The 13 Best The Expanse Characters Ranked

Set in a galaxy inhabited by billions of human bodies, the cast of "The Expanse" is populated by people from all walks of life. Focusing on the challenges of space colonization in the 24th century and the rise of a mysterious and powerful alien substance known as the protomolecule, the "The Expanse" was an enthralling six-season series with a fanbase so dedicated that it convinced Prime Video to revive the show after its initial cancelation. Based on the novel series by James S. A. Corey (a pseudonym for writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who also contributed to the series), the geopolitical tensions of "The Expanse" would be nothing without its characters and the actors who played them.

Between all of the Belters, Earthers, and Martians, "The Expanse" boasts a sizable cast of memorable characters who won the heart of fans, propelled the story forward, and added shading to a complex world dense with history, interpersonal relationships, and political conflicts. Here, we've ranked the best of the best.

13. Adolphus Murtry

"The Expanse" had a bevy of morally complex villains, but the season 4-exclusive Murtry has one of the most punchable faces of all its bad guys. So, why is this despicable, trigger-happy Earther on this list? Partially because Murtry is one of the worst products of the political boiling plate of "The Expanse." He's not as visibly monstrous as Jules-Pierre Mao or the ruthless Admiral Nguyen (both of whom perceive themselves as saviors), yet his bloodthirsty streaks and controlling nature, carved by both galactic prejudices and corporate Earther interests, feel chillingly realistic.

"Pacific Rim" star Burn Gorman played Murtry as a get-the-job-done military professional. This was the correct approach, because, when it comes to doling out justice, Murtry perceives himself as judge, jury, and executioner. His righteous anger over his fallen Earther comrades, relentless drive to investigate their fates, and infuriation with the Belters who (inadvertently) murdered his men is understandable and muddies the tensions between Belters and Earthers on Ilus. But, in the end, his prime concern is staking a claim, with little regard for the humanity of the suffering Belter underclass. With a sneer, he rationalizes his cold deeds as legal for profitable interests. He's after perceived property and resources, and believes in the legitimacy of a piece of paper more than the welfare of the suffering.

12. Elvi Okoye

A friendly "Expanse" scientist with a nerdy enthusiasm for her work, Elvi is introduced with her face beaming with excitement. If you want an outsider perspective on what dealing with the Rocinante crew is like, Elvi Okoye provides some prime insights. For example, she's frustrated by the secretive nature of Holden's party when they arrive to assess the situation on the Ring settlement. Elvi's reaction to Holden's reticence underlines how unique the Rocinante's position as an ambassador is. It's incredibly difficult to explain that you have a speaking, ambiguously sentient ghost in your head whose instructions you have to follow, and its presence is only known to a few select people: Holden, the Rocinante crew, and Avasarala. But Okoye clocks Holden's strange behavior, and pushes for answers. Her demands get the ball rolling, ultimately forcing Holden to be honest about the protomolecule's attempts to communicate with him.

That Okoye instinctively interacts with odd entities like the Investigator is believable, and her readiness helps her save the day. What makes Elvi a valuable asset is her ability to adapt to unknown variables and her thrill over nearly every discovery. Tellingly, her cameo in the final season sees her provide a clue that leads to the defeat of Marco Inaros.

11. Josephus Miller / The Inspector

A morally gray detective straight out of a film noir, Josephus Miller has a songlike cadence to his grizzled voice, provided by actor Thomas Jane, because he's always trying to solve a tough case while living by his own moral code. He begins as a Belter who's just trying to get by, sometimes even pocketing bribes. A cynic shaped by a rough childhood, he eventually develops a sense of justice. Even when he seemingly fails on his mission to meet Julia Mao, he loosens up around the Rocinante crew and finds himself enjoying a family. Too bad that he can't stick around.

The living Josephus Miller is not as nearly fascinating as his "ghost." Miller is granted the most interesting fate when specks of his dying consciousness merge with the protomolecule, and the resulting "character" projects a nebulous, hologram-like  image into Holden's consciousness, as if an AI is drawing on Miller's personality to communicate with the Rocinante's captain. It soon becomes clear that the protomolecule is using Miller's likeness as a puppet and is relying on humanity, Holden especially, to further its agenda. When the real Miller's consciousness battles against the protomolecule's designs, he ends up protecting Holden and the rest of humanity from impending doom, sacrificing his life once again for the greater good.

10. Clarissa Mao

You want to despise Clarissa Mao. Her quest for vengeance is incredibly petty, and comes from a place of high privilege and shortsightedness. Compared to the show's other antagonists, who have more political agendas, her mission to win her disapproving father's love, to scream at the world that he was right, and to frame James Holden is remarkably petty. Clarissa also commits senseless murders, despite several opportunities to embrace grace and mercy and stop her activities. Trying to accept her deeds is like trying to swallow jagged space rocks.

Without ever condoning Clarissa's behavior, Nadine Nicole gives her a sympathetic edge, always wincing and holding back tears while she's plotting. Soon, Clarissa grows beyond her pitiful state and accepts accountability for her actions, blossoming into an active player. Her crimes weigh upon her, and just like she can't remove her mods, she accepts that they will always be a stain on her conscience. The pressure of reforming herself becomes palpable when she's around the Rocinante crew, and it creates a quiet interpersonal tension, especially when she becomes the spiritual replacement for Alex Kamal. It's symbolic that her new lease in life involves conducting repairs on the Rocinante.

9. Alex Kamal

You can't talk about the Rocinante's pilot without mentioning the sexual assault accusations that lead to the actor who plays him, Cas Anvar, being booted off the show. As such, his character was killed off by a sudden stroke at the end of season 5.

That's a damn shame, because you felt at home around Alex Kamal, the easygoing Martian with a drawl who cooked you lasagna, made sure that you ate, and swapped jokes and advice with you when you needed it. Anyone could have an energetic conversation with him and come away feeling rejuvenated. He's the friendly relative who you liked coming home to, even if his argumentative fury could be threatening. 

But Alex had numerous complexities as well, having to abandon his wife and child to fly the Rocinante. In the penultimate season, you really felt the chasm his out-of-left-field death left behind, although the "Expanse" crew was absolutely right to eject the actor who could not live up to Alex's lofty ideals.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

8. Reverend Doctor Anna Volovodov

Anna represents the marriage between spirituality and scientific discovery, as well as the perspective that a person of faith has on the age of cosmic travel. If we were to rank the nicest and sweetest characters of "The Expanse," Reverend Anna would occupy the top spot, despite her scruples when it comes to politics. A Methodist pastor with an optimistic streak, her conscience is compromised — if it wasn't for her obligations to keep a medical clinic for the undocumented funded, she would not have participated in the show's larger adventures. However, now flung into the thick of the conflict, Anna is mired in her own spiritual crisis, thanks largely to her revulsion for Clarissa Mao.

Anna emphasizes how potent rhetoric can influence the populace. Hired as a speechwriter for UN executive Sorrento-Gillis, she has reservations about the directions political discourse is taking. Once she's out of the political arena and becomes one of the first humans to head into the Ring, she travels a spiritual pathway with her luminous with hope and curiosity, a heart open to warm comfort, and a soul ready to cross the threshold of galactic discovery. When the first Ring Gate is on the brink of destroying humanity, it's no wonder that she broadcasts a speech that encourages humanity to trust in hope more than big weapons.

7. Praxideke Meng

When the Rocinante discovers the bereaved Praxideke "Prax" Meng, a Ganymede refugee mourning for his kidnapped daughter, the "weapon" they find on him is little more than a canister housing a soybean. Prax is not good with firearms or the idea of taking lives. He always implores others to search for humane solutions first — if there are any. But, Prax's adventures on the Rocinante as prisoner, guide, and unofficial crewmember also force him to buck up and commit to tough choices. Prax is a realistic depiction of a nice guy who is way out of his element. He's one of the souls who Amos is protective of, as seen when Amos enacts vengeance on his behalf against his daughter's kidnapper. 

Throughout the series, the Rocinante kitchen contains a chamber of rotating plants, and it's all thanks to Prax that the Rocinante receives cleaner air. When he departs the crew, he focuses on rebuilding Ganymede and leaves behind a legacy of greens — the "Prax panels," as Amos affectionately calls them — and instructions that allow Amos to nurture the plants. Prax's nobility (and Amos' dedication to keeping him safe) has a satisfying payoff, too. While conducting research to improve the lives of the Belters, the data that Prax uncovers and passes to Amos provides some much-needed relief for Earth as well. Above all else, he's a nurturer.

6. Naomi Nagata

Naomi Nagata worked hard to break away from her past. Even after her checkered history is uncovered, we don't believe that Naomi is anything close to sinister. While her loyalties ebb and flow as "The Expanse" goes on — at one point, she rejoins the Belters, and at another she makes a disagreeable decision regarding the protomolecule — Naomi's love for the Rocinante crew is almost never in doubt. She's the moral compass that Amos follows, and her brain saves her friends' butts more than once. For example, she knows how to lure protomolecule-infected soldiers with radiation, and comes up with the solution that defeats Marco Inaros, her former lover. 

Naomi's most harrowing storyline begins when her estranged son, Filip, kidnaps her and imprisons her aboard Inaros' ship, the Pella. As captive, she must grasp for any semblance of agency, straining herself physically and mentality to survive, speak for herself, and bond with her brainwashed son. She also pulls off the series' most infamous stunt, a literal leap of fate that somehow does not feel out of place in a quasi-realistic sci-fi series.

It's her heart that makes her a beacon, that inspires Amos to see her as an example to aspire to, that wins Holden and Camina's love, and that steers Filip away from extremism.

5. Klaes Ashford

What's best for the future of the working-class Belters? Former Belter pirate Ashford does not know, but he wants peace with Earthers and Martians all the same. "Nomadland" star David Strathairn brings a haggard and upstanding panache to the show's Belter ensemble, going toe-to-toe (and mind-to-mind) with Camina Drummer. Their rapport illuminates the disagreements between Belters who have a vision for a better world, especially since Ashford's counterpart in the original novels was considered more villainous. When he struts into the series for the first time, Belters part like the Red Sea to make way for the legend.

With a face weathered by age and ravaged by burn scars, Ashford's decisions are rooted in experience and tragedy, including the loss of his daughter. When he becomes an antagonistic force in season 3, his decision to fire guns at the Ring Gate comes from his grief over dead Belters. It's a very human reaction, and it's not hard to see how he came to that conclusion. If he had believed in a better way, he would have conceded the point.

We remember Ashford for how he died in addition to how he lived. Ashford's execution is one of the series' saddest deaths, with him clinging onto his pride and singing a ballad to himself as he spacewalks out the airlock. Even in death, he performs a last-ditch attempt to wring information out of Marcos.

4. Bobbie Draper

As one of the most awesome — and confrontational — cast members, Bobbie Draper pulls lots of literal punches when she comes a-charging with her power suit. A hotheaded Martian marine, Draper is dragged into multiple plots that she does not fully comprehend. She begins as a hardened, humorless soldier, loyal to her squad and the "Dream of Mars." Then, she discovers that she and her squad were test subjects for protomolecule-related experiments and has to fight against her Martian superior, forcing her to seek asylum on Earth, her sworn enemy, in order to achieve a semblance of justice for her team. Later, she must turn against her next squad when they're unleashed on the Rocinante. In turn, her reputation is tainted by her actions, and she gets shanghaied into carrying out unscrupulous deals with a Martian gang. The poor soldier can't catch a break.

But every time that she's ensnared in ugly situations, Bobbie reckons with her narrow perspective, eventually coming to terms with other people's motives and the complexities of galactic politics. In the end, she's in search of her people. She finds them on the Rocinante, and never sacrifices her ideals or her loyalty.

3. Amos Burton

If the Baltimore native Amos knew that he had a large following, he probably wouldn't mind it, but he'd also wonder what he did to deserve such fame. Played by Wes Chatham, Amos is beloved by "The Expanse" fans, and with good reason. The surviving Canterbury crew knows that Amos is someone that needs to be reigned in, a wildcard who could be a ticking time bomb. Early on, he even threatens to kill Holden. And yet, he proves more than once that he's a loyal asset to the Rocinante, even if he's on the brink of doing something monstrous. That makes his emotional connections to the show's most benevolent characters, including people like Anna and Prax, equal parts confounding and poignant.

With his unreadable stoicism, Amos is initially a terrifying enigma to both the audience and the other characters. Over time, you come to understand his mindset even while you're disquieted by his potential for violence, which bubbles beneath his benign facade. Amos may be a physical brute on the surface, but his intimidating front belies a strong moral code. If anything, Amos' ability to empathize with other people's darker sides is his biggest strength, revealing his optimism and belief in second chances.

2. Chrisjen Avasarala

When you see a grandmother playing with her grandson, then later watch the same woman gleefully torturing a member of the Belter underclass, you know that "The Expanse" is going to be a ride. Shohreh Aghdashloo has generated mountains of praise for her performance as the silken and stern-voiced Chrisjen Avasarala, the Earther politician and eventual U.N. Secretary General. As she spews foul language, Avasarala deftly maneuvers through political arenas, social spaces, the public pulpit, and even Holden's old family home to extract intel and insights.

Avasarala has the fewest number of action scenes of the main cast, as she's more engaged in conversations and the mechanics of the show's political struggles. When she's thrust into combat far away from Earth's gravity, she's completely out of her element, and it's entertaining to watch her throw fits. Avasarala has evolved a bit over time, slowly becoming a better person and a caring leader who can see beyond Earth's interests. But even her minimal growth does not negate centuries of Belter resentment against Earth. You can't help but like Avasarala, but as a privileged Earther, she deserves to be taken down a few pegs.

1. Camina Drummer

Brought to life with gritty bravado by Cara Gee, Camina is a leader who wants and demands nothing less than perfection, although war forces her to settle into unpleasant, many times forced, alliances. Where Avasarala comes from a polished, upper-class background, Camina is cut from the same cloth as the solar system's rugged and overworked Belters. Notorious for her temper, she loves her crew as passionately, and offers cutthroat death stares to pretty much everyone else. Throughout the series, she struggles to learn what it means to serve herself and the Belters when the answers are unclear and the circumstances are unpredictable. This results in some tense negotiations, including unfriendly deal-making with Marco Inaros and Chrisjen Avasarala.

Camina Drummer loses many of her relationships in the final season, but always seeks to make gains and create a better world for "the builders," as she calls them. Her arc begins with her as the second-in-command to an AWOL Earther, and ends with her ascension as the president of the Transit Union, giving her footing over Earthers and opening up new opportunities for her Belters. It's a shame that the series had to end before we could witness the fruits of her new leadership.