Cosmos: New Season Will Present Possibilities of the Future

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos producers discuss the upcoming season and the importance of science and truth at Comic-Con.

The third season of the epic Cosmos series will present what is possible for the future of our planet and potentially habitable worlds elsewhere. According to producers of the show, science hinges on truth, and in a time in which the public struggles with both of these concepts, Cosmos is in a unique position to shed light on how important both are to our existence.The new season is titled Cosmos: Possible Worlds. National Geographic promoted the show at this year’s Comic-Con, where Den of Geek was able to interview the show’s host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, as well as some of the producers.“[Cosmos: Possible Worlds] is a voyage in space and time into the distant future to various exoplanets, the stars, other suns as well as a trip into the future of this planet that I think will captivate and inspire,” says producer Ann Druyan.Druyan co-wrote the original Cosmos series in 1980 with show host Carl Sagan and Steven Soter. She went on to marry Sagan and remained married to him until his death in 1996. Druyan created the second Cosmos series which aired in 2014 and is now an executive producer and writer for Cosmos: Possible Worlds set to air in early 2019. Druyan said Cosmos is important because science is important. She also makes the point that the bedrock of science is truth.“Science requires of us that we actually be truthful,” Druyan says. “Science says it matters what’s true, unlike so much of our existence. And so, if we are going to survive and if we are going to explore the universe, you cannot B.S. your way to Mars.”“And so, I say,” Duyan continued, “We have to reintroduce into our public lives and our personal lives that belief at the core of science that makes science so much more effective than anything else we do. Which is that it matters what is true.” Producer Jason Clark echoed the sentiment that the story of Cosmos is bound by truth.“We have to be sure everything we do is accurate and truthful,” Clark says. ‘In today’s world where there are so many alternate facts, it’s great that we get to employ the scientific method to tell our story.”Clark stresses that Cosmos: Possible Worlds is not a negative story about the possibility of a “dystopic kind of future.” Instead, it is a “positive vision of what is the future, how fast thing can change, and how much opportunity we have.”Tyson is also excited to bring science to the public and says with Cosmos they attempt to present science in a way that is more acceptable to general audiences. He says when we teach science, it is often, “here is this body of knowledge, learn it.” High school and college students “slug through it” and then continue with their lives.“You give your textbook back, and then you are done,” Tyson explains. “So, we are not trained to think of science as a fundamental aspect of what it is to be alive.”“So what Cosmos has done in all three incarnations, what he have done is present science in all the ways that you see that it matters,” Tyson continues. “Not only to you, and understanding your place in the universe, but also to what role it can play in survival. What role it can play as informing us as shepherds of our own civilization as well as the ecosystem that sustains it.”When it comes to science, “rather than beat people over the head, ‘you must listen,’ that’s not the right way to do it I don’t think, you offer it,” says Tyson. “[Cosmos] is an offering that will empower people to recognize and embrace what role science plays in their lives.“It is a formula that seems to work. When Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey was released in 2014, Clark says over 135 million people watched it. According to National Geographic, it was their most watched series ever internationally.The original, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, also set records when it aired in 1980. At the time it set the record for the most watched program on public television in history. It held that record for a decade.Tyson credits Sagan for paving the way to enable scientists to participate in educating the public on the fruits of their efforts on television.“He pioneered this enterprise if you will,” Tyson says. “The idea that you would make a career, a big part of what your career would represent, is bringing hard-earned research to the public.”Tyson says Sagan faced resistance from colleagues who were taken aback by Sagan leaving the laboratory to bring science to television. But now it is a function of what some scientist, like Tyson, strive to incorporate into their career.“It is a privilege to do so,” says Tyson “It is an honor to do so, and Cosmos is probably the most expressive evidence of this activity that we have today, and most impactful I would say as well.”