Throughout the production of a series, a lot goes on behind the scenes in regards to planning and design, which often go through multiple stages before resulting in the final version that is seen on screen. Some concepts and ideas can have an effect on the show and characters, and unexpected occurrences during production can also lead to changes and additions to the plans for the show.
Penny Polendina alludes to Pinocchio from The Adventures of Pinocchio. This allusion has had the following influences on the character and story:
- The name "Penny" is similar to "Pinocchio". Her last name, Polendina, comes from the derogatory nickname that Pinocchio's creator, Geppetto, was given, due to his yellow wig bearing resemblance to polenta in the original story.
- She is a sentient robot. Pinocchio is a sentient wooden puppet.
- In "A Minor Hiccup", Penny says "I'm not a real girl." This statement is similar to Pinocchio's statements of wanting to be "a real boy".
- In the same episode, Penny hiccups whenever she tells a lie, just as Pinocchio's nose would grow in length whenever he told a lie.
- She manipulates her swords through the use of very thin wires, similar to how a puppet is controlled with thin strings.
- Penny receiving the power of the Winter Maiden from Fria is an allusion to her finally becoming a real girl due to the power only being able to bond with Aura, similar to Pinocchio becoming a real boy upon receiving the Blue Fairy's blue magic.
- Multiple instances throughout Volumes 7 & 8, Penny is referred to as a "toy" or "magical puppet".
- Ambrosius making Penny a human body is another reference to Pinocchio becoming a real boy.
Penny's former emblem appears to be a pair of her swords put together. Her emblem appears on one of her former possessions:
- Floating Array - Microchip
The writers had a lot of discussion about what Penny's 2.0 design would look like for Volume 7. They also considered giving her a conflict of being a clone of not having any of her memories, but ultimately they felt they couldn't do it well enough considering how much stuff that they had to have in volume 7.
There are a few small differences in appearance between the show and available concept art versions of Penny from Volumes 1-3, such as the lack of exposed shoulders and the lack of frills on her thigh highs as well as neck wear. One piece of concept art shows that she almost had a pouch strapped to her lower back. There are no such differences between concept art and show appearance with Penny's Volume 7 design.
- RWBY Volume 7 Crew Commentary - Chapter 1