Interview: Cara Gee and Keon Alexander talk family and leadership before The Expanse S6 premiere

The Expanse Season 5 -- Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video
The Expanse Season 5 -- Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video /

The final season of Amazon Prime Video’s The Expanse is upon us, and the sixth season is the first time that the Belt—the disenfranchised humans who have worked the Asteroid Belt rocks for Mars and Earth—has a chance at true autonomy.

Culturess sat down with Expanse actors Cara Gee (Camina Drummer) and Keon Alexander (Marco Inaros), two of the vital characters who have been working towards Belter independence from the beginning.

However, both characters have paved the way for Belter independence in vastly diverse ways, most notably with Inaros having staked his claim for a new Belter nation through interstellar terrorism and backroom dealings with Mars based on stolen protomolecule technology last season. The Belt has flexed its muscles before—first with Anderson Dawes’s efforts on behalf of the OPA (the Outer Planets Alliance) on Ceres station—and perhaps more successfully, the political long game that Fred Johnson (Chad Coleman) was developing on Tycho Station.

Drummer quit working with Dawes to support Johnson’s diplomatic efforts for greater Belter autonomy. With Fred Johnson having been assassinated on the orders of Marco Inaros in S5, Drummer and her polymorphous family were forced to swear their allegiance to the Belt leader last season. But Drummer’s strong loyalties towards her friends and family as well as Belter independence (in like, a non-terrorist way) inspired her to courageously take up arms against Marco at the end of the fifth season.

As we begin The Expanse‘s Season 6, Drummer and Inaros sit on opposite ends of Belter sovereignty, representing very distinct viewpoints of the Belt. Both actors discussed their differing journeys to become voices for the Belter nation and the struggles they’re grappling with at the start of the sixth season.

“Marco’s dream, to a certain extent comes true. That’s where we start off in season six. We’ve succeeded. We’re now no longer in a war so much as we are in a place of governing what we’ve won,” said Keon Alexander during the interview. “And so in a lot of ways, he’s achieved that thing he’s always thought was possible, but didn’t think he could get, and he’s gotten there… and there’s a question of like, what now?”

Marco Inaros ended up in an incredible position of strength at the end of Expanse’s sixth season, having masterminded attacks on Earth and Mars, with his new Free Navy—an arguably admirable first-time military operation for an underclass of human workers who have been mistreated by the power factions of Earth and Mars for so long. However, the confidence and bravado displayed on the cusp of victory during the conclusion of S5 doesn’t last forever, and the final season brings its own set of complications for the Belter leader.

“It’s now about politics and not about warfare, and so we see a major shift in his psychology as he starts realizing that this is a whole other thing that is actually not adrenaline-based at all, where authority isn’t wielded in the same way,” Alexander continued.

“He is still a master manipulator, but it’s a whole other chess game than what he’s used to. And because of that transition, we start seeing the holes and cracks in his psychology and his trauma. And we start seeing behind the multiple facades that we have seen him put on for so long. And we get a much better glimpse as to the pain and the trauma and the unmet needs and desires at the root of all of this. And even a little glimpses of his inner child, which I feel really grateful to have gotten to because he’s very complicated.”

But is Camina Drummer the more valiant Belter fighter?

You have to admire the fearlessness Gee’s Drummer has always displayed in the face of opposing odds. Despite all that she’s been through, if I were to pick a lifeline friend, it would be Camina Drummer. Her loyalties for those she cares for and judgement of character always feel unwaveringly intuitive.

"“I feel like Drummer has the same desire, the same hopes and dreams, in being the liberation of her people. But I think, actually, in contrast to Marco, she’s actually quite pure, and there’s something almost quite simple about her moral compass,” explained Cara Gee in the interview.“And at every opportunity where she could maybe get ahead or she could have some power, she just can’t compromise herself. And so she ended up, you know, she’s completely alone. And really, there is nothing for her in this universe.“But she has that very pure dream of the liberation of her people, and I actually think that this is what makes her born to lead. She doesn’t choose it. She wouldn’t choose it, she would never choose. But it is in her, you know.”"

Family is everything.

Both Belters continue to make their case for effective leadership, even if Marco Inaros’s is the more obvious path. Their diverging trajectories continue to fascinate when it comes to family as well. Drummer’s love always underscores her actions for the betterment of her people. Drummer’s a fierce fighter, but underneath her tough exterior is an unquestionable loyalty towards the people she cares about most. Their welfare is equally as important as the fight for the Belt. Between the two, Drummer’s empathy towards her fellow humans makes her the greater hero, in my opinion.

“I mean, I think for Drummer, I think she loves her family so much. Ultimately, the liberation of her people must come first. Once her family starts getting hurt, in the chaos of that process, she has to let them go. Let them go. So that they can live and be free,” described Gee.

Inaros is also focused on his family, with an ex-lover, Naomi (Dominique Tipper) and son, Filip (Jasai Chase Owens), who he has raised. But the upbringing has centered around Inaros’s rise as leader through Belter terrorism, with the expectation that his family would rally around him, with only his son agreeing to this life, even if he has his doubts.

Keon Alexander spoke about how Marco views family on The Expanse:

"“I think that for Marco, the family revolves around his narcissism. It’s the new and the old members of the family, who have now gone. And then the new characters who are introduced, he relies on them deeply, but as pieces of his chess board.“And I think that what’s really potent about Marco, as a symbol of a particular type of unhealthy family where mental health is sort of unconsciously running that family. The potency of seeing that the narcissism is actually rooted in deep trauma and insecurity. And that there is for him, actually, beneath it all, deep love and need for his son, for the love of his life, for his potential ally. But there’s so much in the way, there’s so much in the way that allows for that heart of hearts to be covered up, and to never be expressed, and to actually rear its head as the opposite of love, when the root of it is actually love. But all of that is due to unresolved trauma as a colonized person.”"

You can see the full interview below:

Love, leadership, politics, loyalty, family: these are all human stories that The Expanse excels at, while interweaving them among intergalactic war. And why it’s the best sci fi series of the last decade.

Next. Freeform’s witchy drama Motherland: Fort Salem renewed for a third and final season. dark

The first episode of The Expanse Season 6 drops Friday, December 10 on Amazon Prime Video. But stay tuned, it might drop a few hours earlier, as they’ve done in the past. The remaining hour-long episodes will drop weekly on Fridays.