The Expanse at SDCC: Hawk Ostby and Wes Chatham

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At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Three if By Space had the pleasure of sitting down with some of the talented stars and show runners of one of television’s most anticipated, exciting new series, The Expanse. Set two hundred years into the future and almost completely in outer space, The Expanse is based on the book series by James S.A. Corey (aka co-authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank). SDCC attendees were able to screen the pilot episode of the series and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. When I say “overwhelmingly positive,” I mean it was voted one of this year’s biggest winners at Comic-Con 2015…people who sat through the screening tweeted relentlessly about how awed they were by it…people are saying it’s better than any space show in, like, forever. That kind of overwhelmingly positive. Listen to me: if you don’t watch The Expanse on SyFy (coming December 2015), you’ll officially no longer be one of the cool kids. (Okay, fine…you can still sit at our cool kids lunch table. But you’re NOT going to understand anything we’re talking about, because we’re all going to be talking about The Expanse.)

We were able to ask show writer Hawk Ostby about the process of how to take a series of superb books and translate them successfully into a series of superb TV shows. Not easy, he said, but fans of the books can breathe easy that (a) writers Abraham and Frank are both producers on the series and (b) every writer involved loved the books and were careful to honor their story. One thing Hawk pointed out in our interview was that both Abraham and Frank were in the writers’ room while the show was in development. Which is kind of breathtakingly refreshing, as it sort of breaks an unwritten rule of taking a book to screen. (As a writer, I’m pretty stinking excited about the fact they did this…it speaks volumes about exactly how much the show runners really cared about telling the story the right way.)

We were also able to speak a bit with actor Wes Chatham (Hunger Games) about his role as Amos Burton, Chief Engineer of the Rocinante. Wes describes his character as a complicated person who’s been through a lot of abuse in his life, to the extent it short-circuited his ability to empathize with other people. Yet Amos doesn’t want to continue the cycle of abuse he’s experienced, and so he works hard at doing the right thing, at being a good person. (I know at least three people exactly like this. I bet you know some, too.)

We were also able to ask both Ostby and Chatham if Earth really did ever colonize outer space, would they go live out there? Both had really thoughtful and interesting responses. Watch the video to hear what they said about that and then think about your own answer, because I have a feeling that’s what The Expanse will be doing to its viewers when it begins this December: making us think hard, and do a lot of self-reflection.

That’s the best kind of storytelling, by the way.

 

The Expanse will air on the SyFy Channel starting December 2015.

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Amy Samson