For All Mankind co-creators Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert talk about leaning more toward emotional drama and global tensions in season 2.
The acclaimed Apple TV + original series For all mankind is back for its second season, continuing the alternate story in which the Soviet Union beat the United States to the moon, causing the Space Race to intensify for years. And with Season 2 fast forward nine years into the 1980s and the Reagan Administration, the Cold War is poised to get much more dangerous as the military-industrial complex spreads to the stars.
In an exclusive interview with series co-creators Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, the two writers and executive producers revealed how season 2 ups the stakes emotionally and militarily while poking fun at real space program concepts turned into reality TV on the program.
We have passed the height of the space race. What made you want to take a nine-year leap into this divergent story?
Ben Nedivi: Being an alternate history show, we were excited about the idea of showing the progression of history change rather than going ahead in time. I think the ability to do that and show how change is happening really requires that you move forward in time. [incrementally], not just in season 1 but between seasons. The promise of that idea was completely thought to be able to jump, which is tricky but achieves what we set out to do when those changes happen.
Matt Wolpert: To build on that, I think what really drew us to that idea was how our storytelling impacts the lives of our characters. The girl who starts the series looking at the moon, you will see her age over time. It’s really telling the story of lives in an unconventional TV show structure, which is one of the reasons we were really intrigued by this idea.
While last season you had some characters on the moon, this season many of them are now in the same room facing each other. What was it like to lean on that drama this season?
Side: It makes things easier, if at all. I think one of the things that was challenging last year was being able to keep someone on the moon and their spouse on Earth while keeping the drama between them being apart, so bringing them together, somehow, felt natural. . The nature of the show is that because of space exploration, you are away from your family for a long time, so we wanted to substantiate that as much as possible. You are far from them, but that does not mean that you are not involved with what is happening on Earth.
With this season, you are in the 80s: the Cold War heats up again. What did this resurgence of the Cold War offer you creatively?
Wolpert: You just increase the stakes; makes everything much more of a life and death situation. Also, one of the things that is really viscerally shocking is that you see an astronaut in that iconic spacesuit holding an M-16 and something about it just doesn’t sit well with him. The Space Race was supposed to be the best of us, and seeing a kind of militarism invading that’s really what season 2 is all about. The progress that we were hinting would be possible in season 1 has been co-opted into season 2. and it is the fight to fight for what the space program really is.
After the lessons of season 1, what were you really interested in bringing with you season 2?
Side: I think we were very interested in taking the idea of the Sea Dragon [spacecraft], taking from history but really evolving from history. So the Sea Dragon, the idea was there, but no one really did. And I think we were very excited to take elements or ideas that people had created and bring them to life, which is something that we are going to do a lot this year and something that we are very excited about.
Created by Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, For all mankind stars Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, Wrenn Schmidt, Jodi Balfour, Krys Marshall, Sonya Walger, Cynthy Wu, Coral Peña, and Casey W. Johnson. Season 2 premieres on Apple TV + on February 19, 2021.
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