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Kristen Stewart to Star in New True-Life Series ‘The Challenger’

94th Oscars® nominee Kristen Stewart arrives at the Oscar Nominee Luncheon held at the Fairmont Century Plaza on Monday, March 7, 2022. The 94th Oscars will air on Sunday, March 27, 2022 live on ABC. Credit/Provider: Michael Yada / ©A.M.P.A.S. Copyright: ©A.M.P.A.S.


  • Kristen Stewart is attached to a new TV series about astronaut Sally Ride.
  • It’ll follow the story of a diverse group of astronaut candidates.
  • Amazon is locking down a deal to produce the series.

Since her big movie break with the ‘Twilight’ franchise, Kristen Stewart has rarely dabbled in TV, producing a couple of series and making small appearances.

Now, though, she’s found a project that she’s all in on, agreeing so star as astronaut Sally Ride in a new series that Amazon is looking to pick up.

Related Article: Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian and Rose Glass Talk ‘Love Lies Bleeding’

What’s the story of ‘The Challenger’kyra

A scene from 'A Million Miles Away.'

A scene from ‘A Million Miles Away.’ Photo Credit: Daniel Daza. Copyright: © 2023 Amazon Content Services LLC

The new series will adapt Meredith E. Bagby’s book ‘The New Guys’, which follows the NASA space shuttle astronaut class of 1978, the first to be comprised of a diverse group including women and minorities.

They were labelled ‘The F*****g New Guys’ by their predecessors. Ride was the first woman and the first member of the LGBTQ+ community to fly into space. Also in that program were the first Black and Asian American astronauts, and a married couple. They passed all the rigorous tests to become top of the class, and egos, ambition and romance were part of the cultural clash.

In 1983, Ride became the third woman, and first American woman, to fly into space on the shuttle Challenger, heading into orbit twice. She became an instant celebrity.

That joy was short-lived, however, when the space shuttle Challenger blew apart 73 seconds into its ascent on another mission without Ride, killing all seven members of the crew in 1986. Ride then became the only astronaut to become part of the Rogers Commission, a presidential commission to investigate the disaster, and it later came out that she pinpointed the problems with O-rings that became stiff at low temperature, and that turned out to be the reason for the explosion. Ride died from cancer at age 61 in 2012.

Who is making ‘The Challenger’?

J.K. Simmons and Kyra Sedgwick in 'The Closer'.

(L to R) J.K. Simmons and Kyra Sedgwick in ‘The Closer’. Photo: Warner Bros. Television.

This is a passion project for Kyra Sedgwick, who has been developing it via her Big Swing Productions for years.

Here’s what Sedgwick told Deadline about the series.

“This is something we’ve worked on at Big Swing since 2017, me, Meredith and Valerie, about this new class of astronaut recruited by NASA in the early 1970s. Sally Ride was among them, and the focus is this newly recruited wild, feral group of astronauts who were all very diverse. And then on an ‘Oppenheimer’ track, it also tells the story of the Rogers Commission that investigated the Challenger disaster that Ride took part in. Growing up in Florida, Meredith Bagby was obsessed with space and the shuttle, and she also watched the Challenger explode. Meredith got hundreds of hours of interviews with the members of that class, and we have relationships with all those living astronauts and they will be part of our brain trust on the show.”

It was Sedgwick who opted to bring in Steven Spielberg to help produce the show via his Amblin company.

“We thought, what better than to bring in Steven Spielberg to help tell this awe-inspiring story of the astronauts who inspired space travel for a new generation? Amblin helped us prepare the pitch that went out to the marketplace, and it has been extremely competitive, and we are close to a deal.”

When will ‘The Challenger’ be on screens?

While there are no other cast or creatives attached yet, the plan is apparently to have this one on screens by 2026, the 30th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy.

Kristen Stewart at the 94th Oscars®

Kristen Stewart arrives on the red carpet of the 94th Oscars® at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, on Sunday, March 27, 2022. Photo: Michael Baker / A.M.P.A.S.

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