For All Mankind might look like a typical show, but it absolutely is not. It’s set in an alternate reality that looks like ours but has one big fork in the road that changed everything after it. In 1969, the United States lost the Space Race to the Soviet Union. And so at the start of the second and third seasons, to set the stage for what’s to come, the filmmakers begin with a densely packed montage of newspaper headlines, TV clips, and more showing what happened in this timeline between the seasons.
Things like John Lennon was never killed. Michael Jordan was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers before the Chicago Bulls. Prince Charles didn’t marry Diana. Things like that. But at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, producer Ben Nedivi revealed one such change they wanted to have but simply were not able to. Nedivi said they wanted to show that Eric Stoltz remained the star of Back to the Future.
Of course, most film fans are aware that Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly in the 1985 Robert Zemeckis classic, but after several weeks of production, producers didn’t think the film was working with Stoltz in the role. He was fired, Michael J. Fox was brought in, and the production was basically forced to scrap six full weeks of filming. However, according to Nedivi, when the producers of For All Mankind tried to get that in one of their montages, they were unable. The legal department could not clear it. (Of note, this did happen on Fringe back in 2010.)
One of the show’s other producers, Ronald D. Moore, explained that the montages are one of the most complex and stressed over sequences in an entire season. And that’s saying a lot when the show has people landing on different planets, floating in zero gravity, and a whole lot more.
And, it turns out, there will at least be one more. It was announced on the panel that, mere weeks before the third season of For All Mankind ends, it has been renewed for a fourth season. When asked how far can go, producers said they originally dreamed of making seven seasons of the show but realistically, would just love to catch up to our reality. To see what that one big event could have meant for our way of life today. If each season is a decade, and season three is the 1990s, that would put season six as a possible ending. But there’s a long way to go.
For All Mankind streams on Apple TV+.
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