Of course 2020 would be the year Hilary Swank went to space. In Netflix’s Away, Swank plays the conflicted Commander Emma Green, who’s leading the first-ever human mission to Mars, leaving behind her teenage daughter, Alexis, and husband, Matt, a former astronaut who suffered a debilitating stroke. Although the adventure is daunting, the story of Away itself is comfort-viewing in our tense times, a warm and enveloping family drama that feels especially prescient during the age of social distancing. Emma is thousands of miles away from her family—and will be for multiple years as she and her crew continue their mission on the Red Planet. Meanwhile, Alexis (Talitha Bateman) is exploring her rebellious side back on Earth. And Matt? Well, Matt (Josh Charles) just really misses his wife.
Netflix has made no official announcements about a Season 2 just yet, but ELLE.com caught up with Bateman and showrunner Jessica Goldberg to learn more about the journey to space, and what it might mean for Emma’s future.
A Season 2 is likely. Very likely.
In early September 2020, Away creator Andrew Hinderaker told The Capital Times, “There’s no news to break in terms of whether we know that there will be future seasons, but the plan was always for a multi-season arc.”
He added, “Part of the reason the show is called Away is we were always interested in that journey, and what happens when they go home. There’s this phenomenon among astronauts, it’s so fascinating, where home becomes space, and they feel away back home. And, of course, that’s amplified in a mission to Mars where you’ve been gone for three years.”
So it’d be a shock if Away ends after one season, especially given its popularity. And it’s not just the audience that’s excited to see more. The cast also wants back on set.
In an interview with RadioTimes, Ato Essandoh, who plays Kwesi, said, “I’m sure there are plans for a second season like there would be any time, and I would definitely want to be a part of that.” Bateman hinted that she, too, anticipates a second season.
Even if production begins soon on a Season 2, it’ll be some time before it reaches our screens.
This isn’t your everyday, easy-lift streaming show. If Away does get the green light to start shooting again, the complicated nature of its set—not to mention its insane cost per episode—might delay the release of Season 2.
Goldberg told ELLE.com, “Some of the scenes, like where Hillary does that spacewalk and has to deploy the solar panel, you know? That’s something that takes hours of plotting in advance. Thinking about what to build, how to do it, putting the actors on wires, it’s quite complicated.”
Plus, with COVID-19 looming over Hollywood for months to come, it’s doubtful Away will be back on our screens until fall 2021 at the earliest.
Don’t expect any little green men on Mars.
Away isn’t a sitcom, but it’s also not Star Wars. If Commander Green and her valiant crew discover life in space, you can rest assured it won’t be an army of Martians.
Goldberg said a second season might include life on Mars, but added, “when I say life, I mean like a microorganism,” she told Inverse. “I don’t mean an alien. The show would never go in that direction.”
We might see fictionalized versions of Blue Origin and SpaceX.
If you’ve paid much attention to the real-life race to Mars, you might know Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are both quite interested in shooting their rockets into the unknown. But private sector space travel versus public agencies like NASA bring with them all sorts of ethical and finance questions.
“I do feel that’s a story that’s super important,” Goldberg told Inverse. “Right now, we can’t get anywhere without that private sector money, and I think it would be great to bring that storyline in.”
There could be much more drama on Earth.
Despite the many captivating adventures Away could show us in outer space, Goldberg wants to make sure the show stays grounded on Earth as well. She told ELLE.com, “[This show] was the first time I really felt like I could tell the story of a working mom in a way that I’ve never seen before. It’s rare to see a woman in love with their work, who is so smart and great at what she does and also loves her child and is great at [parenting], but experiences the push and pull of all those things and how emotional it is.”
So you can expect more agonized yearning from Emma when her daughter gets into trouble again. When asked about her hopes for Season 2, Bateman told ELLE.com there’s exactly one thing she wants for Lex next season: “More dirt bike riding would be awesome.”
But with a new boyfriend and a caretaker who’s in love with her dad, Lex might have more to worry about than another ride. If Melissa, her parents’ friend and her pseudo-babysitter, reveals her affections for Matt, Lex could pull away.
When Mel told Matt about her feelings, she “handled it in a really, really good way, I will say that,” Bateman told ELLE.com. “She didn’t act on her feelings, she didn’t make a move or anything because she has a respect for [Lex’s mom], but it still was just a boundary that that obviously wasn’t appropriate. And I have this thing against affairs, in general. I’m very bothered by them. I feel like it distorts the character for me, and maybe that’s me taking my own personal thing into it, but maybe Alexis will forgive her because she does value her relationship with Mel because she’s been there for her through everything. So we’ll see how she reacts, but I don’t know. There might be some distancing or there might be some forgiveness.”
There could be more to come for Lex and Emma.
Bateman said one of her favorite experiences on set was working with Swank, so we can hopefully bank on more scenes between them in Season 2.
“I didn’t want it to come across [to Swank] that I was like a fangirl or something, which of course I was because she’s phenomenal,” Bateman told ELLE.com. “But I tried to just have a mother-daughter relationship on set, and I feel like she did as well. So it made it much easier because I think we both wanted the same thing.”
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