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For All Mankind's Fourth Season is Go For Liftoff

As the show moves farther away, it also gets closer to home.
Wrenn Schmidt at the office in Apple TV's ‘For All Mankind
Wrenn Schmidt at the office in Apple TV+'s ‘For All Mankind’Beth Dubber/Apple TV+

Man’s conquest of space will continue … for at least one more season.

At San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, the creators of Apple TV+’s increasingly beloved series For All Mankind announced that they’ve achieved escape velocity, and are a go for a fourth season. 

Co-creator Ronald D. Moore, the Star Trek alumni who rebooted Battlestar Galactica and developed Outlander, told Deadline that “from the beginning, it was my hope that it would be a long, multi-year journey,” and continued he was, “looking forward to seeing what we can do in the future.”

The NASA-based series, which stars Joel Kinnaman, Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Shantel VanSanten, Jodi Balfour, Nate Corddry, and a slew of others is unusual in its approach. Its first episode, which debuted in November 2019, began with the familiar look-and-feel of Summer 1969, only to reveal an alternative history: what if the Soviet Union was the first to get a man on the moon? This sets off a chain reaction of events—some good, some bad, some just different—mixing real-life figures like German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, NASA administrator Thomas O. Paine, and astronauts like Deke Slayton and Sally Ride with imagined characters. 

More surprising is how season two jumped from the late 1960s/early 1970s to the 1980s, envisioning an elaborate but realistic base on the Moon. Season three, currently airing, further jumped to the 1990s and the first trip to Mars. (Aging makeup for some of the characters, in addition to a methane gas compound for the rockets' engines, were deployed.) 

Co-creator Matt Wolpert made it clear at the SDCC panel that the fourth season would follow suit with another jump, and bring us to the 21st century. Previous statements from Moore, when the show was on less sure footing, teased the idea of a possible seven-season arc, with the show “catching up” to current times, and perhaps even surpassing us. Moore did say that nothing was in stone, though. “[We] can decide that the show is going gangbusters and you go past the endpoint. Everything is still on the table.”

What’s truly exciting is that For All Mankind seems to be connecting with audiences the old-fashioned way: through word-of-mouth. With no Emmy nominations to boast, and (no disrespect to the brilliant performers) no heretofore household names in its cast, it became Apple TV+’s most in-demand show, as per a recent consumer research poll. The power of storytelling! And having people get periodically sucked into the harsh vacuum of space!

This year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the first full-scale one since the COVID-19 disruption, also gave the internet some of the first notable For All Mankind cosplay. Without getting into spoiler territory for those still behind, this little scene, originally played out by Michael Dorman and Sarah Jones, has a tremendous amount of emotional heft if you know what the hell is going on. (Even if you don’t, it’s still fun.) 

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Production on season four begins next month.