Amazon Prime comedy thriller series Swarm follows a music fan who is obsessed with an international popstar - her infatuation with the musician becomes so extreme that she begins a killing rampage.
Despite the darkly surreal theme of the series, many viewers have noticed clear similarities between the show and a real life star. This, in addition to a disclaimer which pops up at the start of each episode, has led fans to speculate as to whether Swarm was inspired by a true story.
The show's creator has set the record straight on where the idea for Swarm came from, and to what extent it is based on true events. This is everything you need to know about Swarm:
Is Swarm a true story?
Each episode of Swarm opens with a title card reading “This is not a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is intentional.”
The limited series follows a super-fan, Dre, who begins a two-year long murder spree because she believes she is protecting Ni’jah, a pop star with whom she has become obsessed. Ni’jah is a not-so-subtle stand-in for the real-life pop megastar Beyoncé. Ni’jah’s die-hard fans are known as Killer Bees, whereas Beyoncé’s are called the Beyhive.
Speaking to Vulture about the similarities, series co-creator Janine Nabers told Vulture: “We approached [those parallels] with a lot of respect. The legal stuff we did was very calculated, purposeful, and thoughtful.
“If it happens, you can write about it. When things happen out in the world and you’re a public person — legally, we’re not lying. We presented everything: ‘This is not a work of fiction.’ That’s the first thing you see when you look at this show. And it was cleared legally because it is not a work of fiction.”
One incident that reportedly inspired Swarm creators was a rumour which spread online in 2016 that an obsessive Beyoncé fan named Marissa Jackson took her own life following the release of Beyoncé’s album Lemonade, because the album confirmed that Jay-Z had cheated on the singer.
The rumour was shared by the fake news website Empire Herald, and has since been confirmed as a hoax. Therefore, despite the claims made in the opening title cards, and the many similarities between Ni’jah and Beyoncé, Swarm is not based on a true story.
Does Beyoncé appear in Swarm?
Despite being the inspiration for one of the main characters in the series, Beyoncé does not appear in Swarm, nor did she have any involvement in the production of the series.
However, singer and actress Chlöe Bailey, who is one half of the R&B duo Chloe X Halle, with her sister, does feature in the series. Chloe X is signed to Beyoncé's Parkwood music label. Bailey plays Dre's sister Marissa in five episodes of the series.
Another well-known musician who surprised fans by appearing in the show is Billie Eilish, who featured in the fourth episode, playing a character named Eva.
When is Swarm on TV?
There are seven episodes in the first season of Swarm - all episodes landed on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 17 March.