Joel Kinnaman Gets Excited About For All Mankind’s Extreme Sci-Fi Future

The Apple TV+ series leaps 10 years into the 1980s — and further away from reality as we know it — in its second season.

by | February 18, 2021 | Comments

For fans of For All Mankind creator Ronald D. Moore’s other work — Battlestar Galactica or Outlander, for example — skipping a year or two of story between seasons should not be all that surprising. But when the Apple TV+ series returns this week, 10 years will have passed since astronaut Ed Baldwin, played by Suicide Squad’s Joel Kinnaman, returned to Earth from his extended stay on the Moon. It is a jump Moore said is “baked into the premise” and will continue with each subsequent season. But as Kinnaman told Rotten Tomatoes recently, the jump was still a surprise as so much of the first season was still unresolved.

“Where we left off, Ed and Karen [were] going through the ultimate tragedy that a family can go through,” he said of the place season 1 left him and Shantel VanSanten, who plays Ed’s wife on the series. “As an actor, it’s like that’s the challenge that you’re sort of looking forward to portraying. And then we come in [for season 2], we find Ed at this sort of … he’s almost at peace. He’s almost happy. And you see very little of his anger management issues and he has really mellowed out.”

Joel Kinnaman in season 2 of​ For All Mankind

(Photo by Apple TV+)

That change in Ed’s character may be more surprising to viewers than any of the other divergences From All Mankind will showcase as it enters a 1980s in which the space race is still on. And when you consider that Edward Kennedy won the 1972 presidential election in the show’s reality, there are plenty of surprising ways world events could unfold.

“I think that’s really where the sophistication of the writing comes in,” Kinnaman continued. “They just found a different way to tell that story. Ten years have passed, so the wounds aren’t going to be on the outside anymore. They’re going to be on the inside. And I love the way that things just come out in ways where you just did not see it coming. You didn’t expect it. I feel like that’s how life is. It doesn’t follow an A, B, C pattern.”

The flow of that life also puts Ed in a new position at NASA which the actor teased may lead him to the “middle” of a crisis between the global superpowers and “some decisions in relation to it at some point.”

And for fans of Ed’s incredible ability to put his foot in his mouth at exactly the wrong time, Kinnaman said, “He’s always going to find a way to say the wrong thing. But I think he says the wrong thing at the right time.”

Joel Kinnaman in season 2 of​ For All Mankind

(Photo by Apple TV+)

Whether or not this particular instance of Ed saying the wrong thing relates to the potential for a World War III in the show’s reality remains to be seen.

Another surprise: Ed and Karen are still together despite the death of their son Shane (Tait Blum) while Ed was still on the Moon.

“Going through what they went through, that’s something that a majority of relationships and marriages don’t survive from in reality. It’s just one of those things that it’s very hard to stay together after,” Kinnaman said.

Although the characters were able to save their marriage, Kinnaman suggested it may have led to a sacrifice Ed makes in the years between seasons.

Shantel VanSanten and Joel Kinnaman in For All Mankind season 2

(Photo by Apple TV+)

“The pain of going through that and not been able to be there — not be a rock in that situation — that’s something that he just swore to himself that he was never going to do again,” he explained. “In the backstory, I think we find out some of it over the course of the second season, they had some really rough patches in the span of those 10 years that we didn’t see.

“Their relationship is continually tested” in the second season, he added.

Kinnaman credited VanSanten with making those tests of the relationship some of the best — and hardest — work on the show.

“She just seems to have an express route down to those dark, dark emotions,” he explained. “There’s an element of losing control to get to that place [that is] really hard to create on your own. And it’s twice as hard to create if the person that you’re working with doesn’t feel like they’re real, you know? But if you really feel that they’re there, and they’re really going for it, then it makes it a lot easier. So I went to places in a few scenes [with her] in this season where I haven’t been able to do that before.”

While some of the repercussions from Shane’s death will play out within the series proper, some of the years-long gap in story is filled in via an AR experience app available on iOS devices. For All Mankind: Time Capsule tells the story of Danny’s (Casey Johnson) first love via objects in the Stevens’ home and some of the show’s newscast material. Moore and producer Ben McGinnis said it will touch on some of the fallout from that tragic death.

“He was friends with Danny and they had a close relationship,” McGinnis said, teasing that the loss of Shane ties into how Danny met his girlfriend. “Coming into the series, [Shane’s death] is something that will be carried forward with the characters even though it is 10 years later.”

The app also alludes to some of the other divergences between the show’s reality and our own. Although, when we asked Moore if it might lead to a different history for Apple itself — the ill-fated Apple Lisa becoming a generation-defining computer instead of the Macintosh, for example — he laughed.

“These things were discussed, but we’re not going down that road,” Moore replied.

Nevertheless, a certain technological advancement from our reality’s 1990s debuts much earlier in For All Mankind’s timeline. History buffs will likely enjoy the slight change in its name — and perhaps argue at just when this particular advancement really came about in our history — but it speaks to the show’s growing differences from the way our latter 20th century played out. Those differences will eventually push the show into full science fiction territory, something Kinnaman is excited to see become more extreme.

Joel Kinnaman

(Photo by Rachel Luna/FilmMagic)

“From the beginning, what made me the most excited about this show is the grand vision; where it goes when we get deeper into the seasons. And now I think when you see the first season, you don’t really know where it’s going. It looks like sort of a cool Mad Men in NASA environment, where we’re in the early ’70s and the divergence is not that big,” he said. “Now we’re starting to see the steps that are going to take this show into real sci-fi territory. But still grounded in tone, but it really becomes … It’s going to some really cool places.”

Of course, if Kinnaman had his way, there is one divergence he would feature on the series: “It has to be where my team, Hammarby — it’s a soccer team from Stockholm — are actually a successful team winning the league at least more than once in 120 years. That would be great.”

Kinnaman next appears in the May revival of HBO’s In Treatment, starring opposite Uzo Aduba, and then reprises his role as DC Comics character Colonel Rick Flag in August film release The Suicide Squad on HBO Max and in theaters.

For All Mankind season 2 is now streaming on Apple TV+.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

festivals IFC Pirates Broadway docudrama Holiday American Society of Cinematographers all-time Universal name the review unscripted LGBT golden globe awards 1990s blaxploitation kong theme song travel Superheroe natural history boxoffice First Reviews Super Bowl Pixar GIFs Tubi TCA 2017 supernatural Set visit legend Mary Tyler Moore werewolf Star Wars comic book movie high school spanish 99% latino Family GLAAD Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Reality dogs mutant child's play cults action-comedy lord of the rings breaking bad biography rt labs critics edition remakes Toys Star Trek TV One Turner Disney streaming service social media Marathons black Mudbound Discovery Channel reviews japan The Walking Dead 2020 Adult Swim sports YouTube Premium mission: impossible E3 ID New York Comic Con Binge Guide Comic-Con@Home 2021 Nat Geo Food Network Brie Larson TCA Winter 2020 Paramount SXSW TNT prank scary movies Rocky mockumentary blockbusters suspense politics 2018 Thanksgiving Cosplay toronto new york thriller Fall TV singing competition TV films die hard hispanic heritage month ESPN anthology fast and furious nfl SundanceTV CNN BET video casting stand-up comedy hispanic hidden camera young adult Fox Searchlight President Apple TV+ binge Pop 2017 king arthur Stephen King TCM OWN FX kids Hulu posters LGBTQ superhero 2015 Red Carpet halloween tv Chernobyl Elton John serial killer Wes Anderson Film Acorn TV diversity technology Tokyo Olympics Avengers television Netflix Christmas movies PBS Winter TV sitcom joker christmas movies strong female leads DC Universe Bravo slasher gangster The Walt Disney Company Nominations Song of Ice and Fire Turner Classic Movies ITV The Academy Showtime dceu slashers italian Lucasfilm Marvel Television razzies universal monsters nbcuniversal movies children's TV telelvision ABC Signature Fox News Comics on TV Crackle BBC America dark Vudu movie TCA Cannes political drama Western Kids & Family trailers Emmys Oscars WGN Rocketman 4/20 Disney Plus FX on Hulu elevated horror Marvel Studios Summer Trophy Talk discovery comedies based on movie Horror Watching Series Black History Month composers basketball witnail RT21 ABC Family TCA Awards Mary poppins Certified Fresh news spider-man Crunchyroll San Diego Comic-Con NYCC Comedy Central cancelled TV series Film Festival TBS DGA aapi crime thriller Ovation spanish language indie HBO Max parents spain award winner biopic teaser Grammys Classic Film National Geographic concert reboot venice 20th Century Fox spinoff Alien Opinion USA Network documentaries 73rd Emmy Awards Television Academy archives Britbox dexter directors GoT emmy awards adenture Amazon Prime finale BBC First Look Interview screenings Character Guide scorecard jamie lee curtis 2021 know your critic rotten movies we love critics Marvel The CW Academy Awards Awards Sundance Now cooking Holidays 45 MCU Sneak Peek festival FOX Video Games 2016 Anna Paquin OneApp Arrowverse DC Comics satire TIFF Teen game of thrones DirecTV asian-american justice league Music ABC Ellie Kemper cats science fiction VICE streaming mcc BET Awards hollywood comics Podcast harry potter Amazon Studios Fantasy debate Masterpiece Apple worst See It Skip It AMC Amazon Prime Video Schedule Reality Competition wonder woman Shondaland Exclusive Video zombie zombies facebook El Rey CBS olympics fresh Disney+ Disney Plus Hallmark Christmas movies Extras Peacock rt archives target Comedy A24 CBS All Access Spike nature Black Mirror Legendary cops Sundance TV monster movies Endgame Disney Channel RT History Valentine's Day Mindy Kaling Superheroes Image Comics Lionsgate Television Critics Association 007 The Purge Quiz Rock obituary Musical PaleyFest BBC One CMT Tomatazos boxing series Shudder WarnerMedia HBO green book scene in color popular Paramount Plus cancelled TV shows MTV talk show war CW Seed MSNBC stoner BAFTA Heroines X-Men police drama tv talk jurassic park Dark Horse Comics stop motion indiana jones criterion Rom-Com miniseries heist movie romantic comedy Spectrum Originals Awards Tour Baby Yoda marvel comics marvel cinematic universe Lifetime Christmas movies chucky 93rd Oscars Pride Month saw medical drama true crime VOD hist cars TruTV anime football a nightmare on elm street cancelled rotten video on demand vampires golden globes canceled Christmas spy thriller Creative Arts Emmys Box Office Walt Disney Pictures YA The Witch feel good Hallmark laika Funimation TV renewals FXX SDCC james bond book Best and Worst screen actors guild docuseries Animation quibi 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards 71st Emmy Awards what to watch kaiju Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cartoon new star wars movies south america twilight game show period drama A&E Action Esquire Countdown comic books The Arrangement doctor who Pacific Islander deadpool foreign king kong Sundance critic resources revenge adaptation Captain marvel Tumblr space crime Starz versus Musicals Year in Review E! rt labs cancelled television rom-coms japanese YouTube Red Election IFC Films international zero dark thirty HBO Go APB godzilla Martial Arts Mystery YouTube Nickelodeon Trailer Comic Book aliens Emmy Nominations Freeform 2019 australia TLC psycho toy story sequel comic Photos crossover comiccon best batman crime drama NBC TV Land Amazon Calendar psychological thriller halloween Polls and Games Winners Premiere Dates ratings VH1 animated women Sony Pictures Hear Us Out Logo royal family TV movies 72 Emmy Awards historical drama Netflix Warner Bros. DC streaming service robots free movies Biopics richard e. Grant dc sag awards canceled TV shows USA comic book movies Disney streaming movies Epix transformers live action documentary book adaptation 24 frames Cartoon Network Infographic blockbuster NBA sequels Syfy Women's History Month ghosts 90s cinemax Country Trivia classics Sci-Fi Ghostbusters Tarantino PlayStation Pet Sematary Drama Mary Poppins Returns superman Paramount Network 21st Century Fox dramedy pirates of the caribbean french renewed TV shows disaster History Pop TV ViacomCBS independent new zealand romance franchise Lifetime Spring TV Apple TV Plus Columbia Pictures adventure Travel Channel Writers Guild of America dragons worst movies