The Expanse may not end after season 6, after all


The sixth season of The Expanse will be the last one on Amazon, leaving three books left unadapted. But the studio behind the show has “lots of plans.”

The fourth season of The Expanse — Amazon’s space-faring political thriller — wrapped up just under a year ago, and now fans are already getting the follow-up season, which will adapt the events of James S.A. Corey’s Nemesis Games and split up the crew of the Rocinante, the ragtag ship that has ferried our main characters hither and yon for four seasons, as they’ve uncovered the mysterious threat of the protomolecule and survived the jump from SyFy to Amazon.

Star Steven Strait talked to SyFy Wire about what this new format will mean for the characters, all of whom will be going off on their own little side-stories rather than working together while the Rocinante undergoes repairs. “I think it gives an amazing opportunity to jump into — as a fan — some of my favorite pieces of the books,” he said. “I think it speaks to the confidence in the writing that they’re unafraid to change the formula in Season 5. I think, so often, especially if a show is successful there’s a hesitancy to shake things up and try new things. They’re very confident in what they’re doing and they deserve to be because the writing is amazing. Every year we try to improve on the last year and to try something new and push the boundaries a little bit. I think we succeeded this season, and I think it’s the best one we’ve made in all honestly… It’s just kind of a kaleidoscope this year.”

"Holden, like every other character this season kind of falls into a larger thematic category of dealing with the ghosts of the past. Holden is the only one left truly concerned about what the protomolecule has unleashed, and he’s the only one who really understands and knows the entities that ended their civilization and how much peril humanity is putting itself in by using the gates. Especially now that Miller is gone in totality. Then on the macro level, he’s still on his journey to protect humanity from what he feels he’s partially responsible for. In the protomolecule and the ring gate."

Civilizational collapse seems to be something of a theme in season 5, and not just because of the deadly protomolecule.

On Mars, Bobby and Alex watch as that civilization crumbles from the inside due to corruption, as many of its citizens head through the ring gate to other, largely unexplored planets ripe for settlement. “It’s fascinating watching empires fall, and watching empires fall specifically not to any kind of outside military attack, but from within because the foundations they were built on begin to crumble,” said Daniel Abraham, one of the two writers behind the pen name James S.A. Corey. “We’ve seen all kinds of examples of that through history. One we keep referring to with Mars is the collapse of the Soviet Union, and these assumptions a vast nation was built on falling away under them and the certainty falling away, and the psychic damage to the people when that happens. Mars is really our way into that, and watching how that collapses and how it evolves, both, and the reactions to it.”

So season 5 is shaping up to be a year to remember, and the series has already been renewed for season 6. That’s the good news. The bad news is that season 6 will be the final season…at least on Amazon. Talking to Polygon,  Ty Franck — the other half of the book-writing duo — seems to think they’ll be able to keep going somehow. “We have what we think is a very natural pause point for the story after season 6,” Franck said. “It’ll feel like a satisfying end to the story we’ve been building over the first five seasons. I think one of the things that is sort of an outmoded idea is the idea of being canceled.”

"Alcon [Television Group] — our studio — is very committed to the IP. They have lots of plans. We’ll see what happens after that. But, we will have a satisfying story to the TV arc in the sixth season."

There are nine books in The Expanse series, eight of which are already out and one of which — Leviathan Falls — is coming out this October. Roughly, the series has adapted one book per season, with three on SyFy and three on Amazon. After that, there’s a time jump in the story, so it would be a good time to pause. And Franck is right that shows do seem to get revived all the time these days, although I dunno where you go after Amazon.

In any case, Abraham assured Inverse that season 6 “is not going to include material from books 7, 8, and 9,” which should calm fans worried that the show would try to cram all of that material into one season of television, although showrunner Naren Shankar said they could work a few hints into the upcoming seasons.

“We’re actually very grateful to Amazon to even get Season 6,” Franck said. “It’s actually going to be pretty cool.”

And if the show does end with season 6, Abraham says it will feel natural. “This is a conversation we’ve been having since we were canceled the first time. We’ve been talking about what the shape of the show could be, and this 6 season arc was always one of the options that was on the table. This is not something that we’re having to scramble for.

So the longterm future for The Expanse is a bit fuzzy, but it sounds like the guys know what they’re doing. Until we get more news on that front, the first three episodes of season 5 drop tomorrow!

Next. Five things we want to see in The Expanse season 5. dark

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