Is Tom Swift Based on a True Story?

Image Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW

Created by Melinda Hsu Taylor, Noga Landau, and Cameron Johnson, ‘Tom Swift’ is a spin-off of ‘Nancy Drew‘ and it follows the titular character, Tom Swift (Tian Richards), who is an innovative inventor worth billions of dollars. With the world in the palm of his hand, Tom’s world turns upside down with the sudden disappearance of his father. He gets involved in a set of conspiracies as he attempts to get to the bottom of the mysterious truth.

The mystery series might be science fiction, but the storyline consists of several interesting themes and elements, including a billionaire, the mystery behind the disappearance of Tom’s father, and his quest to uncover the truth. Since the narrative has so much going on, it is natural for viewers to wonder if it draws inspiration from any real events. If you are wondering the same, here is all the information to put your doubts to bed!

Is Tom Swift a True Story?

No, ‘Tom Swift’ is not based on a true story. However, the inspiration for the show’s narrative comes from the ‘Tom Swift’ book series by Victor Appleton, much like its parent series ‘Nancy Drew,’ which is also based on the eponymous book series. The original book series was published between 1910 and 1941, after which there were attempts to revive the series again in the 1950s, 1980s, and 1990s. However, they never saw the success that the originals saw. Tom Swift is the character that the books are based on, a young inventor who uses modern technology to come up with new devices to fight his rivals, much like the show.

On May 11, 2022, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, co-creator Cameron Johnson was asked if his personal experiences influenced the creation of the new version of Tom Swift. He said, “My dad would say it’s pure fiction; I, in reality, would disagree. [Laughs] I pulled quite a bit from my own experiences in terms of managing my internalized homophobia and the challenge that I think any queer person has of how there are these people who love you, but who wanted a different life for you and wanted a different world for you, and how do you square the way that you believe that they feel about you with the way that you want to live your life? And the different visions of manhood and masculinity that come together, I think that really is what we’re exploring in this season of Tom Swift.

Tian Richard, who portrays Tom Swift in the series, also had a lot of things to say about his character’s significance in the current society. In a May 2021 interview, Richards said that the original Tom Swift represented the young all-American boys back in the day, but the possibilities are much widened in today’s climate. It could even represent a man of color like him, who is queer and is all the things that are not considered “normal.”

In the same interview, Richards also hinted at all the realistic subjects that the character of Tom Swift would touch upon throughout the series. He revealed that they would focus on the Black elite community and a queer boy turning into a queer man. Apart from that, he said that we would also get to see some amazing and advanced gadgets being invented. All in all, the character of Tom Swift might have been modified a bit according to the current situation of the world, but in essence, the storyline and characters in ‘Tom Swift’ are inspired by the eponymous book series and are not rooted in reality.

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