Season 2 of the AppleTV+ space race drama, For All Mankind, premiered Feb 19 on the premium streaming service, but the creators and cast are already focused on Season 3 which starts shooting in March. At the AppleTV+ virtual winter press day, creators Ron D. Moore, Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert shared with reporters that this week's historic Perseverance Mars touchdown has invigorated the whole team as they weave real life into their alternate history exploration of the inverted U.S./Soviet Union space race.
"Perseverance is an achievement and NASA's exploration of Mars is definitely something that we talk about in the writers’ room," Moore told reporters. "And it's definitely part and parcel of our ongoing conversation as we get into the third season."
With Season 2 taking place in the '80s, audiences will continue to see both subtle and more overt departures from real history across the cultural, social and political spectrum. But that's where actress Krys Marshall, who plays astronaut Danielle Poole, said the show succeeds in engaging audiences in reality. "I think it's super cool that throughout Season 2, the world has changed," she explained. "But the reality is that we still live in this world where, culturally, there are hills that we still have to climb. Margo (Wrenn Schmidt) is observed through a microscope because she's a woman and in this position of power. Danielle is observed in everything she does with a fine tooth comb because she's a black woman. We will continue to see those human elements, about what the world that we live in is like. I love the way that our show plays with a mixture of alternating history, but then also seeing life just as it really is."
However, all of the writers made it clear that in Season 3 the show will increasingly move further away from real history as the series continues to skip ahead a decade per season with its storytelling. The actions taken by the U.S. and the Soviet Union in Season 2 will create a bigger narrative chasm between reality and fiction.
Nedivi said, "We're adapting history. And the fun of that is picking and choosing the things that change, but also the things that didn’t change. One of the fun elements in crafting [the show] was not just what is different from actual history, but maybe finishing the stories that never got their chance. Like Molly Cobb (Sonya Walger) is based on the Mercury 13 astronaut that never got to be a part of the space program. If you're someone who really loves history, there's a lot to take from the show and there's Easter eggs throughout, but the major plot is still what it is. And the further we go, the more that change will be apparent."
Actor Joel Kinnaman, who plays astronaut Edward Baldwin, said that the more the writers explore their alternate timeline, the more excited he gets about what they'll be asked to play. "I feel like the deeper into the seasons we go, we start to tread into more sci-fi territory in some ways," he explained. "But the way that we've gotten there, by staying anchored to our sum of history, just makes that journey very, very grounded."
"For me, when I joined, the grand vision of this show is so spectacular," Kinnaman continued. "Now that we're about to go and shoot the third season, we are really seeing that grand vision play out. Even for people that are watching the second season, they will start to understand what this show really is." He compared Season 1 to almost a mash-up of Mad Men meets the NASA environment, but said the show is much bigger than that scope. "Now we're starting to show audiences what that vision is, and it's a lot of fun."