Joel Kinnaman has teased what's in store in For All Mankind Season 2, which enjoys lift off on Apple TV+ on Friday 19 February.
In one giant leap of the imagination, series one of the sci-fi drama started with the Soviets landing the first man on the moon — to the amazement of NASA and the American public — and the drama went on to explore the impact of this alternative timeline on the two superpowers and a handful of astronauts.
This reimagined space race, which includes real figures from history including Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, saw the US and the USSR both establish bases on the moon in the early 1970s.
As we rejoin the action a decade later, it’s 1983 and President Reagan is in the White House. Also in a new job is Ed Baldwin, the US moonbase astronaut who, at the end of series one, carried out a daring rescue mission to save the stricken Apollo 24.
During his time at the lunar base, Ed also heard from his wife Karen (Shantel VanSanten) that their son Shane had died.
"Ed has given up his dream of being an astronaut," explains Robocop and Altered Carbon star Joel Kinnaman, who plays him. "His primary focus is to be there for his family. He’s now head of the astronaut programme which, of course, he knows a thing or two about."
However, as tensions rise over resources on the moon, Ed’s job becomes increasingly tricky.
"The Cold War has heated up to boiling point. and space is the main arena," says Kinnaman. "The Pentagon has become more interwoven with NASA, which in turn has become more militarised."
This development puts Ed in a challenging situation. "He fought in the Korean War, and the Soviets are his lifelong foes," says Kinnaman. "He has hawkish tendencies and, as the temperature rises, we really see Ed take centre stage. The decisions he takes will decide whether or not there is a nuclear third world war."
Joining the drama for season two are Cynthy Wu as Kelly Baldwin, Ed and Karen’s adopted daughter, and Coral Peña as Aleida Rosales, a brilliant engineer with a complicated past.
Meanwhile, Gordo (Michael Dorman), who was stationed on the moonbase in series one alongside Ed and Danielle Poole (Krys Marshall), is very much missing being at the heart of the action.
Although Gordo is trading on his former glories at public speaking engagements, he’s drinking heavily and the mental health problems that dogged him have clearly not gone away.
Meanwhile, his estranged wife Tracy (Sarah Jones), a fellow astronaut who is preparing to go to the moonbase, has achieved celebrity status as NASA’s poster girl, appearing in commercials and even being a guest on the Johnny Carson talk show.
"The decade hasn’t been kind to Gordo, and he still hasn’t figured out how to move forward from his breakdown on the moon at the end of series one," explains Dorman. "Whereas Tracy seems to be going from strength to strength, and he finds that hard to deal with."
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