Like a cosmic gas giant, To the Stars Academy appears to have exploded after a period of rapid expansion and instability. Details have been scarce since founding members Luis Elizondo, Steve Justice and Chris Mellon took their leave last December. Now the fall from grace has been made official, noted in the “forward looking” rhetoric of a required Securities and Exchange Commission filing that reveals the showbiz core of planet TTSA is all that’s left.
A Bright Shining Moment
While opinions are hugely divided on the To The Stars Academy, when future historical volumes are written about the struggle for the confirmation of UFO/UAP reality, the TTSA will be more than a footnote.
TTSA was deeply involved in the official release and acknowledgment of UAP footage by government officials as much as the New York Times was, launching words like the Nimitz Incident and “Tic Tac” into the discussion and prodding a somnambulant media into taking the subject more seriously than at any other time in the history of the phenomenon. Their government team, led by Elizondo and Mellon, did brief leadership in some of the highest levels of the U.S. government. Not too shabby.
The (Not Quite) To The Stars Academy
Still, reading the company’s latest report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, filed on February 17, 2021, you’d be forgiven if you thought that the biggest accomplishment was getting two full seasons of the TV reality series Unidentified on the History cable network. While the show had its moments, it often appeared forced into the same old template of plucky UFO enthusiasts tilting at the windmill of truth to an unceasing soundtrack of semi-techno-urgency. Billed as a game-changer, it felt familiar and cookie cutter in form if not content.
The SEC filing is full of the usual self-aggrandizement and excuses these documents are famous for, of course, burying the loss of Elizondo, Justice and Mellon to its last paragraph. Before that, it talks about how TTSA now “enters its natural evolution as a company” as it adapts to “to a new global landscape with new opportunities and priorities.” Covid-19 gets a big salute in the blame game with the filing stating it had “a significant and negative impact on the defense and entertainment industries, and on individual investors’ willingness to invest in companies that are active in those industries, including TTSA.”
What would an SEC filing be without some blue sky talk about increasing shareholder value?
“To achieve its goals, TTSA has decided to restructure its operations to scale back its initiatives in science and tech commercialization and to place a greater emphasis on the operations of its entertainment business.”
There it is. Whatever TTSA once was or wasn’t, it is now going to go forward as a glorified entertainment company.
“TTSA has multiple intellectual property assets that it intends to develop into films, TV, books, and merchandise. To further its goals, TTSA plans to enter into strategic partnerships for the production and financing of its films and to explore merger possibilities in areas that could make it a vertically integrated film studio. TTSA’s other plans for expansion into the entertainment industry would include film product licensing and acquisition of literary talent for the creation of its film scripts.”
This is clearly a big change. As recently as June 24, 2020, TTSA issued this public proclamation via PR Newswire:
“It is part of TTSA’s mission to shed light on the noteworthy problem of UAPs through the collection and distribution of highly credible evidence that can be researched by academic and scientific communities.”
The truth is that it would probably be a rare pleasure for any screenwriter to hang out with Tom DeLonge, feet kicked up on comfy TTSA couches, kicking around cosmic ideas. He seems like he’s passionate and he put his money on the table, so good on him. There’s just one thing —
— there are plenty of existing companies that are more than happy to develop these kinds of entertainment products. The type of company that was in short supply was the kind like TTSA began its life as — a company dedicated to achieving the confirmation and disclosure of UFO/UAP reality.
Again, the kick in the gut comes in the final paragraph.
“Further, as part of the restructuring, Stephen Justice, TTSA’s Chief Operations Officer, Luis Elizondo, TTSA’s Director of Government Programs & Services, and Christopher Mellon, a member of TTSA’s advisory board, are no longer with the company. To keep in sync with TTSA’s public benefit mission of informed entertainment media, the company plans to keep its science advisory board, whose connections will influence TTSA’s stories for film, and to add a board member with expertise in the film industry.”
It’s wild spin to suggest that adding a board member with film expertise is exactly what TTSA needs or that this was what its “public benefit mission” was what it was about from the beginning. What it does say between the lines is that the principals here disagreed about entertainment and went their separate ways.
Luis Elizondo pretty much said that without saying it in an extended interview with George Knapp on Coast-to-Coast AM shortly after the parting of the ways was announced.
“I love my friends at TTSA. They are incredible human beings, but I also have to say my mission has always been very clear, and that was to push disclosure forward. That’s it. I think after three years, you know, I can look back and I think we’ve achieved much of what we’ve set out to do. TTSA, it’s no secret, also focuses on its entertainment division and, let’s face it, guys like Chris Mellon and Steve Justice and myself, we’re not entertainers. So, very much like the History Channel project, we have accomplished our mission. Mission success. We have done more in three years collectively than anybody I think really expected us to achieve.”
I like Lue Elizondo a lot. What I like most is that he’s tried to be a straight shooter on a topic full of obsfucation. But, c’mon, claiming that succeeding with an entertainment project is “mission success” is disingenuous. The mission as we all understood it to be from the very beginning was to change the world, to kick down the doors of secrecy and let the sun shine in. Mission success? Not so much.
Over the past week, I’ve reached out to some key influencers in the UAP world with knowledge of TTSA’s inner workings. Here are some quotes:
- “They just did their own things and never became a solid unit, so it all broke up.”
- “Elizondo feels that he can maneuver better while not being controlled by a corporation. He couldn’t just do any interview he wanted to do while under contract with TTSA.”
- “Tom is a dreamer. Lue and Chris are career intelligence personnel. They are seriously focused on this phenomena and Tom was wanting new designer swag!”
In that same interview with George Knapp, Elizondo put his thoughts into “car talk,” saying it was time to go from first gear into second gear. He said he was looking forward to “new and exciting ways to expand that conversation to an even larger audience while still staying true to our core mission of disclosure.”
Wait a minute. The point of the entertainment side to TTSA was supposed to be just that — taking this issue of disclosure to an even larger audience. Now our friend Lue seems to be saying that he’s talking about an even larger audience than that even larger audience.
What might that be?
Unless he’s talking about taking his case to the Galactic Federation, then the obvious answer for finding his “larger audience” is to get out of the Encinitas clubhouse and re-focus the operation to where the new action is bound to be — Washington, D.C. That’s a place where Mellon, Justice and Elizondo are power players. In an Open Minds article from last year, Mellon made the case that he’d laid out his plan early on:
“We had a strategy from the outset and a plan before he (Elizondo) even left (AATIP). We discussed what that would look like, and we’ve been executing on that ever since.”
To hear Mellon state it then, this is all part of a grand strategy. Get out of the government, make waves in the private sector, go back and influence the government from the outside. And, of course, guys like Mellon, Justice and Elizondo are likely to be much more comfortable operating in Biden World than the erratic madness of King Trump because they know that confirming UAP reality is going to be enough of a bumpy ride as it is.
Honestly, no one can be angry at Tom DeLonge or TTSA for doing what is necessary to keep the company afloat. That’s what capitalism demands. It’s just sad to see such promise evaporate into the air as if it never existed.
The bottom line here is that Tom DeLonge did meet some success with his goals for TTSA, but apparently found out that few others in the building were all that interested in showbiz, the only branch of the business to get off the ground. Plus DeLonge himself was a mixed bag. Many stories got written both about him and because of him, yes, but he was what we call in Hollywood an “unreliable narrator.” He brought light but attracted heat.
Now he is left with an economically shaky company and, we might suspect regardless of those public “forward leaning” statements, some hard feelings toward his once close pals who pulled the company’s needed gravitas out from under him.
Change, of course, is inevitable. The idea that we won’t be seeing Lue Elizondo sling that backpack into his souped up car and hit the open road in pursuit of UFO truth like he did for so many episodes of Unidentified may feel like a crushing blow to some, but we’ll get over it.
Note: The day after this article posted, Steve Justice was appointed VP, Engineering at Virgin Galactic. Their press release devoted a paragraph to his past credits but did not mention his last gig at To The Stars Academy.