The Expanse Season 4 Cut A Cool Creature 'Cause Amazon Didn't Want To Spend 'One Jillion Dollars'

Amos Burton in The Expanse Season 4 on Amazon Prime Video
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Better pull a Holden and chug more coffee, 'cause The Expanse Season 4 needs you wide awake and ready for duty. I am definitely ready, and I hope you are too. I spent the time between The Expanse Season 3 on Syfy and The Expanse Season 4 coming to Amazon by reading most of the books to date. That includes the fourth book, Cibola Burn, which includes mention of a cool creature that will not be appearing on the TV show because it would be too darn expensive to create. You have to draw the line somewhere.

The Expanse Season 4 will have 10 episodes and all 10 are releasing as a gift to the galaxy on Friday, December 13, 2019. Season 4 is largely based on Cibola Burn by "James S. A. Corey." There are actually two authors for the series, Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham.

Ty Franck, also an executive producer on the show, told reporters on a set visit (via TV Guide) that The Expanse Season 4 will diverge a little from the books in the middle of the season and then come back to where the book is at the end. Amazon already renewed The Expanse for Season 5, so we know more is coming to adapt Nemesis Games.

The Expanse Season 4 follows the game-changing Season 3 finale, where the Ring Gates opened to more than a thousand new planetary systems. In Season 4, The Rocinante crew head to Illus (or New Terra, if you're an Earther), one of the new planets settlers from our system head out to inhabit. It's like the Wild West in space, including little alien creatures that are somewhat similar to what we know on Earth but different in cool ways.

One of those creatures from the fourth book didn't make the cut due to budget constraints, and Ty Franck is bummed about it:

I didn't get my mimic lizard, which made me very sad. He was a little lizard in the books that we didn't get to have because he would have cost one jillion dollars and the studio didn't want to pay one jillion dollars. So we didn't get him. But we got all the other stuff.

Amazon went out on a limb to save The Expanse after its cancellation, and already gave it a renewal for Season 5. The cast and producers have raved about the streamer as the perfect home for the series. There are so many ways Amazon is a superior home for the show than Syfy. But that doesn't mean Amazon is going to pay for everything. They have to save some money for that $1 billion Lord of the Rings series, after all.

But, yeah, in the fourth Expanse book, Illus has these little lizard-type creatures that can mimic the sound of other animals to attract food. They are native to the planet, it seems, and the Belters and Earthers who came to the planet started calling them "mimic lizards." I imagine the CGI to create them and have them interact around humans would not have been cheap or easy.

There are so many things on Ilus that look similar to what the new residents are used to that it's deceptive. Ty Franck said The Expanse Season 4 delves into the idea that "when you go to a new place, anything there that isn't trying to kill you doesn't know you exist."

The minute something realizes you exist, it's going to try to kill you because that's how nature works. It goes both ways. Obviously the Spaniards showed up in South America and everything tried to kill them. And then the invisible things that lived in their bodies killed everything. The minute two biologies start to mix, it's deadly for both.

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The Expanse Season 4 will have several little changes from the books, involving more characters we've come to love on the TV show so they don't have to be benched for an entire season. Plus, we'll get to know more about core characters, like fan favorite Amos Burton. All 10 episodes will be waiting for you on December 13 on Amazon.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.