The Expanse Producers Were Prepared for the Show To End With Season 6

The Expanse returns this week for its fifth season, which we now know will also be the show's penultimate season. Amazon Prime announced in November that it renewed The Expanse for its sixth and final season. This news may have been a cause for some concern among fans of The Expanse novels, the source material for the sci-fi show. The series tells its story over nine books, with each season of the television series telling the tale of approximately one of those novels. Considering that, what could the cancellation coming two-thirds through the overarching story mean for the series and its ending? ComicBook.com spoke to the show's producers, and they say fans have no reason to fret.

"Ty and Daniel and I, a while ago, back when we were on Syfy, we had talked about the different ways this thing could go. And one of them was a six-season framework for it. This was one of the options because there is a natural endpoint of sorts at the end of the sixth book," says showrunner Naren Shankar, referring to (SPOILERS) the 28-year time jump between the sixth and seventh books in The Expanse series of novels. "That was an opportunity. It was something we had talked about for some years, so we were quite prepared for it. It didn't throw us off. We didn't have to radically restructure things."

Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the authors of The Expanse novels under the shared pseudonym James S.A. Corey, are also executive producers on the television series and were part of our conversation. Abraham said that he felt lucky to know the series would have a season six before worked ended on season five.

"Networks never buy more than one season at a time," Abraham says. "At least they never have with us. You're never guaranteed another season. Finding out that we had a sixth season before the fifth season even aired was great. That's happened to us a couple of times where they bought the next season before the current season aired. And that's really good for planning. That really lets us get a jump on what we want to do there. More than anything, I'm grateful that we got that sixth season order while we were still working, finishing up season five."

The season six announcement also brought the news that star Cas Anvar, who plays Alex Kamal, wouldn't be returning after production studio Alcon Entertainment investigated the actor following accusations of sexual misconduct. When asked if they had plans in place for handling Alex in Anvar's absence, Abraham would only say "Yes" and "No," he couldn't offer any comment about what those plans are because "they would be spoilers."

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The Expanse Season Five debuts its first two episodes on Amazon Prime on December 16th. New episodes will release weekly on Wednesdays.