Is Yellowjackets Based On A True Story? Unravelling The Truth Behind The Thrilling Series

by Alex Harris

19th November, 2023

Is Yellowjackets Based on a True Story? Unravelling the Truth Behind the Thrilling Series


Yellowjackets, the Showtime series, has returned for a gripping second season, continuing its blend of mystery and survival drama. The series, which has garnered significant attention and critical acclaim, raises a common question among its audience: Is it based on true events?

Yellowjackets: A Synopsis

Created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson, Yellowjackets is a mystery thriller that follows a high school girls’ soccer team. The team, while travelling to a tournament in Seattle in 1996, crash-lands in the Canadian wilderness and is left stranded for nineteen months. The series interweaves their survival story with their adult lives in the present day, revealing the long-term effects of their traumatic experience.

Cast of Yellowjackets
Cast of Yellowjackets

The Real-Life Inspirations

While Yellowjackets is not a true story, it draws inspiration from two notable real-life events: the Donner Party tragedy and the 1972 Andes Flight Disaster.

  • The Donner Party: This was a group of American pioneers in the 19th century who, while migrating to California, became trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Facing harsh conditions, they resorted to cannibalism for survival.
  • The Andes Flight Disaster: This incident involved a Uruguayan rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes mountains en route to a game in Chile. Stranded for 72 days, the survivors faced extreme conditions and, like the Donner Party, resorted to cannibalism.

These historical events, particularly the Andes Flight Disaster, heavily influence the show’s narrative, especially the aspects of survival and the psychological impact on the characters.

Creative Influences and Themes

Yellowjackets also draws inspiration from William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, exploring themes of societal breakdown and the nature of civilization. The creators, Lyle and Nickerson, have expressed their interest in challenging gender stereotypes and exploring the complex dynamics of female relationships, both supportive and antagonistic. The show delves into the idea that women, just like men, are capable of savagery and complex social interactions, especially under extreme circumstances.

Critical Reception and Future Prospects

The series has been well-received, earning seven nominations at the Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. The performances of the cast, including Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci, Tawny Cypress, Ella Purnell, and others, have received praise. The show’s success led to its renewal for a third season, with Showtime and Paramount Media Networks fast-tracking its production due to the first season’s runaway success.


Yellowjackets masterfully blends fictional storytelling with elements inspired by real-life events. Its exploration of human behaviour, societal norms, and survival under extreme conditions makes it a compelling watch. As the series continues to unfold, it promises to keep its audience engaged with its complex characters and intriguing plot.

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