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Moonshot XYZ

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Moonshot XYZ was the name of the mission which — in the syndicated cut of the series pilot, The Moon and the Desert, first landed Steve Austin on the moon. According to Rudy Wells, it was followed by two other, unidentified moonshots.

Deconstructed

The canonicity of this mission is open to interpretation:

  • Since the series proper retcons many details seen in the pilot — and, in particular, the civilian nature of Steve's involvement with NASA — the original pilot exists in its own continuity, and its syndicated version lives in still another, more series-compatible, continuity.
  • In the original pilot, Steve's lunar adventures are past, and only referenced in dialog. In syndication, additional footage adds a lunar landing, with Wells providing narration over footage culled from Dark Side of the Moon and elsewhere.
  • The mission is so named only by Rudy Wells, and it may be that Wells is using some sort of personal, highly unofficial code to refer to the mission.
  • The question of which version is canonical is difficult, as the original edit represents the introduction of Steve Austin to Television audiences, normally a source of deference, yet the re-edit not only attempts to bring greater continuity between telefilm and series, it also replaced the original edit in circulation (the 1978 DiscoVision release notwithstanding), making Universal's vote clear.
  • The series proper makes no explicit reference to this mission at all. Instead, Austin is most frequently described as having flown one of the final Apollo missions and being described as the last man to walk on the moon. (In The Solid Gold Kidnapping, Austin even wears a NASA jacket covered with Apollo mission patches.)
  • Although the chronology is difficult to work out, it is possible that the two "unidentified" moonshots referenced by Wells could be Apollo 17 -- identified as Austin's moon mission on a few occasions -- and Apollo 19, which is referenced in dialogue in Wine, Women and War.
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