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Is ‘Yellowjackets’ based on a true story?

A plane crashes, and stranded in a forest, teens are left to find ways to survive — did the events of ‘Yellowjackets’ really happen?

A plane crashes, stranded in a forest, and teens left to find ways to survive, did the events of ‘Yellowjackets’ really happen?

Showtime’s hit drama-thriller series ‘Yellowjackets’ follows the events that transpire after an all-girls soccer team finds themselves stranded in a Canadian forest after a terrifying plane crash when they’re on their way to the national championships.

The series takes an innovative approach to the idea of being stranded, adding elements of rituals and cult-related imagery that make the story all the more creepy. With everything that happens in the story, is any of it based on real events?

Elements of a real plane crash inspired ‘Yellowjackets’

Some parts of the ‘Yellowjackets’ story are based in reality. Namely, the 1972 plane crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 involving the Old Christians Club Rugby team. The team was flying from Montevideo, Uruguay to Santiago, Chile for their game against the Old Boys Club.

The flight carried 45 passengers when poor weather conditions and an inexperienced pilot caused the plane to crash into the Andes Mountains. Only 34 of the 45 passengers survived the initial crash.

The cold temperatures of the mountains only contributed to more loss, as the rest of the survivors found themselves stranded for 72 days.

The fight for survival resulted in people doing anything to stay alive, with some resorting to cannibalism. Search and rescue efforts stopped after only eight days, but survivors Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa hiked for 10 days to reach the Chilean border, a feat that saved the remaining 16 survivors.

A lot of this sounds very similar to the plot of ‘Yellowjackets’, except that the girls are stranded in the forest for two years instead of almost three months.

Novel inspiration

But perhaps one of the most famous and obvious inspirations for ‘Yellowjackets’ is William Golding’s novel ‘Lord of the Flies’, published in 1954.

Show creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson have noted the influence, and ‘Yellowjackets’ actually started as a film adaptation of the novel, but they ended up pitching the idea of a five-season series instead.

Lyle, in an interview on The Hollywood Reporter’s podcast ‘TV’s Top Five’ said:

“Lord of the Flies is about how socialization falls away and how society is a facade. We thought, who is more socialized than women? As girls, you learn early on how to make people like you and what the social hierarchies are.

“It’s a more interesting way of having things fall away. The mask is even thicker. It’s a more layered amount of preconceived notions of how to behave and act.

While the series follows the general plot of ‘Lord of the Flies’, its gender-swapped narrative makes the story something new that comments on the reality of femininity.