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SYFY WIRE Project Blue Book

First look at Project Blue Book's Close Encounters of the Third Kind flash forward

By Tara Bennett

While we may not know all the truths of UFOs or the unclosed cases of the real Project Blue Book, what is absolutely undisputed is the wealth of knowledge and experience that Dr. J. Allen Hynek brought to the table. As a real investigator for the Air Force's investigations into the unexplained (including Project Blue Book), Hynek evolved into a global expert on ufology, even creating the first classification system for UFO close encounters.

Some may not know that one of Hynek's admirers was director Steven Spielberg, who named his 1977 UFO classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, after Hynek's classifications. The director also invited Hynek to serve as a technical consultant and appear in the film, where he shows up in the third act as an observer of the aliens who arrive at Devil's Tower. 

Up until now, HISTORY's Project Blue Book series narrative has existed only in the late '40s and early '50s. But in tonight's episode, "Close Encounters," the story jumps into the future with Aidan Gillen as Hynek getting a cinematic glow up in a recreation of the ufologist's cameo and time on Spielberg's set.

SYFY WIRE has the exclusive first look at the episode. ...

And don't worry, the series is still sticking with its timeline. "Close Encounters" will reveal how Hynek's remembrances of the past while filming the movie connect to what happened to him and Quinn (Michael Malarkey) as the infamous Robertson Panel threatened their investigations. 

On this week's SYFY WIRE Project Blue Book official podcast, we've got executive producer/showrunner Sean Jablonski, along with Gillen, Laura Mennell (Mimi Hynek), and Michael Malarkey to speak to us about what they thought when they cracked open a script that transported the story forward to 1976, recreating a film that made a lasting impression on all of them.

Project Blue Book S2 Close Encounters

In the meantime, catch up with the Season 2 storyline as Hynek and Quinn have unexpectedly found themselves in competition with the CIA's confidential investigations. All of it threatens a turf war between government departments who have vested interests in keeping UFO stories locked down. You can download last week's official podcast here.

New episodes of Project Blue Book air Tuesday nights at 10/9c on HISTORY.