In the final scene, the viewer hears Sherman say: "This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. It is the end of the beginning." These lines are paraphrased and borrowed from Winston Churchill's 10 November 1942 speech at the Lord Mayor's Luncheon, in which he used similar language to describe the turning of the tide of the Second World War in favour of the Allies.
John Varley originally wrote the short story "Air Raid" in 1977. At the time, it was optioned as a project for FX director Douglas Trumbull, director of Silent Running (1972) and Brainstorm (1983). The plan was to make it a vehicle for Paul Newman and Jane Fonda. Trumbull's production fell through, only for it to be inherited first by Randal Kleiser and then Richard Rush. With all the comings and goings over the years, Varley was able to first turn it into a novel in 1983 and then a screenplay.
According to John Varley's original manuscript, Smith's role in history was critical to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and eventually became the director. He died in old age by falling off his houseboat and drowning.