'The Expanse' cast and creators talk about moving from Syfy to Amazon and tease what to expect in season 4

the expanse&quotThe Expanse"Amazon

  • "The Expanse" returns for its fourth season on December 13 on Amazon Prime Video after being canceled by Syfy last year.
  • The cast, executive producer Naren Shankar, and director Breck Eisner discussed the move to Amazon during New York Comic Con in October, and how it gave the show a renewed energy.
  • "You don't think your work is being done in vain," Shohreh Aghdashloo, who plays Chrisjen Avasarala, said.
  • Shankar said that little changed from the initial plans for season four before the cancellation to what ultimately made it to the screen.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When Syfy canceled its acclaimed series "The Expanse" last year after three seasons, fans rallied on social media to save the show with the the hashtag "#SaveTheExpanse." A Change.org petition for Netflix or Amazon to save the series was signed by nearly 139,000 people.

Amazon took notice.

The company quickly picked up the series, which is based on the book series by James S.A. Corey (the pen name for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) for a fourth season less than two weeks after its cancellation. And Amazon has already renewed it for a fifth ahead of its fourth-season debut on December 13.

"When we were canceled, there was no guarantee that we were coming back, but everybody waited," Steven Strait, who plays Jim Holden, said during a Q&A season at New York Comic Con in October. "The entire crew waited. It's not like they didn't have opportunities. It just really speaks to the communal passion we have on this show."

For the new season, the cast and creators felt a newfound energy and purpose on set, they said. On Amazon Prime Video, there's no time limit and fewer restrictions on adult content.

the expanseSteven Strait and Dominique Tipper as Holden and Naomi in &quotThe Expanse" season 4.Amazon

"When we were on cable, we could be no more than 43 minutes, so every scene had to be careful about how long it ran," Breck Eisner, a director on the series, said at Comic Con. "Now we can be long if it fits the story. We can let the scenes play and breathe the way they should, at least on set on the day. That takes the handcuffs off because the arbitrary 43-minute max is sometimes not the right timing for a story."

And, as Dominique Tipper (who plays Naomi Nagata) put it, "There's more sex, which we all need more of in our lives."

Reports indicated that Syfy canceled "The Expanse" due to sliding ratings, as the network only owned first-run linear rights to the show in the US. But the cast has already noticed an increase in awareness for the show ahead of its fourth season. The first three seasons are available to stream globally on Prime Video.

"We kept saying for the first three years 'this is the best show that no one has seen,'" Shohreh Aghdashloo, who plays the feisty Earth-based politician Chrisjen Avasarala, said. "Now we're going global. We're being seen. It can't get any better. The show has finally found its place. Amazon is the place for a show like this."

"You don't think your work is being done in vain," she added.

the expanseCara Gee as Drummer in &quotThe Expanse" season 4.Amazon

For those still on the fence about catching up on the series, Cara Gee (who plays Camina Drummer) insisted that it's just as much a political thriller "that happens to take place 200 years from now" as it is a sci-fi series.

The show's 90% average Rotten Tomatoes critic score, and a 100% for the third season, should also sway some potential viewers.

"The show has received so many great reviews, but my favorites are from scientists who say this is the most accurate depiction of the future," Aghdashloo said. "Thank God I'll be dead."

Executive producer Naren Shankar said that little changed from the initial ideas for season four before the cancellation to what ultimately made it to the screen.

"We understand how we're going to adapt [the books]," Shankar said. "At the end of season three, we weren't saying 'we're going to be canceled.' We were saying 'this was a great season, this is what we're going to tell Syfy that we're doing for next season.' So we had it all laid out. Maybe not the details, but the broad strokes were pretty clear. That's what we brought to the table with Amazon."

As for what to expect for season four, Shankar compared it to the American West. At the end of season three, a gate system is opened, revealing hundreds of explorable planets. Shankar said that the new season will explore the confrontations between the Earth-based corporation RCE and the Belters, and how the new planets impact the cultures on Earth and Mars.

"What happens to Mars when there are suddenly hundreds of other planets to go?," he said.

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