Amazon Prime debuted the first trailer (embedded above) for the upcoming fifth season of The Expanse during the series panel at the New York Comic Con’s Metaverse today. And the stakes are high. According to the official premise, “The future of The Belt has begun as Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) wages Armageddon against the Inners for a lifetime of oppression and injustice.”
(Some spoilers for prior seasons below.)
As we previously reported, 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), exploring 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 its excellent use of accurate physics. The third and fourth seasons earned a rare 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes (seasons one and two earned 76 percent and 96 percent, respectively).
So it was something of a shock when SyFy cancelled the series after just three seasons. The network cited “restrictive distribution arrangements,” specifically, just first-run linear rights in the United States. Fortunately, the production company, Alcon Entertainment, committed to shopping the show around to other networks, and its devoted fan base circulated an online petition (with over 100,000 signatures) to Netflix and Amazon. In the end, Amazon saved the show; no doubt it helped that CEO Jeff Bezos was also a fan.
S4 was based on Cibola Burn, the fourth novel in the series. Having access to thousands of Earth-like planets created a land rush and furthered tensions between the opposing nations of Earth, Mars, and the Belt. The crew members aboard the Rocinante traveled to Ilus, a colonial world where a dispute had broken out between Royal Charter Energy (RCE)—the corporation that claimed rights to the world—and the first settlers there. Surviving members of an alien civilization were also living there, and they created the Protomolecule that featured so heavily in the story arc of S3 in particular. Then there was the onset of mysterious swarms, similar to dust storms, only composed of tiny robots—Protomolecule technology.
Suffice to say, a lot happened over the course of the season—far too much to recap here. Most relevant, in light of the new trailer, is what happened with Marcos Inaros, a Belter-faction leader turned pirate who captured the UNN colony ship Sojourner and executed all its passengers. He was captured and stood trial midway through S4 but was narrowly acquitted. That good deed did not go unpunished. In the season finale, Inaros launched asteroids (cloaked with Martian stealth tech) toward Earth, cleverly targeting blind spots in the planet’s defenses (“They’ll never see it coming”).
So what can we expect for S5? Per Deadline Hollywood:
S5 of the series picks up as multitudes of humans leave the solar system in search of new homes and vast fortunes on the earth-like worlds beyond the alien Ring, and a heavy price for centuries of exploitation of the Belt finally comes due and a reckoning is at hand. For the crew of the Rocinante and the leaders of the Inner Planets and the Belt, the past and present converge, bringing forth personal challenges that have wide-reaching repercussions throughout the Solar System.
Amos (Wes Chatham) returns to Earth to confront his past and the legacy of the life he fought to leave behind. Naomi (Dominique Tipper) reaches out to her estranged son in a desperate bid to save him from his father’s toxic influence. Bobbie (Frankie Adams) and Alex (Cas Anvar) confront the collapse of Mars as they chase a shadowy cabal with ties to terrorists and criminals. Holden (Steven Strait) wrestles with the consequences of his own past with the Protomolecule, the aliens who built it, and the mystery of what killed them. Drummer (Cara Gee), with a new crew, fights to escape who and what she used to be. And Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), refusing to be relegated to the sidelines, fights to prevent a terrorist attack unrivaled in history.
And then, of course, there’s Inaros’ vendetta to contend with. “With the opening of the alien gate, we are at a crossroads,” he declares in the trailer. “No longer will Belters be persecuted. With this attack, we will show our oppressors a strength they never thought possible.”
The fifth season of The Expanse will debut on Amazon Prime on December 16, 2020.