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The Expanse: Season 4 Is A Blood-Soaked Gold Rush

We visited the set of The Expanse season 4 which will be a blood-soaked gold rush that pushes each of the show's factions to the limit.

The fourth season of The Expanse will arrive on Amazon Prime Video next week, where fans will witness the now-Amazon-backed show revolve around a blood-soaked gold rush as factions struggle to cope with unexpected access to a new frontier of planets. This invariably leads to power struggles between the show's various factions and put the crew of the Rocinante in immediate danger as overarching plot of the Protomolecule continues to fester.

The upcoming season of The Expanse will show these struggles on a variety of scales: it'll up close and personal on a new frontier planet named Ilus, which features a dramatic tonal shift from what fans will be accustomed to. Filmed more like a western, the planet will see members of the Rocinante crew find themselves in the middle of a property dispute between Belter settlers and an Earther-backed corporation, with both parties attempting to lay claim the planet's vast resources. Neither party, however, is fully prepared for the dangers already looming on the planet itself.

Related: The Expanse Complete Timeline Explained

Season 4 will also show the power struggle on a larger scale, with the shot-callers of the Earthers, Martians, and the Belters all individually posturing against one another amidst the rapid destabilization or political order as they know it. The Expanse has always retained a large focus on the dangers of tribalism, and season four is poised to explore what happens when the very identities of these cultures are challenged by dramatic, violent, and irreversible change.

Viewers will also discover that The Expanse showrunner Naren Shankar has fully utilized the creative freedoms that working under the Amazon umbrella allows, with the show now free to use more serious language, gore, and nudity, along with the ability to film episodes that don't run a traditional broadcast length. The show only uses these new freedoms where it makes sense to do so, resulting in a season that is still very recognizable to veteran fans of the series. As many cast and crew members state, being on Amazon has simply allowed The Expanse to tell a truer version of itself.

Here's what Shankar had to say about the upcoming season when we visited the set earlier this year in Toronto:

We go grand and epic, as well as small and personal simultaneously. It’s a balance that we try to be really, really aware of, because it is human people at the centre of very, very big events, and the boundaries of this thing are important. Sometimes the way we handle it is that we keep all of these elements alive, and episode-to-episode you sort of shift focus a little bit.

The season is largely based off of Cibola Burn (the fourth book in the series),  though it has elements of the fifth book and a certain novella, too. Given that Cibola Burn doesn't even include the main characters for a good chunk of it, the producers have accelerated some storylines and have included ones that exist in the books, but weren't explicitly focused on. The result is a season that stays within what book-readers will be expecting, while delivering intimate scenes for characters who may not have otherwise had significant screen time, like Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) and Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo).

In short, the upcoming season will strike a fine balance between showing the destabilization of the status quo at large, along with a strong focus on the disputed planet named Ilus. This will tie into the overarching plot of the protomolecule, with season four also taking a closer, more intimate look at each individual crew member of the Rocinante. There's a lot of smaller-scale things going on that will invariably impact the large-scale movements, all of which are carefully balanced throughout the fourth season.

More: The Expanse Renewed for Season 5 at Amazon, Season 4 Sizzle Reel Released

The Expanse season 4 releases on December 13, 2019 on Amazon Prime Video.

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