'Project Blue Book': Stark contrast between Michael Quinn and Dr J Allen Hynek will be a major focus of the show

From the viewers' perspective, the nuanced display of Quinn's restraint in the project, highlights Hynek's eccentric nature

                            'Project Blue Book': Stark contrast between Michael Quinn and Dr J Allen Hynek will be a major focus of the show

History channel's upcoming show, 'Project Blue Book' has it all. Based on the real-life phenomenon that saw over 12,000 alleged alien and UFO sightings reported back in the '50s in and around the Washington DC area, the story is a recount of Dr. J. Allen Hynek - the only civilian involved in the project - and his journey of skepticism and faith in the existence of extra-terrestrials.

Another significant aspect of the show that sets it apart from regular shows of the alien genre is how it digs deeper into the lives of the people involved in the case, as it divulges nuances of trust and relationships beyond the topic of aliens.

One such subplot focuses on an additional character, Michael Quinn - a decorated WWII hero - who somehow emerges as such a striking contrast to the character and beliefs of Dr. Hynek, it becomes an indispensable part of re-telling the story that left numerous civilians panicking and shaken.

Aidan Gillen plays the role of Dr. Hynek - a family man, college professor, and an astrophysicist - who reportedly devoted his career to all things extraterrestrial. Charged with the title of the only civilian involved in Project Blue Book and dedicating his life to explaining the unexplainable, the real-life Dr. Hynek managed to leave behind a legacy after his death in 1986, and it is now up to the new show to showcase his involvement with the project, which lasted 17 years, from 1952 to 1969.


Captain Quinn on the other hand - played by Michael Malarkey - is the face of the project run by the U.S. Air Force, dedicated to digging out the truth behind these alleged alien sightings. In that, the new division of the force investigates the UFO phenomena with a rather negative and skeptical approach to the topic, and Captain Quinn is introduced to the plot to act as an embodiment of those ideals and doubts surrounding the existence of aliens.

And, when comparing the two character, the end result is a fine line of difference, that is able to distinguish the charming Air Force pilot from his partner in the project - an obsessive scientific mostly acting upon his emotional instincts and gut impulses.

In previous interviews, director David O'Leary revealed how Captain Quinn's character is an amalgamation of a fair few Air Force pilots directly involved with the project. But from the viewers' perspective, through the nuanced display of the character's lack of faith in the project, Hynek's vivid imagination and faith in some remote underlying truth to the reported sightings comes out even better.

Hynek spearheaded the projects which were the closest to discovering the existence of UFOs. (Project Blue Book)
Hynek spearheaded the projects which were the closest to discovering the existence of UFOs. (Project Blue Book)

Speaking about the addition of a whole new character as a mixture of the many real-life ones in the original project, Gillen, who plays the role of Dr. Hynek, told Entertainment Tonight "[the show is] a 10-part drama focusing around Project Blue Book, around Allen Hynek, and this character, Captain Michael Quinn, who's a straight up Air Force type guy, but they play well off each other."

What Gillen hints at is that when compared to the somewhat erratic and eccentric Dr. Hynek, Captain Quinn is a much more grounded character who takes things with a pinch of salt. And, considering O'Leary reportedly "changed his (Captain Quinn's) name to dramatize certain aspects of his character, molding him into the perfect on-screen partner for Hynek," the true purpose of adding the character into the show becomes even clearer.

Another interesting aspect of the story is Captain Edward Ruppelt, whose involvement in the project is said to have inspired Captain Quinn's character, as Ruppelt was the chief of Project Blue Book from 1952-53. In one of Ruppelt's books, he mentioned Dr. Hynek being resentful about the negative and unyielding attitude of the air force towards the topic of aliens and UFOs. Now, with the upcoming show, Michael's character is speculated to encapsulate all of that.


Speaking to Open Minds TV, Malarkey remarked: "From an actor's standpoint, we need to believe that this guy has been to the war and killed people and seen his friends get killed. He understands the chain of command and it's almost like second nature to him. But it's also important that we don't portray or paint the air force as villains here (in the show). This (the Air Force's lack of faith) has always been an effort to protect the people, also it's been skewed over time and become more corrupt. But Quinn very much represents the innocence of that."

If his words are to be trusted, Captain Quinn basically "represents the air force fairly, while his character is also part of the cover-up" - something that will make for the perfect concoction to witness once the show premieres Tuesday, January 8, at 10/9c on History.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.