As the resident “James Bond guy” around these parts, if there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that “you only live twice”. And for The Expanse, we now know when that second life will be coming to an end as the show has been renewed for a sixth season – on top of the upcoming fifth season – which will be its last.
Adapted from the brilliant space opera novel series from James S.A. Corey (the joint pen name of authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), The Expanse’s first life began on SyFy in 2015, as it told the near-future tale of a conflict erupting between the human colonies of the solar system, spurred on by the discovery of a mysterious alien particle. The show was critically acclaimed – even winning a Hugo Award – and arguably the best pure science fiction on TV at the time. Unfortunately, it was also only watched by a handful of fans and thus got the chop after three seasons in 2018.
Luckily, one of those fans who had been watching was Jeff Bezos, a self-proclaimed sci-fi nerd who also just so happens to be THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD. Inspired by the internet campaigns that sprung up in the wake of the show’s cancellation to get it revived, the Amazon boss brought The Expanse over to Amazon Prime Video for a fourth season which was met with even more acclaim.
Now just three weeks away from the fifth season premiere of The Expanse, comes the word that it’s all being wrapped up soon. Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, co-CEOs and co-Founders of Alcon Television Group, the production company that originally snapped up the rights to Corey’s work, had this to say about the announcement:
From the moment we committed to bringing this show to life up until this final season, we have worked tirelessly to honor the vision of the writers. We have prided ourselves on having one of the most diverse casts on television and giving a platform to stories that matter. A special thanks to Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the writers of both the books and series, and to Naren Shankar, the series showrunner and executive producer. It continues to be an honor and privilege to work with this team. We also would like to thank Amazon for their continuing support to help us tell this story in its fullest and to bring The Expanse to a global audience.
There’s a little detail not mentioned in that statement though, which is that Cas Anvar – the actor who plays Mars-born pilot Alex Kamal – will not be included in the sixth and final season. A few months back, Anvar came under fire from a slew of sexual assault allegations from a number of women. None of the alleged assaults occurred on or during the show’s production, but the producers immediately responded to indicate that they would take them very seriously and were conducting their own investigations. While there’s been no official statement about it, Anvar’s omission from the cast here may indicate that what they found was not promising for the actor.
All other members of the cast will be back for the sixth season though, which Deadline hears will go into production in January 2021. As a massive fan of the original novels though, I’m a bit puzzled by this being the last season. Up until now, The Expanse TV series has roughly adapted one book per season. Season 5 is expected to cover the events of the fifth book, Nemesis Games, and the recently released trailer appears to confirm this. But that still leaves four more books, with the final one only being published next year. There are admittedly some sections of the story that can be left out with some rejiggering of the overall narrative, but there’s still a lot of story to get through. And some of the most important storytelling of the entire saga, in fact.
The wording of this announcement doesn’t appear to suggest that this was some sort of cancellation due to low viewership numbers, but rather a planned decision to wrap it all up with season 6.
The first three episodes of season 5 of The Expanse will debut on Amazon Prime Video on 16 December 2020, with the remaining seven episodes then airing weekly.
Last Updated: November 25, 2020