Amazon has finally revealed when the next season of The Expanse will begin streaming: December 13th, 2019. The company made the announcement today at San Diego Comic-Con, releasing a trailer and a longer clip of the upcoming fourth season.
Based on the science fiction book series by James S.A. Corey, The Expanse is set several centuries in the future, where humanity has colonized the solar system and broken into three major factions: Earth, Mars, and the Belters, an alliance of settlements in the asteroid belt and outer planets. The bulk of the series follows the crew of a spaceship called the Rocinante as they find themselves in the midst of an interplanetary war, and have to contend with the discovery of an alien substance called the Protomolecule that’s been weaponized by a malevolent Earth corporation, and which went on to create an gate to thousands of worlds beyond our home system.
This latest season will be based on the fourth installment of the series, Cibola Burn, in which the crew of the Rocinante are dispatched to a colonial world known as Ilus to settle a dispute between the corporation that claimed the world, and the settlers who touched down on it first. The planet is also home to the remnants of an alien civilization that created the protomolecule. The trailer shows off some of the troubles that the crew will face, and some new faces, like Adolphus Murtry (played by Pacific Rim’s Burn Gorman), a brutal and temperamental security chief for the company that’s laid claim to the planet, Royal Charter Energy.
In addition to the trailer for the season, Amazon released a longer clip from the show, showing off the crew of the Rocinante landing on the Ilus, which will be one of the major locations this season.
Some spoilers ahead.
The Syfy channel picked up the series for adaptation back in 2015, and over the course of three seasons, adapted the first three books, Leviathan Wakes, Caliban’s War, and Abbadon’s Gate. Syfy canceled the series last year, but the series was quickly picked up by Amazon for a fourth season.
The first three seasons of the show tell a relatively contained story: tensions between Earth, Mars, and the Belters bring the solar system to war, and the alien protomolecule upends that when it creates a massive ring gate that connects the solar system to a vast, interstellar network. Up until this point in the series, humanity has been fighting amongst itself, but now, people have access to thousands of new, uninhabited planets to travel to. The Syfy’s tenure on the series ended right at that point, and had the show not continued, it would have been a natural ending point.
But the book series will last for nine installments, and the penultimate book, Tiamat’s Wrath, hit bookstores earlier this year. Cibola Burn is a good opportunity for Amazon to reboot the show, as it brought in a couple of new major storylines for the series. Series showrunner Naren Shankar told IGN on Wednesday that the shift from Syfy to Amazon brings them some new freedoms that they didn’t have before. “We’re no longer bound by the archaic content, language, and runtime restrictions you’re constantly forced to deal with on broadcast and basic cable.”
The Expanse’s fourth season will debut on December 13th on Amazon Prime Video.