The Expanse: Steven Strait, Frankie Adams Look Back on the Sci-Fi Saga

After six seasons on the air, The Expanse -- one of the greatest works of sci-fi television ever -- has come to an end. Spanning 56 episodes, seven years, and a jump from basic cable to streaming, The Expanse told the tale of the Rocinante crew. Together, they tried to survive in a galaxy where humanity is on the brink of self-annihilation and tried to help make the universe a better place to live in while they're at it. That could mean exploring a newly discovered planet or being on the front line of a war at home. Speaking to after the series finale's debut, Steven Strait, who played Rocinante captain James Holden, admits having the series done and released is "bittersweet" for him.

"I'm so immensely proud of the work that we've done," Strait says. "I'm grateful that we were able to finish the story, that we have a complete beginning, middle, and end. I've always said with this show that it's felt more like a theater company than a television show. And I've never experienced the level of commitment from everybody involved for so long because they felt the work was as important as The Expanse has been for us."

(Photo: Prime Video)

Frankie Adams, who played Martian marine Robert "Bobbie" Draper, is grateful for not having to keep the show's plot under wraps any longer. "I think it's a lot of feelings. A little bit of relief because I'm terrible at keeping all the great things a secret," she says in a separate conversation. "I'm still coming to terms with it ending. It just happened so quickly, and because we were shooting in COVID, we didn't really get to do the big wrap party thing that we usually do, and I haven't been able to see any of them since we finished. So it's a bit surreal, but I feel really proud of it."

COVID affected the atmosphere on the show's set during the final season as well, with Strait describing shooting during the pandemic as "surreal." But if the gravity of reality only mirrored the tone of The Expanse's final season, which chronicled the war with Marco Inaros' Free Navy that threatened humanity's very existence. Strait says, "We wanted to make a war movie and the stress and the gravity of what's going on has really weighed on all these people."

But as much as The Expanse is about galactic politics, it's also presented great arcs for its characters, each coming to a satisfying end in season six. Bobby went from a patriotic Martian soldier to someone fighting for more personal reasons, as expressed to Rocinante engineer Amos Burton towards the end of the season. (As for what happened between Bobby and Amos off-camera, Adams says, "I think that they wouldn't be bothered if it went any further on a night off every now and then, but they're strictly just mates in my mind.") 

"[Bobby's story] was always about identity, and she was always a bit of a lost sheep for a long time," Adams says. "She was in-between places, and when the dream of Mars ended, she was floating about for a little bit and found her way with Avasarala. I think, by the end, you really see this sense of peace and joy in her and a sense of belonging with the Roci crew.

"I think at the end, it was easy to relate to her," Adams continues. "She had her friends and her little crew, and she was slightly more playful, which I really enjoyed doing. I think she brought this nice warmth and silliness to the story and I hope she made you laugh a little bit throughout. But yeah, I did feel like a lot more ease going into season six, and I loved how it ended for her. It didn't feel as challenging as it did in the beginning."

Bobby's ending includes her in her power armor single-handedly taking out the rail guns keeping the Free Navy in control of Medina Station, a vital location. Adams admits that wasn't what she was expecting to see when she read the script.

"I thought she was going to die," Adams says. "I spoke to Naren and Ty about it, and I was like, 'Why didn't you kill her?' I felt like it was the moment, and they were like, 'No, we didn't want that to happen.'" Instead, she got an almost superheroic moment in the heat of battle (and, while she doesn't have any particular superhero in mind, she does say she thinks she belongs in a Marvel project. "I'll take any really.")

Strait's Holden grew in different ways. Previously thought of as idealistic to a fault, Holden's idealism remains intact at the end, but he's much cannier about how he wields it. A prime example is how Holden essentially tricks the factions of the galaxy into doing the right thing regarding the long-oppressed Belters taking control of the newly-formed Transport Union.

"He wants, legitimately, what's best for everybody," Strait says of Holden. "I wanted to show a very realistic path to the way a leader actually becomes the one that the system needs him to be in the end. Holden's journey is messy and it's not easy for him. He's not a born leader, he's not someone who knows he's always right. He even ends the series with a moment of doubt, it's just the best that he can do."

But is this the end for The Expanse? Despite being the last, this season took time to set up the next chapter of the story, covered in the final three books of James S.A. Corey's series of novels. Adams says she's happy to leave the series as it is for fear of potentially messing up a good thing. However, she would like a see a spinoff series about Cara Gee's Belter leader Drummer (and Adams is aware that's the premise of the upcoming The Expanse video game). 

Strait can't offer any solid information about what future The Expanse might have, he reminds fans that anything is possible, especially with this show. "Six [seasons] was always the plan," he says. "That was the logical endpoint for what we started out to make. What Alcon does with the property, I know that they're very committed to it. It would be wonderful to bring the folks back together to do that piece of the story, which is continuous and it's also kind of not, it's kind of its own thing. I don't have any news for you, unfortunately, but if anything, the show has proven that you never know. We've shown that with the death and rebirth of this show time and again. We'll see."

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. The Expanse is streaming now, in its entirety, on Prime Video.