The creators of Apple TV+’s For All Mankind explained why the 1980s was the perfect time period for the setting of the show’s second season.

For All Mankind, the acclaimed alternate history original series on Apple TV+, returns for its second season this month and will be leaning into darker, more militaristic themes than its inaugural season.

The upcoming season’s first trailer confirmed that the story would move forward to the 1980s after the Soviet Union beat the United States towards reaching the moon. Now beyond the more idealistic era presented by the Space Race, the story has taken a more aggressive turn as the Cold War between the two nations visibly escalates. For the series creators Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, this narrative development seemed like a natural progression to the alternate history they are creating.

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“We sort of said when we were mapping out the show overall, after [we’ve caught] up with the Soviets and put women into space and set up a moon base, then the coming of Reagan and the Cold War, it felt much more natural that you’d have a militarized component to NASA,” Moore tells CBR. “NASA and the military were sort of joined at the hip from the inception, there was always a very strong bond between the two of them, and that meant the story could get much bigger as well as we got to the ’80s. So we said that Season 2 is going to be a Cold War piece.”

Ahead of the Season 2 premiere, Apple TV+ announced it had renewed For All Mankind for a third season. As the show charts its own future while twisting familiar historical elements, the creators tease that Season 2 will follow the fight for the soul and direction of the American space program.

“It just raises the stakes; it makes everything much more of a life-and-death situation. Also, one of the things that’s really viscerally impactful is you see an astronaut in that iconic spacesuit holding an M-16 and something about it just doesn’t sit right,” Wolpert explained. “The Space Race was supposed to be about the best of us, and seeing a sort of militarism encroaching on that is really what Season 2 is all about. The progress that we were hinting at being possible in Season 1 has been co-opted in Season 2 and it’s the struggle to fight for what the space program is really all 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 Feb. 19, 2021.

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