The Expanse (Syfy 2015)

#1

“It’s been too long since we’ve had a really kickass space opera.” - George R.R. Martin (author, Game of Thrones)

Deadline: Syfy Gives 10-Episode Order To Space Opera ‘The Expanse’ From Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby, Alcon Entertainment
tvbtn: Syfy Gives Straight-to-Series Greenlight to ‘The Expanse’ (Syfy press release)

IO9: Syfy Turns James S.A. Corey’s Expanse Into “Game Of Thrones In Space” headline borrowed from Entertainment Weekly with links to IO9’s previous reviews of each of the Expanse novels as they were published.

And me crowing about Leviathan Wakes posting here in 2012.

Evidently, thirteen months later, television rights were secured, a script treatment was written, and was shopped around. Syfy got into a bidding war with another unnamed network. Syfy won with the higher bid. The straight to series order is based on the strength of the script. No director or cast has been hired yet.

IMDb: The Expanse

Yeah, we’re working on book 5 right now, and we’ve been hitting 1/year. I ain’t scared. :slight_smile:

As far as budget… well, yes, we’ve heard word. And it’s really quite flattering. The phrase “one of the biggest deals in TV history” has been bandied about. - Daniel Abraham, posting today at author’s blog: Lizard Brain: The Expanse PICKED UP at SYFY

So this will either be a return to Syfy’s glory years of Farscape and Battlestar Galactica. Or just another ignominy in the channel’s continuing decline. I doubt the outcome will prove to be anything in between. I do admire such a fearless, costly leap at the brass ring though. Wow.

Casting news by summer hopefully. ADD: Or sooner?

We have lots to tell, but are waiting until after the April 30th official announcement. - @JamesSACorey

#2

I’d heard about this - I’m pretty sure I saw the same announcement on iO9. I don’t know anything about the source material, honestly - I guess I’ll have to Google it and maybe check out those iO9 reviews of the books. I guess I’d say that I’m cautiously optimistic about it - my take on SyFy’s scripted series is that they seem to be mostly good, and they turn out relatively few stinkers, despite how god-awful the rest of their programming is now. If this is something along the lines of ‘GoT in space’ and in the same vein as Farscape, BSG, or even SGU, then my fingers are crossed that it’s well-written and hopefully they don’t pull any punches.

Not sure how much of an arc they’ll be able to cover with only a ten episode run - I’m not expecting them to do a huge twenty-two episode season, obviously, not with something like this - but I hate how scripted TV dramas nowadays always cram so freaking much into 45 minutes that it doesn’t even make sense or leaves us with unanswered questions. So often I feel like this is done deliberately to gloss over massive plot holes and screen bad writing.

#3

My chief concern is how much of the writing gets cut - just as you would dearly not want to see a Walking Dead character eliminated in the adaptation from comic to television. Yet that must be balanced against the necessity of reaching a major plot point, taken from the first book, by episode ten.

“I hate shaky cam quick cut action. Hate it with a great hatred.” - @JamesSACorey in regards to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Implying that BSG ShakyCam™ won’t feature in The Expanse’s white knuckled ship and soldier battles.

Official Syfy/Alcon announcement pending in three days about… ?

#4

This Tuesday, the book authors are in residency in the screenwriting room joining the other staff writers. The ten episode breakdown has begun. “LA, I am in you! I am here to break plot and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of bubble gum.” - May 13th, @James.S.A.Corey

Leviathan Wakes is io9’s next book club title, discussion begins June 9th. In preparation for Cibola Burn, book four of The Expanse series due out June 17th.

"You can call me a corporation. You can call me a government. I’m the guy here with the most guns, and I say this planet is mine. Now, Captain Holden, was there something you wanted to add?"

#5

Orbit Books: CIBOLA BURN is available now and a big announcement! 6/17

“Orbit announced today the acquisition of three new novels by James S.A. Corey, to be books 7-9 in their New York Times bestselling and Hugo Award-nominated “Expanse” series… Books five and six in the “Expanse” series will be published in June of 2015 and 2016. The newly-acquired novels are slated for June of 2017, 2018, and 2019.”

Walking Dead EP David Alpert blurted out this month the television series is already plotted out to twelve seasons, “if we’re lucky enough to get there.

Similarly, instead of inevitably escalating budgets leading to fourth or fifth season self destruction as most sci-fi series have done, Syfy’s The Expanse will need at least that many just to reach the really good stuff story wise. Better get the power armor out sooner than later in the first season. Ratings. Chop chop.

#6

globalnews: Syfy series ‘The Expanse’ to be shot in Toronto

So wow. Casting news and choice of director, by announcement or leak, in less than 90 days. Things are moving along briskly but post-production will likely, as usual, push back any chance of a Winter 2015 premiere.

The invite is due to Cibola Burn press tour and overall success of the Expanse novels, but Jane Espenson is the only other writer on the Syfy payroll to be invited to Google Talks. Not too many spoilers about the story and certainly zero spoilers about the show itself. Secrecy enforced by Ninja Assassins.

YouTube: James S.A.Corey: Authors at Google (50 minutes)

#7

THR: Thomas Jane to Star in Syfy’s ‘The Expanse’ (Exclusive)
“Miller was 49 years old at the time of the Eros incident, and had worked as a detective in the Ceres station security firm Star Helix Security for thirty years. Miller had a “sad basset hound face” and was rarely seen without his porkpie hat.” - Expanse Wiki

Jane is 45.

Before there was Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead, Tom Jane memorably played the lead David in Frank Darabont’s The Mist. And I quite liked him in 1999’s underrated Deep Blue Sea, still a benchmark of post Jaws non-Sharknado scary shark movies. Let’s just skip over The Punisher. This is a very promising indicator of the level of casting going forward.

Slavishly obeying the source material however, ideally, in decreasing order of bicep sizes: Amos, Jim, Miller. Maybe Jane can wear loose fitting clothing, his deltoids are bigger than his head. :smiley: Elvi’s preoccupation with Jim Holden’s beefy James Kirk arms - and Amos’s intimidating size - was recently emphasized in Cibola Burn.

#8

the-expanse.com: Lizard Brain blog: Long-promised news on the TV Show 7/15

Summary:

The Expanse will mark the debut of Academy award winning WETA Digital working on a first run Syfy series, I think. For those unfamiliar they have to come to dominate the highest end feature film effects ever since Lord of the Rings. So the potential is there for this show to have the best visual effects of any television show on the air next year. Automagic Emmy contender for 2015. Will the Rocinante be as spectacular as the Prometheus in Ridley Scott’s film?

British film and television director Terry McDonough will direct the pilot. You can see his most recent television work in two weeks, the next to last episode of this seasons’s AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. And an impressive line up of both named, and as yet unnamed, writers. Almost as if, “hire anybody and everybody you can from AMC shows.” :slight_smile:

#9

EW: Syfy’s ‘The Expanse’ space drama casts Shohreh Aghdashloo to play United Nations Assistant Undersecretary of Executive Administration Chrisjen Avasarala. And if that’s not mouthful enough, Mass Effect players know her best as the voice of Admiral Shala’Raan vas Tonbay. If you forge an alliance with the Quarian, she’ll spend most of Mass Effect 3 in the Normandy’s CIC as the Quarian liason. She’s no less unforgettable to me as the heart wrenching lead in the chilling The Stoning of Soraya M.

However in the Expanse universe, much less syllables are required because arguably the shrewdest power broker in the series boasting Admiral Adama level gravitas, Avasarala, expresses herself frequently with four letter words on up to naughtier words of the kind you can only say on premium cable. So despite Defiance really cussing it up TV-MA style lately, the question remains whether Syfy’s version of this character will be largely deprived of George Carlin’s seven dirty words. Hard to imagine any incarnation of Avasrala without her piss and vinegar.

Anyways. Hot Diggety. Perfect casting! The bar ascends ever higher with each morsel of Expanse news.

#10

noreruns.net: Shohreh Aghdashloo and Steven Strait Cast in Syfy’s THE EXPANSE (Syfy (full) press release)

“He is an Earther in his early thirties, and has pale skin, blue eyes and dark short-cropped hair.” - TheExpanseWiki

For those worried about Steven Strait playing too young, this is the version we cast. He looks fine to me… [PIC]” - JamesS.A.Corey

I haven’t seen Mr. Strait’s work other than Roland Emmerich’s B movie epic 10,000 BC (RT 8%) and the B movie After (IMDb 5.2). In other words, I haven’t see him do any good work yet, such as City Island. Still, presumably he nailed his audition besting his competition. Yet I can’t help noticing the first two pages of Youtube hits for Steven Strait yield mostly clips of his naked upper torso set to music - understandably since his career path was male model to actor. They nixed his dialog being less interested in what he says than how he looks. So a certain aspect of this choice has to be said: The Expanse’s beefcake casting is now well covered.

Which makes me fret over the equally crucial choice of who will play Naomi, because The Expanse envisioned as “Twilight in Space” would really suck. (Evidently Steven Strait was short listed to be cast in Twilight a while back)

#11

Ok ThPrime
thanks for sticking with this.
I’m getting excited.
2015 sometime. I guess I can wait. Waited for BSG…

#12

How to still use frakking Google to find people talking about the Expanse (or any non-Facebook discussion these days): Google Discussion Search ‘Syfy Expanse’

Gotta say, this Game of Thrones fan forum has the most info worthy thread on teh internets so far and well deserving of its Google #1 result ranking. I guess I should refrain from hijacking their exclusive tidbits. Doh. This GWC thread is ranked #4. Go GWC.

A Forum of Ice and Fire: The Expanse optioned for Television Series

Twitterverse reaction: Is Steven Strait a poor man’s James Franco? That hurts my brain, to think that all along they were writing the character of Holden with a mental image of James Franco. Upon reflection, I realize my unconscious visualization was more Jim Raynor from Starcraft with a good dollop of first television season Kirk & Spock. More than a bit of Spock in Naomi, both science officers serving as ship’s executive officer.

More self evident influences… left to right: Amos the engineer with violent tendencies, Alex the wise cracking helmsman, Captain Holden Pants, and First Mate Naomi :smiley:

#13

Variety: Legendary Nabs International Rights to Syfy’s ‘The Expanse’

LGTD is a new start up (Alcon is itself new) from Legendary Entertainment aka Legendary Pictures, the studio that brought you Man of Steel, Dark Knight Rises, etc. They’ve already sold one show to NBC. The Expanse is only the second Legendary deal since they’ve started, I think.

Similarly, years back, The Walking Dead got a colossal leg up, lock in, and guaranteed future, through Fox International’s worldwide distribution. TWD’s pilot simultaneously debuted (allowing for time zones) in over 100 countries.

ADD: I just read this! It was not bad.

Variety: Legendary TV Buys John Scalzi Novel ‘Lock In’ (EXCLUSIVE) 9/15

2015: Two hardboiled science fiction detective shows back to back on Syfy Fridays. That would be weird, but good. But who gets 9 o’clock? Vann or Miller?

#14

Anonymous twitter account on deck since last week. Since already twittering writers are retweeting the mysterious tweets, it looks legit: Twitter: The Expanse Writers: @TheExpanseWR

Showing that some of Leviathan Wake’s witty banter is being copied directly into episode scripts verbatim. Good news that.

Thanks to Danziora Switch for compiling these scenes of The McCoy… there’s part two and three too. More than a bit of McCoy in The Expanse’s character, Naomi.

//youtu.be/p20WOgh8jv4

#15

“Alex Kamal is a space ship pilot of the Rocinante, where he also manages fire control. Alex has thinning black hair, a round cheerful face and a deep brown skin coloration appearing to be East Indian. Martian-raised, he has a frame thicker than a Belter’s but with a spreading waistline. He speaks with a Texas accent, common to the settlers of the Mariner Valley, where he was born.” - Expanse Wiki

IMDb showing and Corey confirming Cas Anvar to play Alex.

Currently better known to gamers lately as Assasin’s Creed’s Altair and to regular Syfy viewers as Starkey in the miniseries Neverland.

#16

"“Naomi Nagata is a space ship engineer, and the Executive Officer of the Rocinante. She is also in a relationship with the Captain of the Roci, James Holden. She has the thin look of a belter, standing at almost a full two meters tall and has black curly hair. Her features are a mix of Asian, a South American, and African. She has degrees from two universities, and completed her three-year flight officer training in just two years. She served as the as Chief Engineer of the Canterbury.” - Expanse Wiki

British Dominique Tipper to play Naomi. At least, Corey blurted out she attended a cast dinner and didn’t dispute queries if she was indeed to be Naomi. Likewise, Dominique blurted she is under contract on a new project in Toronto until March. So there’s your shooting schedule.

I hope she can deliver a convincing engineer and convincing executive officer. Star Trek was ever hit and miss in this department. She must master the pidgin spacer slang language of “Belter Creole.” Most challenging is to deliver a kind of of unassuming gravitas that has a rogue ship’s crew and captain wrapped around her finger out of respect for her knowledge and intellect. Easily the most difficult role in the entire cast because it must be underplayed.

Although her career has been a relatively brief one to date, somehow she managed to keep that infernal mohawk hairdo pretty much intact through each and every film role. I imagine that took some Naomi style ingenuity and persuasion. :smiley:

ADD: “Went tequila drinking with Amos, and as he should, he wrecked me. Nothing but respect for the big mechanic.” - James.S.A.“Corpsey”

"Reports from the field say that the cast is gathering. Soon - so soon - it shall begin… #theexpanse" - @AbrahamHanover (Daniel Abraham)

Okay fine, toy with us like that.

#17

“Juliette ‘Julie’ Andromeda Mao is the oldest child of Jules-Pierre Mao, magnate of Mao-Kwikowski Mercantile. Julie is a pretty girl with a thin, lunar citizen’s frame and long black hair. She is a talented pinnace pilot; she won the first place in the Parrish/Dorn 500K race with her ship the Razorback, and beat the previous record, holding it for two years. Some time during her twenties, while attending college, she joined the student activist group Far Horizons Foundation. Not long after, she eloped from from her family on Luna and joined the associated organization Outer Planets Alliance (OPA), living in apartment 5151-I on Ceres Station, where she trained in low gravity jiu jitsu for five years gaining a purple belt, and being employed on Tycho Station.” - Expanse Wiki

Deadline: Moniqua Plante Joins ‘Nashville’; Florence Faivre In ‘The Expanse’

A prominent Thai actress, model, recent guest star on American television and probably destined to be the best cast member at belting out rapid fire Belter since she’s already fluently multilingual. Perfect casting for the enigmatic Julie me thinks.

Also…

“From Vegas to Toronto. THE EXPANSE starts shooting tomorrow! #TheExpanse @pshaps, Paul Shapiro, Senior Vice President Original Programming Syfy Channel. Whatever doesn’t suck on Syfy in 2015 will be largely thanks to this guy, hired in 2012.

“OMG YOU GUYS in eleven hours we roll cameras on season one of The Expanse. #NotSleepingTonight@JamesSACorey

ADD: Hot set photo from @pshaps, “And we’re off!” I spy a sound stage, a video village, director chairs, and maybe our very first look at the series title graphic. I guess that smattering of light might be the expanse itself. What is The Expanse anyway?

“CA-2216862 was a rock a half kilometer across that had wandered away from the Belt and been yanked around by Jupiter’s enormous gravity. It had eventually found its own slow orbit around the sun in the vast expanse between Jupiter and the Belt, territory empty even for space.” - from Chapter Three, Leviathan Wakes

#18

Prime, you’re getting me all wound up on The Expanse!
Hope it’s good.
Damn- to be honest, I’ll take fair to middling.
I love a good space opera.

#19

Amos Burton is a space ship engineer, and the Chief Engineer of the Rocinante. Amos is a tall, stocky, pale-skinned man with receding red-brown hair. He is a calm person, described as “amiable”, but has no qualms about violence. He was born in the city Baltimore on Earth, a product of unlicensed prostitution. He has been flying for about twenty-five years, and two ships have gone down under him before the events of Leviathan Wakes.” - Expanse Wiki

By process of elimination, 36 year old six foot Wes Chatham to play Amos. About to be way more famous than he’s ever been used to, Wes is also Castor in November’s megablockbuster The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. As Amos… well he’s eight years older than the actor playing Holden and that’ll just have to do. He’s also more handsome than I’ve ever considered Amos to be. IN THE NOVELS (I know I know I have to let that go) Amos comes off as an advice dispensing overprotective fatherly figure towards some of the female characters in the series. Holden is the foot-in-mouth boy toy. I mean, that’s a big dynamic between Amos and Holden. So all that will have to be Adapted For Television with this handsome screen version of Amos.

I haven’t been hiding that I am ambivalent about these youthful casting choices for the main cast. In a way this is aggravated by the impressive, shrewd choices for every character not on the good ship Roci. But. I guess an optimistic way of looking at it is this. They are casting the main characters young with the expectations this series will still be around four to five years from now. This is not a trivial concern. For example, compare first season Rick Grimes to his almost shockingly aged self in TWD’s fifth season.

Mike “Dale Barbie” Vogel, of all people, blurted that his buddy Chatham was hired for The Expanse weeks ago. Muscles = Amos but I wasn’t sure until:

tvtb: Syfy & Alcon TV Announce Start of Production on ‘The Expanse’, A New 10-Episode Space Drama (press release)
Deadline: Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham, More, Round Out ‘The Expanse’

#20

danielabraham.com: Lizard Brain (blog): Casting Lessons, or Why Not All Belters Are Tall 11/01

“The pool of actors – especially of women – over 6’2″ is really quite small…” and “‘Height doesn’t act.’” and “If we get a bad actor, no amount of height will save the performance.”

I did see a few casting wish lists over the summer and they also drew short when it came to even finding over six foot tall known actresses, let alone ideal choices. In hindsight, I realize I had a vague fuzzy mental image of Rosario Dawson as an actor embodiment of Naomi. Yet Rosario is too short, too old, but possesses many Naomi like qualities.

Speaking of tall actors… Canadian Sara Mitich to play Gia. Who is Gia? There’s no Gia in the novels. Sara is a lithe 5’10" ballet dancer and also multilingual, fluent in Serbian. In those aspects, she does seems ideal to portray a Belter rattling off Belter Creole in microgravity.

ADD: The Expanse’s premiere episode is entitled Dulcinea - I’ll take a wild stabby guess and presume this is in reference to Miller’s epiphanic vision questy search for Julie, see Dulcinea Effect
See Name Of Bad Ass Spaceship for an introduction to WTF is up with all the Don Quixote references.

ADD: Reddit style ask me anything Q&A with JSAC is live at the Wiki forums and still accepting Q’s as of 01/04.

expanse.wikia.com:forum:UN Public Broadcasting board: Answering Questions (if I can)

Related: Pinewood Toronto Studios: The Expanse moves into Pinewood Toronto Studios

I believe this is a larger space, in total area, than the stages the Battlestar sets were built on at CMPP Vancouver. That chronic shortage of space was routinely referred to in the podcasts. Keep in mind Battlestar (likely) used a larger consolidated single set: the Galactica’s hangar deck which stretched clear across one sound stage. Syfy’s miniseries Ascension has a four story high single set, square footage unknown. :slight_smile: