We’re just days away from For All Mankind season 4 on Apple TV, and we were fascinated to learn of an unusual inspiration behind such a technologically advanced sci-fi tale. It turns out that the latest season drew major influence from the 1948 Western classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
On the face of it, there isn’t much similarity at all between For All Mankind and the prospectors hunting for gold in one of Hollywood legend John Huston’s best Westerns. However, the movie was a key touchstone for showrunners Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert when they were planning the next chapter of one of the best sci-fi series on Apple TV – and there are some great shows on there, so that’s no mean feat.
“We talked a lot in the room about The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and a lot of Westerns where this idea of how greed and competition for wealth can impact human beings,” Wolpert told Collider ahead of the For All Mankind season 4 release date.
The new season follows the further exploration of space and, in particular, the process of mining an asteroid in the hope of uncovering valuable resources. It’s this sort of quest that, in Wolpert’s mind, tied this space show to the Westerns of the past.
He said: “A lot of the roots behind exploration are for resources; you’re exploring things to find resources, and the asteroid belt is the gold mine of the solar system. There is so much valuable stuff in ‘them thar hills’ over there.
“We’ve been intrigued by this idea of, as the space exploration expands and it becomes more about, like: ‘Wow, these resources that are just so rare on Earth but are abundant in space’. How would that impact how people behave and how countries behave to each other and what’s the new race for those? That becomes what the space race is, is the race for resources and for riches.”
This looks set to continue the fascinating alternate history put forward by one of the best Apple TV shows. In the context of a continued global space race, resources would absolutely be the next frontier after pure exploration.
And that is definitely a story with parallels to Westerns like The Treasures of the Sierra Madre, in which characters venture ever further out of their comfort zone in an attempt to find their fortune. The showrunners have won us over already.
It’s not all good news for this show, though, with For All Mankind season 5 already off to a rough start before the fourth season has even aired. And if you can’t wait, then check out where another of the best TV series for sci-fi fans left off with our Foundation season 2 episode 10 recap.