With the new platform and budget, as well as the new narrative that The Expanse is taking on this season, how different is the experience for you as an actor? And how different will it feel for viewers?
Cas Anvar: I think the viewer is going to have more of a difference than we are. We’re still doing the same show; we still have the same great writers and the same great team. There’s some subtle differences, like we don’t have the same restrictions that we had with the TV Cable codes. There’s a little more swearing; it’s a little darker, a little sexier, and a little grittier. The writers have also had more time to put their stories together, so our scripts are spectacular.
I think the biggest difference is the format of the show – there’s no commercial breaks, so they’re not trying to hammer out every single episode at 47 and a half minutes. If they need an extra five minutes, they put an extra five minutes in. If it comes up short because it’s a fast paced show, it comes up short. It doesn’t really matter; it’s whatever tells the story best.
And you’d be surprised how an extra two minutes in a one hour show can completely change the the tone and the flavor of a show. What might seem rushed and frantic and out of control and confusing before is suddenly clarified with an extra scene, and it makes everything much more impactful; much more resonant. So, it’s really the creators who get to really play. It doesn’t affect us so much as actors.
But the one thing we do have is an unbelievable support from Amazon in terms of promotion; it is a literal promotion machine. They’re an unstoppable PR machine. I’ve never seen anything like it, and it’s so rewarding to have this incredible PR team. We’re gonna get seen on a global platform for the first time in our history. It’s amazing. We’ve been in love with the show for three years, and it feels like we’ve just been warming up for Season 4 . Finally, the show is going to be seen by the the audience it was meant to be seen by.
Do you think that newcomers should start binging the first three seasons tonight, or could they theoretically hop on board with Season 4?
Cas Anvar: You could, theoretically hop on board. But you will be missing a lot of the formative character development that happens at the beginning. Season 4 kind of starts the second movement of this space opera, so you could commonly get into it and then just watch Kevin Smith‘s really good recap of Seasons 1, 2 and 3, which was absolutely hilarious. You could get that kind of thing done, and then just jump dive right into Season 4.
But me, personally, I’m a big science fiction nerd and a big character development nerd. I would feel unfulfilled if I didn’t get to see all of the stuff that happened beforehand. But if people don’t want to spend that time to catch up, they can jump right into Season 4 and just watch a recap.
We’ve heard that Season 4 takes inspiration from the fourth novel in the series. How closely would you say it follow the book at this point?
Cas Anvar: It follows the arc of the book pretty well. There are definitely variations and deviations from the book, and every season has been like that. Certain things have to be done in a television format, just for clarity. Sometimes in a book, there’s so much information and so many details that to translate it to television would be too monumental a task. So, they have to make some choices on things to cut.
In some cases, they collaborate and combine characters and events into one, so that you get one character that represents three or four characters from the book. And then there’s some things that are brand new that get added in. There’s characters that the fans have fallen in love that are not in the fourth book. And yet, in Season 4, because they’re such fan favorites, we create something for them.
Finally, if you had to give three buzzwords for Season 4 of The Expanse, what would they be?
Cas Anvar: Catastrophic, mind-blowing, and compassionate.
The Expanse premieres on December 13th via Amazon Prime Video.