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Is Yellowjackets based on a true story?

Here's everything we know about whether Yellowjackets is based on a true story, including all the major sources of inspiration for the survival series.

Yellowjackets true story - Melanie Lynskey

Is Yellowjackets based on a true story? As the new season of the celebrated TV series from Melanie Lynskey rears its head, audiences are clamouring for more information on the background to the drama series.

Set in two timelines simultaneously, Yellowjackets tells the story of a group of girls whose flight crashes in the Canadian wilderness and how the survivors of the crash learn to live despite the challenges, resorting to cannibalism. The other timeline follows the survivors in the present day, long after their rescue from isolation in the remote forests of Canada.

The thriller series features a talented ensemble cast, and with its gripping premise, it’s widely considered to be one of the best TV series on air, having won several major awards. The level of reality depicted in the series is part of its success and has fans questioning if Yellowjackets is based on a true story. Now, we have the answers.

Is Yellowjackets based on a true story?

Yellowjackets is not based on a true story in a strict sense, but creator Ashley Lyle has explained how the series takes influence from a combination of sources from fiction and non-fiction.

The real-life inspiration behind Yellowjackets can be pin-pointed specifically as a combination of the Donner Party and the Andes flight disaster.

The Donner Party was a group of early-American pioneers who travelled across the US attempting to reach California, however got stranded in the wild during their journey in the winter months. Members of their group died due to starvation and illness, with the survivors eventually turning to cannibalism – as in Yellowjackets – to stay alive.

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Closer to the story of Yellowjackets, the Andes flight disaster occurred in 1972 when a plane crashed in the South American Andes range. The group of survivors sadly dwindled in number as injuries and the harshness of the crash location led to further deaths.

With their food rations having run out, and their being no nearby vegetation or animals, the survivors of the crash also turned to cannibalism. It was only two months later, after getting though further deaths and an avalanche, that the small number of remaining survivors were rescued.

Elsewhere, Lyle cited the William Golding novel The Lord of the Flies as a major inspiration as well. Lord of the Flies follows the story of a group of young boys who become stranded on an isolated island, before splitting into groups of competing survivors with different ideas about how to govern themselves.

So while Yellowjackets is an original work, it also takes major inspiration from multiple sources; just like many of the best drama series.

Yellowjackets is available to watch on Paramount Plus. For more from the streaming service, check out our guide to the Yellowstone timeline and our thoughts on the 1923 season 2 release date. Find out what we know about the Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 release date.