I was in Los Angeles, California recently for The Science of The Expanse Panel at the International Space Development Conference (ISDC). The conference brings together scientists, engineers and the public to discuss the myriad of topics associated with space and humanity’s role in the exploration of space. The Science of The Expanse panel was a perfect fit, as it realistically portrays how humanity will exist in space in the future.
Kyle Hill (Nerdist, Because Science) moderated the panel, which included Naren Shankar (executive producer and showrunner), Steven Strait (James Holden), Cas Anvar (Alex Kamal), Wes Chatham (Amos Burton), Cara Gee (Camina Drummer), and surprise guest Bobak Ferdowski, Spacecraft Systems Engineer (Mohawk guy) on the Mars landing Curiosity team. The panel had a lively discussion about science in the series. They followed the format from The Science of The Expanse panel at WonderCon. While the panel was officially about science, what everyone in the audience really wanted to know was the future of The Expanse, given its recent cancellation by the SyFy Network.
I had the opportunity to talk to four members of an extraordinary group who had coordinated the campaign to #SaveTheExpanse: Hanne Paine, Ed Akselrud, Vincent Buyssens, and Murilo Silva. These individuals worked with Cas Anvar and Collin Pelton to coordinate a worldwide campaign to save the series.
Clearly, their efforts to save The Expanse were successful. Jeff Bezos announced during the dinner at the conference, where he accepted the Gerard K. O’Neill Memorial Award for Space Settlement Advocacy, that Amazon would be the new home of The Expanse. Several stars of the series (Cas Anvar, Steven Strait, Cara Gee, and Wes Chatham) were there, as well as the series showrunner, Naren Shankar. When Jeff made the announcement of the show moving to Amazon, the room erupted in thunderous applause and jubilation. There were clearly many fans of The Expanse in the room and they were overjoyed.
When I talked to the #SaveTheExpanse team, they impressed upon me that it was a group effort of all of the fans around the world that had made their campaign successful. They had established different teams to be responsible for specific tasks. Murilo was responsible for the banner that flew around Amazon Studios in Santa Monica, California. Vincent was responsible for the petition on Change.Org. Ed made a beautiful fan trailer for the campaign and helped organize the group into a dedicated campaign team. They have a separate web team to handle their website, #SaveTheExpanse. Hanne coordinated the groups and was one of the primary liaisons with Cas Anvar and Collin Pelton.
The #SaveTheExpanse campaign was a labor of love for all fans, as well as the cast of the show. Cas Anvar took the lead for the cast to coordinate with the fans and Alcon Entertainment (production company that owns The Expanse). Cas was very visible on social media, podcasts, television shows, and blogs, rallying the fans of the series. He worked to spread the word with his appearances at Wizard World, Wonder Con, and Escape Velocity. Crew members of the series posted on social media such as Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook to update fans on what was happening in Toronto with the set. The sets for The Expanse were within hours of being torn down and sold before the crew was informed that there were serious discussions being held, which caused the tear down to be stopped.
Although we now know that The Expanse has a new home, we do not know all of the details yet. The fans have many questions, such as when the new season will start, will all of the episodes be available at once (since the series will now be hosted on a streaming service instead of a traditional network), and will the international fans have the same access that the US fans will have? Hopefully, in the coming weeks or months, Alcon and Amazon will let us know.
I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the herculean effort put forth by #SaveTheExpanse team, Amazon Studios, Alcon Entertainment, and the fans. I want to say a special thank you to Cas Anvar, who worked tirelessly with the fans and #SaveTheExpanse group to save the series. Also, the extraordinary love shown by all of these people has been inspiring and heartwarming. It is wonderful to know that The Expanse now has a proper home for a series of its caliber and depth. I suspect that the best is yet to come for The Expanse.