The Expanse creators (interview): is this really the final season? There’s a dangling thread

Copyright: Amazon Studios
Copyright: Amazon Studios /

The Expanse has probably one of the fiercest fan bases there is. We’re talking about a group of individuals who orchestrated a hot air balloon to fly above Amazon’s headquarters with the slogan “save The Expanse,” culminating in the incredible last three seasons we’ve been privileged to witness.

Not only did Amazon pick it up after the SYFY channel bailed on it at the end of season 3, but they invested in the technology that set the standard for science fiction on television. Combined with complex, captivating storytelling, the expensive-looking technology established The Expanse as probably the greatest science fiction show there is, at least in the last decade. As a decades’ long Trekkie, I am proud to prefer The Expanse above all other space exploration series.

Culturess participated in the press day before the Season 6 premiere and sat down with show creators (and authors of the novels under the pen name James S.A. Corey) Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham as well as showrunner (who also helms from Star Trek: The Next Generation, by the way) Naren Shanker.

As a fan of the series from the start (and the books, which are incredible as well), I had to ask if The Expanse is really ending. I mean, come on, the show is so damn good, and the fans are awesome, it just seems to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. Maybe I’m in denial, but I refuse to believe this is truly the end. It can’t be. Is it?

Well, I asked the creators themselves and you can tell me if you think there’s hope or not.

Culturess: And so, first question, is this really the end? Is there any hope for future seasons? Because I was pretty sad watching the last episode.

Daniel Abraham: Yeah, it’s a big world. Things could happen [laughs].

Naren Shankar: There are three more books.

DA: There are three more books.

NS: There are three more books.

Well, that’s not exactly a no, so fans start getting the campaign ready! Who do we need to go to? Netflix? HBO MAX? A double-balloon to Amazon? Start thinking!

Culturess: Okay, maybe somebody needs to send a balloon, have a third life for Expanse?

The sixth and final season employs a different approach, by introducing a mini-story that centers around the novella Strange Dogs. It’s frankly a gutsy move to introduce such a novel approach in the last stretch of the show, but believe me, it pays off by the end of the season. (And yes, I’ve seen all six episodes. Before you ask, I feel extremely privileged and savored each episode like a fine wine when viewing). If there’s hope for future seasons, it’s all tied around this intriguing thread.

Culturess: So tell me about the Laconian world. It’s very interesting how you open up the episodes with that story. What made you think that you really wanted to tell that story this final season?

NS: You know, it was a way to service the mystery at the end of season five, which is the protomolecule sample goes through the rings, is being given to these rogue Martians, who have the scientist who knows how to use them on this planet. If we hadn’t done the Strange Dogs storyline, you wouldn’t have actually had access to any of it.

And so, by placing it into season six, it allowed us to connect those events to the narrative of season six, but also give a little window in, and possibly open the door to, other things later, in this really weird, eerie story of these children and these creatures in the woods on this alien world. I just love the novella. [to Franck and Abraham] That’s one of my favorite you guys did and so that’s really the thinking that went into it.

So that sounds like there’s a chance for future seasons? Maybe? Screaming Firehawks, it’s something to comfort yourselves with if you’re feeling sad about the finality of Expanse S6.

Culturess: And how much does family play in this season? You see with Marco, and you see with Drummer, family is important throughout the drama. There’s so much sci-fi that envelopes it, but it comes down to a lot of times, family, and what it means.

DA: And, more broadly, human connection. I mean, one of the things that sometimes gets lost in the kind of grand scope of epic is that it’s actually… a bunch of tiny little personal stories going on together. And, you know, it’s always been kind of the aesthetic that Ty [Franck] and I brought to this, to have gigantic events told through the very small, deeply felt stories that are happening within. It’s worked for us.

Culturess: And what do you hope audiences will get out of this final season? What do you hope to leave them with?

Ty Franck: Well, we hope that it’s a satisfying conclusion to the story you’ve been telling for six seasons and leaves them a little hungry. It would be nice if they stayed just a little hungry.

Culturess: And what’s been your favorite moment of the whole series? Like if you were to pick one moment that you were really, really proud of?

DA: I can’t give it to you without giving you a spoiler because it’s in episode three of this season.

Culturess: I will look for that. I will say that there’s a moment in episode three that’s special. [something to keep your eyes peeled for, fans!]

NS: I think the Julie-Miller moment in season two, in 205, is one of the loveliest things.

TF: I like any scene where Amos shoot somebody or Bobbie beats somebody up.

Culturess: I’m that guy. [mentioning my favorite moment of Amos’s, although the line is technically, “I am that guy.”]

NS: There you go!

Culturess: Yeah, that’s one of my favorite moments.

Thank you so much. I think season six, people will be very, very happy with how it ends.

You can see the full interview below:

As predicted, the first episode, “Strange Dogs,” of The Expanse S6 has already dropped on Amazon Prime Video, as an early gift to fans. Happy watching, and if anyone’s up for a watch party with me, ping me on Twitter, because I am so watching the episodes again.

The remaining Expanse five episodes will air weekly on Amazon, on Fridays.