Disney+ has snagged distribution rights to National Geographic’s “The Right Stuff,” a scripted series about the American astronauts at the center of the space race, adapted from Tom Wolfe’s eponymous 1979 non-fiction account. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way along with Warner Bros., the series is created by Mark Lafferty (“Castle Rock,” “Halt and Catch Fire”). “The Right Stuff” follows closely the intense rivalry between pilots John Glenn (Patrick J. Adams) and Alan Shepherd (Jake McDorman) during the development of NASA’s Project Mercury.
Here’s the official 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.”
Filling out the cast are recognizable faces Aaron Staton (“Mad Men”), James Lafferty (“The Haunting of Hill House”), Micah Stock (“Escape at Dannemora”), Michael Trotter (“Underground”), Colin O’Donoghue (“Once Upon a Time”), and Patrick Fischler (“Twin Peaks,” “Mad Men”).
“’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,” Lafferty said in a statement. “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.”
“The Right Stuff” is set to premiere on Disney+ this fall. In the meantime, this behind the scenes teaser offers an enticing first look:
And here’s another photo of the cast as the Mercury 7:
National Geographic/Gene Page