Over the course of three seasons so far, For All Mankind has created a very different timeline of humanity. All The Beatles are still alive, we get flat screen TVs in the ’90s, and we sail our way to Mars by the turn of the century. And all of that is thanks to the Soviets winning the first length of the space race.
But now, For All Mankind is stepping into historically trickier territory. The For All Mankind season 4 release date brings Ed Baldwin and the rest of NASA’s best and brightest into the 2000s, where one of the best sci-fi series runs into some of the most emotive lived history yet.
In the first trailer for season 4, we see the mission to Mars take its toll on those involved, which is nothing new for one of the best Apple TV shows available. What isn’t covered in the tease is what gets rewritten about perhaps the biggest moment of American life this century thus far – the World Trade Centre attack on 9/11.
You likely don’t need me to recount what happened: commercial flights were hijacked, and flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Both buildings ultimately fell, and the incident had ramifications the world over, but especially in the United States, where the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were started as a direct result.
That’s an extremely condensed version, but the point is the political geography of the entire world was altered that day. It’s truly a before and after moment, and that creates a fork in road for For All Mankind. Does another version of the attack happen? Or does one of the best TV series of the last decade avoid the whole thing?
Both offer a wealth of possibilities. If another region, like Russia perhaps, is used as the attacker, then we get a wave of anti-Russian sentiment and what would amount to a world war from America’s response. Ditto North Korea. If For All Mankind decides to not include any obvious reference, then the entire cultural landscape of America will be different.
The show has been fascinating in towing the line between fictional history and latent real world issues. Yeah, we have touchpads in 1996, but homophobia and systemic oppression are still prevalent. Cool toys aren’t solving our bigotries, and having no 9/11 would mean very different levels of xenophobia, especially towards people who follow the Islamic faith.
All of which is to say I’m very excited to see where this goes. For All Mankind returns November 10, and I’m counting the days. If you are too, our lists of the best science fiction movies and best time travel movies have plenty of options, and our guide to Avatar 3 will tell you when that’s coming.