Rocinante crew ventures into worlds beyond the Ring in The Expanse S4 trailer

When SyFy unexpectedly canceled its award-winning science-fiction drama The Expanse, Amazon Prime snapped it up.

Fans of sci-fi series The Expanse have been patiently awaiting the much-anticipated fourth season. That wait is almost over. Amazon Prime just dropped the first full-length trailer for the new season, featuring the intrepid crew of the Rocinante venturing into exploring the many worlds beyond the Ring.

As we reported back in July when the first teaser dropped, The Expanse is based on a series of novels by James S.A. Corey (the pen name for writing team Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) that explore interplanetary tensions that are breaking out all over a solar system long since colonized by humans—mostly between Earthers, Martians, and “Belters.” Part mystery, part political thriller, part classic space opera, The Expanse has earned almost nothing but praise from critics and its devoted fans alike, not just for its gripping storytelling, but also for its excellent use of accurate physics. The third season earned a rare 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes (seasons one and two earned 76% and 96%, respectively).

So it was something of a shock when SyFy cancelled the series, citing “restrictive distribution arrangements,” specifically, just first-run linear rights in the US. Fortunately, Amazon soon stepped in to save the show.

Season 4 is supposedly based on Cibola Burn, the fourth novel in the series, and it marks a new narrative direction for the series, as the crew of the Rocinante explores new worlds beyond the Ring Gate on a mission for the UN. Apparently, the access to thousands of Earth-like planets has “created a land rush and furthered tensions between the opposing nations of Earth, Mars and the Belt.” The ship’s first stop: Ilus, a colonial world where a dispute has broken out between Royal Charter Energy (RCE)—the corporation that claimed rights to the world—and the first settlers there over the planet’s rich natural resources.

This full-length trailer fleshes out a few more details. Via narration in the distinct rasping voice of Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), UN Deputy Undersecretary of Executive Administration, we learn that the UN initially sent a ship out to Ilus to control the situation. “The mission did not go as planned,” Avasarala dryly observes, as we see images of a hole ripped in the ship’s side and the ship crashing, scattering pieces across the planet’s desert-like terrain. The Rocinante crew is charged with finding out exactly what is going on in this world beyond the ring, with instructions to evacuate the Belters and themselves immediately if the situation warrants.

They are greeted upon arrival to “New Terra” by Adolphus Murty (Burn Gorman,) chief of security for RCE, who is none too friendly toward the Belter refugees: “There is no version of this where we leave these squatters and murderers in possession of this planet,” he says. The refugees are equally defiant: “This place is our only hope. We’re not giving it up.”

Complicating matters is the onset of mysterious swarms—similar to dust storms, only comprised of what appear to be tiny robots. “That’s protomolecule tech,” Rocinante captain Jim Holden (Steven Strait) observes. (Expanse fans may recall that an alien civilization created the protomolecule, which featured heavily in season three.) There’s also evidence that various alien artifacts on the planet are “waking up,” perhaps in response to something Holden has done. “I opened those gates, so I’m responsible for anything that comes through,” he says. Now, the crew must figure out how to turn off whatever it is he’s turned on.

Season 4 of The Expanse debuts on December 13, 2019 on Amazon Prime.

Listing image by YouTube/Amazon Prime

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