02x00 - The Expanse Expanded

We make it all this way, so far out into the darkness.

Why couldn't we have brought more light?

"The Expanse" is about the most important moment in human history.

This is the future.

Futuristic science. Space travel.

It's amazing.

These are normal people who set off the chain of events that could wipe out humanity.

[intense orchestral music]

♪ ♪

I'm Adam Savage, gentleman scientist, former Mythbuster, and super-fan of "The Expanse."

Here comes the juice.

"The Expanse" is at the forefront of a renaissance in the science fiction genre.

With complex storylines, resonant characters, and groundbreaking special effects, it has captivated audiences and critics alike, even having been credited for doing for science fiction what "Game of Thrones" has done for fantasy.

It's incredibly ambitious for a television show.

It's more along the lines of an epic feature film.

Over the next half hour, we'll go deeper into the "The Expanse" phenomenon and catch you up on everything you need to know for season two.

It's so rare when you can do a science fiction show that feels like it hasn't been done before.

We'll talk to scientists, critics, and super-fans about what makes "The Expanse" so fantastic yet so authentic.

It's what science fiction does best, is taking our reality and projecting it into the future and seeing what it would really be like.

And we'll visit the set and get a behind-the-scenes look at how the creators of "The Expanse" built this incredible world.

This is where some of the fun happens.

Yeah. So whether you're a fan or you're coming to see what the fuss is about, stick around and we will tell you everything you need to know about this world,

Welcome to "The Expanse Expanded."

♪ ♪

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the cast of "The Expanse."

[cheers and applause]

"The Expanse" is about man's colonization of the Solar System.

It takes place 200 years from now.

Our grandchildren's great-grandchildren's world.

We've managed to get out to the Moon and out to Mars and out into the Asteroid Belt, but the same qualities that allow human beings to conquer space and move out into the Solar System are the things that create conflict.

"The Expanse" is a show about people fighting for control.

It's about power.

Like a lot of great shows, that's what it's about.

It's about power and everyone grabbing for it.

Yes, it's set in space, but essentially it is a story about the people and the characters.

Based on an award-winning book series, "The Expanse" is one of the most critically-acclaimed shows in years.

There's been a lot of talk about peak TV and what is peak TV.

To me, it's big old storytelling, and that's exactly what "The Expanse" is.

It's not just eye candy. It's brain candy.

I think it's actually the beginning of a new era of science fiction.

It's like "Battlestar Galactica" but bigger.

If you're a science fiction fan, then this is your "Game of Thrones,"

where you have characters and these events that are just, you know, they're epic.

Just because a show is science fiction doesn't mean it isn't about a lot of bigger issues.

"The Expanse" has a lot of political elements to it.

There's a lot of different components that make it really compelling on an episode-by-episode basis but also create a larger portrait that's essentially creating a whole world.

The universe of "The Expanse" is populated with a diverse set of characters who become fan favorites.

I love the cast. I think they did such a great job.

There is so much diversity.

The cast reflects a multiracial society that we can expect looking forward to in the future.

You want women characters who are strong.

You have Naomi. You have Julie Mao.

You know, you have Avasarala.

You wish to hurt Earth.

The Earth that is now crushing your prattle peasant bones.

The producers of "The Expanse" have gone to great lengths to present a realistic vision of space travel.

"The Expanse" does a great job of plausibly depicting what a future might look like as we venture out into the Solar System.

The science is right on the money.

All of the stuff about asteroid mining, space ships, battles is done so well.

It's totally different than anything on TV right now.

The production values are off the charts with this show.

"The Expanse" is a really unique universe.

It feels like people really committed time and resources into building the world.

There's so much care put into it.

The set design. Costuming. Props.

You've got to not just build it, but you've also got to paint it and weather it and beat it up to tell the whole story of its entire existence.

Yeah. Everything's got a history.

The future is dirty, and it's messy, and it's human.

This is a very personal perspective of very grand events.

Ships get destroyed.

People are at the brink of war.

This is a really ambitious thing to have taken on.

When our viewers watch episodes, they are gonna have the full cinematic experience.

I've worked 35 years and have seen a lot of films.

Haven't seen anything like this.

All right. Old fans, new fans, strap yourselves in.

It's time to experience everything you need to know about season one.

Be gentle with me. It's my first time.

♪ ♪

"The Expanse" takes place a few hundred years in the future.

It's about man's first steps in colonizing the Solar System.

Earth, Mars, the Belt... we are all interconnected, whether we like it or not.

The United Nations now governs Earth and the Moon.

Earth is a bit of a grim spot.

It's got 30 billion people on it.

The ice caps have melted.

It's still a force to be reckoned with. It can't be ignored, but it's an empire in decline.

You will do anything to win.

Earth must come first.

Mars is an advanced independent power.

Mars is a militarized planet...

very focused, very driven, very disciplined.

And the Asteroid Belt and the Belters who live and work there are caught in the middle.

In space, there is a huge number of resources... resources the Earth needs.

You use us Belters as slaves.

With both Earth and Mars exploiting the Belt for resources, it's a perfect recipe for revolt.

Every time we demand to be heard, they hold back our water until we do as we are told.

All: Yeah!


Enter the Outer Planetary Alliance... an organization fighting for Belter rights.

The Belters served the inner planets for generations.

Belters give. Earth and Mars take.

Fred is trying to legitimize the OPA.

Fred understands that terrorist-like tactics is just not the way to go.

The Asteroid Belt's the kind of place that calls for a special breed of cop.

I have something for you. Little lost daughter case.

Juliette Andromeda Mao.

Meet Joe Miller, a hard-luck detective...

I'm just curious to know what's under that ridiculous hat.

I'm not looking for a fashion debate.

In way over his head.

She discovered something. Something big.

Despite all the conflict in the Solar System, some people just want to do their jobs.

When we first meet Holden, Holden is self-involved.

He's kind of a slacker.

He has run from every real responsibility.

But for Jim Holden and his ragtag crew of ice haulers...

Here we are. One big happy unit.

That's all about to change.

Torpedo launch!

Canterbury, burn like hell. You got incoming.

The destruction of Holden's ship draws Holden into the Julie Mao mystery.

They just dusted 50 of our friends.

It's not your problem.

But now I'm making it my problem.


sh1t just follow you around, don't it, kid?

We both followed Julie here.

I want the truth as bad as you do.

The Roci crew uncover this huge conspiracy.

This mystery sets off this series of dominoes that threatens everyone in the Solar System.

Julie discovered something... some kind of bioweapon that would tip the balance of power.



Oh, my God.

So with Julie Mao dead and a mysterious bioweapon unleashed, season one ends with the entire Solar System on the brink of war and our heroes...

They're spreading it deliberately.

Searching for the truth.


Now you can see why I'm so excited to see what's in store for season two.


Belters work the docks, loading and unloading precious cargo.

We fix the pipes and filters that keep this rock living and breathing.

We Belters toil and suffer.

Welcome to Ganymede.

Or, more specifically, an ice tunnel carved into the heart of Ganymede.

And while this does look like a really awesome science fiction set, it may in fact end up being true that the best way to extract value from the nutrient-rich asteroids in our Solar System is to core them out and pressurize those tunnels.

It may be that the people who do that work... the grunts on the ground... may end up being called "Belters."

And this is just what makes "The Expanse" so compelling, how it relates the future to our present... how the struggles and political implications its characters face are simply reflections of our own society.

I think it's an interesting exploration, like a lot of good sci-fi is, of our current times.

We're still fighting the same fights over territory, over resources, over water.

There are elements about the way the future's portrayed that's incredibly realistic.

In 200 years, it wouldn't surprise me that there would be an independent Mars, an Asteroid Belt that feels like they're under the thumb of two different planetary governments.

I see it as a realistic extrapolation of current politics, current science, current technology.

The seeds for the colonization portrayed in the show are being planted right now.

We're trying to go to Mars because we think that is the most logical place in the Solar System to create a new home for humanity.

You know what I love most about Mars?

They're an entire culture dedicated to a common goal... working together as one to turn a lifeless rock into a garden.

How far away are we from having actual Martians?

I think it's gonna be sooner than probably a lot of people think.

If we put our mind to it, we could do it.

It's just a question of having the will and the resources committed to it to make it happen.

I could never understand your people.

Earth is over, Mr. Holden.

My only hope is that we can bring Mars to life before you destroy that too.

Colonization is only a matter of time, but as "The Expanse" shows, it won't be without turmoil and unrest.

People are always going to be people.

There's always going to be racial bias.

There's always going to be patriotism and jingoism.

There's always going to be class.

How are we going to see that play out in the future?

We look upon each other as different, and we've grown to hate each other for that.

That's another thing, I think, that "The Expanse" really does very realistically, which is identity conflict.

Our whole history is rife with people having identity to either their tribe or their religion or their favorite baseball team, you know?

So, when "The Expanse" has Mars and the Earth at each other's' throats and about to start a war and the Belters being abused by both, it is completely believable, I think.

Water means life.

One shipment late, you got protests.

Two shipments late, you got dead people in the street.

Caught in the middle of this war for resources are the Belters, those who risk their lives working in the Asteroid Belt.

Belters are a racially mixed group of people and pretty diverse, so they developed sort of a sub-language.

Stay calm.

[speaking Belter]

No. Stay calm.

[speaking Belter]

[speaking Belter]

I speak a little Belter.

Better. Every time better.

I have a good teacher.

Belter culture, to me, feels organic.

It feels like... if you took all these different ethnic and language and cultural groups and isolated them out far at the edge of the Solar System, what would their language and culture look like?

You see that piss-poor rock hopper down there?

Skin hangs off his bones.

That's from growing up in low-G.

When you are in a low-gravity environment, your bones will grow longer. Your physiology will change.

One of the more gruesome scenes in the show was a Belter who comes to Earth, and he's tortured basically by just strapping him to a wall.

All you have to do to make it stop is talk.

I could tell you that coming back after three months was really painful.

Gravity torture's a real thing.

The producers have put great effort into making the science in the world of "The Expanse" as accurate as possible.

I think one of the things people like about the show is that it takes the science in science fiction seriously.

And that makes it feel more relatable and more real.

We have spent a lot of time talking about spin gravity and thrust gravity and actual gravity.

We had a choreographer in the beginning of first season.

He went through and showed us how to move our limbs in a weightless environment to give that illusion that we are in space.

This'll be a high-G maneuver. Prepare for flip and burn.

The one scene that really blew me away was when they were doing their first flip and burn.

If you're in space and you want to go in a different direction, you don't just bank like an airplane turning in the air.

There's no air in space.

You basically turn your ship, point your drive in the opposite direction you want to go, and you push, and all of that is depicted in the show.

It wasn't just, "Hey, we need to get to Earth."

"Okay." Flip a button and go.

So that really appeals to me as a science nerd.

How did someone as smart as you end up on the Canterbury?

I failed upwards to the level of my incompetence.

Same as the rest of us.

As in all great stories, it's the relatable characters that bring this world to life.

You know, at its heart, it's a very kind of human narrative.

We like to tell small personal stories about screwed-up people fumbling their way to some kind of redemption.

The characters of "The Expanse," you want to follow their story.

You want to be part of their story.

You want to be worried for them, enthused for them, scared for them... all those things.

How do you not love these characters, you know?

Jim Holden wants coffee. The poor man.

All he wants is a good cup of coffee.

He's my hero. All I want is a good cup of coffee too.

This could really be our world, and I think it is really relevant today.

Amazing world-building, authentic science, fantastic characters, and one final ingredient... a kickass space ship.

You need to give the ship a new name to complete the override.



It's Spanish for...

"Workhorse." I like it.

To me, the "Rocinante," that's the "Enterprise."

You know? That's the "Millennium Falcon."

That's where you want to be. That's the heart of it.

That's the heart of the series. Heart of the show.

You get these things that you can connect with.

They've just created such real people that you want to see how they're interacting with this also very realistic yet distant-in-the-future world.

Creating a realistic window into the future takes meticulously crafted special effects, and the effects on "The Expanse" are some of the most innovative and complex in any show on television.

Let's pull back the curtain and see what it takes to create their vision of a possible future.

"The Expanse" has a lot of action and a lot of great digital effects.

Terrific space ship battles.

Um, guys?

Wire work's some of my favorite stuff to do.

You know, you just get on and hold on.

That's how you prepare.

This rig behind me is called a teeter-totter.

They're gonna strap me into it, put me in front of a blue screen, and I will be floating in space.

I want you to really think light.


As though perhaps nothing were holding you up.


That would be great.

If there's one thing more fun than floating in space, it's coming up with practical effects.

This is how you guys make really awesome blaster hits on the walls safely around the crew.


[gunshots popping]


That is just as much fun as you imagined it was.

Being a science fiction show, "The Expanse" is heavy in the special effects.

Everything that's not done on set or practically is done here in post-production.

In post-production, we have everything from visual effects to editorial.

We have all the kind of stuff that you put on the screen after we've shot.

I don't know if I'm allowed to look at the...

I'm probably totally not allowed to look in there.

Even though "The Expanse" boasts some of the biggest sets on television, it's not always enough.

To truly represent the massive interior of Tycho Station, visual effects artists had to create a digital set extension.

Starting with a shot of the actors in front of a blue screen, the grayscale extension is added.

Texture, lighting, and color correction is added to the layers to bring Tycho to life.

All right, I'm looking at the surface of a planet.

Is it Mars? It is Mars.


Good guess.

The challenge for season two is creating a realistic Mars environment.

That's our digital Bobbie Draper running along here, and of course everything else is digital, and then we transition into the live environment with the live Bobbie Draper.

Oh, wait.

Our transition is... there.

This crew is having so much fun with the material, with each other, with the actors... it's kind of intoxicating to be on this set because everyone's really having fun, and so did I.

all: Yeah!

Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo!

Well, that is just about it.

After spending several days witnessing the hard work and dedication that goes into making this show as well as the passion and love that the people who make it put into it, it is really no mystery why it has so captivated critics and fans.

Thanks for joining us.

Now, for those of you who can't wait to find out what happens with Holden and Miller and the rest of the crew, With season two of "The Expanse," what I'm excited to see is a lot more of Mars.

Things get deeper. The mysteries are gonna get deeper.

We're going to see a lot of new characters from the books ***

Bobbie Draper.

I want to see Bobbie, I want to se more Mars.

Shh shh, spoilers, I wont say anything.

[Speaking Belter]