Robertson) who "embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory as 'Tomorrowland.'"

But webcomic artist Matthew Inman, a.k.a. The Oatmeal, may be able to shed some light on at least one real-life inspiration for the movie. Inman, a self-professed superfan of inventor Nikola Tesla, revealed in a recent blog post that Disney flew him to California for the express purpose of meeting with "Tomorrowland" director Brad Bird and discussing Tesla.

Inman said he had to sign a non-disclosure agreement stating he would not discuss anything about the film -- plot, characters, script -- but, he revealed on his blog, "we didn't talk about the movie."

"Instead, they asked me a bunch of questions about Nikola Tesla," he said. Among them were inquiries about the inventor's work in Colorado, his recently-saved lab and its rumored underground tunnels housing his old equipment, his potential membership in an organization called Plus Ultra, and whether "it was possible for him to have met Walt Disney."

Inman also said filmmakers showed him the famed box on which the movie was reportedly based, which included some items related to Tesla. One particular item, a letter, discussed an alleged meeting between Tesla, Gustave Eiffel, Thomas Edison, and Jules Verne at the 1889 World's Fair, though Inman doubts such a gathering ever happened.

Needless to say, Inman was a bit confused about the encounter, writing, "It seems odd to fly me down to California just to spend twenty minutes answering a bunch of (mostly) implausible questions and looking at a bunch of fake and/or real memorabilia." So far, Disney has rebuffed his questions for further clarification.

I know quite a bit about Tesla, but I'm by no means an expert historian. My insight into the man is mostly centered around his character -- that of an inspiring, geek underdog who changed the world and suffered bitterly for it. There are much better people than me whom Disney could be talking to. I told them I didn't have much insight, but I did my best and tried to separate the plausible from the implausible for them. I got the impression Disney was just covering their bases with some of these questions looking for confirmation of what they already believed

So what, if anything, does Nikola Tesla have to do with "Tomorrowland"? Guess we'll have to wait to find out.

"Tomorrowland" hits theaters December 12, 2014.

[via The Oatmeal]