Most footage comes from an existing Japanese anime series known predominantly as "Gatchaman", but the series content was tweaked for an American audience, including a reduction in violent scenes. To offset the removed content, the character 7-Zark-7 was added and had a role that tied the altered story together.
The plume of smoke that erupts from the Turtle King when it explodes was cut from the American version. Apparently, it was thought that it would be too confusing to see real smoke in an animated series.
The series Battle of the Planets was marketed to capitalize on the momentum created by Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), released in the prior year. The words Battle (instead of War) and Planets (instead of Star) are plays on that theme. The character 7-Zark-7 was a play on "droid" names created in Star Wars, that utilized letters and numbers, such as C-3PO and R2-D2.