Syfy’s space opera The Expanse is getting geared up for its second season, and later this week, the series comes out on Blu-ray and DVD, which means that we can binge on the show all over again. When you watch it again, keep your eyes peeled for a whole bunch of easter eggs.
The Expanse novels have a pretty interesting back story and some cool links to other works of science fiction, such as Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination. As we watched through the season, we caught a whole bunch of references to a whole host of other works. Here’s what we found:
In the pilot episode, we watch as Detective Miller rides in Cere Station’s subway system, and get a brief glimpse at the station map, which has some interesting nuggets:
Cutty Station is named for Chad Coleman’s character Dennis “Cutty” Wise on the HBO series The Wire. Coleman portrays Fred Johnson, an Outer Planets Alliance leader later in the show.
Hermes Square pops up a swell, which someone on the Expanse Reddit page is claiming is a reference to Futurama.
Just a couple of moments later, we watch Miller walk into his precinct. In the background, there’s a poster for The Book of Mormon, which the Expanse writer’s room confirmed as being a reference.
In later in the episode, the crew picks up a distress beacon from a ship called the Scopuli. It’s totally appropriate: the name comes from the place from which the Greek Sirens sang from, luring sailors to their deaths.
In the show’s third episode, Remember the Cant, a familiar comet pops up:
Over on the left, you’ll see Comet 67p - home of the ESA Rosetta mission. It looks like they haven’t renamed it. I wonder if they recovered or actually found the final resting place of the Philae lander.
In CQB, the show’s fourth episode, there’s a really cool reference to the film Alien:
There’s also neat callback to the books in CQB: While Miller is trying to get to the bottom of the Julie Mao case, he comes across a room where a bunch of people are watching a pilot slingshot: this is what happens in the opening scenes of the third novel, Abbadon’s Gate.
In the show’s fifth episode, Back to the Butcher, there’s a callback to a short tie-in story, The Butcher of Anderson Station:
Fred Johnson’s story is talked about in the novels, but it’s in the short story that it’s depicted.
Later in the same episode, Miller visits a bar on Ceres called Tech Noir, a neat reference to a bar by the same name in The Terminator:
In the show’s seventh episode, Windmills, Amos makes a reference to ‘the Churn’. It’s a callback to not one of the tie-in novellas, The Churn, which looks into Amos’s past.
There’s a couple of references in the eighth episode, Salvage. Here’s one that Daniel Abraham pointed out on Twitter:
There’s Serenity, from the show Firefly, but that entire ship list is full of little references, Spitfire, Infineon and Wellington are all the names of World War II-era RAF aircraft and the Ark Royal is the name of a British aircraft carrier. Stalker is the name of a fantastic Andrei Tarkovsky film, and Anubis is the Egyptian god of the afterlife (among other things), which makes sense, considering the cargo that it was carrying.
Later in the same episode, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (both James S.A. Corey) become Easter eggs of their own when they pop up for a brief cameo:
Abraham, has noted a number of times on Twitter that the show rewards rewatching, because they’ve sprinkled in a ton of these references.
Undoubtably, there’s a a bunch of other references out there that we’ll discover when we watch the entire thing over again.
Special thanks to the folks at The Expanse subreddit, who pointed out a bunch of these as the show was airing.