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The Real-Life People Who Inspired Varrick From The Legend Of Korra

Looking back at the 4 seasons of "Legend of Korra," it's almost hard to believe that there was a whole season without Iknik Blackstone Varrick (voiced by John Michael Higgins). The Water Tribe entrepreneur stands out because of his wit and discomfort with shades of gray. Varrick first appears in Season 2 when Korra (Janet Varney) visits the Southern Water Tribe during the Glacier Spirits Festival. Representing the non-bending demographic, Varrick's true powers are his business interests and ability to turn a phrase.

Though he often makes Team Avatar question what side he's on (like that time he double-crossed Asami [Seychelle Gabriel]), he ultimately has a heart of gold. He always has a scheme that typically gets the team out of hot water, and even helps them bring down the Earth Kingdom's own fascist dictator Kuvira (Zelda Williams). It should come as no surprise that Varrick didn't just spring out of thin air. His character is so specific because creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were inspired by real-life icons to make an icon of their own.

Varrick is inspired by two influential figures of the 1900s

The creators of "Avatar: Last Airbender" and "Legend of Korra" have been open about their creation and even provided interesting anecdotes about the process of inspiration. Certain tidbits can be found in the podcast "Braving the Elements," and now the "Legend of Korra" director commentaries, CinemaBlend reports. One of the more interesting facts found in the "Legend of Korra" director's commentary is that Varrick was inspired in no small part by real-world titans of idustry William Randolph Hearst and Howard Hughes.

Varrick is a brand unto himself, not like these former industrialists. This is certainly reminiscent of William Randolph Hears,t who was infamous for his business practices, some of which were fictionalized in Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" (via PBS). However, it is Howard Hughes that perhaps has the clearer connection to Varrick. Hughes was a well-known eccentric (via BBC), as is Varrick. Both were film directors, as well. In "Legend of Korra," Varrick makes his own propaganda films, called "movers." This is a clever connection to the "talkies" of the time. 

So quite a few of clear lines between Hearst and Hughes and Varrick, but at least one glaring inconsistency: As far as fans know, Varrick never bottled his own urine.