This past weekend saw the debut of the season 6 finale of "The Expanse," and seemingly the end of the show. After nearly seven years on the air, the science fiction epic which began on the Syfy Channel before being cancelled and subsequently saved by Amazon has reached its conclusion. Or has it?
While "Babylon's Ashes" wrapped up many of the plotlines of "The Expanse," including the solar system-wide war sparked by the Free Navy, it also left a few big threads dangling. This is because "The Expanse" book series by James S.A. Corey (a pseudonym for authors Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham) spans nine books, with book six, "Babylon's Ashes," serving as a major turning point and internal ending within the series. The final three books, which the show hasn't reached, occur 30 years later, and bring many of the story's largest lingering plotlines, like the Laconian Empire and the "sleeping entities" by the Ring, to the forefront.
So it's pretty natural that a lot of people are asking if this is really the end for "The Expanse." And according to showrunner Naren Shankar, that question is on the mind of the creatives behind the show as well.
"The Expanse" showrunner teases that the series could return
"This has been such a delightful experience. We love the show and we love making the show," Shankar told Entertainment Weekly. "Right now, the future really lies with Alcon Television, which is the studio that makes the show, and Amazon, if there is in some form, an appetite for more."
I think from the standpoint of just the pure creative, I think what we tried to do at least was come to a satisfying conclusion of a huge chunk of the story while leaving the door open for more if the appetite and the desire is there. I'm certainly not betraying any confidence to say that Ty, Daniel and I — speaking for ourselves — would love to do it. It would be a remarkable thing to complete the whole book series that way. And I certainly hope we get to do it.
According to Shankar, the idea of ending the show while leaving things open enough for a potential return added an extra layer of complexity to this season. One place that really manifested is in the Laconia plotline, which largely never tied back into the main plot but is very important for future books.
"Well, yeah. I mean, we are," Shankar said, when asked if Laconia was laying the groundwork for future installments. "It's pretty clear. And it's tricky. There's a lot of juggling that goes into these things, and this is kind of a fine line to walk because you don't want to feel like the whole thing is a setup. You don't want to feel like we're just leaving stuff out there and have no intention of resolving it, but it also gave you a little bit of insight into the why of what is Laconia."
"The Expanse" season 6 finale is a "natural ending" that "leaves the door open" for more
Nonetheless, this is at least the end of "The Expanse" for now. And even though the show is ending in the middle of the books series, it's a finale that has long been planned for. "Well, this is actually something that Ty and Daniel and I have been talking about for quite some time is how might we end the show if we had to end the show before the end of the full run of books?" Shankar said. "And there is this kind of an off-ramp at the end of book six. And if you think about the show in terms of where it started, Ty recently pointed out how episode 1 of season 1 starts with that text call talking about Earth, Mars and the Belt on the brink of war with each other. And all it would take is a spark. We then provide the spark in terms of the protomolecule."
And season 6 is the culmination of that and it's the resolution of that. Where it ends is essentially in a new political order for the solar system that resolves the situation that we started with in the very, very beginning. And, of course, it leaves the door open because there are things going on in Laconia that are going to change the order in the solar system. But the time gap between book six and book seven is almost 30 years. So it's a natural place and a natural ending in many ways.
Yet just like the show itself, Shankar couldn't help but give one last tease about the foreshadowing laced into the finale's final moments. "The ending that we had in the last scene of episode 6, that's a natural place to bring the narrative to a close. And if you watch the end credits really closely, we even put a little something in there. If you notice, the Ring entities are sort of coming to life at the very end."
Seasons 1-6 of "The Expanse" are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Check out our review of the finale, explainer for every one of this season's bonus X-Ray episodes, and break down of that amazing finale easter egg.