This episode is also the backdoor pilot for the Tom Swift spin-off series.
Official synopsis of The Celestial Visitor from The CW:
TIAN RICHARDS ("BURDEN," "DUMPLIN") GUEST STARS AS TOM SWIFT - As things begin to go haywire at The Claw, a striking stranger appears looking for Nancy, and announces himself as the billionaire Tom Swift. Meanwhile, Ace has issues with the way Nancy insists on handling things with Celia. Tunji Kasim, Leah Lewis, Maddison Jaizani and Riley Smith also star.
Cast and characters
- Tian Richards as Tom Swift
- LeVar Burton as the voice of Barclay
- Aasila Dosani as Amanda Bobbsey
- Teryl Rothery as Celia Hudson
- Rukiya Bernard as Valentina Samuels
- Arjun Malik as Chef
- Jenaya Ross as Icaran phantom
- Everett Hudson
- Tom Swift's father
- George's uncle
- The Celestial Visitor serves as a backdoor pilot for the Tom Swift spin-off on The CW. The premise behind the episode according to Noga Landau is:
- "Tom, the titular Black, gay, billionaire inventor, crashes into one of Nancy's (Kennedy McMann) investigations in the May 12 episode "The Celestial Visitor," when Nancy interprets an event as supernatural, and Tom believes it to be cosmically paranormal. We're excited about bringing a story that has both sci-fi but also Blackness, and joy, and pride, and love, and romance."
- If picked up to series, Tom Swift would be the first gay black lead character in a network television series.
- The spinoff was picked up on August 30,2021.
- Tian shaped Tom Swift after Iddris Sandu, a tech genius who worked for Google and Uber doing their algorithms. He also used Jaden Smith for a fashion and culture reference, as Jaden also has a connection to a very visible father. He also drew from Elon Musk for the aerospace element of Tom.
- Tian spoke on breaking toxic masculinity during the kiss scene between Nick and Tom saying, "It was interesting to figure out how to play that because that's George's man, and I definitely am not going to overstep, but it was a bigger call. It was a thing of brotherhood to the fullest extent. This isn't me trying to sexualize him or to have my way, but it's like, we've spoken, and in this amount of time we've connected, we've seen each other so visibly that that's such a great act of sacrifice to help me have this moment. Just like Tom gives Nancy the gifts, Nick gives me that gift and allows me to take some of the shackles off and to free those chains and be a little more confident in my step walking in my own journey."
- The series costume designer used Dior and Alexander McQueen to accentuate Tom's outfits.
- Tian compared the relationship between Tom and Nancy to the classic crime-fighting duo Cagney and Lacey, just with ghosts.
- "Most of us now are used to the world of Nancy Drew and all these crazy things occurring, but if you were actually immersed in those things in real life, you’d be like, ‘What the hell?’ And that was me the whole time. Nancy does and says things so casually, and Tom’s like, ‘Girl, I don’t know where you’re from, but my theories and my technology tell me otherwise.’ Tom is strictly science — he went to MIT, he studied, he did the things — and now you’re telling me all of that will be undermined by ghosts? Maybe he needs to learn the hard way, but he’s a Leo. He’s stubborn."
- The Nancy Drew writers Melinda Hsu Taylor, Cameron J. Awesome, and Noga Landau live-tweeted throughout the episode.
- Melinda Hsu Taylor: "It was so good to be on set in Vancouver (for the first time since the pandemic) and to watch the cast, crew and production team functioning with as much joy, warmth & teamwork as always regardless of all the Covid testing and new protocols."
- Cameron J Awesome: "SHOUTOUT TO RUBEN GARCIA for bringing some incredible action/adventure knowledge to this episode. I’m blown away by the Ferrari crane shot!"
- Melinda Hsu Taylor: “I love the whole sequence where Tom Swift goes into the hall by himself, gets knocked backwards by the ghosts, and we eventually see how his holster got burnt.”
- Cameron J. Awesome: “Code-switching is a thing that Black people do every day, even if no one else is aware of it. So, I felt honored to bring the subtext of Nick’s experiences as a Black man in Horseshoe Bay to light without telling a story of suffering or pity.”
- Melinda Hsu Taylor: “Just like in the original book series, our #TomSwift is a young genius with a spirit of endless optimism. Apart from that and some canon names, everything else we reimagined.”
- Noga Landau: “My favorite scene is when Nick and George talk about what it’s like to be dating each other given their two very different racial backgrounds.”
- Melinda Hsu Taylor: "We talked to the actors quite a bit about the subject matter in this episode, and we incorporated their thoughts and feedback on how to approach these conversations. Leah Lewis & Tunji Kasim helped us tweak the exact wording sometimes, which was cool!"
- Cameron J. Awesome: "Lol. Yes, girl. A wealthier, sassier, much better at math version of my personality is present in Tom’s every line. It’s a little odd to watch #TomSwift talk through my daddy issues, but... whatever works.”
- Melinda Hsu Taylor: “FUN FACT: The name BARCLAY came from the sidekick in the later generation of #TomSwift books.”
- Melinda Hsu Taylor: "I loved the way Ruben Garcia (director) worked with the cast. He would walk them through his plan for every sequence, so the cast would have the same bird’s eye view as the director, writers, & the crew. It helped everyone do their job with more clarity."
- Noga Landau: "I am a huge Levar Burton fan, and it is a dream come true to have him play Barclay! If you look closely at Barclay’s screen, you can see that his eyes are actually in the shape of a visor - - a very subtle homage to Geordi La Forge!"
- Noga Landau: “My favorite set piece is Tom in the hallway when the robe comes to life!”
- Noga Landau: “My favorite line was written by Cameron J. Awesome when Tom Swift looks at Nancy Drew and says ‘I went to MIT, and you went to a thrift store to buy that hat'"
- Cameron J. Awesome: "That is the best/cruelest thing I’ve ever written. It’s a cute hat, Tom!"
- Noga Landau: “The fact that Bess & Ace got to have a swordfight while Bess was possessed by a murderous supernatural hex is more than I’ve ever needed to say about my personality in connection to the show!”
- Tom's license plate number is the publication date of the first Tom Swift novel.
Behind the Scenes
- on The Internet Movie Database