The Expanse thrilled fans at the recent New York Çomic Con (NYCC) with a special activation on the main floor and a panel on the Main Stage at Javits Center. The activation was a mockup of parts of the interior of the Rocinante. The panel on the Main Stage featured the world premiere of the first episode of Season 4,, which was followed by a question and answer session with the showrunner, Naren Shankar, and the cast: Steven Strait (James Holden), Dominique Tipper (Naomi Nagata), Wes Chatham (Amos Burton), Cas Anvar (Alex Kamal), Cara Gee (Camina Drummer), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala), and newcomer, Burn Gorman (Aldophus Murtry).
The Expanse Activation
The Expanse activation at NYCC was hosted by several people dressed in the uniform used by the cast in season 4 on Ilus (New Terra). Around the exterior of the structure that contained the Rocinante mockup, Amazon Prime Video placed costumes worn during the first three seasons of The Expanse. The highlight of the costumes was the stunning red outfit worn by Avasarala as she trekked through the deep snow to visit the ancestral home of James Holden. As attendees continued around the mockup, they found the Martian combat armor worn by Bobbie Draper, as well as other space equipment worn in the different seasons.
In the Rocinante mockup, Amazon Prime Video the pilot chair, parts of the galley, and other areas of the ship. Fans had the opportunity to play at being the pilot of the Rocinante while sitting in the pilot chair. This particular feature was very popular. There was also a greenscreen area that allowed fans to be photographed in front of the ramp that connected the Rocinante to Ilus. The activation was so much fun that even the cast wanted to visit it.
The Expanse Panel
Amazon Prime Video commandeered the Main Hall on October 5th for the world premiere of the first episode of Season 4. This was a special treat for the fans, who had waited more than a year for a new episode of The Expanse. The audience was not disappointed because the opening title sequence and theme music immediately returned them to the universe of the series. Take careful note of the changes in the title sequence when the series premieres on December 13. There are a few hints about what to expect in Season 4. I hope to have a spoiler-free review of Season 4 about a week before the premiere. I will only say that the first episode is funny, poignant, exciting, and cinematically beautiful.
The panel was revelatory as the cast and showrunner discussed what to expect in the coming season. They talked about the expanded scope as they leave the Earth system to go to Ilus (New Terra) but they also discussed how interpersonal relationships will still be a factor. Wes promised that fans would literally see more of Amos in Season 4 because of the additional freedom of being on a streaming service. One other great aspect of being on Amazon Prime Video is that Avasarala’s language is closer to the very adult language she uses in the novels.
Naren reluctantly revealed that the audience will see the Miller from the previous season as well as a “changed” Miller. He also explained that their new platform has also allowed them to shoot scenes on Ilus using a 2.39:1 anamorphic format instead of the standard 16:9 high definition ratio. The 2.39:1 ratio is more commonly used in theatrical movies. Because the anamorphic aspect is used for the scenes shot on Ilus (New Terra), the planet has a widescreen, cinematic feel to it. This adds to the new scope of being on a newly discovered planet in contrast to previous scenes on a spacecraft or an asteroid or even an overcrowded Earth.
Fans of the novel might remember that novel author, James S.A. Corey (Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham), had previously stated that Cibola Burn mirrored the Western genre. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the action on Ilus has the same cinematic scope fans have seen previously with the great Hollywood westerns. This change only enhances Season 4 of The Expanse.
After the panel, I had the opportunity to talk to the cast, Naren, and one of the cast’s favorite directors, Breck Eisner. Breck directed the Season 4 premiere episode and he will be directing four episodes in Season 5-Episodes 501, 502, 509, and 510. Naren reiterated his praise of Amazon Prime Video for embracing The Expanse and allowing the series to grow and blossom. On a personal note, Cara Gee revealed that she and her husband are expecting a baby! Congratulations to Cara and her husband!
NYCC was incredible and The Expanse only made it better. Amazon Prime Video clearly showed the fans a lot of love by bringing the activation, the Season 4 premiere episode, and the cast to NYCC. If episode 401 is any indication, then Season 4 and 5 will be awesome.
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