The Catacombs The Production Guide
Writer's Guide


The leading characters in Space: 1999 are as follows:

John Robert Koenig

John Koenig is not only the American Commander of the Moon Base, but at 40 he is an astrophysicist of very high repute. A man whose interest in science began when he was only in his teens, John Koenig, product of an old Midwestern farming family, went on to gain honours at M.I.T. He eventually became a pilot and an astronaut. His practical and theoretical abilities being recognised, as well as an unquestionable leadership ability, he was responsible for the planning and control of many outstanding space missions. Though something of a maverick, and because of his knowledge and abilities, Koenig was asked to help work on Alpha's designs. He did so and was thus gradually drawn into the project. As we pick ALCOM Koenig up (Spacese for - Alpha Commander), he has accepted the post of new Base Commander, and is making arrangements to take charge.

In most cases, this will be back story, but it should be kept in mind, for story purposes, that Koenig is faced with crises before he has fully absorbed the ordinary routine of the Moon Base operations.

On the personal side, John Koenig is an interesting and somewhat complex -man. He has two streaks in him: one, rather ruthless and efficient, the 'mind-as-computer' aspect; and, on the other hand, a moody and introspective strain. Born in 1959, he is not the total space child. He has had, along with science, more humanities education than some others of his generation. As a matter of fact, he was married for five years to a woman who was a highly gifted artist.

From where John Koenig stood, the marriage was a gratifying one. Not so for his wife. She had submitted some of her own life to his, and at this point, decided to do so no longer. John was exceedingly unhappy over this decision, but loved her enough to make the separation an amicable one.

All this was more than six years ago, but John Koenig carries the scars with him and holds back at relating deeply to other women. As to men, Koenig demands a lot, but he demands a lot of himself too.

He isn't fantastically happy with the current 1999 state of humanity, but he has hope for the future, and feels that the human race can only evolve into any kind of ideal state if it goes on - and so he is dedicated to its survival. Still, having said that, it should be understood that he is a man with one foot somewhat in the past and one foot somewhere in the future.

The ALCOM term is not used in the series. The former marriage is only referred to in The Rules of Luton when she is mentioned as casualty of a "global war".

Dr. Helena Russell, Sp. Med. Ast-Psy

Dr. Helena Russell's cool good looks belie her abilities and her responsibilities. For Dr. Russell is Chief of the Medical Section, and has 25 highly skilled medical personnel under her direction and control.

Helena Russell is a woman in her early 30s (born, say, in 1965) whose father was a West Coast physician of great energy and drive. Influenced by her father, and driven by her own achievement mechanism, not to mention the strong feminist liberating movement of the times, Helena drove through medical school, where she met and married a fellow student.

The man she married, Telford Russell. moved into space medicine, a rapidly expanding specialty. Helena went along with him. Telford became a medical mission man - going out into space. Helena, now in her late 20s, worked at NASA and delved into space disorientation and psychology, becoming an expert in those areas. Then a mission disappeared into space - simply vanished - never heard from again. Telford was on that mission, and Helena to all intents and purposes, was widowed.

Helena grieved and then went on working and living her full and liberated life. She rose in her profession. One year ago, she was offered the post of Chief of Medical Section on Moon Base Alpha, and she accepted. Thus, as we pick Dr. Russell up, she has been on Alpha for 12 months, working and living, and to some extent retiring emotionally in that space womb environment.

Helena Russell is a very responsible person, a fine professional, but she is a woman nonetheless. By which we mean that she has her own side, a very feminine side, apart from the somewhat unisexed ambience of the Moon Base.

Helena creates holographic sculpture. She enjoys all kinds of music. She has a flair with her uniforms. She has a certain style. She is, despite the times, an individual and no one forgets that.

In the ongoing series, she may have to test that individuality more than once.

The marriage to Telford Russell sets up the second episode, "Siren Planet" by Art Wallace, which will become A Matter of Life and Death featuring Lee Russell. We don't see her artistic side at all in the first series, but we will see it in year 2.

Professor -- (name to be decided)

This interesting and wise English astrophysicist in his late 50s, comes to Moon Base Alpha as a visitor to take his first look at some of the components a number of his students designed. He remains as an accidental addition to the small colony hurtling through space.

The Professor, born in the early 40s, is a brilliant teacher and theoretician. Rarely involved in worldly things, the Professor nonetheless achieved a reputation as a tremendous Mind in field-force theory. From his conjectures has come much of the space hardware in current use.

John Koenig was one of the Professor's outstanding students years ago. Since then, a bond of affection has grown between them.

The Professor looks upon his times with a somewhat rueful eye. He is more of a throwback - a 19th-century scientist-philosopher-humanist - and he is an intellectual counterbalance to the 21st century we are about to enter, although physically he is much more a part of it than he appears. For he has a mechanical heart, which responds much more slowly to nervous stimuli than does a normal human heart. This makes him unsusceptible to panic or to emotional stress of any other kind. Unless someone who understands his condition is ruthless enough or desperate enough to interfere with his mechanical heart and so upset his finely tuned metabolism.

This will be named Victor Bergman. The mechanical heart was an under-developed aspect of the series, although he was never resistant to emotional stress.

Two further characters have yet to be cast:

1. An Italian man of 28 who will be in charge of space reconnaissance.

2. A 23-year-old Italian girl who will be an expert in sensor devices.

Two Italian characters to satisfy the backing of Italian TV, RAI. The man will first be named Catani, then Alan Carter. The girl will first be named Sandra Sabatini, then Sandra Benes. There will be no regular Italian characters in year one, although there will be in year 2. The characters of Paul Morrow and Kano have not yet been developed.

Copyright Martin Willey