For All Mankind SDCC Panel: Inclusion, Diversity & Season 2 Themes

Apple TV+ outdid themselves this year with their For All Mankind panel at Comic-Con@Home. They split the allotted hour into three "featurette" style discussions – one about the women of the series and their part in telling new stories with a familiar backdrop; one about the storyline in the first season where the team of astronauts is stranded on their lunar base; and finally a look ahead at the upcoming season 2.

For All Mankind season 2 (Image: Apple TV+)
For All Mankind season 2 (Image: Apple TV+)

Women of "For All Mankind"

Creator and executive producer Matt Wolpert facilitates a discussion with female leads Wrenn Schmidt, Sarah Jones, Jodi Balfour, Krys Marshall, and Sonya Walger. When asked about what the space program might have been like had history included women from the beginning as the show does, Wrenn responded, "When women are in positions of power, they tend to bring people in … they tend to address problems differently – any program that's more inclusive is better."

From their perspective, diversity and inclusion aren't about pitting women against men, the contributions will be worthwhile and meaningful as long as they're given a chance – and that still rings true now as it did back in the day. Jodi also talks about the dynamic of collaboration, stating "I think the importance of modeling behavior in society is huge." I could write a manifesto on how brilliant this "panel-ette" is but there is a lot more in this presentation.

Stranded At Jamestown

This is the storyline that rang especially true with me, and it is more relevant now more than ever with lockdowns tightening as quarantine stretches into the fifth month now. In episodes seven and eight, specifically in the episode "Hi Bob", astronauts Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman), Gordo Stevens (Michael Dorman), and Dani Poole (Krys Marshall) find themselves stuck in space as a "quarren-team". On the panel, they're joined by creator and executive producer Ben Nedivi and Shantel VanSanten, who plays astronaut Ed's wife Karen Baldwin in the show – the one who delivers earth-shattering news to Ed while he's alone on the lunar base and kind of spinning out.

This storyline really puts a microscope to mental health, especially as it pertains to the consequences of feeling trapped with no way out – both literally and figuratively. There are so many good perspectives on it, especially from Krys and Shantel about their characters feeling shut out and "quarantined" from their husband's lives and emotions.

A Look Ahead at Season 2

Featuring the main cast and facilitated by the last of the three creators and executive producer Ronald D. Moore is the final panel – the discussion we were all expecting. Joining him are cast members from previous panels Joel, Shantel, Michael, Sarah, and Wrenn.

This is what everyone tuned in for – if you're already a fan of the series, you're waiting to know anything and everything about season 2. Sadly, COVID-19 production shutdowns got the second season right before they finished filming leaving the last two episodes written but not shot, but there's still plenty to talk about as well as a brand new trailer!

We're into the 1980s now, Margo has the same hairstyle as my mother, and we get to see how all the characters we know and love have fared over the past decade and jump right into figuring out who they've become and how the events of the first season have changed them. I absolutely cannot wait – I know it will be worth the wait, and safety comes first, but it looks so good I want to binge it all right this second! Hopefully this time next year it will have just released and their SDCC panel for 2021 will announce goodies for season 3?

About Eden Arnold

Having spent far too much time in front of the television growing up, Eden has lots of opinions about television (as well as movies and everything else). She puts this to good use along with her journalism degree and writing experience with by-lines over the years in many print publications, books, and online media outlets. You can find her on Twitter at @Edenhasopinions

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