WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Season 1 of Space Force, now available on Netflix.
Netflix’s Space Force focuses on General Naird (Steve Carell) being tasked with getting “boots on the moon by 2024.” This means he has to make the president’s dream come true of having a base there where citizens can live in peace. It’s audacious yet ambitious, which makes for a hilarious 10 episodes from Carell and The Office’s Greg Daniels.
As expected, there’s a lot of sci-fi embedded into the series, so let’s break down all the references in Space Force that comic book fans and geeks will catch on their binge.
“F*ck Tony,” aka Tony Scarapiducci, is Space Force’s social media manager and is actually a mash-up of a content powerhouse @f*ckjerry and former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. Being this kind of character means that Tony is all about comedic tweets that connect Naird and the project to young people.
Tony taps into Star Wars culture early on, begging Naird to post about lightsabers being used to cook burgers properly. Naird doesn’t get it but Tony is adamant that using the likes of Wendy’s and Burger King, while combining it with the Jedi/Sith weapons will link him to the pulse of young people who want to see older heads being more edgy and cool.
Naird and his science chief, Mallory (John Malkovich), are placed in a bidding war between two contractors who can give them “Iron Man pants.” Evidently, the president is a lover of Marvel movies and wants pants that can bring dead bodies back from war and straight to camp.
Space Force entertains both contractors in a game of Space Tag. It goes awry for Air Force as Mallory hacks their pants and renders them stationary, all so Naird could kill them off and win the game. It shows how vulnerable the tech is and why it could never come from the mind of someone like Tony Stark. On top of that, Mallory sabotages the project because a dead body, no matter what, can’t be walked back without back support.
Angela (Tawny Newsome) is a captain training to lead the astronauts on the moon. She befriends Naird’s daughter, Erin (Diana Silvers), who feels like her dad isn’t giving her enough time since her mom got sent to prison. While they tour the campus, Angela convinces her to spend more time and even work there selling ice-cream so she can be closer to her dad.
As they walk about, Erin — as any high-school teen would be — is distracted on her cellphone so Angela points to the gym, calling it Wakanda, and also stating how that’s the lab Bruce Banner had his gamma radiation accident at. Erin doesn’t pick up on her references so either she was really not paying attention or has committed the ultimate sin of not being a Marvel fan.
With spies supposedly running around Space Force, Tony is worried he’ll be caught up in something. He’s innocent but as any PR or media personality is, he’s overdramatic. This leads to an exchange with him and a scientist at the facility, Chan (Jimmy Yang) where Tony realizes there aren’t too many scientists around and Chan trolls him with some Harry Potter knowledge.
Chan says they’re all wearing cloaks of invisibility because it’s the only secret tech they have access to. Tony freaks out and Chan is amazed he’s so gullible. In Tony’s defense, though, Space Force has many engineering and chemical projects ongoing, and he does believe Harry Potter’s relics can be created using tech with geniuses like Chan on the job.
Naird ends up spending time with some test subjects on a lunar base Space Force is running simulations from. They’re not getting along, however, so he’s there to build team spirit and show them how to unite when they get to space.
Interestingly, they all bond as Naird reveals some of his darkest missions and also, how the concept of family is something that matters to him personally. But when he leaves, the subjects wonder if Naird’s serious about the giant “death laser.” It’s a reference to Star Wars’ Death Star and seeing as Naird was told the president would like one, it appears to be in the works.
Tony’s a huge Star Trek fan and keeps egging Naird on to build something similar to the S.S. Enterprise. He believes it’ll appeal to the kids, driven by the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies coming into pop culture. As usual, Naird has no clue what he’s talking about. Tony brings Star Trek up again when the First Lady and her team send uniforms over which he has turned into something that feels like uniforms from the franchise mashed up with a marching band. They’re red shirts, though, so clearly Tony isn’t that versed, as his judgment is clouded by how outlandish and cool he thinks they are. He’s just caught up by how much the first lady will love him for letting her have her way as a fashionista.
Created by Greg Daniel and Steve Carell, Space Force stars Carell, John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Diana Silvers and Tawny Newsome. Season 1 is currently available on Netflix.
KEEP READING: Space Force’s Season 1 Finale, Explained
The first season of Netflix's Space Force has a plethora of comic book and sci-fi references for geeks everywhere.