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Is Space Force a True Story?

May 28, 2020
4 min read

Netflix’s ‘Space Force’ follows the story of a man who is assigned to head the newly formed division of the military. Steve Carell plays the role of a fictional General Mark Naird, who is torn between science and politics whenever it comes to making a critical decision, and he has to make a lot of decisions! The show works as a satire and uses several real-life references in the story. How much of it is exactly inspired by reality? Is ‘Space Force’ a real thing? Here’s the answer.

Is Space Force Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Space Force’ is not based on a true story. However, it is inspired by the real Space Force, a military branch that was established in December 2019 for space warfare and operations. The announcement was made in 2018, and when the words “space force” came into the picture, Netflix found it exciting enough to be turned into a series. The idea was proposed to Carell, who then roped Greg Daniels into the project.

Because Space Force had just been announced, the slate was clean. There were no set parameters as to how the force would function, what its work would be, and what effect it would have on the country. They started with the idea of a military man who is thrown in the thick of it. They were inspired a lot by ‘Dr. Strangelove’ which helped them shape-up the character of Adrian Mallory. They also referenced other sci-fi classics to create a structure for the show; for example, the lunar habitat episode was influenced by ‘The Martian’.

The series also has several characters inspired by real-life personalities, for example, versions of people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Holmes appear in the series. President Donald Trump is also mentioned in the show, though not directly. While this makes for some hilarious situations, the creators did not want to make a series solely centered around Trump or anyone else. “The issue of taking something so wonderful and noble as exploring space for all mankind, and turning it into a colonial power grab on the part of all these big countries is enough of a satire [without mentioning Trump]. So you outline the issue, and if the shoe fits, people can draw their own conclusions,” Daniels said.

Daniels also clarified that making the protagonist a military man was not because they wanted to poke fun at the military, but because it provided them with a better character arc. “It’s about this military guy, who’s very much about service and sacrifice, [who] is being squeezed between politicians who are really anxious to get on the moon as fast as possible in a kind of neocolonialist scramble, and scientists who don’t necessarily agree with the aims of the program and are hard to understand. So a guy like Mark Naird, he’s trying his best,” he said.

Despite being free of influence from the real Space Force, the show started to have some similarities with the organization after they started releasing their designs. Daniels admits that there are some similarities in the design of the moon lander that features in the show. He also found the real Space Force to be even quirkier than their version. Take, for example, the uniforms. “Our fatigues have a pattern of the surface of the moon on them, as seen from a telescope. We thought it was hilarious because, first of all, you can’t really wear fatigues on the surface of the moon and, secondly, in terms of camouflage, a picture of the moon from 200 miles away is not really appropriate. But we never expected that they were going to go with jungle. You know what I mean? That was funnier than the moon,” Daniels said.

In the same vein, the real Space Force also received attention for its official logo that seems inspired by ‘Star Trek’. As for the organization itself, Daniels found a shift in his perspective after he started working on the show, which also worked its way into ‘Space Force’. “I think it isn’t crazy for the United States to want to have a Space Force. If there’s anything that’s a shame, it’s not that we’re insisting on having a Space Force, it’s that everybody in the world is rushing to do this in a competitive way [rather] than a cooperative way. And if we didn’t have one, according to all of our research, we would still need one because of other countries doing the same thing,” he explained.

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