‘Masters of the Air’ EP Hopes Apple Show Gets a Season 2, But It’s ‘Somebody Else’s Turn’

Note: This story contains spoilers from the “Masters of the Air” finale.

“Masters of the Air” EP Gary Goetzman isn’t closing the door on a potential second season of the Apple TV+ epic. But he, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks likely won’t be the ones to make it.

“I hope somebody does it, but I don’t know that it’ll be us,” Goetzman told TheWrap of a foll-up installment or another Air Force series. “With ‘Band of Brothers,’ ‘The Pacific’ and ‘Masters of the Air,’ I feel like [it’s] somebody else’s turn.”

“Masters of the Air,” which is billed as a limited series and stars Austin Butler and Callum Turner, closes out the WWII miniseries trilogy started by the Goetzman, Spielberg and Hanks over 20 years ago, which has now paid its respects to all three major service groups.

The finale chronicled the final moments of the war in Europe, marking a full circle moment for Major John ‘Bucky’ Egan (Turner) as Allied troops flew over one of the last POW camps standing in Moosburg, Germany, sharing news of the victory. In a touching moment, Bucky climbed up the camp’s flag post and rid it of the Nazi flag, replacing it with a flowing American flag.

“You can never feel what they felt obviously, but we did feel the triumph ourselves,” Goetzman said of filming the moment of victory.

Below, Goetzman broke down the finale’s biggest moments in a conversation with TheWrap, including Lieutenant Colonel Robert “Rosie” Rosenthal’s (Nate Mann) realization in the abandoned concentration camp, Sgt. Ken Lemmons (Rafferty Law) big flight and more.

TheWrap: In the finale, we see a shift in Buck and Bucky as Buck starts to have more faith that the pair will make it out alive. What prompted this change?

Goetzman: Over their time together, they would go back and forth about what they felt at certain times. Of course, you’re left to your own brain at a point, and you talk back and forth probably so many ideas, so many ways that yes, I can see the two of them ending up having different points of view of [whether] to stay or go.

Seeing that white horse as Buck escaped the POW camp was especially striking. What was the inspiration behind that choice?

It’s visually, and as far as the story goes, very symbolic of what he’s thinking. That horse is a champion, and probably at a crossroads wondering. “Where am I going?”

It’s such a special moment when Bucky puts up the American flag in the POW camp. What was it like filming that moment?

We had a lot going on in those days, obviously. There’s a battle that happens there. And this is Moosburg, the last camp that they would be in and realizing that the Americans had finally triumphed over the Germans and we’re taking that camp. I think he didn’t want to see that Nazi flag anymore, and there had been a flag running around the camp, and he got it, got up there and climbed up like a circus performer.

The exchange when the camp went from German leadership to American stood out as well. What did that demonstrate?

Our colonel, who was taking over the camp leading the Americans and the allies, was saying “I’ll be civil, but we’re never going to be friends, buddy. So let’s not even go here.”

Rosie also faces a particularly transformative moment as he walks through a concentration camp and realizes the atrocities of the genocide. How did you guide Nate through that moment and how do you hope it impacts audiences?

Just the realization of how humans can treat other humans. I think inside of me, I just feel like we can never forget, and you hate portraying scenes like that. But you hope they serve a purpose, that it says this can never happen again. It affected Rosie obviously, being Jewish, just beyond anything that any of us who weren’t can imagine. But we all have to feel that and believe that and understand that that’s true. This is what happened and this is what can happen again. He’s very interesting because he later became a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, and also married his wife who also worked on the U.S. team there. Still now very moving and I hope people are affected by those scenes.

Crosby and Rosie have the scene of their reunion, and Crosby talks about not wanting to become a monster after the war. What went into writing that dialogue and shaping that scene?

It’s quite deep, really. How do we do the jobs that we have to do sometimes and not become the people that we’re fighting? That was a question that rambled around inside of him and obviously, later in life, we realize that he didn’t become the monster, but he did worry about it.

I also wanted to ask about the Tuskegee Airmen, and their limited but important role in this series. How did you go about weaving them into that narrative, and why is it important that they’re included?

Anytime we can speak about Tuskegee airmen, we should. They were a fantastic unit and not to be underrated on any level. We did find that they were in the same camp as our lead characters were during the war. So that was something that we could not let go. It was all about us trying to figure how to include them in this. It is called “Masters of the Air” and they are masters of the air, so it was it was really an opportunity to bring in some of those men and, hopefully, inspire people to learn more about them. This is always the purpose of our shows. The stories are so rich, and there’s so many of them that if we can just inspire people to learn more about them, I think that that would be a job complete.

Raff Law’s character has a great scene where he gets to go up in a B-17 plane finally. Why didn’t that happen sooner?

You realize, these men, when they fly those B-17s for the last time, they’re not going to be able to just get to B-17 and fly it [again]. Life will move on, the military will move on in what they use. A lot of the older pilots we’ve known were sentimental about it and seek them out. Maybe there’s one out in Barstow that you can fly or you can at least ride in. That’s something that it’s just not a given.

With Raff’s character, if you think about it, why do we think he would have been up in a plane because he’s a mechanic, he keeps them flying. Doesn’t he have to check them out? But that wasn’t the case. It’s a really moving moment when he finally gets to fly. Probably his last chance he had.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

All episodes of “Masters of the Air” are now streaming on Apple TV+.

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