Platelets are anucleate cytoplasmic discs derived from megakaryocytes that circulate in the blood and have major roles in hemostasis, thrombosis, inflammation, and vascular biology. Platelet transfusions are required to prevent the potentially life-threatening complications of severe thrombocytopenia seen in a variety of medical settings including cancer therapy, trauma, and sepsis. Platelets used in the clinic are currently donor-derived which is associated with concerns over sufficient availability, quality, and complications due to immunologic and/or infectious issues. To overcome our dependence on donor-derived platelets for transfusion, efforts have been made to generate in vitro–based platelets. Work in this area has advanced our understanding of the complex processes that megakaryocytes must undergo to generate platelets both in vivo and in vitro. This knowledge has also defined the challenges that must be overcome to bring in vitro–based platelet manufacturing to a clinical reality. This review will focus on our understanding of committed megakaryocytes and platelet release in vivo and in vitro, and how this knowledge can guide the development of in vitro–derived platelets for clinical application.