On Friday, the Trump Administration officially launched Space Force, the new US Military arm tasked with defending American democracy in space. Space Force launched with a modest staff of 200 people and a $40 million budget to cover its first year. That was enough for SpaceX founder Elon Musk to herald it as the beginning of the Star Trek era. Musk took to Twitter after Space Force's founding moments to declare "Starfleet begins," comparing Space Force to the interstellar explorers of the Star Trek universe. This isn't the first time Musk has compared Space Force to Starfleet. In September, when asked on Twitter if he supports Space Force, Musk replied, "Definitely for Space Force. We need to make Starfleet real."
Musk's apparent admiration for Star Trek seems to be reciprocal. During a motivational speech given in the Star Trek: Discovery episode "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry," Musk was listed alongside real-life aviation pioneers the Wright brothers and Star Trek's fictional inventor of the warp drive Zefram Cochrane as one of history's great scientists. Star Trek's first leading man, William Shatner, has also said that he'd be willing to take to space with Musk in real life. “Yes, with him in the seat next to me,” Shatner replied when asked about the idea on Twitter. “I’ll hold his hand during takeoff as an added bonus!”
While Starfleet is a part of Star Trek, Space Force is getting its own television series, albeit one with a different tenor. A Space Force television series starring Steve Carrell is headed to Netflix. Netflix announced the new series with a video teaser in January. The teaser's message said, “On June 18, 2018, the federal government announced the creation of a 6th major division of the United States Armed Forces. The goal of the new branch is 'to defend satellites from attack’ and ‘perform other space-related tasks’… or something. This is the story of the men and women who have to figure it out.”
@SpaceForceDoD Starfleet begins— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 21, 2019
Carell is reteaming with The Office's Greg Daniels for the new series. In Space Force, Carell is joined by co-stars John Malkovich (The New Pope), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, House of Lies), Diana Silvers (Booksmart, MA), and Tawny Newsome (Bajillion Dollar Propertie$). Recurring guest stars include Jimmy O. Yang (Silicon Valley, Crazy Rich Asian) and Alex Sparrow (Unreal, The Vatican Tapes). BAFTA-nominated director Paul King (Paddington, Paddington 2) will direct two episodes of Space Force, including the pilot.
Cover photo by Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images