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For All Mankind Star Krys Marshall Initially Hated This Scene

A show like "For All Mankind" can present plenty of opportunities for hard-to-tackle scenes. The series is set in an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union beats the U.S. in the space race to the moon in 1969, setting off an even bigger and more competitive space race over the decades. Created by Ronald D. Moore, Ben Nedivi, and Matt Wolpert, "For All Mankind" also acts as a bit of wish fulfillment. 

According to Moore, much of the series is inspired by the wishes he had for the space program as a child. "I thought it was gonna go much bigger than it did," Moore said in a 2021 interview with Collider. "I had dreams of moon bases and colonization, and all kinds of things that never came to pass. The idea of doing the history that I never got to see was personally really exciting and interesting to me."

The series is also known for tackling topics outside the realm of space travel. By presenting an alternate timeline that can differ from our own in ways both large and small, writers are able to take a head-on look at numerous social issues. Most recently, the series took a special look at gay marriage in the '90s. Interestingly, series star Krys Marshall, who plays Commander Danielle Poole, revealed that she initially hated one very important scene focused on the topic in Season 3.

Marshall hated Danielle's response to Will Parker's announcement

In "For All Mankind" Season 3, Episode 6 ("New Eden"), Danielle Poole and the crew make it to Mars. In a broadcast back to Earth, Will Parker (Robert Bailey Jr.) decides to come out as gay. While some areas of this show are more progressive than our world today, there is still prejudice, and Parker's admission threatens his position as an astronaut. Parker's disclosure earns split reactions on both planets, but the most surprising criticism comes from Danielle, who also appears none too happy about the incident.

"When I first read it, I really hated it," Krys Marshall told Decider. "It made me angry that Danielle didn't have his back and it also didn't seem to ring true to who I knew her to be. I thought, 'Wait a minute, she's Black. He's Black. She's an advocate for the little guy and the underdog. I can't understand why Danielle would come against him, why she'd reprimand him, this doesn't seem true to who she is.'"

The actress said she even tried to get the scene changed, but she was eventually won over, realizing her character is a wiser, mentor figure to Parker who put himself above the mission. "Will is in his twenties and he's what looks to her like this selfish kid who steps forward and comes out at the sacrifice of everyone else on the mission and she's looking at him and going, 'How dare you put yourself first?'" she explained.

Notably, this scene isn't the only moment in Season 3 that angered Marshall upon her first reading of the script.

Marshall reacts to the show as both an actress and a fan

In Season 3, Episode 2 ("Game Changer), Danielle Poole and Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) have an intense scene after Ed discovers that Danielle is taking control of the Mars mission. Although Danielle is abundantly qualified and arguably better suited for the position, Ed opts to soothe his own ego by complaining that she's only been given the position because she's a Black woman. Understandably, Ed's words hurt Danielle, and she reacts to the claim that she's merely a diversity hire with a potent mixture of anger and sadness.

"You couldn't have thicker thieves than Ed and Danielle," Marshall said in an interview with ComicsBeat. "And at the same time, he also can't help but see her through the veil of his lived experience as a straight white man. He's accustomed to being in the position of authority, position of power, a position of prestige or privilege." 

According to Marshall, the scene made her angry as a fan, but she also admitted that the creative move excited her as an actress. "So, as a viewer, it pissed me off like, 'How dare he do that to Danielle! Screw that guy!'" Marshall said. "But as a storyteller, and as an actor, you're like, 'Yes, yes, yes. Yes. This is gonna be so much fun!'"