Syfy's The Expanse was something of a return to form for the network and a highly anticipated adaptation of Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (as James S.A. Corey)'s series of novels. Dubbed by many in the industry as "Game of Thrones in space," it offered a solar system on the brink of total war as Earth, a heavily colonized Mars and the frontier-style outposts of the Belt vied for political power ... all while a mysterious and monstrous threat loomed.
It's been a long break for the show, with its second season not due until 2017, but judging by the attendance and enthusiasm at the panel, fan interest hasn't died. The attendees -- Executive Producer Mark Fergus, writers Franck and Abraham, and cast members Steven Strait, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham and Cas Anvar -- were greeted warmly. Things kicked off with a Season 2 trailer, the theme of which was "Pick a side," as the footage showcased Strait's Holden in confrontation with Chad L. Coleman, increased conflict between Earth, Mars and the OPA, and some great shots of Frankie Adams' Martian marine Bobbie Draper in her powered battle armor.
In terms of what fans can expect in Season 2, Fergus, Franck and Abraham promised that we'd be seeing more of Mars this time around, as they want to bring the Red Planet to life with the same level of detail we saw in Earth and the Belt in Season 1. Adams' Draper will be a big window into that for viewers, and the producers had nothing but praise for the Polynesian actress's work in bringing a character beloved by book readers to life. "We got very lucky finding Frankie Adams," said Daniel Abraham. "She's very, very ... big."
For the cast we know and love, there was a lot of talk about how we'll discover new things about the Roci crew, even as they discover new things about themselves. Strait promised that we'd see Holden's idealism continue to crumble, as he and Amos will bond while the latter, according to Chatham, develops in a direction through which "We'll get to see who Amos is without Naomi's direction." For her part, Tipper said, "What starts to push us forward is the stuff you don't know about us," meaning we may get to delve into the backstories of characters like Naomi Nagata earlier than we did in the books.
Once all that was done, we were treated to another clip before the Q&A, this one focusing on the Rocinante facing off against a stealth ship in spaceborne combat. It was impressive seeing the Martian warship in action, even as it took something of a beating, and it did this old space opera fan's heart good to see that kind of battle brought to life on screen. Of course, things cut away before we could see the situation resolved, but here's hoping the second season brings more of this kind of thing into all our lives.
So, yeah, I'm psyched for Season 2 of The Expanse. Yes, Syfy is Blastr's corporate parent, but as a fan of the books, I'm simply excited to see Martian marines shooting it out in powered armor and the mystery of the protomolecule further explored. It's been a long wait for this second go-round with the Roci and her crew, but it looks like higher stakes, new characters, and a deepending of the relationships between the ones we already know will make it worthwhile.