Will There Be an Expanse Season 4 on Netflix or Amazon Prime?

The Expanse was a bit of a surprise hit when it was first released. Sci-fi doesn’t always do well on TV but The Expanse did better than most. Based on a series of books by James S. A. Corey, this isn’t your usual spaceships and bad guys sci-fi either. That’s what makes it so good. With series 3 running right now, will there be an Expanse season 4 on Netflix?

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The short answer is no. Netflix will not be running the Expanse season 4. But that’s not the end of it as Amazon Prime has taken over. I’ll get to that in a minute though.

The Expanse TV show

The Expanse is a series of books by James S. A. Corey which is the pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Both have a background of fantasy writing so created Corey for their sci-fi. Originally run on SyFy, Netflix took the rights to show it as a Netflix Original in other countries.

The Expanse is set 200 years in the future where mankind has colonized the solar system and the asteroid belt and is happily going about its business. Mankind has split into three main factions, Earth, Mars and The Belt. As you would expect these three factions don’t get on and actively compete against each other for resources. The story follows a couple of threads. One, a down and out space cop called Josephus Miller who is tasked with finding a runaway woman. Two, a freighter captain James Holden who is attacked by ships he thinks are from Mars.

The story follows Miller and Holden and UN Ambassador Chrisjen Avasarala from earth as they find the girl and uncover a huge conspiracy that seeks to trigger a war between the factions.

The Expanse TV show follows each of the books as it unfolds and is much a space opera as it is a detective show or intergalactic conspiracy theory. It’s a slow burner, more about the characters and how they react to different situations than the setting. Yet the setting is realistic as you would imagine it to be and completely believable. If mankind really is living in the stars in 200 years’ time, this is how I imagine it will be. The location changes but mankind stay the same.

Season 1 of The Expanse follows the first book, Leviathan Wakes and introduces the world, the people and the turmoil between the factions. It’s a scene setter with a lot going on, including the search for the girl and the attack on Holden’s ship.

Season 2 introduces more of the Martian military characters but still follows Holden as he hides what he found in season 1 and then takes revenge for a genocide. This season sees the scope widen and the setting expand exponentially. It is an epic tale on an epic scale and one of the best sci-fi series around right now.

Season 3 sees Earth, Mars and The Belt at war and continues directly from the end of season 2. The element causing all the friction between the factions gains even more prominence as each faction wants control of it to win the war. It is more situation driven than the previous two character driven seasons but nothing less for it.

Will there be an Expanse season 4?

Even though season 3 left the door open for more and there are seven books in the series, Netflix canned The Expanse at the end of season 3. Apparently the reason is down to untenable licensing. A quote from Deadline explains it better than I can:

‘The cancellation decision by Syfy is said to be linked to the nature of its agreement for the series, which only gives the cable network first-run linear rights in the U.S. That puts an extraordinary amount of emphasis on live, linear viewing, which is inherently challenging for sci-fi/genre series that tend to draw the lion’s share of their audiences from digital/streaming.’

Thanks to a campaign by fans, including hiring a plane to tow a banner saying ‘Save The Expanse’ outside Amazon’s HQ, a Change.org petition and lots of online activity, Amazon decided to buy the rights to the show.

That is both good news and bad. Good news because the story will continue with the same budget, showrunners, cast and crew. Bad news because Netflix will eventually lose access to The Expanse altogether and we will have to subscribe to Amazon to continue watching the show.

The future does look good for The Expanse. With rave reviews, a decent following, active campaigning and now the backing of Amazon, it is entirely possible that we will see the show follow all of the nine books that will comprise the series. While I won’t be able to watch the other seasons, I am glad some of you will.

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