“We’re not inventing a story where we need the most extreme version of what it is that meets our fears,” Cosmos: Possible Worlds host and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said of the vital role VFX plays in the National Geographic series. “We are just trying to portray actual known things that happen in the actual known universe.”
Tyson joined Possible Worlds executive producer Ann Druyan and visual effects supervisor Jeffrey A. Okun at Deadline’s Contenders Television virtual event.
“The biggest challenge is to make science what it is,” Okun says of making the series come alive with VFX. “What’s really important about this is that my journey … is to put up on the screen what they wrote,” he added of the Druyan- and Brannon Braga-penned series, which is executive produced by Seth MacFarlane and ended its first season April 20.
“So, what the effects had to do was not just tell the story, but to show the natural beauty that exists in science,” Okun noted. “It was an honor and so exciting.”
Having debuted March 9 on Nat Geo, the 13-episode Cosmos: Possible Worlds asks “who will we become in the far future?” as it turns its telescope on the more optimistic aims of science and discovery. A follow-up to the Peabody- and Emmy-winning Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Possible Worlds is the latest iteration of the legendary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage that Carl Sagan hosted nearly 40 years ago.
“I think it responds to a deep yearning that virtually everyone of has to feel connected to the universe,” Druyan said about the multi-generational appeal of Cosmos in all its iterations. “Science itself … really delivers the goods,” the writer-director said.
Co-creator of the original Cosmos with astronomer Sagan, as well as his spouse, Druyan also served as creative director of NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Message Project. Okun has been the visual effects supervisor on the likes of Stargate and the 2017 feature Geostorm. The industry vet has also been the recipient of the Visual Effects Society Founder’s Award.
The full first season of Cosmos: Possible Worlds is set to play on Fox later this year — it’s out of this world, trust me.
Check out the panel video above.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.