Mars Nat Geo

Nat Geo's Mars creators on exploring science vs commerce in season 2

Contributed by
Aug 2, 2018, 10:21 PM EDT (Updated)

Nat Geo's hit series Mars will be expanding the barren world of the red planet in its upcoming second season. 

The first season, set in the 2030s, was a mix of fictionalized drama -- surrounding a group of colonists trying to settle our planetary neighbor -- with interviews and documentary footage about the realities of what life on Mars would be like. 

At this year's Television Critics Association press tour, which revealed the channel's slate of new and returning programs, the cast and crew of the sci-fi docu-drama were on hand to talk about where the show's second season will be headed.

"The first season was this great, creative adventure," said executive producer Ron Howard. "It was an experiment. Nat Geo was supporting this hybrid and we learned a tremendous amount. This season has physical action and drama, but it’s more psychological."

"Season 2 is also about their personal lives," added showrunner Dee Shannon, who promises that "people will hook up and fight and question leadership."

Executive producer Justin Wilkes weighed in on the decision to use a time-jump between seasons. "The first season was about how we get there and the survival," said Wilkes, "[Now] there are a couple hundred people living there. Private enterprise is also there."

It's the presence of private enterprise that will inform a major part of the story going forward, which will draw parallels between how they're treating the newly-settled Mars and how we've taken care of our home planet. 

"The second season now has enough people there to have a full skill-set to establish a society," said writer/producer Stephen Petranek, whose book, How We'll Live on Mars, was the basis for the series. "Commercial interests will come up against more public interests all the time. The reason we are doing this now is so we can have the discussion of how we do it on Mars different than how we do it on Earth."

Mars is set to return to Nat Geo TV sometime in the Spring of 2019. 

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