Everything We Know About 'The Expanse' Season 4

the expanse season 4
Amazon Video

In 2018, it looked like The Expanse's third season would be its last. But after it was cancelled by Syfy, fans rallied behind the #SaveTheExpanse hashtag in a bid to show public support and encourage another platform to pick up the series. A few weeks later, Amazon Prime swooped and sparked joy by funding a fourth season.

The perpetually overlooked sci-fi gem is a carefully crafted space opera in which humanity is strung out in somewhat discrete societies across the solar system that have largely maintained a delicate political balance, but it's one that's unraveling. How will things change in Season 4? Here's what we know so far.

Is there a trailer for Season 4 yet?

Yes! After teasers released at the 2019 New York and San Diego Comic-Cons gave us a first look at new cast additions like Burn Gorman (Pacific Rim), Amazon put out a final trailer for the series in early November that digs more into the central conflict of the series. After a UN ship’s investigation doesn’t go as planned, Avasarala sends the crew of the Rocinante out to investigate a planet where a group of Belter refugees have settled. There’s more than human conflict at play, though -- something else has awakened on the planet. 

When does Season 4 of The Expanse premiere?

All 10 episodes of the season will drop on December 13 on Amazon Prime. Until then, you can catch up on the series' first three seasons, all of which are currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Furthermore, this isn't the last season of The Expanse: In July, Amazon renewed the series for a fifth season.

Who's returning for Season 4?

The core cast from Season 3 will return, which means that we'll see Steven Strait as James Holden, Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal, Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata, Wes Chatham as Amos Burton, Frankie Adams as Bobbie Draper, and Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala. The season will also likely feature appearances from Chad L. Coleman as Fred Johnson, Cara Gee as Drummer, David Strathairn as Klaes Ashford, Thomas Jane as the Investigator, and Nadine Nicole as Clarissa Mao.

Who's joining the cast for Season 4?

Gorman is the most salient addition -- he plays Adolphus Murtry, an antagonist who takes over the Ilus settlement by force and rules it with an iron fist. Lyndie Greenwood (Sleepy Hollow) will play Dr. Elvi Okoye, a biologist. Rosa Gilmore (The Handmaid's Tale) joins as Lucia Mazur, a Belter refugee; Keon Alexander (Tyrant) plays a charismatic Belter faction leader; Jess Salgueiro (Mouthpiece) will play Chandra Wei. Lily Gao (Kin) will star as Nancy Gao, who in the books was the Secretary-General of the United Nations prior to Avasarala. Chai Valladares joins as Aide Diaz.

What's the plot of Season 4?

At the end of Season 3, the world of The Expanse got blown wide open by the manifestation of multiple portals (past the initial Ring) that serve as gateways to other solar systems with habitable planets. While the series has always been focused on the political, now it's edging into Space Western territory as humans rush to colonize other habitable planets and compete over their resources. The first (and most important thus far) of these worlds is Ilus, the planet where a large part of Season 4 will take place. We'll see the crew of the Rocinante on a U.N. chartered mission to Ilus, beyond the reaches of the Ring Gate.

"You've got an entire species and several societies that have defined themselves on the fact that the solar system is all they've got, that those resources are what they have," series showrunner Naren Shankar told Entertainment Weekly. "But suddenly that all changes. It's like the discovery of the New World — suddenly there's land, there's resources, there's the potential of making incredible fortunes right there."

For those familiar with the original book series, Season 4 will loosely adapt Cibola Burn, the fourth novel in the series. The novel takes place entirely on Ilus, but Shankar was clear that Season 4 won't leave Earth, Mars, and the Belt behind. Additionally, the looming mystery of the dead alien civilization that created the protomolecule will still be at the forefront in the season. Shankar told EW that the writers are drawing not only from the main series novels but also from assorted novellas written by series authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. That means that characters like Bobbie or Avasarala won't necessarily fall to the wayside despite limited appearances in Cibola Burn

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