Thirteen years after completing “Band of Brothers” and four years after its companion series, “The Pacific,” Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are teaming up again for a new World War II HBO series: “Masters of the Air.”
According to Empire Online, the new series will be based on Donald Miller’s book of the same name, and will focus on the exploits of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in World War II’s European Theater. The book focused on the state of England during the war, the soldiers stuck in German prison camps and the hunger marches endured by the captured airmen.
Although it’s still unclear which events the new series will focus on, preparations have already been made to incorporate commentary from Mighty Eighth veterans. Frank ‘Bud’ Buschmeier is one veteran who has already been interviewed for the series, and more are expected.
According to Lafayette College, where Miller serves as the John Henry MacCracken Professor of History, this new series will show “a very different war” than what fans saw in the other two. For example, Eighth Air Force airmen only served six- to seven-month tours because the conditions were so horrific; Almost 8 in 10 were injured, captured or killed.
Still, fans can expect the same attention to detail and production value they’re used to seeing.
“If you will, it’s a ‘Band of Brothers’ in the sky where the guys stick together through love and leadership and there’s a lot of camaraderie in the planes,” Miller said in an early HBOWatch story about the series. “It’s a very personal story.”
Update: June 10, 2015
Although it’s been some time since this purported project began, news outlets have been reporting that HBO is in fact making headway on its rollout of “Masters of the Air.”
Flying Magazine claims that the budget for the miniseries is $500 million—more than seven times that of Saving Private Ryan. This would allegedly make “Masters” one of the most expensive television projects in history.
Flying also reported that the heart of the series will focus on the “Bloody Hundredth” bomb group. The nickname comes from the group’s heavy World War II losses; by mid-1943, the Bloody Hundredth became a special target of the Luftwaffe, and sustained consistently high casualties. (Throughout the war, there were several instances in which the men sustained over a dozen losses on a single bombing mission.)
Over the Mountain Journal reports that the series is expected to be released in late 2015.
Update: April 27, 2017
Now officially titled The Mighty Eighth, the HBO project is reportedly still inching toward production. Last month, the site NME reported that writers and producers have been scouting out locations in England for filming the gigantic project. Release dates remain unclear, as do actual production and filming dates, but the news about momentum on the series is good news for Band of Brothers fans who have been waiting on this project since its exciting trailer debuted in late 2013.
Check out the miniseries’ stunning trailer here.