Here’s what we know about ‘For All Mankind’ season four

The space race will continue for a fourth outing

For All Mankind is the most overlooked show on television. Launched with Apple TV+ in October 2019, the alternative history drama has become a word-of-mouth secret weapon for the streaming service. What would happen if the Soviet Union succeeded in landing humans on the Moon in 1969 before the United States? According to show creators Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert and Ben Nevidi, the global space race would have rolled on for decades to come.

It might be built on historical speculation but the show’s ambition, at a human, political and astronomical level, makes its contemporaries feel tiny in comparison. Each season so far has catapulted to a new decade, with new cultural reference points, technological advancements and an aging cast whose snowballing baggage keeps the drama fizzing. As the show jumps closer to the present, here’s what we know about the next space race.

Has For All Mankind season four been confirmed?

You bet, commander

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A fourth season of For All Mankind was confirmed by Apple TV on July 22, midway through the third season.

The news was announced during the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con, featuring stars Joel Kinnaman, Shantel VanSanten, Jodi Balfour, Sonya Walger, Krys Marshall, Cynthy Wu, Casey Johnson, Coral Peña, Wrenn Schmidt and Edi Gathegi, along with executive producers Ronald D. Moore, Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert.

Do we know a release date for season four?

Not exactly, but 2023 looks likely

A release date for the fourth season hasn’t been officially confirmed, although the rollout of past seasons suggests 2023 as a likely candidate.

In their announcement of season four, Apple confirmed production would begin in August 2022. Considering the gap between season two and three was roughly 15 months, between February 2021 and June 2022, it’s possible that the fourth season will be released in late 2023.

How did the season three finale set up For All Mankind season four?

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Deaths and time-jumps

For All Mankind’s season three finale pivoted from the terrors of space to the perils on Earth. A domestic terrorist bombing at the Johnson Space Center killed two of the show’s key characters, namely Karen Baldwin (Shantel VanSanten) and Molly Cobb (Sonya Walger).

Up in space, Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) manages to launch his pregnant daughter Kelly (Cynthy Wu) to the Phoenix in order to deliver the baby early. In the final moments, she’s seen alive and cradling her baby. Ed also manages to survive the landing and is told about the death of his ex-wife Karen on Earth.

Karen Baldwin For All Mankind
Karen Baldwin in ‘For All Mankind’ season three CREDIT: Apple TV

After admitting to Ed that he’s responsible for the drill incident, Danny Stevens (Casey W. Johnson) is exiled from the other Mars crew members and is sent to live at the North Korean site. Lee Jung-Gil (C.S. Lee), meanwhile, who is technically the first human to land on Mars after successfully landing a North Korean probe, is now with the cosmonauts and NASA on Mars.

Many of these parts, however, will likely shift when season four comes around. After it appeared Margo Madison (Wrenn Schmidt) had been killed in the bombing, the closing scene shows she’s alive and living in Moscow, Russia a decade later in the year 2003.

How will Margo’s move to Russia play into season four?

The Soviet Union is set to play a bigger role

The showrunners have hinted that season four, instead of venturing to a new planet, will use Margo’s shift to Russia to expand that nation’s presence in the show.

Speaking to Space.com, Nedivi said: “Everyone’s expecting what planet are we going to next? So right away, we knew we were not doing that because, for one, we’re not done with Mars yet. I think there’s still a lot of story to tell there and to explore.

“But, I also feel like that ending is a new world for us. This is a show built on the idea that the Soviet Union is still thriving and as writers of the show, we have always felt like we’re not showing enough of the Russian perspective. So maybe having Margo there will open the show to more of that perspective in a way we haven’t been able to before. In that strange way, it is almost like a new planet. Our version of a new planet.”

For All Mankind
Margo in ‘For All Mankind’ season three CREDIT: Apple TV

While it’s hinted that the Soviet Union offered Margo an escape before the bombing, when it’s discovered she’s being investigated for leaking NASA plans to the Soviets, the mystery of her rapid flee to Russia also looks set to be answered.

Asked by ScreenRant if Margo’s escape from the bombing was coincidental or if the Russians were aware of the plot, executive producer Matt Wolpert said: “I think it was really luck more than anything. In that end run, the scenes play as if they are very back-to-back, but there was time in our laying-it-out for Margo to have left the building and been on her way to wherever she was going.

“In our heads, she probably doesn’t even find out about the bombing until she gets to the other side of the Iron Curtain. She may not have gone if she had known what happened, so that idea of having to flee and finding out later, I think, could be something that we play with later on.”

Will For All Mankind jump forwards into the future?

They have a vision for six or seven seasons

If season four jumps forward to the 2000s, it won’t be long before For All Mankind goes beyond the present day and slings into the near-future.

Speaking to IGN, Wolpert revealed that was their plan all along. “When [co-creator] Ron [Moore], Ben and I first started talking about this idea, we definitely had a vision for it. Going six or seven seasons where we not only catch up to our own time.

“How crazy would that be to watch a show set in the year that it’s airing but it feels like the future? But then also to go into the future. A show that goes from the past to the present to the future I think is such a unique concept. Hopefully we get a chance to tell that story through to its conclusion.”

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