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Science fiction fans everywhere were dismayed back in May when Syfy broke the news that critically-acclaimed series The Expanse had been cancelled after three seasons and would not return for a fourth season on the network. Given that The Expanse has always been a show unlike anything else on television and had a core of loyal followers, the cancellation came as quite a shock to fans, and it apparently took the cast by surprise as well. Cas Anvar, who plays pilot extraordinaire Alex Kamal on The Expanse, spoke with CinemaBlend about the series, and he shared how the cast reacted to the initial cancellation before the happy news from Amazon:
I can in all honesty say that at least among the cast, we were so excited for Season 3. We knew we had something special. Every year, we wondered how we were gonna top the previous season because each season was so good but we needed to come back better and stronger and we're so blessed with an incredible writing room, led by our fearless leader Naren Shankar. Each season, we top the previous season, and we knew when we got the first four, five scripts of Season 3, we knew we had another winner. And then when Season 3 Episode 1 aired and Rotten Tomatoes came back with 100% rating from the critics and from the fans, we knew that our instincts were right and then Episode 2 came out and the reactions were even stronger, and it just started escalating from there. So we never expected the kind of response we got for Season 3. We were absolutely overjoyed by it and I can without a doubt say that nobody was expecting to be cancelled, at least in the cast. Obviously the people who are behind the scenes who are dealing with money and network and ratings and all that stuff, they have a little more insight into it, but we were just getting such an amazing response we thought that for sure we're coming back for Season 4. So when it happened that we got cancelled, it was devastating. It was earth-shaking. It was like the bottom just fell out and we were absolutely destroyed.
According to Cas Anvar, the overwhelmingly positive response from critics and fans alike to Season 3 seemed to point toward The Expanse returning for a Season 4 on Syfy. The show that was always praised by critics and won an audience thanks to its nuanced storylines, unique take on the space opera, and emphasis on the science part of sci-fi that grounds the entire series in a sense of reality surely deserved to continue. The plots thickened in the third season, and the combination of the already ongoing stories and the fact that there are still a number of books in James S.A. Corey's novel saga that haven't yet been adapted meant that there was surely still room for the show to grow on the small screen. No wonder the cast was shocked and devastated by the cancellation!
The good news for the cast as well as the rest of the Expanse team behind the scenes is that the cancellation by Syfy didn't mean the end of the series. That loyal fanbase didn't take the cancellation lightly, and they rose up on social media to rally for the show to be renewed on another platform. The fans pulled out all the stops in their campaign for more episodes, with everything from an online petition to an airplane banner flown over Amazon Studios to even flying a miniature version of the Roci ship into space. The efforts to save The Expanse went above and beyond many other attempts to save series, and those efforts were rewarded by a renewal for Season 4 at Amazon. Well done, Expanse fans!
Cas Anvar went on in our chat to explain how he and the cast reacted to the fan outcry on social media, saying this:
It was amazing. We were kind of caught off guard because we were mourning the loss of our show. We said goodbye to it, we had our final kind of meeting as a group, we cried, we hugged and kissed and said goodbye. We picked up our little souvenirs from the office that we were going to keep with us and we said goodbye to it. And then we started watching the fans start to kind of move and shake, and it was kind of like an earthquake starting to rumble and the ground was starting to undulate and there was just a massive demonstration of force and power. And when I saw that, I started to think to myself, how can a show that was received so positively and got such good responses critically and fan-wise [get cancelled]... I had started reading the books and I was reading Book 4 and 5, and I was like, 'We have so much amazing story left. We have not even gotten to the climax of this series of books. There's so much amazing story left to tell. How could this be our fate?' And then I started seeing this fan response and I'm like, 'You know what, no.' I couldn't accept it. I just could not. There's something about me that when there's all these things screaming the opposite, I just can't accept 'no' when it doesn't make sense to me, when it doesn't compute.
The Expanse team had said their goodbyes and may have even given up on the show potentially having a future elsewhere than Syfy if not for the incredible response from fans who weren't ready to say their own farewells. Had loyal viewers not risen up to protest the cancellation and declare their desire to find the show a new home, The Expanse might have truly been over and done with following the upcoming Season 3 finale. Instead, hope was restored and a whole fourth season has been ordered to stream on Amazon Prime.
The Expanse will go down as one of three high-profile and beloved series that were cancelled and then revived in the 2017-2018 TV season. Since The Expanse was actually cancelled while the third season was still airing, the news of an Amazon renewal means that fans can enjoy the rest of the Season 3 episodes without the doom and gloom of knowing the end is nigh. Sure, those couple of weeks of waiting for news from Amazon weren't easy, but at least all the work paid off.
Tune in to Syfy on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET to catch the remaining episodes of The Expanse Season 3. Cas Anvar's Alex and the rest of the characters have a lot on their plates before the final credits roll on Syfy, so be sure to watch live. Swing by our summer TV premiere schedule for some viewing options once The Expanse is finished for the season, and check out our 2018 Amazon Prime guide for some streaming options while we wait for The Expanse Season 4 to make its Amazon debut.