Fans of The Expanse haven’t had a new episode to watch since summer 2018, but that’s all about to change. After a well-publicized fan campaign to find a new home for the beloved series after it was cancelled by Syfy, the Rocinante crew officially made the move to Amazon’s streaming service for its subsequent interstellar outings. Ahead of the Season 4 premiere on December 13, Inverse spoke with the cast about what’s in store for the upcoming batch of episodes, from exploring new frontiers in a literal and personal sense, to the sudden shift in the Sol system’s balance of power brought about by the unexpected formation of the Ring Gate at the end of Season 3.
Cas Anvar, who plays the Rocinante’s pilot and go-to lasagna chef, Alex, likens the fourth season to the “second movement of the opera,” noting that the show’s focus will expand considerably beyond the Earth/Mars/Belt tensions of of its first three seasons. On Avasarala’s orders, the Roci heads to Ilus (also known as New Terra) to investigate a possible protomolecule infestation.
“For the first time in the series, the Roci crew lands on a planet, so it takes on an exploration tone which has never been there before. It’s always been about three cultures in conflict, war brewing, all about our solar system. Now it’s taking that extra step of exploration into the unknown, “ Anvar said.
Those old beefs among humanity won’t vanish overnight; the Roci crew arrives on Ilus to find Belter settlers and representatives of an Earth-based mining concern immediately at each other’s throats. But interstellar travel has definitely changed things according to Steven Strait, who plays Holden. “The socio-political structure of the system completely shifts,” he explains. “Mars no longer identifies itself the same way. Earth is questioning itself. Generations of Belters who have been disenfranchised, a lot of them can’t take advantage of these new opportunities. That’s causing tension within the group itself. You see all the seeds of that planted in the first episode.”
Another thing that’s different in Season 4: the Roci crew doesn’t spend nearly as much time in space. Wes Chatham, who plays ship’s mechanic and brawny sage Amos, said “being on this planet, this new frontier with all these new pioneers, even the way it’s shot, it has a Western vibe to it.” He added, “there’s a couple of shots that you’re gonna look at and think it’s like a Clint Eastwood movie or something.”
For Dominique Tipper’s character, a Belter engineer who grew up in low-gravity environments, that new frontier brings a host of new challenges. “Naomi deals with some really quite heavy-duty physical issues in this season, and this is quite different to how we’ve seen her before,” Tipper says. “It’s quite cool to see such a strong character become quite weak, but without her being able to have any control over it.”
Whether it’s the new platform, or the story’s shift in tone, Strait is confident that Season 4 is the best one yet. “I’ve been lucky enough to see the whole season through and I really do think it’s our strongest year yet. I do,” he nodded.
All 10 episodes of The Expanse Season 4 debut on Amazon Prime Video December 13.