We aren’t too sure when the name change happened and why we missed it but, MASTERS OF THE AIR , the WWII companion piece to BAND OF BROTHERS and THE PACIFIC, is now officially titled THE MIGHTY EIGHTH. Let’s take a moment to realize what we can gain about the production due to that title change.
The project, from Playtone Productions, was quickly given the name “Masters of the Air” because it was announced early that the source material for the project was a non-fiction account of the same name by Donald Miller. Though it is a commanding title it is a rather vague one. Now with the name changed to THE MIGHTY EIGHTH there is no mistake who is getting honored here with a film. If you remember the two prior WWII epics from them, they took different approaches in telling their story.
BAND OF BROTHERS was not about the U. S. Army in general, but of a specific unit and of the intense service that one unit gave for the cause. Where THE PACIFIC was more of a collection of events focusing on a handful of servicemen illustrating what the war in the Pacific Theater was like. This third upcoming miniseries, now made more evident by its title change, will take the same angle as BAND OF BROTHERS; it will focus on one squadron from the 8th and one set of characters through its chronicled heroic missions. It will be a great companion to the other two miniseries.
Lately there has been a little bit of buzz that this production is finally getting underway. Just think for a moment, however, how monumental a project this is. The production team needs to lock down locations, muster together historically accurate costumes and equipment, build, borrow or rent war weapons and vehicles and coordinate a cast and crew of hundreds. A number of sites have stated that the project will cost $500 million dollars which is quite a lofty price for a TV project.
Miller reports that this newest WWII miniseries from HBO will focus on the camaraderie inside the bombers – the same as it did with Band of Brothers. It has gone through a name change. It was billed at the Masters of the Air but has now been changed to “The Mighty Eighth” as they were affectionately called, once their distinguished service and reputation spread across Europe.
Known for launching thousands of bombers on a single mission, “The Mighty Eight” had 17 recipients of the Medal of Honor, 220 Distinguished Service Crosses AND 850 Silver Stars. The latest 10 hour miniseries will focus on the air war, the death and destruction of their high altitude of Nazi Germany, thankfully featuring the personal stories of the aircrews and the leadership of the 8th Air Force.
Miller has just returned from a trip to England and whilst he was on tour with The National WWII Museum, he ‘unofficially’ scouted out filming locations in the east of England, various airfields – they have surely (fingers crossed) have got to use the control towers at Thorpe Abbots, Rougham or Bassingbourn?!!
Of course, it will be Hanks and Spielberg who has the last say on what locations will be used in the miniseries in England and throughout Europe. Filming has yet to start but is in the pre-production stage and filming could start very soon, since the script is ready to go into its final draft. No ‘formal’ time as been announced yet by HBO but with the script nearly complete – filming will start soon after it has been signed off. It could be on our screens by early 2017.