The teaser previews scenes from one of the most anticipated military-themed productions in years, with scense of air crews piloting their B-17 bombers through German anti-aircraft fire and fending off Nazi fighters at altitudes where humans cannot survive without oxygen masks.
With executive producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, Masters of the Air tells the story of servicemen with the 100th Bomb Group – the “Bloody Hundredth” –as they fly perilous missions over Europe, an Apple TV+ news releases says.
“First time in the sawmill, boy,” says a young pilot in the teaser, reflecting the mechanical nature of the missions and deaths of crews. “Let’s rack’em up and knock’em down.”
“Some were shot down and captured; some were wounded or killed. And some were lucky enough to make it home,” the news release says. “Regardless of individual fate, a toll was exacted on them all.”
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Masters of the Air teaser shows glimpses of Flying Fortresses riddled by shrapnel and enemy bullets, a true-to-life illustration of the violence and death that air crews faced over Germany. Over 26,000 airmen were killed in the bombing missions.
In one harrowing image, the teaser shows an airman falling through the air.
The nine-episode series is based on historian Donald L. Miller’s book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany. In addition to following the story of bomber crews, the show will also show how the Tuskegee Airmen provided lifesaving protection to the B-17s in the P-51 Mustang fighters.
Unlike the Band of Brothers and the Pacific, Masters of Air will air on Apple TV+ rather than HBO and run for nine episodes instead of 10. The show’s first four episodes will be directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, No Time to Die). Previous announcements about the show included word that the production will use the same on-set virtual production system used by Disney+’s The Mandalorian to simulate action inside the the cockpits during dogfights.
The first two series, which chronicled the fear, violence and eventual triumph of the infantry, featured mostly then-unknown actors with a few well known faces in smaller parts, but Masters of the Air has more big names. The cast includes Austin Butler (Elvis, Dune Part 2), Barry Keoghan (The Green Knight, The Banshees of Inisherin) and Ncuti Gatwa (Doctor Who) among the leads.
Masters of the Air will premiere on Apple TV+ on January 26, 2024 with the first two episodes, followed by one new episode every Friday through March 15, 2024.