In the ever-growing universe of television, few names hold as much reverence as that of Ronald D. Moore. Renowned for his work on series like “Battlestar Galactica” and “Outlander,” Moore’s creative genius continues to shine in For All Mankind, an Apple TV show that reimagines the space race in an alternate history. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with this distinguished showrunner and co-creator to dig into the details of “For All Mankind”. Join us as we journey into the behind-the-scenes world of one of TV’s most prolific talents.
From what I was able to see, it seems like there are going to be a lot of changes, and a lot of ups and downs throughout this season. What was your favorite moment throughout the season?
Ronald D. Moore: It’s hard to say because there are a lot of really interesting things. I think the thing that I was the most excited about, and I think is really cool this season, was just being able to go behind the Iron Curtain with Margot, and see how the Soviet Union had changed in our alternate reality. And, sort of, what her experience there was, and her story, and where she ends up by the end of the season. I thought it was really fun and unexpected and fascinating, and I think that’s a really, for me, that was very satisfying.
Was there any part of this experience that you feel like pained you, or impacted you in a positive or negative way as an artist?
Ronald D. Moore: I think each project changes you, you know, in my experience. Each one you give yourself to, and you discover things, and you have defeats, and you have victories, and they all come in four of the next pieces that I’m going to work on. So as an artist, I think you’re constantly in this dialogue with your fruition, whatever it is. And this one is no different than all the way back to Star Trek. Every script is a new challenge, it’s another blank page. And they’re all informed by the pages you’ve written before that. And I think this season moved me, and surprised me in ways because I thought at the beginning of the season, you plan out what you think the year’s going to be, but there’s always these sort of unexpected changes and unexpected character things that pop up along the way, and that’s gratifying that you still have this sort of discovery process in the middle of a show, and it’s the fourth season.
That opening was something like the opening of the 80s, 90s, and then 2000s. What is it like to play with history, like you mentioned, like our alternate reality?
Ronald D. Moore: What is it like to play with, like, you know, gore? I just think it’s just incredible, like, what’s that like, because it’s like a playground to do whatever you want. I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s a tremendous amount of work because a lot of time is spent in the writer’s room. This is the era that we’re going into, what really happened, and what could have happened in our reality, what’s happened since the last time the characters have been here. And we always have, like, dozens and dozens of possibilities of what we’re going to play with. Everything from pop-cultural moments to, you know, geopolitical things to, you know, science and technology. There’s a lot of pitches, there’s a lot of ways to go. And you have to sort of steer this course of, well, we will have to have some grounding in what really happened so that the audience sort of has these touchstones of, okay, I kind of remember that in the 2000s, I kind of remember this happening in the 90s and so on, but the further that we get down our path, the more we’re diverging from what people really remember. So, it is a challenge to pick out those little points of historical truth and keep them in the show, but as someone who loves history and politics, I find it a lot of fun, I just think there’s really a lot of fun and playing the game of what if, what if this happened? How would it affect this thing over here? I think it’s a great… It’s just one of the favorite parts of being in the writer’s service of the show.
We were dealing with a real, like, distorted situation. Hollywood has always been criticized for a lack of strong, prominent, female lead characters. How did that come into play as you killed off two of your original strong, prominent female leads with Karen and Molly in season three?
Ronald D. Moore: Well, you know, part of the show is generational. You know, that’s how we pitched it. And when you’re doing a generational show, you knew that you were going to constantly be, like, losing cast members. And in some ways, it’s sort of a tribute to the fact that they were strong leads. It’s like the leads are the ones that you have the biggest stories for, and it hits the audience the hardest when you take those characters out. So, you know, we’re kind of aware of that, but it felt like those were the correct endings to those stories, you know, and then new characters come up behind them.
How much collaboration do you have with Joel when he’s developing another character? Does he take an active part in crafting your story?
Ronald D. Moore: He definitely takes a part in how the character works, right? So there’s discussions with Joel about who Ed Baldwin is. What are his reactions to things? And especially the deeper you get into a series, the more that actor really understands the character from the inside out. So his insights, like almost any of the cast, becomes more valuable to the writer because they’re now living it in a way that in the first season, everyone’s just kind of still discovering and figuring out, well, who is that?
From exploring alternate realities to navigating the intricacies of historical accuracy, Moore’s work reminds us that the power of storytelling lies in its ability to transcend time and space. We hope this interview has offered you a unique perspective on “For All Mankind” and the mind of a true visionary in the realm of science fiction. Stay tuned for more exciting interviews and insights into the world of entertainment.