Buzz Aldrin is still reaching for the stars.
The 83-year old Apollo 11 astronaut, who in 1969 became the second man to walk on the moon right after Neil Armstrong made that “one giant leap for mankind,” has long been that mission’s public face — remember those guest turns on 30 Rock and Dancing With the Stars? — and now, he’s planning his very own series.
Aldrin is working to adapt his 1996 sci-fi novel, Encounter with Tiber, into a highbrow television drama (which will just be called Tiber). The novel, co-written with the author John Barnes, tells of a future in which humans discover that earth had once been visited by an advanced species of aliens. On a mission to Alpha Centauri, the aliens’ home planet, a scientist works to piece together the evidence left behind by the failed extraterrestrial visitors.
Though the show is in the early development stages, with no cast attached, Aldrin is already making big promises about it.
“I believe that it will be better than Star Trek or Star Wars because it is more realistic, it deals with real kind of beings a long time ago that had realistic travel capabilities and they weren’t shooting people up or anything,” he offered. “It is genuine progression of exploration to the point where we are now, in our thinking. And [in the story] we think about getting that new information that the fictitious aliens left that we found and gave us the knowledge to travel from our sun to nearby stars… I think what we are doing will progressively be a lot more realistic.”
Not that he’s a hater; Aldrin was wearing a Star Wars-themed tie to the premiere of Will Smith’s new film After Earth Wednesday. And when it came time to answer one of society’s biggest questions — whether he preferred Star Wars or Star Trek, he came down firmly on the side of Captain Kirk, thanks in large part to the USS Enterprise’s command structure.
“Well I think Star Trek was a little bit better organized for spacecraft operations,” Aldrin explained. “Star Wars was more of a conflict of different people in space.”
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