Sci-Fi Storm

What did the 33-star U.S. Flag in Ascension mean?

by on Sep.02, 2020, under Television

Hey all…still alive and kicking around here…obviously I haven’t posted anything in a while as many other things have taken on priority lately, but we are edging closer to our 20th anniversary! So I figured I post something original, about something I never clearly understood.

In the 2014 mini-series Ascension, originally on Syfy but now available on Peacock, we are introduced to the residents and crew of the multi-generational Orion-Class starship U.S.S. Ascension, halfway through a 100-year journey to colonize another planet.

In the show we are shown a U.S. flag, but it isn’t the normal flag. This one had the normal 13 red and white stripes, but in the blue field there were only 33 stars, arranged in a slightly odd way. They were mostly in the same pattern of rows (alternating 6 and 5 stars per row), but some stars were missing, but there was a slight irregularity in the positions of the stars as well. Here is a screen capture of the appearance of the flag in a black-and-white video shown on the ship – the extra dots in the field were from the starfield in the background of the shot:

Syfy Ascension Flag

What did it mean? The U.S.S. Ascension was launched in 1963, so there would have been 50 states at the time. Did some states secede? Fail? Merge? Destroyed in a war? And they updated the flag in transmissions to the ship? My usually expert Google-fu failed me in finding an answer with just some speculation on Reddit. But I wanted an answer, and I knew where to get it – from the source.

I tweeted the creators of the show, Adrian Alex Cruz and Philip Levens, and got a reply from Cruz almost immediately. “The design is meant to embody both the star constellation that is their destination and the original 33 families selected for the journey. #stuffwenevergottoexplore…It’s a Colonial Flag, essentially.”

So there you have it…thanks to Adrian Alex Cruz for putting my mind at ease. Time to find a new mystery to solve…


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