Project Blue Book: Is Project Blue Book based on a true story?

Project Blue Book premiered tonight (Wednesday, March 27) on Syfy in the UK. The remaining nine episodes will air weekly on the channel. The series stars Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen and Vampire Diaries’ Michael Malarkey in a dramatization of Project Blue Book. Project Blue Book was the name given to the real secret investigation by the United States Air Force into the existence of UFOs. Read on to find out more about the fascinating true story.

Is Project Blue Book based on a true story?

Yes, Project Blue Book on US History and Syfy is based on a true story.

However, the TV adaption blends historical facts and real characters and events with myth and other UFO literature.

Michael Malarkey spoke exclusively to about Project Blue Book.

He explained: “It is a series that is to do with the original top-secret Air Force Project of the same name which was investigating the unknown aerial phenomenon or UFOs or ‘flying saucers’ at the time.

“It follows J. Allen Hynek, the famous astrophysicist who has been enlisted by the Air Force to help them legitimise these sightings with scientific evidence.”

He added: “My character, Captain Michael Quinn, is loosely based on Edward J. Ruppelt who was running the project at the time and in the first episode, we see him under orders to basically get Hynek on board.

“As the season progresses we follow their relationship and the two of them on the ground investigating these sightings and sometimes seeing things for themselves as well.

“It is a real thriller-noir, executively produced by Robert Zemeckis so the set is out of this world, the cinematography is very beautiful and great costumes and it just a nice mix of a genre piece and interesting relationship drama.”


Project Blue Book was the name given to the top-secret American Air Force investigation into the existence of UFOs in the 1950s and 1960s.

The investigation officially began in 1952 and came to an end in 1970.

The study had two goals overall which were to determine if UFOs were a threat to national security and to analyse UFO-related data.

Project Blue Book’s purpose was to debunk the theory of UFOs to squash public hysteria and over two decades,  12,000 UFO reports were collected.

The Condon Report of 1968 concluded most of the findings were misidentifications of natural phenomena and aircraft.

However, 701 sightings from the project remain unidentified.

Project Blue Book follows Dr Allen Hynek and Captain Quinn, who worked on Project Blue Book.

The series is set against the backdrop of the Cold War.

The government’s suspicions that UFOs were Russian planes spying on Russia and the public hysteria that followed is a vital part of the plot.

Malarkey added: “I think without a doubt UFO’s are real, but that doesn’t mean I’m thinking the aliens are real. UFO by definition means unidentified flying object so I shoot a spitball, somebody could say they had seen a UFO.

“I mean, you look at all these documents and the mass footage of everything you can actually see and infer that the stuff is actually going on but it just keeps getting brushed under the rug.

“What I hope will happen with the show and what I have seen happening is the opening up of this debate, to be taken a little more serious. There are people who will watch the show already interested in the phenomenon and be like: ‘Well I know that already, it’s not new information’.

“However, there is a lot of people and in particular, younger people who have grown up seeing aliens on cartoons, legitimising them in a way, will see this and go: ‘Oh wow’, and do the research themselves.”


Dr Allen Hynek

Game of Thrones and The Wire’s Aidan Gillen stars as Dr Allen Hynek in Project Blue Book.

Dr Hynek was a real person, who is best known today as the father of ufology.

Hynek created the category of Close Encounters, which is when UFOs are spotted within 500 feet.

He was also the first to concede that some UFO cases could defy explanation in his 1972 book, The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry.

Hynek was the only scientist recruited by the US government to help with the investigation into UFOs.

Captain Michael Quinn

The Vampire Diaries Michael Malarkey stars as Air Force Captain Michael Quinn in Project Blue Book.

In the series, Captain Quinn and Dr Hynek worked closely together during the studies, investigating potential sightings across the United States.

His name is inspired by Hector Quintanilla Jr, the last chief officer to oversee Project Blue Book and is loosely based on Edward J. Ruppelt, who ran Project Blue Book at the time.

Michael Malarkey described his character as: “An air force man through and through but also he has a tremendous amount of conflict which we see unravel throughout the season.“

He added: “Quinn is under these orders basically: ‘Close the case, get in there, disprove UFOs move on,’

“It was almost like the first fake news organisation really.

“It was designed to mislead the public and I just loved the conflict of being under these orders but also seeing things for himself and also having a partner who is an astrophysicist, a professor, who is more intellectual about discovering the truth and the conflict between them with their motives.

“So there are so many layers to it and you find out a lot more about Quinn’s foreshadowing past as well throughout the season.“

Project Blue Book airs Wednesdays at 9pm on Syfy


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