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First The Expanse season 5 trailer announces December release

Showrunner Naren Shankar is splitting the party

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The Expanse season 5 fully commits to the novels, and there’s no turning back. A new trailer for the Amazon Prime series — shown Thursday during a panel discussion at the New York Comic Con (NYCC) — includes our first look at a galaxy on the verge of a civil war. The new season premieres with three full episodes on Dec. 16.

Season 5 appears to closely follow the events of Nemesis Games, the fifth book in The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey (the pen name for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. In the novel, the crew of the Rocinante, after becoming famous surrounding the events leading to the discovery of the mysterious protomolecule, split up. Amos (Wes Chatham) travels to Earth on personal business, while Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) is embroiled in a conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism. At the center of it all is her ex-husband, Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander), and her own son, Filip (Jasai Chase Owens).

The season promises to test the show’s cast in a number of ways, breaking up the rather large ensemble and putting them into completely new circumstances. But, it will also be a test of showrunner Naren Shankar.

Shankar has been tasked with threading together a narrative that takes place on two planets, several moons, multiple space stations, and in the hard vacuum of space — all at the same time. Likewise, the narrative’s apocalyptic events will probably cost producers a pretty penny.

Season 4 of The Expanse arrived all at once on Amazon’s Prime streaming service. Critics, including here at Polygon, found it somewhat uneven. When season 5 drops, fans will only be able to watch the first three episodes. After that, Amazon will be releasing them weekly. It’s the same strategy that Jeff Bezos’ media company employed for the launch of season 2 of The Boys.

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