By Ruth Johnson
There’s not much that can be said about the first episode of The Expanse season four, which debuted for the first time today at New York Comic Con for the audience in the Main Stage. That’s not because it wasn’t fantastic, but because there’s to be no spoilers. Rest assured, Expanse fans, it was fantastic, as your favorite characters embark on exciting new journeys, both physical and emotional. The new Amazon Prime budget is evident, as is the characters’ new ability to curse! The season 4 trailer also premiered and was released to the general public after the panel. If you’ve already seen it, you know how stirring it is, with the whole thing sound tracked by one of President John F. Kennedy’s many speeches about space.
After the season 4 premiere finished, moderator Kyle Hill (Nerdist) and a panel of the cast and its showrunner answered questions and discussed what the audience had just seen. It was a lively discussion. The panel had the following guests: showrunner Naran Shankar; Steven Strait (James Holden), Dominique Tipper (Naomi Nagata), Cas Anvar (Alex Kamal), Wes Chatham (Amos Burton), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala), Cara Gee (Camina Drummer) and newcomer to the show Burn Gorman (Adolphus Murtry).
Hill kicked off the panel by asking everyone how they were feeling about season 4—Aghdashloo was in-character with her enthusiasm, dropping an f-bomb that would make Avasarala (or the “Queen” as fans and Hill call her) proud. Shankar was asked what will wow fans about season 4; he answered a different side of Joe Miller (Thomas Jane) …and a different shape of Miller, which he seemed to immediately regret saying. He followed up with “watch the show, man!”
Hill directed his next question to the main crew of the Rocinante: with such an expansive cast, how do they stick together? The Rocinante crew joked that they just ignore everyone else. Hill then asked how the opening of the Ring will affect the new season. Gee answered that everyone and every faction will have very different points of view regarding the Ring. The cast seems excited by the new advantages they have with Amazon—including, again their freedom with coarser language.
Gorman was asked, with such a storied sci-fi career, what excites him the most about joining The Expanse, answering that the amazing cast makes it a great show to be a part of. The Q&A was then opened to the audience. One audience member asked what’s it like to act as if you’re in space. Strait joked that they are hoping to shoot in space next year. Chatham answered a little more seriously, pointing out that “acting” like you’re in zero gravity can be very difficult. The cast was asked how challenging it was to work on location—there is a new planet in The Expanse season four, which isn’t a spoiler since it’s featured in the trailer. They shot it on location in a quarry in Toronto. It was apparently freezing, and Gee said she was happy that Drummer is stuck in a space!
The next question was about the legacy of the show and what effect it will have on its audience. The cast said they hoped it would inspire people to become astronauts or politicians or scientists. Hill told them it was already happening, to their delight. A question about the Belter language and how it was created and how they act with it was asked. Gee said that she works very hard with a dialect coach to get the Belter language right. The authors of the books which the series is based on, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (under the pen name of James S. A. Corey) apparently based the language off the polyglot dialect of Greek fisherman, and it developed further from there.
Shankar was asked about the inspiration behind the cut-throat politics of the show—he said that they pull from the “sad history of humanity.” A lighter question closed out the panel—what would the cast and Shankar name their own spaceship? Screaming Firehawk was mentioned, but the name they settled on was Tip a Top. They showed the trailer after that, and everyone in the audience left with a free poster for season 4.
The Expanse’s fourth season premieres December 13, 2019 on Amazon Prime. It has already been renewed for a fifth season. For now, check out The Expanse season four trailer below.