For All Mankind is an alternative history series that poses the question, “What would have happened if the global space race had never ended?”  The story has Russia landing on the moon first. Newspapers call it ‘Red Moon’. America’s spirit is crushed. How can they renew America’s confidence and get ahead in the space race after this devastating loss? By having NASA put the first woman on the moon. The only problem is, there is no female astronaut training program. Until now. 

The Apple TV Plus’ series has one season under its belt and they did indeed put women on the moon. The cast and creators gathered for a Comic Con at Home For All Mankind panel to discuss its freshman series and what is to come. The panel also featured an intense first look at the second season. The hour was split in to three parts. Check out our highlights!

Woman of For All Mankind 

Co-creator and executive producer Matt Wolpert, moderated the discussion in the first portion of the For All Mankind panel. Joining him were Wrenn Schmidt (Margo), Sarah Jones (Tracy), Jodi Balfour (Ellen), Krys Marshall (Danielle) and Sonya Walger (Molly).

The discussion started on what could the ramifications be if women had been accepted into the space program. Schmidt said, “I think when you lock out 50% of your population from bringing all of their talents and intelligence to the things they love best, you really lose out by not having those resources. .. When women in general are in power they tend to bring people in……they tend to address problems better… Plus women are awesome.” I agree, Wrenn, I really do. 

Krys Marshall added, “Women don’t have to be pitted against men in order to have a place in society. We can just be there in addition to… and trust that that contribution will be worthwhile.”

Jones spoke of her character, Tracy’s sweeping arc in the first season. She goes from being an astronaut’s wife to an actual astronaut. She commented that women are conditioned to care for so many people that they often neglect themselves in the process. Tracy neglected herself thinking it was her duty but then she got the opportunity to have a career and take care of herself. Jones said, to her, the arc was the exercise and execution of finally saying, “I matter. I’m enough and I’m going to do this..and that doesn’t mean that I’m not a good mother and wife.”

When Wolpert commented that Marshall’s Danielle is epitome of putting others first, Marshall said it came easy to her. “As a woman, as a black woman, you sort of learn to engage the world this way. You walk into a room and gauge the temperature of how much of my real self can I bring to this environment…I take a look around the room and see am I the only black woman here?…These are the truths of me that she brought to the role.  

On the incredible scene when Molly is chose as the first woman in space, Walgar teared up just thinking about shooting it. “It was such a beautiful beautiful scene to get to shoot…It was piece of pure theatre and adrenaline to do.”

Stranded at Jamestown

Co-creator and executive producer Ben Nedivi moderated this portion of the For All Mankind panel where Joel Kinnaman (Ed), Shantel VanStanten (Karen), Krys Marshall (Danielle), Michael Dorman (Gordo) discussed episodes seven and eight. In these two episodes Ed, Danielle and Gordo are all in a confined space while carrying out a mission on the moon. Gordo begins unravelling. Back on Earth, Karen is dealing with some tragic news. 

Marshall said that working in such a small space really helped everyone get to know each other quickly. It was lovely and exhausting at the same time.

Dorman talked about Gordo’s spiraling mental health issues and said that “listening to Bob Newhart on loop sort of help get me into that space that helped me get loopy” to which Kinnaman laughed, “You got into that space!” Dorman it was a roller coaster but what a beautiful part of storytelling as far as the human condition. It showed that humans are vulnerable and can fracture. Kinnaman was full of compliments on Dormna’s portrayal of Gordo coming apart. 

Marshall talked of the incredible ramifications of Danielle’s decision. She says Dany didn’t do it out of naivite but with full knowledge of how it will be perceived, “As a woman and a black woman people will observe you and see you as a signifier of your entire gender and race.” She explains that what Dany does is quite extraordinary and but also really ordinary for women everywhere.

1983

Co-creator and executive producer Ronald D. Moore moderated the final portion after showing a clip that aired after the end credits of the For All Mankind’s first season’s finale, where there is a time jump to 1983 which is where the second season will take place. Joining Moore was Kinnaman, VanStanten, Dorman, Jones and Schmidt. 

Moore explains the backdrop of the second season. Reagan is president, the Cold War is hot, competition has exploded into the realm of space. They tried not to hit all the cliches but instead take a realistic look ant how things could have changed. 

Kinnaman explained that we’ll see Ed more focused on him family after the trauma of losing a child ten years prior. He’s figuring out if he can be happy when he’s not being an explorer. Kinnaman also confesses it was very difficult to do the ten time jump because he as an actor didn’t get to explore losing a child. He said it was a “bold” choice for the writers. VanStanten agreed. As an actor, she dealt with it by creating a journal of what could have happened during the those ten years as she grieved. 

As for Schmidt, she focused on what is different in her world. The first season, she was struggling to be measured by the same measuring stick as the men. And when season two picks up, she’s in charge and has more influence. But the latter, the administrative side is also a thorn. There’s the comfort and discomfort of being a boss.  

The For All Mankind panel ended with an incredibly intense teaser for season two. In the teaser, President Reagan says the greatest threat the United States faces is the Soviet Union and “We must maintain peace through strength.” And then we see, oh my goodness, we see guns on the moon! No premiere date was given for season two. 

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Check out both the For All Mankind teaser and full panel below. 

 

 

Audrey Kearns