The Expanse is finally coming back with season four, after Amazon rescued the Rocinante and its crew from being stuck adrift in the empty space of non-renewed television shows. But there’s a catch: All 10 episodes of season four are being released at the same time, instead of weekly. We asked the cast and crew of The Expanse about how they feel this could impact the show and its fanbase, and not everybody is on the same page.

“It’s gonna be new for us, because previously we were on every week,” showrunner Naren Shankar told io9. “It was a different kind of interaction. We would live tweet the episodes. We would, you know—there was a bit of feedback. Now that’s gonna change and we’re all actually kinda curious about how that’s gonna work.”

During an earlier interview at io9's studio at New York Comic Con, we chatted with the cast and crew of The Expanse about season four moving to a binge watch schedule. This falls more in line with shows like Netflix’s Stranger Things or Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, both of which developed and maintained strong fanbases even without the benefits of the weekly water cooler chats. But does it work for this show, given how fans grew accustomed to how they could experience and discuss the series?

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Steven Strait, who stars as James Holden and serves as a producer on the series, praised the new release format, saying it’s how “the story should be told.” Co-stars Dominique Tipper and Shohreh Aghdashloo agreed, with the latter adding that having it on Amazon Prime lets her watch it at the same time as her family members in Iran.

“I’ve been lucky enough to see the whole season through, and I did binge it. I wanted to see what it was like. And for me personally, it’s the way the story should be told,” Strait said. “This show, which is so exquisitely written [and] has so much specificity to it, that being able to power through a few episodes just—it’s easier to hold onto those threads that are small at first and then become larger. So, for me, it’s a gratifying experience to be able to take in more at one time.”

However, co-star Cas Anvar said he’s still on the fence about it. He told io9 that he loves the experience of binging a show, but he’s also nervous about losing some of the things that are better about The Expanse’s previous release schedule—like getting a chance to digest information between episodes and having time to talk about them with your friends before the story moves on. Many genre shows are binge released nowadays, but others continue to prove that weekly release schedules help carry the conversation and keep a show from fading away too quickly, like Watchmen and DC’s CW-verse.

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“I’m torn myself. Because I agree, I love being able to sit there for five, six hours and just get completely immersed in this amazing epic story. But when you watch it weekly, you get to process and digest, and talk about that particular episode. So, I’m kind of right in the middle, I don’t know. I don’t know which one I prefer yet,” he said.

You can watch the full interview with the cast and crew of The Expanse in our video above. We’ve also provided a transcript below.

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Naren Shankar, showrunner: It’s gonna be new for us, because previously we were on every week, and so there was a, you know, it was a different kind of interaction. We would live tweet the episodes. We would, you know, there was a bit of feedback. Now that’s gonna change and we’re all actually kinda curious about how that’s gonna work. And weirdly, we didn’t actually have to change the way we wrote it very much. But really, book four, which is really the bulk of the season is a, you know, really tightly interconnected story. So, that’s the one that the Roci guys are involved in. And so, almost just by nature of that, the episodes became a little bit more tightly connected episode to episode. So, when you watch them all at once, it’s incredibly satisfying.

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Steven Strait, actor (Holden)/producer: I’ve been lucky enough to see the whole season through, and I did binge it, and I wanted to see what it was like. And for me personally, it’s the way the story should be told, you know. I find with, this show which is so exquisitely written, that has so much specificity to it, that being able to power through a few episodes just—it’s easier to hold onto those threads that are small at first and then become larger. So, for me, it’s a gratifying experience to be able to take in more at one time.

Dominique Tipper, actor (Naomi): I actually think it’s better. I think it’s nice to be able to just kind of power through it.

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Cas Anvar, actor (Alex): I’m torn myself. Because I agree, I love being able to sit there for five, six hours and just get completely immersed in this amazing epic story. But when you watch it weekly, you get to process and digest, and talk about that particular episode. So, I’m kind of right in the middle, I don’t know. I don’t know which one I prefer yet.

Cara Gee, actor (Drummer): I’m really looking forward to watching it without commercials. I think that that is going to be a massive advantage. I’m thrilled that our audience will have that opportunity.

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Shohreh Aghdashloo, actor (Chrisjen Avasarala): That’s the news that I got. The fact that the whole world would watch it at the same time.

Gee: Yeah.

Aghdashloo: My brothers were dying to watch it and I had to tape it and send it to them. Now we watch it together.

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Gee: We have such a strong community of fans. I think that we will maintain that sense of community and that discussion. Certainly the show warrants it. So, I’ll be really curious to see how, how people take to it.

io9! Yeah, that’s it, that’s it! [laughs]


The Expanse releases all 10 episodes of season four on December 13. The series has already been renewed for a fifth season, but the premiere date has not been announced yet.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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