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The Expanse authors say the show’s only on pause, not canceled, after season 6

Authors James S.A. Corey tell Polygon that they came to Amazon prepared for a six-season arc

Drummer stars into the camera in a press photo for the season 5 of The Expanse
Cara Gee as Carmina Drummer.
Image: Amazon Studios
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.

Fans of The Expanse got some mixed messages last month just before Thanksgiving. That’s when Amazon announced that it had ordered a sixth season of the popular science fiction show. Unfortunately, that sixth season would also be its last. The move meant that content from several of the novels that the show is based were basically guaranteed to be left out entirely. Speaking with Polygon on Tuesday, writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck declined to call it a cancellation. Instead, they prefer to think of it as a pause.

“We have what we think is a very natural pause point for the story after season 6,” Franck told Polygon during a press event for the new season. “It’ll feel like a satisfying end to the story we’ve been building over the first five seasons. I think one of the things that is sort of an outmoded idea is the idea of being canceled.”

Left to right: founder and president of Green Ronin Publishing Chris Pramas, authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, and lead designer Steve Kenson.
Founder and president of Green Ronin Publishing Chris Pramas, authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, and lead designer Steve Kenson at Gen Con in 2018 to celebrate the launch of a tabletop role-playing game based on The Expanse.
Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

Show writers Abraham and Franck also write the novels which the series is based on, under the pen name James S.A. Corey. The pair have been on a wild ride over the past six years. While it might seem delusional to hear the idea of a “pause point” from anyone else, they’ve seemingly earned the right to be optimistic. Their program was in fact canceled by SyFy in 2018 after just three seasons, before being picked up by Amazon.

More importantly, the entire production — including the sets and all the actors — remained intact, allowing them to make a seamless transition from linear cable to streaming.

“Alcon [Television Group] — our studio — is very committed to the IP,” Franck continued. “They have lots of plans. We’ll see what happens after that. But, we will have a satisfying story to the TV arc in the sixth season.”

In fact, it’s an arc that the pair says they’ve already plotted out. The absence of a season 7 — and the content from the final three books in the series, including the as yet unpublished Leviathan Falls — doesn’t really seem to faze them in the least.

“This is a conversation we’ve been having since we were canceled the first time,” said Abraham. “We’ve been talking about what the shape of the show could be, and this 6 season arc was always one of the options that was on the table. This is not something that we’re having to scramble for.

“We built something this shape, and it’s kind of awesome that we get to do something that’s this shape,” Abraham said with a laugh, “because we didn’t we didn’t have one of those that was [only] five seasons long.”

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