In an alternate 1994, Dev Ayesa changed the world.
In for all mankind divergent timeline, as the founder and CEO of the independent aerospace agency Helios, Ayesa (Edi Gathegi) drives space technology without the resources of NASA or the government. He sounds like a bizarre Elon Musk in the ’90s, right? Wrong. “It’s not what it is,” Gathegi says of Musk’s comparison. “And that’s not how I interpret it.”
Before the penultimate episode of for all mankind season 3, Reverse caught up with Gathegi, who told us about his character’s true motivations, what makes this sci-fi series so different, and what could be in store for his character in Season 4.
How do we learn in for all mankind Season 3, in this timeline, Dev “solves the merger”, which, in turn, creates clean energy for the United States. To be clear, this sci-fi invention only exists in Season 3’s backstory. By the time we meet Dev, he’s already over it.
“It’s about pushing the envelope.”
“That’s why you can’t compare it to anyone else,” says Gathegi. “He has already solved an energy crisis that our current [real] the world is still going. But now it’s about the new frontier, the next frontier. It’s about Mars, it’s about what’s after Mars, it’s about going beyond and creating a legacy.”
Gathegi jokes that he has to be “careful” about saying too much about other real-world tech moguls who share biographical details with Dev, mainly because “those guys have a lot of money.” But he admits that the late Steve Jobs probably had more to do with how he connected with the character philosophically. “The way Jobs used to present Apple products year after year, the way he generated excitement through all the details,” says Gathegi. “I think that’s what Dev is doing when he gets a hotel that he’s going to turn into a spaceship that can potentially go to Mars.”
In episode 9 of for all mankind In season 3, “Coming Home,” Dev argues with her no-nonsense colleague, Karen Baldwin (Shantel VanSanten), about the future of Helios and whether or not they’ll keep pushing to go back to Mars. Meanwhile, Karen is asked to take over Helios from Dev, which Gathegi describes as “pure betrayal”. In some ways, it’s the revelation of Dev’s bravery and overconfidence. And yet, Gathegi notes that the narrative force of for all mankind characters, including Dev, lies in its complexity.
“There are contradictions that run through everyone,” says Gathegi. “And our show puts that on display. You’ll have one character doing something that’s completely polarizing to the audience, a decision that one audience member might say is exactly the right way to be, and someone else will say about the same decision, ‘That’s completely evil.’ The show’s ability to do that with all of these characters defines the show in so many ways.”
At the beginning of the season, Dev is a villain, a usurper who is forcing a space race to happen faster than it should, at least from the point of view of the characters loyal to NASA. Yet to many of his employees he is a down-to-earth hero, someone who doesn’t believe in corner offices or traditional hierarchy. Later, when Dev collaborates with the Russians to find water on Mars but excludes NASA, he becomes determined again and seems to be selfish.
Usually, however, the character takes what most would identify as moral action. And when his board of directors pulls him away from building new infrastructure on Mars, he suddenly feels like Dev had been right all along. In this way, while the character of Dev Ayesa may have some of Elon Musk’s unlimited trust, he is not too corrupt and does not mix politics with his technological advances.
“There are contradictions that run through everyone.”
“What this type of role offers is an opportunity to further your education,” Gathegi says of the brilliant character. “When people say ‘it’s not rocket science,’ they don’t mean characters like this. It’s always fun to play characters who know so much more than you do. And rise to that challenge.”
There is a seven season plan for the show, with each season skipping a decade. Although season 3 marks Dev’s introduction to the show, it’s possible that this is just the beginning of the character’s story.
“This show can tell stories about people’s entire lives,” says Gathegi. “So is Dev present in season 4? I guess we’ll see.
for all mankind airs its season 3 finale on Friday, August 12 on Apple TV+.