The Expanse Season 4 just dropped all 10 episodes on Amazon -- it actually had a surprise drop Thursday night, ahead of the announced December 13 premiere. Amazon has already renewed the show for Season 5. But what about beyond that point? The Expanse is based on the novels by James S. A. Corey and eight books have been released so far, with the ninth coming in 2020. Season 4 is mostly based on the fourth book, Cibola Burn, with some pieces of the fifth book, Nemesis Games.
In a new interview, The Expanse showrunner Naren Shankar looked into the future for what could happen a season or two from now, if Amazon keeps the show going for Season 6 or 7. He's confident they can pull off the big time jump that would be coming.
MAJOR SPOILERS ahead from The Expanse novels.
I had a shock to the system after finishing the sixth book, Babylon's Ashes, and saw a near 30-year time jump into the seventh book, Persepolis Rising. The prologue to that book notes that almost three decades had passed since Winston Duarte's breakaway Martian fleet had passed through the Laconia Ring gate.
That means all of the main characters -- Holden, Naomi, Alex, Amos, Bobbie, Clarissa, and even Avasarala -- are all about 30 years older in Book 7. Holden's story in Book 5 already starts with the note that it had been three years since the Rocinante crew headed out for Ilus. Book 5 delves into the rise of Marco Inaros' Free Navy and Book 6 shows its results. Book 7 picks up almost 30 years later with Laconia's rise and return to conquer the Sol system.
So that's what EW asked The Expanse showrunner Naren Shankar about, wondering if the team had even started talking about that massive time jump. Here's his answer:
We have actually talked about it, and I’m confident we can pull it off. I’m not sure I could say more than that, but I am confident that we can pull it off. It’s a really unique thing, and it is what I love about these novels and this adaptation is you get to do things that you generally don’t get to do.
It's good to hear The Expanse team is already thinking that far ahead. I hope Amazon gives them the seasons to do it. I imagine after saving the show from Syfy -- and being applauded by so many fans for it -- Amazon is interested in getting as many eyes on the show as possible. It's a big investment.
But how are they going to age the characters? That's my question. The Expanse co-author/TV executive producer Ty Franck joked about not getting a certain creature for the fourth book on TV because Amazon didn't want to spend a "jillion dollars" for what would presumably have to be CGI. If they tried to CGI the cast -- aging them instead of the current trend of de-aging people -- that would be expensive.
Or they could go the aging makeup route, which has been used to mixed results. Or they could pull a move from The Crown and recast. That would suck, though, since by then we'd have spent maybe five or six seasons getting to know these actors as these characters.