Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg Re-Team for Third WWII Miniseries on HBO, MASTERS OF THE AIR

     January 18, 2013


This fall we reported the early whispers that Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg would be back to produce a third World War II miniseries for HBO, new details of which have emerged.  The two collaborated on the highly successful (and highly decorated) series Band of Brothers which first aired in 2001, and followed it up with The Pacific in 2010.

The new series, called Masters of the Air, would explore the aerial wars of the men known as the “Mighty Eighth,” using Donald L. Miller’s historical book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany as source material.  Hit the jump for more on the project.

According to THRJustified creator Graham Yost will be on board to write episodes for Masters of the Air as he did with several episodes of Band of Brothers and the Pacific.

As THR also notes, the series have always been huge financial commitments for HBO, but with big critical payoffs.  The original Band of Brothers series also corralled a huge number of then largely unknown actors, such as Michael FassbenderRon LivingstonJamie BamberTom HardyColin HanksSimon Pegg and of course Damian Lewis as the heroic Major Dick Winters.

masters-of-the-air-book-coverHere’s a description via Amazon of the book Masters of the Air will be based on, whose material may be added to for the miniseries:

“Masters of the Air is the deeply personal story of the American bomber boys in World War II who brought the war to Hitler’s doorstep. With the narrative power of fiction, Donald Miller takes readers on a harrowing ride through the fire-filled skies over Berlin, Hanover, and Dresden and describes the terrible cost of bombing for the German people.

Fighting at 25,000 feet in thin, freezing air that no warriors had ever encountered before, bomber crews battled new kinds of assaults on body and mind. Air combat was deadly but intermittent: periods of inactivity and anxiety were followed by short bursts of fire and fear. Unlike infantrymen, bomber boys slept on clean sheets, drank beer in local pubs, and danced to the swing music of Glenn Miller’s Air Force band, which toured U.S. air bases in England. But they had a much greater chance of dying than ground soldiers. In 1943, an American bomber crewman stood only a one-in-five chance of surviving his tour of duty, twenty-five missions. The Eighth Air Force lost more men in the war than the U.S. Marine Corps.

The bomber crews were an elite group of warriors who were a microcosm of America — white America, anyway. (African-Americans could not serve in the Eighth Air Force except in a support capacity.) The actor Jimmy Stewart was a bomber boy, and so was the “King of Hollywood,” Clark Gable. And the air war was filmed by Oscar-winning director William Wyler and covered by reporters like Andy Rooney and Walter Cronkite, all of whom flew combat missions with the men. The Anglo-American bombing campaign against Nazi Germany was the longest military campaign of World War II, a war within a war. Until Allied soldiers crossed into Germany in the final months of the war, it was the only battle fought inside the German homeland.

Strategic bombing did not win the war, but the war could not have been won without it. American airpower destroyed the rail facilities and oil refineries that supplied the German war machine. The bombing campaign was a shared enterprise: the British flew under the cover of night while American bombers attacked by day, a technique that British commanders thought was suicidal.

Masters of the Air is a story, as well, of life in wartime England and in the German prison camps, where tens of thousands of airmen spent part of the war. It ends with a vivid description of the grisly hunger marches captured airmen were forced to make near the end of the war through the country their bombs destroyed.

Drawn from recent interviews, oral histories, and American, British, German, and other archives, Masters of the Air is an authoritative, deeply moving account of the world’s first and only bomber war.”


Around The Web

    Great! However, I’d much rather see a series set in Italy in WWII, the battle of Monte Cristo is an epic long battle. We don’t see much of Mussolini in films or the partisans fighting him.

    Or some Desert war fare against Rommel. Fantastic settings. Much more interesting than pilots sat in cockpits IMO. Red Tails was enough of that, as was Pearl Harbor.

  • sunoffabeach

    Memphis Belle!

  • OP HIP

    —–Spielberg remains the supreme purveyor
    of cultural incest, predictive programming, and
    PC moral alibis for capstone ‘things unfolding’.

    Spielberg’s Hollywood has BALKED and/or
    ———–’mysteriously overlooked’————
    the 10th –20th –30th –40th —50th and NOW
    ——————60th Annviersary—————-
    of the RED China, Globalism and EUGENICS
    ——————-KOREAN WAR——————-.

    “KOREA and NOT the long finished world wars
    –ir rapidly emerging as the defining event of
    the 20th century viz a viz the 21st—”
    Informed online

    LOOK at what’s unfolding.

    ‘REAL—EYES’ —the BIG picture. . . .

    • dogg

      You forgot to mention the faked moon landing and chemtrails. Douche.

  • Elcoolguy

    They need to make a mini-series out of the 442nd Infantry Regiment.

  • ap30


  • BernardG

    You forgot another one then “unknown actor” in Band of Brothers, which spectacularly got half of his head blown off. James McAvoy

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  • Brian

    I look forward to watching this as my father was one of those airmen. He was a tailgunner for the 487th based in Lavenham and many of his crew members are still with us. I hope there is Some info shown about the Xmas bombing in 1944. That was the largest bombing mission ever and the 487th lead the way. A General flew lead and his plane was shot down. General Castle was his name!

  • peter rembetsy

    what happened to the stories about the B 24 Liberator???????

  • jim graham

    I have read ‘ MotA ‘ and it was a good read !!!! I would like to see included in the HBO mini-series
    credit to the RAF Bomber Command for their ‘ work ‘ in the WW II bombing campaign against Germany . Flying @ night in not man’s ‘ element ‘ and I think Bomber Command did an outstanding job all things considered .
    My family were B-24D Liberator people in the early days of the US bomber offensive and my namesake , my daddy’s younger brother , was killed as per above . Still , I think that the RAF Bomber Command should also be featured in Mr. Spielberg’s pending docudrama .

  • IP OP

    —In this, the 11th hour of POST American takedown
    —————————————Globalist RED China handover
    ——————————————-and POST HUMAN ‘put away’.

    Spielberg, and Hollywood, are ‘on board’. . .

  • George Roberts

    Great ! I hope they include a story about the Schweinfurt mission on October 14, 1943. That was my worst of 31 missions I flew with the 306th Bomb Group in WWII.

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  • Larry Williams

    I sent two large packets of material about 6 years ago about Lt. Col. Edward S. Michael CMOH (Congressional Medal of Honor) who flew in the 305th Bomb Group, General Curtis Lemay’s group the “Can Do” Squadron. Both 2nd Lt’s Bill Lawley and Edward S. Michael need to be honored for their valor as Congress did for Lawley during “Black Thursday” and Michael going to Sttettin to destroy the ball bearing factoried. Both of these were crucual raids that shortened the war. I sent both packets and couldn’t get through their sensors. The stories are on the internet and Michael basically was a father figure and helped raise me. HIs widow still live in Fairfield, California. He brought his B-17 back saving the lives of numerous men and his Medal of Honor is located at Travis AFB in Fairfield, California. All Spielberg and Hanks have to do is ask and the material is already in their hands. Larry Williams (707)628-7493 or (530) 795-2663

  • Thomas S Colones

    Looking forward to this effort by SS/TH…long time student of the Mighty Eighth and have been to many of the old bases in the UK in my travels. Knew like many of you ,those who flew this missions in WW II. So much material to draw from…. my all-time favorite film is “Twelve O’clock High…with Greg Peck ! Marvelous film indeed. I see many here had fathers,uncles,realtives who flew & served with the Eighth. I hope this will be a real true to life story….history need not be changed by the writers . Read the book…Masters of The Air…excellent ! A trip to the US Cemetery outside Cambridge UK is a many men of the Eighth are buried there !

    Looking forward to the series !

    Long Live the men of The 352nd FG
    Bodney UK ” Second To None ”
    The BlueNosers !