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Space Force creator Greg Daniels is known for workplace comedies like The Office and Parks and Recreation, but the new Netflix series presents a different kind of comedy that stems from the real-life, newly formed branch of the military. During Deadline’s Contenders Television virtual event, Daniels said the idea surfaced when Steve Carell met with Netflix’s Blair Fetter, who had just heard government’s announcement about Space Force. He suggested that as an idea for a show.
Carell called Daniels and said, “I got two words for you: Space Force,” to which Daniels responded, “That sounds great!”
“We started to pitch the character of General Mark Naird who was in charge of getting boots on the moon in 2024 — which is a super audacious and implausible mission,” said Daniels, adding that it would be really funny to see a man with an extensive military background outside of his skill-set interacting with scientists, the media and politicians.
“The interesting thing was we were so early on it, Netflix has the Twitter handle ‘@realspaceforce’,” Daniels points out.
“What I was struck by is the range of and the style in which the characters are amusing because of their view of the world and the way the behave — which is generally the wrong way regardless of the situation, but it’s a very accurate way,” said Malkovich.
“I thought the font Greg used was unbelievable,” jokes Schwartz about what attracted him to the script. “It was Greg Daniels — who is someone I looked up to for some time.” He continued, “I think what Greg does so well that is prevalent in this show is that he is incredible at creating characters grounding the char and through the seasons really stretching them out and letting them grow.”
Daniels talked about the tone of the show and putting the spotlight on the real-life Space Force. “We wanted to be respectful when we were doing it and have it be a ‘laugh with’ show,” he said. “Ultimately this show is about characters of integrity that are trying to do something very audacious.”
In the series, Carell’s and Malkovich’s characters come from two different worlds and are opposed in the beginning, but as the series progresses, they end up rubbing off on each other and eventually become friends. ‘That’s the hopeful takeaway — maybe we’re not divided as Americans as everybody thinks,” said Daniels. “We can still pull off something cool if we work together.”
Added Kudrow: “By the time I got to the last episode, I was so comforted by the possibility presented by this show that you can have decent human beings in positions of power and decision-making that [everything] might be OK.”
Check out the panel video above.