SDCC 2019 Recap: The Expanse Lands at SDCC 2019

By Miclpea

The Expanse returned to SDCC to herald its new home and announce the Season 4 premiere date, which is scheduled for December 13th, 2019. The showrunner, Naren Shankar, revealed at the press conference that all episodes will drop at once. This means that fans will be having binge parties around the world! But, Amazon did not stop there.

  • Amazon Prime Video Experience sponsored an offsite activation which featured three of its series – The Expanse, The Boys, and Carnival Row. This activation took place across from the convention center.
  • IGN and Amazon also hosted an invitation-only party Thursday night.
  • Amazon gathered together Expanse cosplayers for a special meet-up on Friday.
  • Amazon sponsored an autograph signing on Friday afternoon with the cast and writers.
  • Kyle Hill moderated an Expanse panel on Saturday that had many surprises.

The Expanse Activation

The Expanse activation centered around a planet whose ownership is disputed by the Belters, who initially settled it, and the UN, which gave a charter to a private company to mine it. The Belters refer to the planet as Ilus while the UN refers to the planet as New Terra. The activation employed actors acting as UN representatives, Belters and the private contractors who are brought to mine the planet.

The actors were incredible. The Belters all spoke the Belter Creole with great accents. They knew their scripts and backstories because I quizzed them extensively on the conflict. From the pictures and some of the dialogue, Season 4 will take place on Ilus/New Terra and Mars. 

Amazon populated the activation landscape with the Belter habitats, a lot of sand, and ruins. Ilus/New Terra is the home to billion-year-old ruins which are peppered around The Expanse activation. These ruins are key to one of the major storylines that will be explored in Season 4 besides the Belter/Earth conflict over Ilus/New Terra. The actors and the “sets” add to the verisimilitude of the experience. The activation only hints at the broad issues that will be addressed in Season 4. Something destroyed the Builders. Earth and the Belters should be more concerned with that instead of their petty squabble. Fans are hoping that Season 4 will answer the questions left over from the first 3 seasons.

IGN/The Expanse Party

What would SDCC be without exciting parties? IGN and Amazon hosted an incredible soiree on Thursday evening the first full day of SDCC to celebrate The Expanse’s new home and Season 4 premiere. Key cast members were on hand including Stephen Strait, Dominique Tipper, Cas Anvar, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Frankie Adams, and Wes Chatham They were joined by some of the Season 4 writers-Glenton Richards, Dan Nowak, Daniel Abraham, Matt Rasmussen, Julianna Damewood, Naren Shankar, Hallie Lambert, and Ty Franck. The party took place in the same location as the Amazon Prime Video Experience activations. There was an open bar which complimented the delicious food. The fans gave gifts such as pins and patches to the cast and writers.  The cast and writers were incredibly gracious and offered to take many pictures with the fans. Everyone had a great time!

Expanse Cosplay Meet-up 

Amazon gathered as many Expanse Cosplayers together for a photo session across from the convention center near the activation. An excited group of fans showed up in Expanse cosplay. Their uniforms had authentic patches and even realistic-looking mag boots. 

Once the photo session was done, the Amazon team took the cosplayers through the activation. At the end of the activation, the cosplayers were surprised by the cast. They were blown away! Here is a link of them meeting the cast after the activation. However, Amazon had more in store for the fans.


The Expanse Autograph Signing

Friday afternoon, Amazon had an autograph signing with the cast and writers. Amazon provided Season 4 posters to waiting fans which the cast and writers signed. 




The Expanse Panel

On Saturday, The Expanse planned their panel to coincide with the time of the Moon landing 50 years prior. In fact, the moderator, Kyle Hill, announced it at 1:17 pm PDT. The audience loved it. Fans at the panel were treated to the opening sequence of the Rocinante landing on Ilus/New Terra. It was a beautiful sequence. After the landing, viewers witnessed the difficulty that Naomi experienced as she walked on a planet surface for the first time. Again, The Expanse managed to get the science right.

After the opening sequence, Amazon treated the attendees to a special video of the fans who lead the campaign to save The Expanse visiting the set. The joy that they felt was almost palpable as they explored the set while wearing actual costumes. This video was prepared by one of the fans who helped to save The Expanse and was there on the set as well, Ed Akselrud. However, Akselrud wasn’t finished. 

One of the most exciting moments of the panel occurred when the first official trailer for Season 4 was shown. For fans, the excitement and promise of a new and more extraordinary season were fulfilled with the trailer. The crowd went wild at the end of the trailer when the Season 4 premiere date was shown. This trailer was also made by Akselrud. There is nothing quite as extraordinary as when a truly talented fan makes a labor of love. This, along with the incredible poster that they gave the fans, made this an unforgettable panel! Here is the brilliant trailer: 

The Expanse panel was the perfect way to spend the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing. The Expanse reminds of us what could lift us to the stars or what could bury us in radioactive rubble. I’m hoping for a trip to the stars.


I love going to conventions around the US. I'm an ardent fan of all things science fiction and especially The Expanse. I'm a staff writer for Friends of CC and I have co-written a science-fiction script called Punctuated Equilibrium.