Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
SYFY WIRE Rod Serling

The Classic Twilight Zone Episode That Inspired Jordan Peele's Us

A tale of doppelgangers and paranoia, Us has its roots in a classic genre story.

By Matthew Jackson

It's no secret that Jordan Peele shares a particular connection to The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling's classic science fiction series that's been a formative piece of genre history for countless storytellers over the decades. Peele himself spearheaded a reboot of the show in 2019, even taking on Serling's role as narrator for each episode, but what you might not know is that The Twilight Zone was actually the initial inspiration for Peele's terrifying second feature film, Us (now available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment).

Released in 2019, Us is Peele's attempt at a doppelganger story, and follows a family on vacation who realizes they're being pursued by murderous people in red coveralls who look just like them. Much of the film takes the shape of a home invasion/survival thriller, but the mystery of the doppelgangers, and what they represent, plays a big role in the film's resolution. According to Peele, the whole doppelganger concept evolved not just because it's a creepy idea, but because of his childhood fandom of The Twilight Zone.

For More on The Twilight Zone:
Jordan Peele Launches Initiative to Find Next Great Horror Filmmaker

Jordan Peele Teases His Mysterious Next Film Could End Up His Favorite
The Strange Occurrence of the Twilight Zone Episode That Won an Oscar

How The Twilight Zone Inspired Jordan Peele's Us

Rod Serling wears a suit and stands in front of sign that says "Terminal" on The Twilight Zone.

Speaking to Rolling Stone back when Us was about to hit theaters, Peele explained that the Season 1 Twilight Zone episode "Mirror Image" played a big role in the birth of Us. That classic episode stars Vera Miles as a woman at a bus station who grows increasingly confused and frightened as she's told by multiple people that they've already interacted with her, despite her having no memory of said interactions whatsoever. Eventually, she learns that a woman who appears as an exact copy of herself is also in the bus station, and grows convinced that this copy is attempting to replace her. 

“It’s terrifying, beautiful, really elegant storytelling,” Peele said in 2019, “and it opens up a world. It opens up your imagination.” 

The idea of doppelgangers stuck with Peele, eventually getting so deep into his imagination that he had visions of what encountering his own doppelganger might be like while he was a student at Sarah Lawrence College. That persistent idea, coupled with other influences, eventually gave birth to Us, and it all started with The Twilight Zone

Us is now available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The Twilight Zone airs regularly on SYFY. Check the schedule for more information.