The entire fifth season of The Expanse is now streaming on Amazon, and — like the seasons before it — many of the events from the last ten episodes mirror what takes place in its corresponding book in the nine-volume series written by James S. A. Corey. 

This season, however, there are a few major differences between the show and the book; differences that will have real ramifications for the on-screen characters in they enter the sixth and final season. 

Read on for an exploration of some of these differences. Naturally, this post contains major spoilers for season 5 of the show and the fifth book in the series. Check out our non-spoiler review if you want to learn more about the season before watching it. 

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The finale of The Expanse season 5 has arrived on Amazon, and wow, there’s a lot for fans to unpack from the last 10 episodes. If you haven’t watched the season in its entirety (and I do mean all 10 episodes, not just the first nine), check out our non-spoiler review

If you’ve finished this season, however, read on for a spoiler-filled take on some of the major events of season 5. We have a lot to discuss.

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The Expanse season 5 takes the crew of the Rocinante from the alien planet of Ilus back to our own Solar System. It’s not much of a spoiler, however, to suggest that things won’t go well for the crew just because they’re back home. Those who have seen the first three episodes of season 5, which dropped today on Amazon, know that this season will pack a wallop.

/Film had the opportunity to talk with showrunner Naren Shankar, as well as Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (AKA the writing duo of James S. A. Corey), executive producers and co-authors of the Expanse book series, about what’s in store for us in the upcoming episodes, as well as what fans can expect for the sixth and final season

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The fifth season of The Expanse doesn’t have much protomolecule action going on in it. In that regard, it’s different from season 4, where the crew of the Rocinante found themselves thousands of light-years from the solar system on a planet rife with ancient alien technology. 

But even though the protomolecule doesn’t directly interact with humans this season, it still remains the impetus of everything that comes to pass in the series’ latest 10 episodes (or the latest nine episodes, at least; the number that was made available for this non-spoiler review).

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the expanse season 6

The Expanse will return for a sixth and final season on Amazon. The streamer just gave the go-ahead for The Expanse season 6 ahead of the season 5 premiere, which is set for December. The series, which “is set in the future where humanity has colonized the solar system,” originated on Syfy, where it ran for three seasons. After Syfy canceled the show, Amazon swooped in and picked it up. Now, the end of the series is in sight.

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dickinson trailer

In this edition of TV Bits:

  • Billions renewed for season 6.
  • F is for Family renewed for season 5, which will be the last.
  • Teenage Bounty Hunters canceled by Netflix.
  • Certain actors couldn’t return for the Supernatural final season because of COVID-19.
  • Dickinson renewed for season 3 ahead of season 2 launch.
  • Watch the trailer for The Expanse season 5.
  • Get ready for High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special.
  • Black Monday will be back for season 3.
  • The Last O.G. renewed for season 4.
  • LA’s Finest canceled.
  • Dawson’s Creek will move to Netflix in November.
  • On Becoming a God in Central Florida won’t be getting a second season after all.

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The Expanse Season 4 Trailer

When The Expanse was cancelled by SYFY, a core group of fans, lovingly called the Screaming Firehawks, worked hard to find it a new home. In May 2018, Jeff Bezos responded to everyone’s efforts, which included flying a plane with a banner that said  “Save The Expanse” over Amazon Studios’ main office, by announcing that Amazon Prime Video was picking up the show. Fans and cast and crew alike were ecstatic, and all have been waiting for the new season, which dropped on December 12th

The fourth season is a great one (read /Film’s spoiler-free review is live), and while the core of the show remains the same in its new home, there are some noticeable differences that came with the move to Amazon. Read on to learn how the move to a new network has impacted the viewing experience of the show. 

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The Expanse Season 4 Book Comparison

Fans of the television series The Expanse likely know that the show is based on the books written by James S. A. Corey, the pen name of co-authors Ty Frank and Daniel Abraham. Each season roughly follows the story from one of the books, and Season 4 is no different; the main plot of the show taken from Cibola Burn, the fourth book in what’s expected to be a nine-volume book series (the eighth book, Tiamat’s Wrath, was published this year, and the final book is expected to come out in 2020). 

Like most television adaptations, there are necessary differences between the source material and what we see on screen. The Expanse is no different in this regard, and there’s a lot pulled in and taken out from the books in season 4. “At the end of a season, [co-authors Ty Frank and Daniel Abraham] and I will start talking about the plan for the next year,” showrunner Naren Shankar told /Film. “I will often have my feelings about how we should adapt it, what changes we should make, but the three of us talk about those things.” 

Read on to learn about some of the differences these three creative minds agreed upon for the show, including Shankar’s perspective on why some of them were made.

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The Expanse Season 4 Spoiler Review

The Expanse fans weren’t the only people who rejoiced when Amazon saved the much-loved series from SYFY’s cancellation; the cast and crew, who have a strong bond with their fans, were ecstatic as well, and eager to take the show to new places. “It’s exciting for us as actors and also for fans to get a new version of their favorite show,” Dominique Tipper, who plays Naomi Nagata on the series, told /Film. “Obviously it still has all the things you know and love, and the characters you know and love. But there is a widening of perspective.”

Tipper’s description is an apt one—The Expanse is thriving in its new home. Not only has Amazon Prime Video given the show significant promotion in the lead-up to the drop of Season 4 on December 12th (a day earlier than advertised, no less), but also in terms of the quality of the actual show. If you haven’t watched the new season yet, check out /Film’s non-spoiler review from a couple weeks ago, which explores why this season is just as good as the ones before it, if not better. 

If you watched all ten episodes, however, read on for a spoiler-full take on some of the major occurrences of the fourth season. This is your final warning: spoilers abound below, so read on at your own risk.

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The Expanse Season 4 Review

Perhaps the most obvious change in the latest season of The Expanse is the show’s move from SYFY to Amazon. And yes, that move does come with a lot of changes: the show is now bingeable versus a weekly watch; episodes are streamed uninterrupted versus being broken up by commercials; and the characters throw out swears like they’re going out of style instead of the mere sprinkling of F-bombs when it was on SYFY. 

These are all significant changes. A whole article could be written just about how the move from SYFY to Amazon impacted the show. But for this non-spoiler review of the fourth season’s first six episodes, the changes that are most important are the ones to the story, of how the activation of an ancient alien ring station opened portals to thousands of planets that could support human life. 

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