Donald Trump’s “Space Force” comments were treated as little more than fodder for mockery when he first made them last summer (phew, time flies when you’re terrified), and it’s hardly inconceivable that you had forgotten all about them until you just read this sentence. All this is true, too, of Netflix’s January announcement of a Steve Carell-starring workplace comedy also called Space Force, which the streamer said would center on “the people tasked with creating [the titular] sixth branch of the armed services.”
That second Space Force, at least, is real, and it’s moving closer to spectacular with Netflix’s latest update: The streamer has recruited six new stars to appear alongside Carell, with John Malkovich (The New Pope), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation), Diana Silvers (Booksmart) and Tawny Newsome (Brockmire) signing on as series regulars, and Jimmy O. Yang (Silicon Valley) and Alex Sparrow (Unreal) coming aboard as recurring guest stars.
That’s not all, either: Paddington and Paddington 2 director Paul King will oversee two episodes of Space Force, including the pilot episode—as surefire a sign as could be that there is certain delight ahead.
Carell will lead Space Force’s ensemble as Mark R. Naird, a general tapped by the White House to lead a new branch of the Armed Forces with the goal of putting American “Boots on the Moon” by 2024.
Here are Netflix’s descriptions of the characters corresponding to today’s new castings:
John Malkovich plays “Dr. Adrian Mallory” – Head Science Advisor, brilliant, arrogant and hoping to prevent space from becoming the next great international battlefield.
Ben Schwartz plays “F. Tony Scarapiducci” – A self-centered media consultant whose Machiavellian goals only sometimes line up with those of Mark or Space Force.
Diana Silvers plays “Erin Naird” – Popular and an A-student in Washington DC, Mark’s daughter is an outcast in Wild Horse Colorado after transferring to a remote military base and turns to delinquency.
Tawny Newsome plays “Angela Ali” – Helicopter pilot, ambitious and competitive, with secret dreams that she keeps close to the vest.
Jimmy O. Yang plays “Doctor Chan Kaifang” – Doctor Mallory’s right hand man, Chan is a brilliant astrophysicist and rocket engineer who immigrated from China as a teenager and loves all things American, from fly fishing to the Baltimore Orioles.
Alex Sparrow plays “Yuri ‘Bobby’ Telatovich” – A charming observer from the Russian Government, Yuri is curious about many things in Mark’s life, like his daughter, or the tech specs of the Javelin missile.
Carell co-created the series with The Office (U.S.) creator Greg Daniels, who serves as showrunner and executive producer on Space Force, and Howard Klein, another The Office (U.S.) alum, is also an executive producer on the project. These three certainly know how to handle a workplace comedy in which regular people are forced to deal with absurdly incompetent leadership—a perfect fit for the Space Force.
Netflix’s Space Force launches in 2020 with 10 half-hour episodes. Trump’s Space Force is, uh, a bit harder to predict right now.