'For All Mankind' Season 3 premieres on Apple TV Plus with a strange dose of a Mars-crazed 1990s

As legendary Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin loves to say, "Get your ass to Mars!"

Following that advice, the 10-episode third season of "For All Mankind," Apple TV Plus' alternative history sci-fi series, shifts away from the lunar space race between the USA and the Soviet Unionand instead has its sights set on the mysterious Red Planet.

Leaping ahead in its timeline, season 3 of "For All Mankind" enters the freewheeling decade of the 1990s with the tech industry blossoming, Bill Clinton ramping up his campaign for the office of the President, and a space station hotel hovering in Earth orbit. Yep, a space station!

Co-creators and executive producers Ronald D. Moore, Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert have explained that this obviously would have been impossible at the rate of technological progression in the real world, but due to resources poured into the commercial space industry at a much earlier point in this fractured timeline, it's a reality in this iteration of the '90s. This actually aligns closer to the rapid advancements of SpaceX and other visionary firms that we see today.

"For All Mankind" heads to Mars in season 3 premiering on June 10, 2022. (Image credit: Apple TV+)

Recalling the show's first two seasons' plotlines, the space race we recall spinning out of the 1960s never ended and the Jamestown moon base was part of humanity's space-centric endeavors into the Awesome '80s. Now "For All Mankind" is building upon a distorted future in ways that might seem both strange and familiar.

Besides kicking off the season with the first episode titled "Polaris" with an orbiting commercial space hotel in 1992 run by Karen Baldwin (Shantel VanSanten), the sprint for Mars has begun.  As the season plays out, this mad dash to Mars is joined by a Musk-like tech guru named Dev Ayesa (Edi Gathegi) whose private aerospace group, Helios, hopes to lead the charge.

"Everyone always says Elon Musk," co-creator Ben Nedivi told Inverse. "Dev is a reflection of many different people. Steve Jobs. Jeff Bezos. There's a commonality with a lot of these tech leaders. But outside of that, our inspiration was more about changing things up a little bit."

"The ‘90s was when tech exploded," Nedivi adds. "So, it made sense that in a world where the space race was such a big deal, one of those '90s tech leaders would dedicate their resources, time, and energy toward the space program."

In addition to Edi Gathegi joining the cast of Season 3, Joel Kinnaman returns as fictional NASA astronaut Edward Baldwin, along with Shantel VanSanten playing his wife, Karen Baldwin.  

Also coming back for the Red Planet rush are Jodi Balfour (Ellen Wilson), Coral Peña (Aleida Rosales), Sonya Walger (Molly Cobb), Cynthy Wu (Kelly Baldwin), Krys Marshall (Danielle Poole) and Wrenn Schmidt (Margo Madison). 

"For All Mankind’s" Season 3 race to Mars airs exclusively on Apple TV Plus starting June 10.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.