'The Right Stuff' Series Moves to Disney+ From Nat Geo

The Right Stuff- Publicity - H 2020
Gene Page/National Geographic

A series based on Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff is blasting off to a new home.

The drama will make its debut on Disney+ in the fall after initially being greenlit by National Geographic Channel. The latter is also owned by Disney and has a dedicated vertical on Disney+. 

The move will also help Disney+ fill its content pipeline while several other originals, ranging from the Marvel entry The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (which stopped production in March due to the coronavirus pandemic) to a revival of Lizzie McGuire (paused after creator Terri Minsky exited due to creative differences), are delayed. 

The Right Stuff is based on Wolfe's best-selling nonfiction book about the "Mercury 7" astronauts in the early days of NASA. The first season will follow the Mercury program, and subsequent seasons would follow the U.S. space program through the Apollo missions and beyond. The series comes from writer and showrunner Mark Lafferty (Halt and Catch Fire, Castle Rock), Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television.

"This true story of scientific innovation and human perseverance could not be more timely,” Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Global Television Networks, said Tuesday in a statement. “National Geographic’s The Right Stuff is an aspirational story about exploration, ambition, determination and resilience and reminds us that human beings can achieve the extraordinary when united by a common purpose. This series provides a compelling behind-the-scenes look at the flawed, but heroic Mercury 7 astronauts, and we are thrilled that it has found its perfect home on Disney+."

Added Ricky Strauss, president content and marketing for Disney+, "As our audiences around the world turn to Disney+ to find inspiration and optimism, we believe the true-life heroism of the Mercury 7 will showcase the tenacity of the human spirit and inspire a new generation to reach for the stars. The wonderful team of storytellers at National Geographic, Warner Horizon Scripted Television and Appian Way have crafted a compelling and entertaining tale, and we are honored to give it a global home as the first scripted Disney+ original series from National Geographic."

Patrick J. Adams, Jake McDorman, Colin O'Donoghue, Aaron Staton, James Lafferty, Micah Stock and Michael Trotter play the Mercury 7. The cast also includes Danny Strong, Nora Zehetner, Eloise Mumford, Shannon Lucio, Patrick Fischler, Eric Ladin and Josh Cooke.

Mark Lafferty executive produces with Appian Way's DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson, Will Staples and Howard Korder. Chris Long (The Americans) directed and executive produced the first episode. Strong and Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker are consulting producers, and Appian Way's Michael Hampton, who shepherded the project, is a co-producer.

The linear Nat Geo channel's scripted slate includes Barkskins, which is set to premiere May 26, and the Genius anthology. The third season of Genius, starring Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin, was initially scheduled to bow May 26 but was postponed after the coronavirus pandemic shut down production.