I’m not a religious man, but I would not be averse to a couple of Hallelujahs right now. The Expanse has been saved! The critically acclaimed sci-fi drama based on the best-selling books of James S.A. Corey (actually the pen name of co-writer Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) was officially cancelled by SyFy two weeks back amidst a US TV network bloodbath that saw many shows getting the chop. In the case of The Expanse, which is produced by Alcon Entertainment, it found itself on the chopping block in its third season simply because of money.
It didn’t matter how much the show was being raved about by critics, it simply wasn’t being watched enough to justify its very expensive production budget. Or rather it wasn’t watched enough live as SyFy merely had the first-run linear rights in the US, meaning that they saw no income when the show was watched on delayed streaming services or repeated on other TV networks in the rest of the world. And it definitely was watched via these other methods as an army of fans rallied in the wake of the show’s cancellation, binge-watching previous seasons on Netflix and Amazon to drive up the show’s numbers as well as starting numerous online campaigns. And they worked.
Last week we heard that Amazon – who currently own the streaming rights in the US – was in talks to possibly pick up the show full time for a fourth season to add to its now seriously geektastic stable of sci-fi and fantasy properties. Well, those talks have now been officially concluded and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made the announcement himself during an event at the National Space Society last night. Cas Anvar, the actor who plays ex-Martian pilot Alex Kamal, tweeted out the moment which was greeted by huge applause from the audience and a visibly elated cast and crew who were in attendance.
— Cas Anvar (@Casanvar) May 26, 2018
In an official press release (via THR), Alcon Entertainment co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson stated that “We couldn’t be more excited that The Expanse is going to continue on Amazon Prime!”
We are deeply grateful that Jeff Bezos, [new Amazon Studios head] Jen Salke, and their team at Amazon have shown such faith in our show. We also want to thank Laura Lancaster, head of Alcon Television for her tireless efforts. We are fully aware that this wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the staggering outpouring of support from the most creative, hardest working sci-fi fans around the world. From reddit campaigns to airplanes, we say thank you. It worked!
While the number-crunching may have been needed in the last week or so, it’s said that Bezos needed virtually no convincing. Not only is he a huge sci-fi and fantasy geek himself (hence why Amazon Prime is currently pursuing adaptations of Lord of the Rings, Snowcrash, Ringworld, The Culture, and more) but he is a massive fan of the Expanse books and had reportedly been “livid that the TV series went to NBCUniversal-owned Syfy” in the first place.
The Expanse literary series is currently on the seventh entry out of a planned nine books, but it was at the end of the second book, Caliban’s War, where it upped the size and scope of its story exponentially. I won’t spoil anything for those who haven’t read the books, but this is the point where the show’s current third season is about to hit and would have ended if the cancellation stuck. With this in mind, I actually think that the behind the scenes turmoil of the last two weeks have been for the best. There was no way SyFy was going to be able to accurately keep up with the expanded story, even on the current relatively big budget of the show, with everything that was coming in the fourth season and beyond. Amazon Prime, or rather more specifically, Jeff Bezos the world’s wealthiest man, has the deep pockets to make this happen faithfully.
The streaming platform has already shown its willingness to spend big when it comes to Bezos’ personal favourite properties as they are in the process of developing a Lord of the Rings TV series (rumoured to focus on a young Aragorn) that will be the most expensive television production ever. Amazon paid $250 million just to secure the rights from the estate of author JRR Tolkien and it is believed Amazon will spend upwards of $1 billion in total to actually make the show. The Expanse will probably only have a fraction of that budget, but the fact that will actually be around to have a budget should already be enough for many fans.
Last Updated: May 26, 2018