Masters of Air: Is Buck Cleven Dead? Character Fate Explained

By Klein Felt Posted:
Masters of Air, Buck Cleven

The latest episode of Apple TV+'s Masters of the Air has fans wondering if Austin Butler's Buck Cleven is dead. 

The Tom Hanks and Steven Speilberg-produced World War II drama has thus far centered on Butler's American pilot and his squadron known as the 100th. 

However, the fate of Butler's Gale 'Buck' Cleven remains in question after a dangerous mission seen in Episode 4. 

[ Full Cast of Masters of the Air - Every Main Character & Actor Who Appears (Photos) ]

Did Buck Die In Masters of Air?

Austin Butler's Buck Cleven in Masters of Air
Apple TV

In Episode 4 of Masters of the Air, the fate of Austin Butler's Buck Cleven was put into question as the daring WWII pilot took on a dangerous mission. 

The gripping war drama tells the story of the U.S. 100th Bomb Group, with this latest chapter in the story seeing Butler's Cleven disappear following a dangerous going up against German forces. 

It is assumed that Buck was killed in action, during this off-screen endeavor; however, it seems pretty intentional his body was not shown and his fate was not confirmed on-screen. 

Instead, the episode ends inconclusively, with audiences left to wonder what exactly happened. 

Seeing as the series is based on actual accounts from the American 100th, some quick research can determine what exactly happened to Butler's WWII pilot. 

According to records, Cleven made it out of his mission to Bremen and was not killed like the series left audiences to believe. 

Instead, his plane was separated from the group thanks to heavy Flak fire, and he was forced to abandon the aircraft, landing deep in enemy territory. 

Fans of the show should not worry, as - in real life - Cleven made it out of the war, going home and marrying his childhood sweetheart. So, surely, this is not the last fans have seen of the character in the hit streaming show.

What Will Happen Next to Buck Cleven?

While Austin Butler's Gale "Buck" Cleven may be alive in Masters of the Air, his airplane crash is only just the beginning of the U.S. military man's journey. 

It remains to be seen if Masters of the Air will tackle Buck's next chapter in wartime Europe, but in reality, his crash in German territory was a major moment for him during the war. 

According to accounts of the war, upon landing, Buck and his crew found themselves on the land of a German farmer. 

This is where he and Captain Bernard DeMarco (a character not present in the series) were turned over to German authorities. 

In the custody of the Nazis, Buck and Captain Demaro would undergo extensive interrogation and end up in a prisoner-of-war camp known as Stalag Luft III where they would remain until the end of the war. 

According to Cleven's 100th Bomb Group Foundation profile, he was a prisoner of the Stalag Luft POW from October 1943 to March 1945.

With four more episodes in the Apple TV+ series, there is plenty of time for the Masters of the Air team to explore this turn of fate for Austin Butler's Buck Cleven, continuing the story of the 100th Bomg Group both from the air and the ground. 

New episodes of Masters of the Air drop every Friday on Apple TV+. 

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.