The cast and creators of SyFy’s The Expanse came out to New York Comic Con to talk about the upcoming season, differences between the tv series and the books, and, of course, donkey balls. (In fact, they encouraged the crowd to shout it at the top of their lungs!)
Holding Holden Together
After the discovery of the bioweapon and its spread on Eros last season, the Rocinante’s captain James Holden is having a hard time dealing with the moral aftershocks of being partially responsible for a genocide.
“He’s not on any side. Holden is the outlier. Holden feels like they’re all full of sh*t,” said Steven Straight, who plays Holden. “He doesn’t trust any of them. This bioweapon that they’ve come across, he doesn’t trust any of them with it.”
One of the few people Holden seems to trust a little bit is fellow shipmate Naomi, and the cast promise that things are going to get a little steamy this season.
“They’ve put some of their issues aside and things get heated on the ship for Naomi and Holden. I think the reality of it is that these two people that only two, three other people understand and they cling to each other,” said the actress that plays Naomi, Dominique Tipper. “What you see is a relationship play out almost out of desperation.”
Another character, Miller, has also boarded the ship, though he isn’t totally a member of the crew. The hardened Miller will mirror Holden’s arc, but in reverse.
“I think the more that Holden takes on as a leader, and the more responsibility he takes on, especially after Eros and this awful genocide… He was the one that knocked that first domino down answering that distress call. He comes out traumatized from what he’s experienced,” Straight said. “His myopic goal is to get rid of this bioweapon. His idealism starts to slowly chip away and his morality because less black and white and gradually more gray. The mission does come first, before almost anything else. I was a big fan of the books before we started shooting this show and I thought there was this beautiful lyricism that Miller finds his humanity in the metaphor of Julie Mao and Holden is losing his naivete. Thomas Jane is an amazing actor and a great guy and we have a great time playing with those dynamics.”
A New Perspective
One of the most beloved characters from the books will be coming to season two, executive producer Mark Fergus confirmed. Actress Frankie Adams will play Bobbie Draper, a Martian Marine who was difficult to cast.
“Bobbi is brilliantly played by Frankie Adams. IF picking a side is the theme that’s running through the season, the Martian side is something we only touched on in Season 1,” Fergus said. “This year you’re going to get a look at Mars, you’re going to see it through the eyes of a foot soldier, somebody who shares the views of her planet. There’s not really clear cut villains in this story, everybody’s fighting for their home, for their people, for peace.”
“One of the things that’s really interesting about writing by yourself is that you get to make all of the decisions – when we put together this team, this family, you get these lifetimes of experience, so it’s better that way. As far as casting Bobbie, that was always going to be a very tricky job,” said author Daniel Abraham. “Bobbie Draper is a very defined character in the books, she’s a very popular character in the books. It’s hard to find a 6 foot Polynesian demigod who’s also a really good actor. We got very lucky finding Frankie Adams. She’s a very talented actor, she is very big and tremendously intimidating. She was able to carry the part. It’s one of those parts that we could have screwed up. Because we had a lot of people really dedicated to it, we got it right.”
“All we see in the first season is Mars stuff getting blown up, so it was time for Mars to kick some ass,” said the book’s other author, Ty Frank. “Our rule is, everyone has to have a good argument.”
“I think that’s what interesting about this season – the political struggles between Earth, the belt, and Mars, are played out between our personal struggles,” Tipper said. “You see a bit more about what makes them tick, what drives them. It’s deeper into the characters this year and who they are. You’re never sure whose side you’re on, who’s right and who’s wrong.”
What’s Next for Season 2
There is a world of information for the creators of the show to draw on, and season two will expand upon the Expanse universe.
“(The authors) have written these novellas that are side stories and we’ll take those and weave them into the show. It’s not the what, it’s the how we’re telling it. The adaptation has been all about how to bring the story to life. The more we burrow in – it really is a ridiculous wealth of riches,” Fergus said. “As long as we’re writing and producing and cutting the show – to create every element of it from pencil sketch to (completed scene) is months and months of work.”
Naomi will have some interaction with another female character, and will get a chance to strike out on her own away from the boys.
“There is some interaction with a female character. I won’t say who it is, but you get to see that. There is a part of the season where I’m not with the boys, I have to go off and do something really difficult things on my own. The reason that I leave them is also really juicy,” Tipper said. “Naomi really gets to go through a lot on her own. She’s constantly working out where her place is, being a Belter with her new family, and also where she belongs with her people. She does some shit that’s questionable. She still maintains her strength and her vulnerability throughout it.”
Season one of The Expanse will be available November 14 on Amazon Prime. Season two debuts early 2017.