Season six of Amazon’s The ExpanseIt will only have six episodes. This is a significant reduction from the 10- and 13-episode series. However, it will wrap up the series with the adaptation of the sixth Expanse novel. Babylon’s Ashes And the novella Strange Dogs
“Six episodes to do this much material is difficult,” said showrunner Naren Shankar during a New York Comic Con panel with members of the cast. “What it does give you is intensity. Each episode is as intense and thrilling as possible. You never feel like you’re letting your foot off the gas pedal. By the time you get to the end, it feels cathartic.”
Ty Franck, Daniel Abraham and James S. A. Corey co-wrote Expanse books under their pen names. They said the show does justice to their work partly because material from the sixth book was included in season 5.
“We had to write every script so there was no fat in it,” Franck said. “There was no extra. We had to tell the story we were here to tell.”
That story starts with the solar system and the crew of the Rocinante in turmoil following the devastating attacks on Earth by the Belter leader Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) and the death of the ship’s pilot Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar).
“Morale is really low when we start season six,” said Steven Strait, who plays the Rocinante’s captain James Holden. “The war has dragged on. There’s a sense that we haven’t gotten anywhere. We haven’t broken through in a way where our efforts feel like they meant something.”
Clarissa Mao, aka Peaches (Nadine Nic), is one of the test subjects for the crew. She is a violent criminal on the run and was brought aboard by Amos Burton (Wes Chatham), ship mechanic. He sees her as an ally.
“Amos has always sought out these mentors that he’s believed in to make moral choices and give him guidance in life, but he has grown to the point that he’s become that to Peaches,” Chatham said. “Now that he has someone who’s looking to him and leading her in a way, he’s starting to think about what their mission is. He believes in Holden with all of his heart, but he’s starting to question what is motivating Holden and why we are involved in these massive big movements in history.”
Those questions will also lead to a reexamination of his relationship with Holden’s second-in-command and lover Naomi (Dominique Tipper), who is suffering from PTSD after failing to persuade her son Filip Inaros (Jasai Chase Owens) to abandon his father’s extreme tactics.
“It was so juicy to play these scenes where Amos and Naomi are just not OK with each other,” Tipper said. “She’s lashing out at everyone in her close proximity. That’s what you do when you’re devastated.”
Season six will continue the show’s focus on geopolitical intrigue with real-world parallels. Chrisjen Avasarala of the United Nations (Shohreh Akhadashloo), is expected to unite former allies and enemies against Marcos. Camina Drummer from Belter (Cara Gee), however, sees her relatives divided by their views about Marcos.
“When we look at the people in the series that rise to power, whether it’s Marcos or Avasarala, there is this violent colonialism,” Gee said. “‘I’m going to take this and I’m going to make it what I want to be’ as opposed to valuing the humanity of every person in all the factions across the universe. It’s an interesting examination of power.”
Shankar stated that he was emotional while watching Breck Eisner’s final episode, which at almost 65 minutes is nearly half the length of a normal episode.
Season 4 of The ExpansePremieres on December 10, and new episodes are released weekly every Friday.