A few short months for man, one giant time leap for For All Mankind.
It's been just over a year since the alternate-history drama's shocking (and heartbreaking) season 3 finale, and now (as usual) the Apple TV+ series is set to return with new episodes after a large time jump that with will bring the show's Mars rovers into the 2000s — with EW providing an exclusive look at season 4.
For the uninitiated: FAM presents a 1960s America that starts off almost identical to our own but departs from reality after the USSR beats the United States to the moon, setting off a chain of events that keeps the Space Race — and Cold War — going for decades longer… and all the way to Mars.
And for those in need of a season 3 finale recap: Aside from that deadly explosion, Danny (Casey W. Johnson) was exiled from Happy Valley and Kelly (Cynthy Wu) had her Mars baby. Then, during a traditional season-ending flash forward, Sergei (Piotr Adamczyk) is seen living in an American suburb in 1995 and Margo (Wrenn Schmidt) opens her bedroom curtains to reveal she's living in 2003 Soviet Union.
Sharing exclusive photos from season 4, FAM executive producer Maril Davis tells EW that things will pick up closer to where we last saw Margo.
"I initially thought the writers were crazy," Davis says of when she first heard each season of FAM would jump forward about a decade. "I said, 'We're missing all this material. What about the 10 years that have passed?' But I've come to realize it was a genius decision because you kind of assume you know what the next chapter is going to be — but you jump 10 years and suddenly you get to explore everyone's baggage through the prism of the years that have passed. You get to unpeel the layers of that onion, I think it's just genius. When we come back for season 4, we're going to see people have moved on [from the events of season 3], obviously, but there's going to be an unraveling and a reckoning for every character this season."
Mike Yarish/Apple TV+ Masha Mashkova and Joel Kinnaman on 'For All Mankind' season 4
Two of those characters are FAM mainstays Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) and Danielle Poole (Krys Marshall), who are showing their grays a lot more this season as they embrace their 70s and oncoming 60s, respectively.
Jessica Brooks/Apple TV+ Krys Marshall on 'For All Mankind' season 4
"In a show like this, when you do want to show a passage of time, it is important to kind of push it a little more," Davis says of upping the age makeup for the legacy cast. "But we also wanted to show the wear and tear of the years on these people. It's not just the internal scars, it's also reflective in their outer exterior."
Patrick McElhenney/Apple TV+ Daniel Stern on season 4 of 'For All Mankind'
And there are new faces joining the FAM fam, most notably Home Alone and Shrill star Daniel Stern as Eli Hobson, the new administrator at NASA. "He's come in from more of a corporate world and is coming now to lead NASA," says of Eli.
Apple TV+ Toby Kebbell on season 4 'For All Mankind'
Servant's Toby Kebbell also joins as Miles, a former oil worker pursuing a new job opportunity on Mars. "He is a guy who's just trying to make it in life and support his family and having trouble doing that on Earth and we're going to see him and his journey to Mars and what his experience is like up there," says Davis, who says his character is a big part of the "upstairs-downstairs dynamic," that will be introduced in season 4, exploring "average Joes" joining the astronauts and scientists off-planet. Then there's The Terminal List's Tyner Rushing as Samantha, a space worker on the Mars colony "who we'll see interacting with Miles," Davis adds.
The fourth and final new season regular (joining returning Kinnaman, Schmidt, Marshall, Wu, Edi Gathegi, and Coral Peña) is a high-ranking Soviet official named Irina Morozova, played by The Americans' Svetlana Efremova.
And there's also a character named Svetlana, a "major recurring character" portrayed by Masha Mashkova: "She is part of this combined space program up on Mars and part of the M7 Alliance, and she and Baldwin form a closer attachment. They're very close up on this base, and she will be a big part of how things unwind up there," Davis says of the new Svetlana, seen in the top photo above in a space suit next to Kinnaman.
Speaking of those space suits, Davis is thrilled how "really cool" costume designer Esther Marquis' new season 4 space suits are — though maybe a little bulky for her own comfort. "I want to wait to go to Mars when you can just wear a jumpsuit," says Davis with a laugh.
For All Mankind's 10-episode season 4 launches Nov. 10, with episodes dropping weekly on Apple TV+ through Jan. 12, 2024.