After an explosive and shocking Season 2 finale, the ambitious alternate history science fiction series For All Mankind is already set for Season 3.
If you’ve been following the adventures of the Baldwin family, the Stevens family, Margo Madison, Ellen Wilson, and the rest of this alternative version of NASA in the seventies and eighties, then you already know that Season 3 will be starkly different than Season 2. After all, Season 2 was set a full ten years after Season 1, and Season 3 is going to jump ahead even further.
From behind-the-scenes changes to several story elements that will utterly reshape the status quo of the entire series, For All Mankind will undoubtedly look and feel different in its third season. Who’s in the cast for Season 3? Who’s writing the show now? What’s the plot? When does it come out? Here’s everything we know about Season 3 of For All Mankind.
Warning, spoilers through the Season 2 finale are ahead.
What is the release date of For All Mankind Season 3?
Right now, Season 3 is filming. There is not a release date planned, but new episodes in 2022 or early 2023 is a good bet.
What year is For All Mankind Season 3 set in?
After the last scenes of the Season 2 finale busted out Nirvana’s “Come As You Are,” the message was clear: Season 3 is going to the 1990s. Specifically, as the text on the screen tells us in the final shot, the year will be 1994. In Season 1, the show actually had a time-jump within the season, spanning from 1969 to 1973. Season 2 mostly just stayed in 1983, so it’s possible Season 3 will be entirely set in 1994, or it could have a time jump, too.
Who is writing For All Mankind Season 3?
Co-creator and showrunner Ronald D. Moore is leaving the day-to-day operations of For All Mankind, due to his new deal with Disney. That said, Moore will still be involved with Season 3, but not as showrunner, he said recently. Co-creators Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi will be at the helm for Season 3. It’s a good bet that other contributors to the series like Expanse maestro Nareen Shankar and former BSG writers Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, will continue to write episodes, too.
Who is in the cast of For All Mankind Season 3?
Well, that’s a good question. Because Gordo and Tracy both died on the Moon, saving the Jamestown Base from a nuclear meltdown, we know that Micahel Dorman and Sarah Jones will not be in Season 3, barring some kind of flashback. Recently, the show’s co-creator Ronald D. Moore told Inverse that For All Mankind is “a generational tale and characters are going to have to kind of cycle in and cycle out.”
“Some will die and some will just sort of leave the story. And we have to start making those decisions now.”
Season 1 covered 1969 to 1973, but Season 2 jumped to 1983, meaning most of the existing cast — Ed (Joel Kinnaman), Ellen (Jodi Balfour), Karen (Shantel VanSaten), Danielle (Krys Marshall), Margo (Wrenn Schmidt), Molly (Sonya Wagler) and the aforementioned Gordo and Tracy — were all ten years older on the show even though only two years had passed for the viewers. But Season 3 is jumping 1994. So, can the show make us believe that Joel Kinnaman’s Ed is now pushing 50? Speaking to Collider, Kinnaman confirmed that he is back for Season 3, and is enjoying “playing the age” of Ed Baldwin in Season 3. So, the Baldwin family is probably back!
Some of the kids on the show were notably replaced by older actors in Season 2. Specifically: Danny Stevens who was played by Mason Thames in Season 1 and most recently Casey W. Johnson in Season 2. His brother Jimmy Stevens was played by David Chandler in Season 2. Since both Jimmy and Danny are teenagers at the end of Season 2, it seems unlikely they’ll be played by Chander and Johnson in Season 3, since, in theory, both characters will now be in their late twenties.
The same goes for Coral Peña who played Aleida Rosales in Season 2. Assuming Aledia is in Season 2, will she be played by Peña again, or will an older actress replace her?
Or, will none of these characters appear in Season 3?
Moore’s comment about characters having to “cycle out” could apply to any of these characters. But who? Right now, we don’t know. Because the Baldwin family is back, it’s possible that Kelly Baldwin — Ed and Karen’s adopted daughter in Season 2 — could be played by a new actor if Cynthy Wu doesn’t return. Then again, Wu was playing a big younger in Season 2, so she could play older in Season 3.
If For All Mankind does end up getting into a future beyond Season 3, and jumped ahead to even more future generations, then, in theory, you could bring back several cast members — like Michael Dorman and Sarah Jones — as their own grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren. To be clear, nobody involved with the show has suggested this, but it could happen!
What is the plot of For All Mankind Season 3?
Right now, all we know is at least some of it will be set on Mars.
The last shot in the Season 2 finale is of an astronaut's boot on the Martian surface. Is it a NASA astronaut? A Soviet cosmonaut? Someone from a different country? We don’t know. It was also revealed right at the end of Season 2 that Sergei (Piotr Adamczyk) is faking at least some part of his affection for Margo, and is in fact trying to use her to extort NASA secrets for the USSR. Whether this plot point carries forward into the 1994 timeline is unclear. In our timeline, the USSR broke up in 1989. But will that be the case in this version of 1994? Will the USSR still exist in the For All Mankind alternate 1990s?
Other than Mars and the possible plotline involving Margo being spied on, we don’t know much about For All Mankind’s Season 3 storyline. Speaking to Inverse, Ron Moore said that the plan is to go way beyond the nineties anyway.
“There was generally a seven-year arc of structure that we pitched originally. Each season would go roughly 10 years into the future.”
Moore also added that “these things are changeable and organic,” meaning, the show could continue to go well beyond Season 3, or Season 3 could end up being the final season for the show. It all depends on what happens with those boots on Mars, and what’s really going on in this bizarro version of 1994.
Seasons 1 and 2 of For All Mankind are streaming on AppleTV+ now.