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The Expanse's Authors Tease The Future Of The Show After Season 6

The fifth season of Amazon Prime Video's The Expanse just dropped its first three episodes on December 16, and the streamer has already renewed the eerily prescient space epic for a sixth season. Fans of the series might be a little disappointed to hear that the next season will be its last, especially as the show seems to have really hit its stride. The last three seasons have each earned an impressive 100% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, with high audience scores to boot.

It might be especially sad for fans of the book series the show is based on who want to see the stories of the seventh, eighth, and upcoming ninth novels adapted. The books, written by James S.A. Corey (a pen name for the writing duo Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), have served as the backbone of the series. While the show has altered the stories and characters, each season has, for the most part, followed the narrative arc of the corresponding book in the series.

But just because the current run of the show is coming to an end before the novels doesn't necessarily mean the series will have an unsatisfying conclusion, or that it's the last you'll see of The Expanse. As Abraham recently told SyFy Wire, "We're not dead yet! Just because the show ends doesn't mean the IP is erased. We'll see what happens."

For those looking to remain totally unspoiled, be aware that some general spoilers from the novels will follow.

Why it makes sense to end The Expanse after six seasons

The Expanse as we know it now will conclude with its sixth season, which corresponds with the book Babylon's Ashes. Although book six out of a nine book series (the ninth and final book, Leviathan Falls, is due in 2021) seems like an arbitrary point to end the adaptation, because of the structure of the larger narrative arc of the novels, it actually makes a lot of sense. Without spoiling any specific plot details, Babylon's Ashes brings many of the plotlines from the first six books to their conclusion. Furthermore, the seventh book, Persepolis Rising, begins around thirty years after the conclusion of the sixth.

Franck explained to SyFy Wire, "That was actually the easiest part about season 6, because the end of the sixth book is a pretty natural pause point in the story." During an interview with Collider, he elaborated a bit more, saying, "It is a story that leaves possibilities open for the future... There's a lot of stories that can be told, but I think if you watch through Season 6, you're going to feel like... We completed the story that we've been telling for five seasons."

In a different Collider interview, series star Steven Strait, who plays James Holden, shared a similar feeling of satisfaction with the show ending at season 6. He said he felt the show was going out on its own terms, for which he was "deeply grateful," and added, "The end of season 6 — and the end of book 6 — is a satisfying place to stop."

However, between Abraham's comments about the show not being completely dead and Franck referring to the Babylon's Ashes ending as a "pause point," it sounds like the door is certainly open for the series to return.

Could The Expanse be brought back in the future?

While it might sound like wishful thinking right now, The Expanse coming out of hibernation at some point in the future really isn't very far fetched. After all, the series was canceled on its original network, SyFy, after just three seasons, only to be revived by Amazon Prime Video.

Even though we mostly think of TV series as coming out once a year until they are canceled, there are many examples of shows ending, only to come back years later for more seasons or movie spin-offs that continue their story. 24 brought Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) back for another day of mayhem four years after the original series ended, while Veronica Mars returned for both a feature film and an additional season long after it was canceled in the 2000s. Based on what the people behind the show are saying, it doesn't sound like it's out of the question that The Expanse may similarly take a break and then come back in some capacity to finish the larger narrative.

During his interview with SyFy Wire, Abraham also alluded to the fact that, although the series is based on the books, it is its own beast. "I've always looked at the show as being a sort of retelling of the same story," he said, "so it feels very independent to me from the book version... which gives us some freedom."

That freedom would open a stargate full of possibilities for The Expanse to continue on at some point in the future.