What would happen in The Expanse season 7?

The Expanse Season 6 -- Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video
The Expanse Season 6 -- Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video /

It was a sad day when the series finale of The Expanse aired on Prime Video last month. Like the crew of the Rocinante itself, the show defied the odds time and again, overcoming a cancellation, a behind-the-scenes scandal, and more to make it to the end of its sixth season. “Babylon’s Ashes” was the sort of powerful send-off that the show deserved…but of course, it’s not the final ending of the story. The Expanse book series by James S.A. Corey (a pseudonym for authors Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham) spans nine novels, the last of which was only released in November 2021. The season 6 finale adapted the end of the sixth book, Babylon’s Ashes, which marks a pivot point in the tale.

Showrunner Naren Shankar has spoken about the decision to end the show before they’d run out of source material. “[T]his is actually something that Ty and Daniel and I have been talking about for quite some time is how might we end the show if we had to end the show before the end of the full run of books? And there is this kind of an off-ramp at the end of book six.”

The off-ramp he’s referring to is the fact that after book six, the story jumps forward almost 30 years into the future. Babylon’s Ashes wraps up many of the plotlines that had been brewing during the preceding books, including the solar system-wide war sparked by the Free Navy’s asteroid bombardment of Earth. But there are lots of other, lingering threads. This is perhaps even more true in the show, which incorporated elements from the Strange Dogs novella to let viewers know what was happening on Laconia during the sixth season.

So all that considered, we have to wonder what would have happened if The Expanse had gotten to do season 7 and beyond. Or, for the optimists out there (I’m with you), what will happen when The Expanse makes its eventual return to adapt the final three books?

We’re going to discuss some of the plot threads that season 6 left hanging, and what they were setting up. As such, we’ll be getting into MEGA SPOILERS for The Expanse book series. We won’t be going over every detail of the last three books; go read them if you want that! But we will be analyzing what the show set up in its sixth season, and where it leads.

All hail Laconia

If you want to talk about the future of The Expanse, it really comes down to one word: Laconia. Most all of the lingering plot threads from season 6 tie back to this colony world in one way or another.

We primarily saw Laconia through the eyes of Cara and her brother Xan, two kids who live on the planet and come into contact with small dog-like aliens that can “repair” dead things by infusing them with the protomolecule. Cara and Xan play an important role in the overall series, but to understand it we have to discuss the broader future of Laconia.

By book seven, Persepolis Rising, Laconia has become a powerful and self-sustaining nation with a huge technological advantage over the rest of humanity because of their protomolecule research, which is bolstered by having things like that orbital platform we kept getting ominous shots of in season 6. The authoritarian Laconian Empire comes back through the Ring, captures the Ring Space and Medina Station, and then goes on to conquer our solar system. By the time the dust settles, Laconia basically rules all of humanity, though pockets of underground resistance remain. In general, things are pretty bad.

The next book, Tiamat’s Wrath, jumps forward another four years and shows how humanity is dealing with Laconian rule. Again, we aren’t shooting to spoil everything in the series…but let’s just say that if you wanted more deaths and heartbreak on The Expanse, then Tiamat’s Wrath really delivers. It primarily deals with various attempts at subterfuge by our heroes and Laconia’s efforts to attack the Ring Entities. By finding ways to lash out at them, the Laconians instead cause the Ring Entities to retaliate.

This results in the final novel Leviathan Falls, which explores whether humanity and its various factions can find a way to band together in order to survive the conflict with the Ring Entities without being utterly obliterated.

So that’s the big picture. Now let’s talk about some specifics.

High Consul Duarte

One of the most important characters we met in The Expanse was Winston Duarte, played by Dylan Taylor. Duarte made his debut in the fourth episode of the season, “Redoubt,” where he had a heart-to-heart with Cara at her brother’s wake. We see what sort of pressure Duarte has placed on himself to safeguard humanity’s future. Though he holds the rank of Admiral in season 6, Duarte goes on to become the High Consul of Laconia — basically its emperor. He also has the scientist Cortázar (Carlos Gonzalez-Vio) do all sorts of protomolecule experiments on him in order to become immortal and eliminate his need for sleep. These result in Duarte developing superhuman psionic abilities.

Duarte leads the effort to conquer the Sol system as well as fight back against the Ring Entities, who continually cause ships to disappear throughout the intervening years. If the final trilogy of The Expanse books can be said to have a main villain, it’s this guy.

Cara and Xan

When last we saw Cara and Xan in the show, the two children were escaping into the wilderness. Xan had been “repaired” by the protomolecule drone aliens. Cara, however, was still human…but ended with the cryptic line that if she died, the “dogs” would fix her. In the book series, this does indeed happen; Cara eventually dies from eating one of the plants on Laconia and is brought back.

It’s eventually revealed that Cortázar, who spearheads Laconia’s science program, captured Cara and Xan at some point during the 30 year time jump and used them as the basis for some of his protomolecule studies. The attempts to make Duarte immortal came from Cortázar studying the two children for almost two decades. They eventually go on to have a role in the larger conflict due to their relationship with the protomolecule, but that’s not until much later. It’s a dark future for Cara and Xan.

The Expanse Season 6 — Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video
The Expanse Season 6 — Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video /

The Ring Entities

That brings us to the last large plot thread that The Expanse season 6 left hanging: the Ring Entities, the mysterious alien force that wiped out the builders of the Protomolecule. They became more and more important as the show went on and made their biggest appearance in “Babylon’s Ashes,” when the Rocinante crew triggered an event that led to the Entities obliterating Marco Inaros’ ship as it was trying to pass through the Sol Ring.

But what are they? And what do they want?

We’ll never know all the answers to those questions, even in the books. They are beings which live in a different, parallel universe to our own. “The ring entities, they were always supposed to be mysterious,” author Daniel Abraham said, referencing the ending of Leviathan Falls. “They were always supposed to be the dark gods. I know that there are folks who really like having all of the answers, and that’s great, but I don’t think it’s ever satisfying.”

The Ring Entities really come into play during book eight, Tiamat’s Wrath. This book deals with Duarte and the Laconians’ attempts to start fighting back against the Entities so they stop causing ships to vanish. “You were a convenient distraction, but I have gods to kill,” Duarte told Marco Inaros in the season 6 finale, laying the seeds for this eventual confrontation.

We won’t discuss how that confrontation plays out; it suffices to say that the Laconians escalate things and cause the Ring Entities to become more hostile toward humanity. The actions of Duarte and his militaristic society directly lead to the conflict of the final book, Leviathan Falls.

Should you wish to know how that all ends, the books are out there.

The Expanse seasons 1-6 are all available to stream on Prime Video, and all nine books of the series are available online and at bookstores. A collection of The Expanse short fiction, Memory’s Legion, is due out on March 15 as well, and will include a brand new novella that serves as a coda to the series.

As for whether we’ll ever see a season 7, 8 or 9, well…we’ll just have to wait and see. We know that the producers of the show are on board, should the day ever come.

Every X-Ray bonus episode of The Expanse, explained. dark. Next

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