Space Force: Steve Carell On How His Series Isn't The Office in Space

With Steve Carell (The Office) and Greg Daniels' Netflix comedy Space Force scheduled for launch on May 29, the Oscar and Emmy-nominated actor has started making the round to promote the series. During a recent interview with EW, Carell revealed that his interest in the project stemmed from a basic, two-word pitch from the streaming service: Space Force. For Carell, having a basic concept with no specifics in play proved creatively inviting: "They had no premise; it was just the name. The notion of this new military entity was funny to me… It seemed like something that had never been explored before. Obviously, because it hadn't existed. Because we'd be developing our show as the actual Space Force was being created, there were no parameters, there were no rules. It was a blank sheet of paper, and that was intriguing."

Steve Carell and Ben Schwartz star in Space Force, courtesy of Netflix.
Steve Carell and Ben Schwartz star in Space Force, courtesy of Netflix.

While some might fear that having Carell and Daniels together on the project might result in "The Office in Space", Carell makes it clear that the pair are looking to explore new comedic and storytelling territory. As Carell sees it, the differences between the two series are obvious, starting with how they each came about: "In a way, it's sort of the antithesis of what we did on The Office because there was a roadmap to that show. There were characters or character-like types in place and a structure as to the way the show is shot. But this didn't have any of those aspects. From day one when Greg and I first met to discuss it, we had to decide what the show would feel tonally and where would the comedy lie, and how much of it would be serious or more heartfelt or more genuine, more human."

That also applies to any comparisons between Dunder Mifflin's Michael Scott and U.S. Space Force's Gen. Naird, with Naird being a "man of destiny" who's gotten accustomed to being in control. While some of those traits will serve him well with his new assignment, Carell also knows that he'll need to do some serious changing if he wants things to work (both with his family and new command): "He's [Naird] a creature of habit and a creature of discipline, and he's been in the military most of his life. That's what he knows, that's what he abides by — and it could be considered a weakness as well."

In Space Force, Carell's decorated pilot and four-star general had dreams of running the Air Force until he was tapped to lead the newly-formed sixth branch of the military: Space Force. Moving his family to a remote Colorado base, Naird and his team of scientists and "spacemen" are charged with fulfilling The White House's goal of getting (more) American boots on the moon by 2024 and for the U.S. to win the race to dominate space. As you're about to see, Naird finds himself trying to make the most out of project everyone around him seems invested in seeing fail while getting to know his family again (and possibly forging a new one with his team of dreamers if he isn't careful). Thankfully, there's nothing The Beach Boys can't help him solve:

Steve Carell stars in Space Force, courtesy of Netflix.
Steve Carell stars in Space Force, courtesy of Netflix.

Netflix's Space Force also stars John Malkovich (The New Pope), Lisa Kudrow (Friends), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation), Diana Silvers (Glass), Jimmy O. Yang (Silicon Valley), Tawny Newsome (Sherman's Showcase), Alex Sparrow (unREAL), Don Lake (NCIS), Noah Emmerich (The Americans), Fred Willard (Modern Family), and Jessica St. Clair (Playing House). Series co-creator Carell is also set to executive produce, with Daniels serving as showrunner and executive producer. Joining them for their take on Donald Trump's Space Force initiative as executive producer is 3 Arts' Howard Klein (The Office). Paul King (Paddington) is on board to direct two episodes, including the pilot.

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought on board as staff in 2017.

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