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CarterNews: The After, Area 51

Once more, Carter is busy!

“The After”

A month after Amazon released its pilots in February 6 and hosts of reviews started appearing, rumors began on Chris Carter’s “The After” getting the green light for a full series, but with no official word or comment anywhere. This was only officially confirmed on March 31, with not only “The After” but a total of 6 pilots going to series out of 10. Many people expected that Amazon would choose among the two one-hour pilots, this being the whole point of the online competition, but instead both “The After” and “Bosch” were chosen, which puts into question as to whether viewer feedback was going to be taken into account at all — possibly viewer feedback will be used to steer the show in future episodes. The official synopsis:

“The After”: Follows eight strangers who are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world “that defies explanation.” Written and directed by Carter; executive producer is Marc Rosen of Georgeville Television and Gabe Rotter is producer. Starring Aldis Hodge, Andrew Howard, Arielle Kebbel, Jamie Kennedy, Sharon Lawrence, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Adrian Pasdar and Louise Monot.

The After” thus becomes Carter’s fifth series (although he is not mentioned as executive producer above), and his first since 2001’s short-lived “The Lone Gunmen“. Before Amazon ‘airs’ the episodes, “The After” now has to go into pre-production, Carter has to write scripts (alone or gather a team of writers), with full production and shooting (in 4K Ultra HD!) and post-production to follow — so a likely date for us to see the rest of the story is late 2014 or early 2015. We don’t know whether Carter and Amazon conceive this as an event mini-series or a first season in a multi-season story. In an interview with Carter at KCRW, it was hinted that the rest of the show would be four two-hour episodes.

See also on EatTheCorn: XFL/ETC exclusive interview with Carter | The After” released | Details on “The After

“Area 51”

March was a big month for Carter, as his other project of a show was ordered into full development! We had first talked and theorized about it on EatTheCorn, it turns out that it’s different from what I expected! The official synopsis:

“Area 51”: Writer/EP: Chris Carter (The X Files); EP: Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead). Based on the New York Times best-seller Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen. A contemporary conspiracy thriller revealing the true story behind the infamous Area 51, America’s most mysterious military installation.

Carter had mentioned that it would include some discussion on “the spectrum of political discourse as seen on the cable news channels” and would be “treading on some of this interesting ground that Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange have uncovered for us“, so obviously some aspects of it would be about media manipulation of information and the (un)covering of governmental/military secrets of debatable ethics. However the main subject is surprisingly close to what Carter came to be known for with “The X-Files“! Area 51, codename for a part of Edwards Air Force Base in Groom Lake, Nevada, is a huge myth for UFO lore, that’s where the Roswell UFO debris would have been stored and where reverse engineering of alien technology would have taken place; it was covered in XF in 6X04/6X05: Dreamland (and the Ellens Air Force Base, Idaho, in 1X01: Deep Throat was a stand-in for Area 51).

area51jacobsen

What is interesting is that the series would be based on Annie Jacobsen’s non-fiction book, which caused quite a stir when it was released in 2011. Jacobsen presents research on what really happened in Area 51 (and in Roswell), and presents not a story about aliens but a story about military research and Cold War era paranoia — although she has been criticized of sensationalistic writing and for not citing all her sources, the approach and presentation is a journalistic one. A whole commercial website was set up for the book (this kind of attention-seeking is not something very common for non-fiction), and it became a success. The synopsis of the book:

It is the most famous military installation in the world. And it doesn’t exist. Located a mere seventy-five miles outside of Las Vegas in Nevada’s desert, the base has never been acknowledged by the U.S. government-but Area 51 has captivated imaginations for decades.

Myths and hypotheses about Area 51 have long abounded, thanks to the intense secrecy enveloping it. Some claim it is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities. Others believe that the lunar landing itself was filmed there. The prevalence of these rumors stems from the fact that no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside the base. Until now.

Annie Jacobsen had exclusive access to nineteen men who served the base proudly and secretly for decades and are now aged 75-92, and unprecedented access to fifty-five additional military and intelligence personnel, scientists, pilots, and engineers linked to the secret base, thirty-two of whom lived and worked there for extended periods. In Area 51, Jacobsen shows us what has really gone on in the Nevada desert, from testing nuclear weapons to building super-secret, supersonic jets to pursuing the War on Terror.

This is the first book based on interviews with eye witnesses to Area 51 history, which makes it the seminal work on the subject. Filled with formerly classified information that has never been accurately decoded for the public, Area 51 weaves the mysterious activities of the top-secret base into a gripping narrative, showing that facts are often more fantastic than fiction, especially when the distinction is almost impossible to make.

Keeping with the XF vein, Jacobsen’s next book will be “Operation Paperclip“! (see 3X02: Paper Clip)

AMC and veteran producer Gale Ann Hurd considered making a series out of it from as early as November 2011, with a different writer attached at the time! AMC approached Carter in 2013 to have his take on it, and now it’s moving into full production. Again, we do not know whether this will be conceived as a mini-series or a first season — nor whether the series will fully follow Jacobsen’s grounded (but debatable) explanation or whether it will involve actual aliens (à la “Taken” or “Dark Skies“). Even so, there are plenty of things that happened in and around Area 51 that didn’t involve Roswell: military planes development, astronaut trainings, Soviet technology reverse engineering, nuclear bomb tests! Area 51 was really “in” in the 1990s and covered several times, I hope Carter can find a fresh approach for this. It looks like a full season will be produced altogether, without first making a pilot; perhaps this will air as soon as late 2014, but probably it will be early 2015.

All in all, 2014-2015 is shaping to be a very interesting period for Carter!

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