Volibear, the Thunder's Roar, is a response to the ongoing joke on the League of Legends forums regarding armored bears.
The champion led to the creation of pro-armored bear and anti-armored bear factions, with leaders being the designers of the Riot Team, which eventually escalated to the Riot Wars.
His name is derived from Travis 'Volibar' George, the Riot producer who first put forth the idea of an armored bear champion.
Volibear is possibly inspired from the armored bears (most prominently Iorek Byrnison) that appear through out Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, known as Panserbjørne (lit. 'armored bears', Danish/Norwegian origin). Atlantica's Druid Mercenary, Hero Naruk, also seems to be related.
When there is an enemy Zilean present in game, Volibear will gain the Chronokeeper Hater icon with the text: "Not even Zilean could keep an armored bear out of the League of Legends".
The enemy Zilean also gains the Armored Bear Hater icon with the text: "In my day, we would never have allowed an armored bear into the League of Legends." The allied Zilean is unaffected.
In Volibear's Champion Spotlight, his skin names were on the opposite skins. The name "Thunder Lord" was on the Northern Storm skin and vice versa.
Volibear's skill Rolling Thunder is the same name as Henry Fillmore's famous band piece, Rolling Thunder, featuring the low brass.
Volibear has special quotes when slaying Zilean. Whenever Volibear slays Zilean, he will remark: "Your time has run out, Chronokeeper" or "I got a special claw for you, Zilean."
This is the first time a champion kill triggers a quote.
Volibear, Renekton, and Vi are the only champions to reference another champion in their in-game speech.
Volibear's quote "A fool and his head are easily parted." Is most likely a reference to the Klingon Proverb "A fool and his head are soon parted.", which was first used in the 1984 novel "The Final Reflection". It is also a reference to "A fool and his money are easily parted"