The flip side of that, which also plays directly into Nightflyers' plot of intrigue, falls into the risk of attempting to contact other life forms, should they exist, for assistance. "What in our history tells us that making contact with aliens would be a good or a smart thing?" Buhler asks. "You've got great minds who say maybe we shouldn't be sending signals into outer space. Maybe making contact with aliens isn't the wisest thing for us to do," he says, pointing to our own bloody history of colonialism on this planet as an argument against such exploration. Of course, he's quick to point out the opposite side, too, acknowledging the "very aspirational scientists who say this might be our only chance to save the world, and that we have to try."
There's a lot there to unpack. But Buhler's hoping these debates will also add some intriguing subtext to Nightflyers. "In the context of television, you need debate, you need conflict that can go on and on and on, so what I tried to do was put forth a question, without being too preachy about it, at the center of this journey." That said, this is still a GRRM story, and Buhler's the first to acknowledge that that means there won't be any solid resolution to this debate once the season wraps up.
"The story itself is the journey, not necessarily the answer that they get to when they get there," Buhler says. "Because of course, in classic George R.R. Martin form, you don't get an answer when you get to where you're going; you get to another question that makes you wonder, 'Where should I go next?' I tried to lean into that, the core theme, which is: Are we sure we know what we're doing? Are we really sure that we should be doing space exploration in this way? Do we have the moral imperative to do that?"