Apple TV+ has remained shrouded in mystery even after first glimpses of the platform were revealed in March, but more information about the alt-history drama For All Mankind is being unveiled in celebration of Apollo 11’s historic 5oth anniversary.
Ronald D. Moore’s (Battlestar Galactica, Outlander) series, which centers on the question, “What if the space race never ended?” sees an alternative version of our past in which the Soviets beat America to the moon ahead of the Apollo 11 launch. Slated to air in 10 hour-long episodes sometime this fall, Moore, along with series consultants former NASA flight director Gerry Griffin and former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman, opened up about the exciting series in a conference call.
“I grew up with the Apollo program as a kid, and it was really the catalyst for inspiring me to become interested in science fiction overall,” Moore shared. “When I was growing up, watching the space program in the ’70s… I thought it was going to go much bigger than it did.”
“So the idea of doing the history that I never got to see was personally really exciting and interesting to me,” Moore added, revealing the inspiration behind the project for himself.
Despite the space race being the subject of the series, don’t expect a dark tale of revenge or vindictiveness.
“Our [story] is sort of going in the opposite direction,” Moore said of the usually dystopian tone alternative history stories take. “It’s a very positive one, it’s like… by expanding the space race and stepping strongly into the universe, the world became a better place, [and] the nation became a better place. So it’s a very optimistic sort of idea for an alternate history piece.”
“I remember, during the Apollo program, we didn’t think much about the Soviet Union. It was kind of like two baseball teams playing or two football teams. We had to worry about our own team, not about what they were doing. We were really focused on meeting the goal of getting to the moon first,” Gerry Griffin told us about the real-life experience.
“That was our driving force, it was not the fact that we were in a race. Particularly with the Soviet Union, it was just that, the President said, ‘Let’s go and let’s get there in this decade.’ That’s what our goal was.”
“I think the alternate history piece will be an interesting thought, because we never thought about losing,” Griffin added. “We thought we were going to be beat them. You don’t just go into a race like that unless you think you can get a chance of winning it…Â At the end of the day, I think that this is going to be a very entertaining thing to think about. It got me thinking about what would have happened had they gotten there first, and I don’t know. I don’t know what would’ve happened. But I think that this story will be a very likely outcome.”
With the alternative history genre comes some shifts in reality as well, and For All Mankind‘s reality will include female astronauts among many other different aspects.
“There were spouses of astronauts in the actual program who are actually pilots in their own right,” Moore said of the inspiration behind that detail.
As for whether viewers should expect to see more of For All Mankind beyond two seasons, Moore revealed, “We are definitely talking about a second season at this point, and just trying to get together stories and possible scripts. Apple hasn’t picked us up officially, but we’re definitely already moving ahead with planning it in case they do.”
Characters featured in the series include Ed Baldwin, Gordo Stevens, historical figures Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Deke Slayton, as well as Ed’s wife Karen and Gordo’s wife Tracy.
“It’s very much an ensemble piece,” Moore said. “It’s very much about all the characters’ lives and their home lives and their professional lives. The nature of the series is that it will expand and continue going and going in a lot of different directions. So we kind of needed a cast where you felt the chemistry overall was going to work in the long term, so that in certain episodes you could emphasize certain characters or character pairings, and then on the next episode they might recede into the background and bring others forward.”
Joel Kinnaman stars as Baldwin in the show, which also accelerates the technological advancements seen during that time a bit.
“In the first couple of episodes, I think you’ll see that it’s very true to the real technology of the day, the instrument panels, the consols and mission control,” Reisman told us. “Even the documents and the things… If you look closely, the things hanging on the wall are all very authentic.”
“But one of the really neat things is that one of the premises of the whole show is that, as a result of all spinoffs and investment in space transportation technologies that come from the continuing of the program, that technology as a whole advances more rapidly than it did in reality,” Reisman added. “As the season goes on, you start seeing modifications and things that show up kind of before their time, but that’s on purpose, predicated on an accelerated development of technology.”
While no release date has been given, Moore assured that he’s been told For All Mankind should arrive this coming fall on the highly-anticipated platform. For a special sneak peek at the series, catch a brand new featurette below marking the Apollo 11 anniversary while also revealing some new information about this upcoming show.
For All Mankind, Series Premiere, Fall 2019, Apple TV+