National Geographic’s eight-part drama series, The Right Stuff will make its premiere this fall on Disney+. The series is based on Tom Wolfe’s book of the same name that explores the lives of men and their families that made up NASA’s Mercury Seven.

L to R: Micah Stock, Jake McDorman, Aaron Staton, Michael Trotter, Patrick J. Adams, Colin O'Donoghue, James Lafferty as Scott Carpenter (Credit: National Geographic/Gene Page)

L to R: Micah Stock, Jake McDorman, Aaron Staton, Michael Trotter, Patrick J. Adams, Colin O'Donoghue, James Lafferty as Scott Carpenter (Credit: National Geographic/Gene Page)

What’s happening:

  • Disney+ announced that the original scripted series The Right Stuff from National Geographic will premiere this fall on Disney+.
  • Produced for National Geographic by Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television, The Right Stuff is adapted from Tom Wolfe’s nonfiction account of the early days of the U.S. space program.
  • The scripted series consists of eight episodes that dives into the lives of the ambitious astronauts and their families as they become instant celebrities amid the space race.

Synopsis:

At the height of the Cold War in 1959, the Soviet Union dominates the space race. To combat a national sentiment of fear and decline, the U.S. government conceives of NASA’s Project Mercury, igniting a space race with the Soviets and making instant celebrities of a handful of the military’s most accomplished test pilots. These individuals, who come to be known as the Mercury Seven, are forged into heroes long before they have achieved a single heroic act.

The nation’s best engineers estimate they need several decades to make it into outer space. They are given two years.

The astronauts’ strengths are equaled only by their flaws. As the men succumb to the temptations that surround them, Project Mercury threatens to come apart. At the heart of the historic drama populated by deeply human characters are two men who become icons — Glenn and Shepard — as they jockey to be the first man in space. The entire program is nearly brought to its knees by their intense rivalry.

   

The series also follows NASA’s engineers, who work against the clock as pressures mount from Washington and a transfixed public. And we witness the underbelly of a myth-making propaganda machine headed by NASA’s PR department and aided by the writers and editors at LIFE Magazine.

Left row front to back: Micah Stock, Danny Strong, Michael Trotter, Aaron Staton. Right row front to back: Patrick J. Adams, Jake McDorman, Colin O'Donoghue, James Lafferty (Credit: National Geographic/Gene Page)

Left row front to back: Micah Stock, Danny Strong, Michael Trotter, Aaron Staton. Right row front to back: Patrick J. Adams, Jake McDorman, Colin O'Donoghue, James Lafferty (Credit: National Geographic/Gene Page)

The Right Stuff stars:

  • Patrick J. Adams (Suits) as Major John Glenn
  • Jake McDorman (What We Do in the Shadows, Lady Bird) as Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard  
  • Colin O’Donoghue (Once Upon a Time, Carrie Pilby) as Lieutenant Gordon Cooper
  • Aaron Staton (Mad Men, Castle Rock) as Wally Schirra
  • James Lafferty (The Haunting of Hill House, Small Town Crime) as Scott Carpenter
  • Micah Stock (Brittany Runs a Marathon, Escape at Dannemora) as Deke Slayton
  • Michael Trotter (Underground, The Evening Hour) as Gus Grissom
  • Nora Zehetner (Brick, Creative Control) as Annie Glenn
  • Eloise Mumford (Fifty Shades of Grey franchise) as Trudy Cooper
  • Shannon Lucio (Prison Break, True Blood) as Louise Shepard
  • Patrick Fischler (Twin Peaks, Mad Men) plays Bob Gilruth,
  • Eric Ladin (American Sniper) as Chris Kraft
  • Danny Strong (Billions) as John “Shorty” Powers
  • Josh Cooke (Grace and Frankie, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) as Loudon Wainwright Jr.

What they’re saying:  

  • Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Global Television Networks: “This true story of scientific innovation and human perseverance could not be more timely. National Geographic’s The Right Stuff is an aspirational story about exploration, ambition, determination and resilience and reminds us that human beings can achieve the extraordinary when united by a common purpose. This series provides a compelling behind-the-scenes look at the flawed, but heroic Mercury 7 astronauts and we are thrilled that it has found its perfect home on Disney+.”
  • Ricky Strauss, president, Content & Marketing, Disney+: “As our audiences around the world turn to Disney+ to find inspiration and optimism, we believe the true-life heroism of the Mercury 7 will showcase the tenacity of the human spirit and inspire a new generation to reach for the stars. The wonderful team of storytellers at National Geographic, Warner Horizon Scripted Television and Appian Way have crafted a compelling and entertaining tale and we are honored to give it a global home as the first scripted Disney+ original series from National Geographic.”  
  • Jennifer Davisson, executive producer: “Tom Wolfe’s book brilliantly captured a critical moment in American history that really resonated with all of us at Appian Way and Nat Geo. Disney+ is the perfect partner to bring forth this story of what it takes to truly achieve something extraordinary, but also the personal costs of that ambition.”
  • Mark Lafferty, showrunner: The Right Stuff evokes the wonder and awe of the moment we first escaped the bounds of our only home and ventured into the unknown. But the show is as much about who we are today as it is about our historic achievements. At a time when the world is confronted with significant challenges, this story reminds us that what seems impossible today can become the triumph of tomorrow.”

Creative team:  

  • Executive produced by:
    • Leonardo DiCaprio
    • Jennifer Davisson
    • Mark Lafferty (Castle Rock, Halt and Catch Fire) (also serves as showrunner)
    • Chris Long (The Americans, The Mentalist) (directed and executive produced the first episode)
    • Will Staples (Animals, Shooter)
    • Howard Korder (Boardwalk Empire)
  • Consulting producers:
    • Thelma Schoonmaker (Raging Bull, GoodFellas, The Departed)
    • Danny Strong (Empire, The Hunger Games movies, Game Change)
  • Co-Producer:
    • Michael Hampton (on behalf of Appian Way)  
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