In the alternate reality of the Apple TV+ series For All Mankind, one thing that exists from our universe is Star Trek. As Inverse reported, there was even a recent Easter egg referencing the legendary science fiction franchise and the people who make it.
In an important scene in the fourth episode of Season 4, titled “House Divided,” during a tense exchange between the characters Ed Baldwin and Danielle Poole, viewers can see a direct connection with our world and with Star Trek on Dani’s bookshelf: Nichelle Nichols’ memoir, Beyond Uhura.
How Does Nichelle Nichols’ Memoir Exist In This Alternate Timeline?
This raises the question, however, of how Nichols’ memoir could exist in For All Mankind, a universe where the Russians reached the Moon first and the space race never ended. After all, one of the multi-talented actor, singer, and dancer’s signature achievements in our timeline is her involvement with the space program. NASA and its history are quite different in the series, which invites curiosity about how Star Trek and Nichelle Nichols have influenced the show, and vice versa.
Star Trek’s Influence On For All Mankind
Star Trek certainly has an influence on For All Mankind, but not only in the fact that Dani is a massive Star Trek fan who particularly loves Uhura. The show was co-created by Ronald D. Moore, who not only created the reboot of Battlestar Galactica but famously began his television writing career writing for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Moore went on to become a prominent member of the writers’ room on that series, even co-writing its widely lauded final episode with Brannon Braga before moving on to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and two Trek feature films.
Through Moore and his fellow executive producer Naren Shankar, who also worked on several Star Trek series, the sensibilities of that venerable sci-fi universe show up with some frequency in For All Mankind. For instance, the episode that contains the Nichelle Nichols Easter egg, “House Divided,” explores an ethical dilemma and difficult choice that must be made in a fashion not unlike Star Trek. Similarly, Trek has always had a close relationship with NASA and space exploration, so the fact that the series is inspirational to one of the astronaut characters of For All Mankind is a very intentional nod to the sci-fi universe that gave Ronald D. Moore his start.
A Different Version Of Beyond Uhura
Given her love of Star Trek, it’s no surprise that Beyond Uhura shows up on Dani’s bookshelf in For All Mankind, but showrunners Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert told Inverse that, while the book exists in the world of their series, it must necessarily be quite a different book. One of the biggest reasons it would not be the same is that Nichols’ influence on NASA came in her focused effort to recruit women and people of color to the space organization, who were noticeably lacking before her involvement, which began in 1977. In the timeline of For All Mankind, however, Danielle Poole became the first Black woman in space in the early 1970s.
Nichelle Nichols In Star Trek
In Star Trek, Nichols was an inspiration to many, especially people of color and women, and the same holds true in the universe of For All Mankind. However, it’s an open question as to how, if at all, she would have become involved with the space program in an alternate timeline where there is greater racial and gender diversity among astronauts. What motivation would she have had to become involved with NASA in a universe where a Black woman was in space in the 1970s, as opposed to ours that did not see a Black woman astronaut until 1992?
Stream For All Mankind On Apple TV+
It would seem, based on comments from the For All Mankind team, that Nichols’ influence on the space program in their universe most likely came from Star Trek. Sally Ride, who is one of many astronauts with whose recruitment to NASA Nichols is credited, features prominently in Season 2 of the series. This indicates that at least one of the people Nichols inspired in real life became a part of NASA in the world of the series, and Wolpert says her influence, while different in their timeline, is indeed present. You can stream episodes of For All Mankind on Apple TV+.