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'The Expanse' showrunner breaks down major S5 death, how it impacts final season

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Feb 3, 2021, 10:09 PM EST (Updated)

With Season 5 of The Expanse now over, it's time to discuss that major character death in the finale episode: "Nemesis Games." You know the one we're talking about...but just in case you don't, be fair warned that the following contains MAJOR plot spoilers for the end of Season 5.

Now, let's blast off into some specifics, shall well?

Chatting with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Naren Shankar was asked about Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar) dying from heart attack while saving Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper). In the books by James S. A. Corey (aka Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), Alex is still alive, but the decision to kill him off may have been due to Anvar being accused of sexual misconduct last summer. While Shankar didn't confirm or deny that theory, he did explain the idea of bumping off a member of the cast came about pretty early on, especially since The Expanse team wanted to tell a "disaster movie"-type story with the fifth season.

"It's this tremendous cataclysm and everybody trying to claw their way back together. It's the beginning of a war story. We started realizing we're telling a war story that wasn't heavy because it didn't have consequences," the showrunner said. "And really, the way to drive those things home is when you start talking about losing characters who are important to the audience because especially in science fiction, you have this plot murmur that characters develop that you just feel, 'Oh, they're just never… Because they're the heroes, nothing can happen to them.' And so, these discussions began very early in the season as we were developing the story."

Shankar went on to say that Alex's demise mirrors Fred Johnson's death in the novels, albeit with a few creative liberties taken. Even so, he promised that this loss will carry over into the sixth and final season

"At the end of the day, this is a creative choice, and it's really driven by the fact that, and we felt really strongly that, the story had to have some cost," the showrunner continued. "These are hard decisions, but it gave realism and cost and a real sense of loss to this incredibly epic season. And from a dramatic perspective, it has tremendous ramifications going forward in how the loss of this very important part of the Roci crew hangs over every character in Season 6."

Seasons 1-5 are now available to stream with Prime Video.