A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to raise funds for a dedicated documentary focusing specifically on the design and development of the iconic Eagle spacecraft from the epic 1970s sci-fi TV show “Space: 1999.” The documentary is called “The Eagle Has Landed” and will feature never-before-seen archival footage. It is scheduled to be released in time for the 50th anniversary of “Space: 1999” in 2025.
“Space: 1999 hit TV just a few years after the world watched Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon. The show’s unforgettable vulture inspired an entire generation to imagine the future in space, and continues to do so decades later. Question We Explore Why?” said writer-director Jeffrey Morris and founder of FutureDude Entertainment, the production company behind the project.
The show only ran for two seasons from 1975 to 1977 simultaneously in the UK and US. It was the brainchild of Gerry Anderson, who had already given the world “Stingray,” “Thunderbirds,” “Captain Scarlet” and “Joe 90.” He later gave us “Terrahawks”, “Space Precinct” and the often overlooked “Dick Spanner”. In essence, if you’re a sci-fi fan who grew up in the 1980s and your age starts with either four or five, Anderson was single-handedly responsible for at least half of the TV shows you enjoyed. The rest, of course, was anything Irwin Allen made.
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The time period in which the show was made was a major factor in establishing his cult. “Star Trek: The Original Series” ended six years ago and home VHS video recorders weren’t yet readily available, so we were at the mercy of reruns and network schedules. Many of the best science fiction films made at the time were in cinema.
“Forbidden Planet,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Silent Running,” “Soylent Green,” and “Logan’s Run” were released before the premiere of “Star Wars” in 1977, and then everything changed. something. Overnight. Suddenly, studios left and right were scrambling to find every possible space scenario, including television and movie theaters. Science fiction has changed forever.
Furthermore, the look and feel of Space: 1999 was equally important. While the race to the moon was over and of course no one bothered to return, the memory of Skylab was still fresh in the minds of most starry-eyed space enthusiasts. In particular, “2001: A Space Odyssey” managed space age product design well and looked really modern. And that was the appeal of “Space: 1999,” it felt contemporary and therefore real and therefore believable. And a big part of thatThe Eagle design was the multi-role workhorse of Moonbase Alpha.
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Its sleek lines and practical considerations have secured its place in the Science Fiction Spacecraft Hall of Fame. One even made a cameo appearance in the Red Dwarf episode “Psirens” (S06, E01). Brian Johnson, who was the original designer of the Eagle, will be a very big part of the documentary. Besides “Space: 1999”, he has an impressive list of film and TV credits, including “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Alien”, “Dragonslayer” and “Aliens” to name a few. He spoke exclusively to Space.com.
“My initial design for the Eagle was based on my experience decorating the Moonbus in 2001.” “Adding small pieces of plastic kit made me draw a replacement vehicle based on the Moonbus. I added a frame on top using the steel tube principle from the Maserati Birdcage,” Johnson said, adding: “Just a few sketches I put together after a few days,” and then when Jerry asked me to do Space: 1999 and I got the first script, the redesigned Moonbus started pumping away the gray matter. Derek Meddings’ transition to Superman/Bond time was the reason I was offered the job.
“My original Eagle drawings had the cockpit ‘beak’ forward of the passenger/cargo compartment with rocket assemblies aft. I added four fuel balls, one at each corner of the cabin including the retractable undercarriage legs. Later I converted the balls Fuel to facet things just because they seemed ‘right’ to me,” Johnson said.
“I then borrowed Michael Lamont from Keith Wilson’s art department to turn my initial sketches into 3D drawings for space models at Colnbrook (in Slough, UK) to build first a 44-inch Eagle, then a 22-inch and an 11-inch,” said Johnson, adding, “More or less I remember, Jerry and Sylvia saw nothing until the first 44-incher came out. Keith had seen the 3D graphics. I think Jerry must have seen those drawings too, but he never said anything. “
Morris describes himself as a lifelong space and science fiction fan. His independent production company is responsible for the upcoming live-action films “Persephone” and “Oceanus” and the animated series “Parallel Man.”
“That’s exactly why I love this,” he says. “Because to me there are aspects of the Eagle that were translated directly from NASA vehicles. If you look at the reaction control thrusters that are on the lunar module and on the CSM and things like that, well, they had that on the Eagle and this was like the grandchild of the lunar module.”
“Star Trek is set nearly 300 years in the future, and it seemed like a direct path between where we were and Space: 1999. Sure, de-orbiting the moon and exploring planets every week could be a little difficult,” Morris laughs. “But The spacecraft, the costumes, looked like they could exist in just a few decades, very easily. The eagle was the embodiment of this and that is why so many people love and enjoy it. You know, “I’ve met people who are Eagle fans and didn’t even like the show. That’s really interesting.”
The campaign aims to raise between $500,000 to $1 million over the next 35 days. The documentary, which also features never-before-seen archival footage, is scheduled to be released in time for the show’s 50th anniversary in 2025.
Various rewards will be offered for donation amounts in multiple increments ranging from $5 to $10,000, with the highest contribution receiving an executive producer credit from IMDB. Other packages include:
• Dinner with actor Nick Tate, who played pilot Alan Carter, in Los Angeles and Eagle designer Brian Johnson in London, for a donation of $2,500 each
• Magnificent models of eagle transport
• Associate producer credit from IMDB ($5,000)
• IMDB credit for participating producer ($7,500)
• Low-priced donations will contain photos, a replica of the eagle, posters, autographed photos, soundtrack and more.
The Kickstarter campaign is now live and the link is here.
“I’m thrilled that we’ve recently been able to bring legendary actress Barbara Payne onto the project. Her inclusion will give the film a sense of unprecedented depth and history. I’m also excited that ITV Studios – the owner of Space: 1999 – have signed on and given their blessing to the project,” said Morris. .
“When I was a little kid, I would never have believed that, nearly 50 years later, I would be directing and hosting a movie about the greatest sci-fi spaceship ever made. It’s incredibly exciting and a great honor.”