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Things From The Expanse Books That The Show Leaves Out

The same way that HBO mined the rich fantasy world that George R. R. Martin created with his novel series A Song of Fire and Ice for Game of Thrones, Amazon Prime Video (and, before that, Syfy) used James S. A. Corey's eerily prescient nine-book sci-fi epic The Expanse as the launchpad for their show of the same name. And as with Game of Thrones, when it comes to adapting the massive novels for the small screen, some changes have to be made.

Even though a TV show that runs for multiple seasons feels like it should be a large enough endeavor to encompass the breadth of a novel series, there are just too many differences between the two mediums to bring everything from the books to the show. That means some storylines and characters have had to be condensed or scrapped altogether to fit the key themes and plot beats. While there aren't any omissions that are as egregious as, for instance, Game of Thrones' lack of Lady Stoneheart, there's still a lot that fell through the cracks of the adaptation.

Here are some of the most notable things that got left out when adapting The Expanse from page to screen.

Some Expanse characters had to be consolidated

Something the Expanse TV series and novels have in common is that they feature dozens upon dozens of characters. However, even if you watch the series and are floored by how many significant supporting players there are, that's still nothing compared to the books. The show has cut or significantly reduced a number of characters for its adaptation, and in the case of some, their roles were combined into composite characters. .

One example of this is Camina Drummer (Cara Gee). In translating the plot from the novels to the series, elements of several different characters' stories were given to Camina. One of the most notable of these characters is Michio Pa. In the novels, Michio has a significant narrative arc, which includes the salvaging of the ship Nauvoo for the Outer Planets Alliance. On the show, Camina leads the mission to retrieve the ship, while Michio isn't involved.

In fact, the Michio we know from the books hasn't entered the show at all. While a character named Michio (Vanessa Smythe) was introduced as a member of Camina's polyamorous marriage pod, it appears that the character is related in name only to her book counterpart.

In the early seasons, Chrisjen Avasarala's language had to be toned down

Speaking of memorable characters, there are so many great ones across The Expanse that every fan of the novels is bound to have their own pick for personal favorite. But it's hard for anyone to deny just how good Chrisjen Avasarala is. There are a lot of reasons to love and admire the Earther politician, but a lot of what makes the character so beloved is a truth that transcends time periods and cultures: she has a real potty mouth, and it's funny when older ladies cuss.

Avasarala's expletive-laden outbursts have become a touchstone of the novels, but when the series originally premiered on the Syfy channel, they were toned down considerably, presumably to not rankle cable TV censors. The character's general spirit was still there, but the dialogue didn't have the same verve as this rousing line from Caliban's War: "I don't give a f**k whose birthday it is, you make this happen before my meeting is over or I'll have your nuts as paperweights."

Beginning in season 2, Avasarala's (Shohreh Aghdashloo) vocabulary was dirtied up considerably, as Syfy changed their rules about language restrictions (via Inverse). But upon rewatching, it's hard not to feel like season 1 missed an important aspect of the character's appeal.

Not every Expanse subplot made the leap from book to screen

While the TV version of The Expanse thus far has more or less lined up with the overall narrative of the first five novels in the series, there have been some shifts in the timeline and continuity throughout. For instance, the fourth novel, Cibola Burn, is almost exclusively focused on the events surrounding the newly colonized planet Ilus. While that plot certainly gets a lot of focus during season 4 of The Expanse, the show also weaves in other storylines that incorporated characters who would otherwise have been absent.

Changes to some of the narrative and character moments also meant that a storyline from Cibola Burn was cut. In the books, a biologist working on Ilus named Dr. Elvi Okoye develops a crush on James Holden when he arrives on the planet to help mediate growing tensions between the colonists of the new planet and corporate interests, but she eventually gets married to Fayez Sarkis, one of her colleagues. While Elvi (Lyndie Greenwood) is still a significant character on the corresponding season of the show, her infatuation-triangle storyline was scrapped.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Naren Shankar explained that because the show changed the parameters of Holden's (Steven Strait) mission to Ilus, the potential-romance subplot no longer made sense. He explained, "when you characterize it that way, it's a little harder to get into this relationship infatuation thing... It just didn't seem to work based on how we had changed other things around it. So it just dropped out in the adaptation."

Those differences between book and TV show are even more reason to dive into the novels that inspired The Expanse.