What did the 33-star U.S. Flag in Ascension mean?
by Doc 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:
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…