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The Expanse season 4 trailer, release date and episodes

The Expanse may be a sci-fi show, but despite the cosmic, futuristic settings, the narrative feels strangely relevant to the present day. Humanity has colonized the solar system, but our scientific advancements haven't lead to real stability, much less a Utopian society. Maintaining the peace among Earth, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt is a fragile balancing act, and powerful players still pull the strings behind the scenes. 

What begins as an investigation to find a missing woman uncovers a conspiracy that could lead to humanity's demise. But at the end of season 3 of The Expanse, fans worried that they would never find out the fate of the human race — the series had aired on Syfy since 2015, but the network cancelled it. Luckily, Amazon Prime Video will be bringing audiences a fourth season. Since that announcement, fans have been waiting patiently to see what happens next. While you wait to stream the new episodes, here's everything the cast and showrunner have let slip about The Expanse season 4. 

When's The Expanse season 4's release date?

Season 3 of The Expanse concluded in June 2018. At this point, Syfy had already announced that they would not be producing future seasons. Thankfully, fans were reassured within weeks that the show would go on when Amazon picked it up

Production for season 4 began just a few months after the change in network, kicking off in October 2018. At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, fans were finally given a release date: December 13, 2019. All of the new episodes will be available for streaming upon release, meaning fans can binge watch to their heart's content. Bonus: the new season will be released on a Friday, giving them a whole weekend to do it. It's been a long wait for season 4, but since the alternative was cancellation, the trade off is worth it. And now that Amazon has officially announced that they've already renewed The Expanse for a fifth season, fans can definitely enjoy some peace of mind. 

Where can you watch The Expanse season 4?

Why did Amazon end up producing The Expanse? Well, the passionate fanbase made it clear that despite a drop in viewership from season 2 to season 3, there was still high demand for season 4. They petitioned both Netflix and Amazon to pick up the series, and they even organized a crowdfunding campaign to pay for an airplane that flew around Amazon headquarters with a "#SaveTheExpanse" banner. Celebrities like Will Wheaton and George R.R. Martin also spoke up in support of the show and pushed for a fourth season. The fact that Jeff Bezos just happens to be a huge fan of the show certainly helped their cause. 

"We are fully aware that this wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for the staggering outpouring of support from the most creative, hardest working sci-fi fans around the world," said Alcon Entertainment founders and CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson in a joint statement after receiving the good news. "From Reddit campaigns to airplanes, we say thank you. It worked!"

Now that Amazon has picked up The Expanse, they have exclusive distribution rights. The first three seasons are available to watch online with Prime right now. Yes, this means that you will need a Prime account in order to watch the fourth season, as it will not be airing on TV. 

The Expanse season 4's trailer

After months of waiting, fans finally got their first taste of what's in store for The Expanse season 4 at San Diego Comic-Con. The crew of the Rocinante is going further into the cosmos than they've ever ventured before. Now that the mysterious Ring Gate has been opened, everyone is curious about what lies beyond... but they're not just journeying out for casual exploration. The existence of thousands of new planets means that there are valuable resources to be found, and whoever gets there first and establishes control will have the upper hand. 

Could there be other threats lurking beyond the Ring Gate that humanity is unaware of? After all, the beings who built the rings are long gone, and no one knows what happened to them. "That there is something inside that Ring space, in places between the Ring gates, that's gonna come into play at some point as the series goes on," showrunner Naren Shankar revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. The trailer doesn't reveal too much about what's to come, but there's no doubt that this will be an intriguing and suspenseful season. 

Where did The Expanse season 3 leave off?

Before diving into more clues about the plot of The Expanse season 4, let's look back at how season 3 ended. The two-part finale revealed the answer to the mystery of the protomolecule, which had been plaguing the crew of the Rocinante. However, it also brought up new questions that set the stage for season 4.

As an expedition made up of ships from Earth, Mars, and the Outer Planets Alliance journeyed through the solar system, they encountered a serious obstacle: Clarissa Mao, a woman dead set on killing the Rocinante's Captain James Holden to avenge her father. After attacking, she pinned the damage on Holden, who was forced to flee for his life. With no choice but to go through the Ring Gate, he discovered a strange space station, where he finally found out the purpose of the protomolecule: connecting countless previously unknown worlds.

But this was no ordinary space station — it could defend itself against danger. Holden and his crew quickly came up with a plan that allowed them to pass through the gate without posing a threat to the station. Now, they're gearing up to explore entirely new worlds in season 4. 

Which cast members from The Expanse will be returning for season 4?

Wondering if your favorite cast members will be returning to The Expanse for season 4? Don't worry — if they were still alive at the end of season 3, they will be back for the new season. That means you'll be seeing familiar faces like Steve Strait (Jim Holden), Thomas Jane (Joe Miller), Cas Anvar (Alex Kamal), Dominique Tipper (Naomi Negata), and Wes Chatham (Amos Burton). In addition, Shohreh Asgdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala) and Frankie Adams (Bobbie Draper) will be coming back. And although she hasn't spent too much time on screen so far (despite her character's importance to the overall plot), Florence Faivre (Julia Mao) will also be returning. 

So far, it doesn't look like any of the main cast members have been written out of season 4, or decided to jump ship when the show was briefly cancelled. But that doesn't mean we won't be meeting anyone new — several up-and-coming actors have revealed that they will be joining the cast.

Lyndie Greenwood will join the cast of The Expanse in season 4

As we journey to unexplored corners of the universe in season 4 of The Expanse, what new characters will we be meeting? In February 2019, Lyndie Greenwood announced on Instagram that she would be appearing in season 4 as Dr. Elvi Okoye. In the original Expanse book series, Okoye is a scientist who works for the United Nations and is sent out to survey a newly discovered planet, Ilus. A challenging series of events makes it difficult for her to do the job she was assigned, but as she learns more about Ilus, she begins to unearth some troubling secrets.

You may have spotted Greenwood in a few other TV shows. She was a regular as Jenny Mills on Sleepy Hollow, and she also had a recurring role as Sonya on Nikita. With the critical acclaim and enthusiastic response from fans, The Expanse could be just the project to take her career to a whole new level. 

Burn Gorman will appear in The Expanse season 4

Fans of Torchwood and Pacific Rim will be excited to hear that Burn Gorman is joining the cast of The Expanse as Adolphus Murtry. If you're into Game of Thrones, you might also remember Gorman as Karl Tanner, or you may know him as the Marshal in Amazon's The Man in the High Castle. In short, he's no stranger to high profile, fan favorite projects.

It looks like Murtry will be an important role in the upcoming season — so important that Amazon Prime put out a special promotional video in February announcing Gorman's addition to the cast. What do we know about Murtry so far? Well, in the books, he's someone you definitely would not want to cross. When he touches down on Ilus, he's certainly not there for diplomacy or to improve intergalatic relations. He wants to be in control, and he implements martial law to combat the resistance fighters on Ilus. Murtry gets a fair amount of screentime in the relatively short teaser trailer, and he certainly comes across as a menacing figure. 

At New York Comic Con in October 2019, Gorman opened up about his thoughts on Murtry. "One person's bad guy is another person's good guy," he said, going on to add, "I don't like to think of this character... as a villain. I see him as a very driven individual." In this season of The Expanse, perhaps the line between good and evil won't be so clear. 

Other new faces in The Expanse season 4

Greenwood and Gorman aren't the only new actors joining the cast of The Expanse season 4. Lily Gao also shared a series of photos on her Instagram with Shohreh Asgdashloo — apparently, she'll be playing Nancy Gao, and the two actresses have filmed some scenes together. Rosa Gilmore also posted a photo with a few other Expanse cast members, sharing in her Instagram bio that she will playing Dr. Lucia Mazur in season 4. 

In addition, Keon Alexander will be playing an unnamed Belter faction leader, described only as "wily and charismatic." And finally, Jess Salguerio, who you may recognize from another Amazon Prime series, The Boys, will be taking on the role of Chandra Wei, a jaded security officer. With so many fantastic actors coming back for season 4 and plenty of newcomers to round out the cast, there's potential for new alliances to be made and new rivalries to form. 

Which Expanse book will season 4 adapt?

Like the previous seasons of The Expanse, season 4 will be based on a novel in the original nine-book series by James S.A. Corey (which is, in fact, a pen name for co-writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). This season will adapt the events of the fourth book in the series, titled Cibola Burn. Cibola Burn takes the characters past the Ring Gate and brings them together on Ilus, a new planet that they have never set foot on before. However, Naren Shankar says that they will be deviating from the book in some instances. 

"The book Cibola takes place entirely on Ilus," Shankar told Entertainment Weekly. He went on to explain, "We are going to tell that story in season 4, sure, but we're not leaving Earth and Mars and the Belt behind."

So, will the writers be drawing from any other interesting lore or source material to mix things up? Definitely. Authors Abraham and Franck have also written several novellas in the universe of The Expanse. And within these novellas, Shankar says there are plenty of stories that will make for exciting episodes — we'll just have to stay tuned to see what makes the cut. 

Which characters will have bigger roles in season 4 of The Expanse?

So, which characters will be front and center in season 4? Obviously, the crew of the Rocinante will still be in the middle of the action. Shankar has hinted that the writers have big plans for Bobbie, but he won't reveal whether or not Bobbie will be accepted as a crew member on the Rocinante. 

Even though Avasarala didn't get much screen time in the later episodes of season 3, she will be a bigger part of season 4. After all, she's become a fan favorite, and the showrunners are ready to deliver on her storyline. "You are absolutely going to see Shohreh in season 4," Sankar said. "She's a big part of what goes on, and we've got a great story line for her on Earth and other places as well."

Where else could Avasarala be going in season 4? There are so many new possibilities, but no matter where she ventures out to, it's going to be an exciting journey. 

Expect space-western action from The Expanse's fourth season

While Shankar and the cast members have been careful not to spoil any key plot points before season 4 of The Expanse becomes available for streaming, the showrunner has been open about the general narrative for future episodes. Basically, it's going to play out like a classic Western — just set in space. As humanity moves forward to further colonize the new frontier beyond the Ring Gate, we'll see events that remind us of important moments we learned about in history class. Just swap cowboys for astronauts, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what you're about to witness in season 4. 

If the establishment of colonies throughout the past few centuries here on Earth is any indication, this season is going to be violent and tumultuous. "It's going to be another blood-soaked gold rush," Shankar told Entertainment Weekly. "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... these are things that destabilize societies." 

What will be different about The Expanse in season 4?

Finally, the question that every Expanse fan needs answered: how is the switch to Amazon going to affect the content of the new season? This season will probably have a slightly different tone, but at its core, it will still be the same show. First of all, Shankar points out that the streaming format will allow them to make each episode a few minutes longer, so conclusions won't feel rushed. Plus, they'll have the license to be a little more risque. No, season 4 isn't going to feel like you're watching Game of Thrones in space, but don't be surprised if the writers have decided to push the boundaries and be bolder this time around. They're taking full advantage of the freedom they have with Amazon.

"There are some things that are amazing that we don't have to worry about: restrictions on nudity, restrictions on language, and restrictions on length to some extent," said Shankar. He added, "We're going to find more and more opportunities to really make the platform work for us."

Another teaser for The Expanse season 4

After the first episode of The Expanse season 4 premiered at New York City Comic Con, a new teaser trailer was also released — and calling it "intense" would be an understatement. Of course, we see the familiar faces of the Rocinante crew, as well as glimpses of new characters like Adolphus Murtry. We're treated to sneak peeks at epic space battles and the clashes that will inevitably take place on Ilus. Most importantly, the narration hints at the major, overarching themes of the upcoming season. 

The trailer is set to one of John F. Kennedy's famous speeches, often referred to as the "We choose to go to the moon" speech. In this 1962 address, Kennedy discussed whether or not humanity was really ready for the new challenges presented by space exploration. But he emphasized that despite this question, it was time to move forward, to make our way to this new frontier, even though we didn't understand the risks and rewards just yet. He also remarked that science "has no conscience of its own," therefore, it's up to human beings to use this knowledge in the pursuit of good. 

Clearly, this is foreshadowing some heavy questions to be explored in season 4 of The Expanse.

Is there a spark between Amos and Avasarala?

Since Naomi and Holden are still going strong as a couple, fans are wondering if there will be sparks flying between any other characters in season 4. At a discussion panel with the cast at New York Comic Con, Wes Chatham, who plays Amos, hinted at a potential romance in his character's future. When the host asked Chatham about Amos flirting with Avasarala in season 3, Chatham did not confirm or deny any rumors about a connection between the characters. But he did say that since the new season would be on Amazon Prime with fewer content restrictions, viewers would be seeing "a lot more of Amos." 

Whether or not Amos has a genuine romantic interest in Avasarala remains to be seen, but it does look fairly certain that he'll be hitting it off with someone this season. One thing is for sure — the loosened restrictions will make this a very different season than the earlier ones that aired on SyFy!

The fourth season of The Expanse starts with a space battle

The exclusive screening of the season 4 premiere at New York City Comic-Con means that a few fans have already seen the first episode of this season. The episode is not up on Prime yet, but reviewers are sharing their (largely positive) first impressions already. Caution — if you'd rather go into this episode blind when it's officially released in December, there are some important spoilers ahead!

The episode kicks off with a Belter ship en route to an unexplored planet beyond the Ring, which will later be known as Ilus. Over the course of eight months, the crew slowly colonizes the planet, setting up a large shantytown and aiming to establish a permanent presence. 

But their foray past the Ring sparks resistance from local government forces, who attempt to fight off the outsiders infiltrating their territory. This conflict is the first huge space battle in the season. And thanks to the bigger budget for season 4, the production value is better than ever.

Holden is still dreaming about Joe Miller

Holden has been haunted by the memory of Joe Miller, the detective who searched tirelessly for Julie Mao after her disappearance. When Eros made impact with Venus, Miller was killed — but in Holden's dreams and visions, he's still very much alive. Holden can't shake the feeling of Miller's presence, and to a certain extent, he has simply learned to live with it. Right away, the audience can see that although Miller is gone, he is still influencing the Rocinante crew in season 4.

When this season begins, Holden is back on Earth, enjoying some family time before meeting with Avasarala. While alone one night, Miller visits him in a vision, delivering a characteristically vague message for Holden. But Holden is used to deciphering Miller's messages on his own. Revealing the deeper meaning behind Holden's message this early would ruin the suspense, and we're also quite certain that this is not the last time we'll see Miller make an appearance this season.

The Expanse season 4 premiere gets the band back together

When Avasarala hears about the new colony being built on Ilus, she's intrigued. She's concerned about Holden's warnings of violence beyond the Ring, but at the end of the day, she wants to maintain a certain level of control over the "Gold Rush." When she finally gets a chance to meet with Holden, she informs him that she wants to send the Rocinante and his usual crew out to the settlement on Ilus. Naturally, he's up for the mission. 

Now, it's time to see what the rest of the crew is up to, and they're reintroduced through video chats. Naomi and Holden are still together and happy, Drummer is now proudly sporting a futuristic, high-tech spinal implant, Clarissa Mao is in prison, and Bobbie has been living a normal civilian life and working in construction, but she's over it. Holden is nervous about the idea of Naomi coming along for their expedition on Ilus, but she reassures him that everything will be okay.

A new enemy in The Expanse season 4

Before the Rocinante and its crew arrive on Ilus, Royal Charter Energy also sends a shuttle ship out to this faraway planet, bringing scientists and supplies. Among the crew is Aldophus Murtry, who we'll definitely be learning more about as the season progresses. But the journey to their destination does not go smoothly. The ship is destroyed by an unidentifiable force — a threat that we haven't seen in previous seasons. It breaks through the surface of the ship, but it's certainly not an attacking army. It's actually a cloud-like substance. 

Clearly, it has a "mind" of its own and can respond to perceived threats, but even the scientists that survive the initial attack are unsure of what it really is. After Holden and his crew land, the substance also targets them. Holden is able to pick up a piece of the cloud, which moves around in his grip. How will they protect themselves against an enemy that they haven't even begun to understand?

Production has already started for The Expanse season 5

In July 2019, Amazon announced that they had already renewed The Expanse for season 5 — yep, before season 4 even aired, they went ahead and ordered another season. Clearly, the network has good reason to believe that season 4 will be a hit with the fans, and based on early responses to the premiere, it seems like they made the right call. 

In other exciting news, the cast revealed at New York Comic Con that they have already begun production on season 5. Fans can take a deep breath and know that there's no chance The Expanse is getting cancelled this time around! 

It's way too soon for any season 5 spoilers to be floating around, and there won't be any promos released until season 4 is behind us. We probably won't have an official release date for quite some time, either. However, since filming has already started, this could mean a relatively short wait between season 4 and season 5.

You can already watch a teaser for The Expanse's fifth season

The cast and crew of The Expanse have already started production for season 5. So far, no major spoilers have leaked, and there haven't been any big announcements about new cast members. But a few behind-the-scenes videos have already been released on social media. Episode director Breck Eisner has been showing fans around the sets, with a few sneak peeks of Steven Strait (who plays Holden) filming zero-gravity scenes. 

Other than that, everyone is staying tight-lipped for now — with the rest of season 4 not yet for streaming, it's a little too early to reveal any key plot points for season 5! But for fans wondering how the crew behind the camera gets such beautiful shots in every episode, these videos are a must-see. It looks like Amazon is certain that this upcoming season will exceed fan expectations, and they will have plenty to look forward to in season 5 and beyond.