Kristen Stewart Sets First TV Lead Role as Astronaut Sally Ride in Limited Series About Challenger Disaster

Kristen Stewart is reaching for the stars: The Oscar nominee has signed on to play famed astronaut Sally Ride in an upcoming limited series chronicling the 1986 Challenger disaster, marking her first lead role in a TV series, our sister site Deadline reports.

The series, titled The Challenger and reportedly nearing a deal with Amazon, will follow Ride and her diverse class of NASA astronauts, with Ride becoming the first American woman in space in 1983. Ride was not a passenger on the ill-fated space shuttle the Challenger — which exploded in 1986, killing everyone on board — but she was part of the committee that investigated the cause of the explosion and later was revealed to be the person who identified a problem with the shuttle’s O-rings, which led to the explosion. (The series is aiming to be ready for the 40th anniversary of the Challenger disaster in 2026.)

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Maggie Cohn (American Crime Story, The Staircase) will serve as writer and showrunner of the series, based on the Meredith Bagby book The New Guys, and veteran actor Kyra Sedgwick will serve as an executive producer. “Who better to play Sally Ride than one of the great actors of her generation?” Sedgwick said of Stewart in a statement. “She has never done television, but when she read this, she became obsessed with telling the story of Sally Ride from her own unique perspective.”

Stewart first rose to fame as teen Bella Swan in the Twilight film franchise before moving to more indie fare like Still Alice and Personal Shopper. She earned an Oscar nod for best lead actress for playing Princess Diana in the 2021 film Spencer. Her TV work is limited to a few one-off cameos on shows like The Sarah Silverman Program.

Are you onboard with Kristen Stewart playing Sally Ride? Drop your thoughts on the casting in a comment below.

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