Okay, so despite running for only 1 minute and 37 seconds, there are a TON of things going on in Syfy’s first trailer for what they’re calling their “most ambitious project” to date: a 10-episode TV adaptation of James S. A. Corey’s The Expanse. Let’s look a little closer, shall we? (Oh, and, I’ll try to keep the spoilers light).
The TV show is shaping up to be much more expansive than the book itself. I mean, I don’t even know half the characters that appeared in this trailer. Plus, it seems that the television series is going to cover four story threads (one for Holden, one for Miller in the Belt, one for Avasarala on Earth, and one for “MISC” characters everywhere else, Mars included), whereas the book is told only with two perspectives, that of Holden and Miller.
I’m all right with this; in fact, this is exactly what I was hoping for. Television is a different storytelling medium than prose. I’d even go as far to say that it’s my favorite medium–it’s restrictive (budget, commercials) yet liberating (more than 2-3 hours to tell the story you want to tell).
But I guess that’s a post for another day. Right now, I want to take a closer look at the trailer itself, and try to parse the frames which stand out to me, as a fan of not only the books, but also the television show to come.
(Keep in mind that everything below is my own interpretation/theories about what’s happening. I’m probably completely off-base, but speculation leads to discovery, and discovery leads to . . . I don’t know, cupcakes?)
Also, I apologize in advance for the bad quality of the images. My computer takes screenshots as well as . . . I don’t know, a cupcake?
ALSO: These screenshots were taken from the very first version of the trailer released, meaning it’s not “color-corrected.” By my understanding, it didn’t have the final approval of the cinematographer (Jeremy Benning, C. S. C.).
The trailer starts out with what seems like a mining drone transporting a block of ice to a station in the Belt–could also be part of the Canterbury. Most likely this scene will come really early in the show, seeing as how this is what Holden and Co. are doing as the story begins (book-wise). Side note: CGI is lookin’ nice.
Here’s our first look at in-character Steven Strait, as our hero James Holden. Very stoic here, seeing as how he’s about to be injected with those chemicals that are used to keep humans from exploding during high-G maneuvers. He’s just put something in his mouth to bite down on too; a nice, added touch that I don’t remember being present in the books.
Next comes Detective Josephus Aloisus Miller (Thomas Jane), the cynical foil to Holden’s idealism. Looks like he’s getting off a subway/train thingy (called “tubes”) I believe, most likely on Ceres. WHERE’S THE PORKPIE HAT?
EDIT: James S. A. Corey via AMA on Reddit: “The porkpie became so linked to Breaking Bad that we didn’t want to confuse people. Tom picked the hat he’s wearing. We did not argue with the Punisher on his choices.”
A sprawling, landscape portrait of Earth, as the voice-over indicates. Holden and Julie are both Earthers, but I’m pretty sure this sequence is referring to Julie, seeing as how the very next scene is . . .
This is no doubt the interior view of a ship, but of what ship, I can only guess. My money’s on the Rocinante, simply because of its cleanliness/sleek design. She’s a Martian gunner after all, and the Mars Congressional Republic have the shiniest toys.
The guy standing is probably Holden, and the one crouching next to him is, I’m guessing, Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar), the pilot. That would make the ones in the glowy pit Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) and Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper).
CERES! This has got to be Ceres Station. Looks like the lighting crew/cinematographer took a page out of Blade Runner–which is exactly what I had in mind when it was described in the book. Well, without the rain. You can see Detective Miller (dark figure in the right-center, with his hat on) approaching the stall in the bottom right.
Yep, zero-G sex. Why not? Although, I don’t know if this is even possible, seeing as how there’s no way for them to . . . how do I put this delicately? Okay, so when you take two cupcakes and squish them together . . . You know what, never mind. “FLOATING COITUS” -Jeremiah Holland, ASV Staff Writer
And there she is, the legendary Shohreh Aghdashloo, in full Chrisjen Avasarala garb. No idea who she’s talking to in this scene: a fellow UN administrator? Or possibly her husband–although their distance might suggest otherwise. That wall of yellow-ish cubicles behind them? A bleak-looking Earth building, probably; almost hive-like.
EDIT: Could be Paj, a crew member of the Cant. Credit to Edge.
A pissed-looking Holden. In the trailer, he’s pointing out the poor treatment of Belters by the Inner Planets. I’m guessing this scene is when he and the others are taken by the Donnager, a Martian frigate.
EDIT: Guy above is actually Detective Miller. The hair threw me off! Thanks to Edge for pointing this out.
EDIT: Woman in the picture above identified as Octavia Muss, a fellow detective. Thanks once again, Edge.
Ceres again, I think. Looks a tad grungy, and with the pipes/chutes coming out of the ceilings/walls, very reminiscent of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. What’s happening here? Probably a lock-down during a riot. Although now that I’m saying “lock-down,” it could be Eros.
Now this is definitely Ceres. You can see Holden’s face on the screen there, where a Belter has just thrown a rock through it. Those yellow bulbs in the top right corner? No idea. I like them, though.
Unknown #5. Seems to be rallying the Belters toward some rash action, though. In the background you can see the letters OPA–Outer Planets Alliance. Also, note the cool voice-amplification necklace thing.
Unknown #6. Obviously not in a comfortable situation. I think, think, THINK that the actor is Joe Delfin. If that’s the case, then this guy is Heikki Sobong, a character that did not appear in the books. OR, it’s Elias Toufexis. I’m not familiar with either actor (besides Toufexis being Adam Jensen from Deus Ex), so frankly, I’ve no idea. Either way, it looks like we’ll be getting a closer look at the gritty, underbelly of the Belt. Unless of course, this is on Earth, or Mars.
You can see the word NAVY on the right–probably Martian. I’m guessing this is the Roci, opening up its PDCs. Here’s another look at it:
AAAAAND here they are, the crew of the Rocinante, from left to right: Shed Garvey, Naomi Nagata, Amos Burton, Alex Kamal, and James Holden. And unless those red dots on their chests are futuristic necklaces, I’d say the crew is not in a pleasant situation.
Side note: Take a look at Amos’s and Holden’s left forearms. Those are probably the “hand terminals” used extensively in the books.
Soldiers! With red visors! How threatening. These guys are either Ceres Riot Police, Mars soldiers, or Protogen mercenaries with stolen Ceres Riot Police gear. Either way, those aren’t Super Soaker’s they’re holding.
EDIT: Ty Franck tweeted that this trailer was created from scenes from the first THREE episodes. Meaning, it’s very likely that these aren’t Protogen soldiers.
Okay, so we got some kind of Abe/Hellboy thing going on here. Is that the same guy as Unknown #6? And is that Avasarala looking at him? If that’s the case, then U6 is on Earth. Anymore than that I can’t say with any certainty.
Another ship. Could be a zoomed out view of the Rocinante, but it looks a little large/grand to be the relatively small Roci. Looks Martian though–follows the Rocinante‘s aesthetic–so my money’s on the Donnager?
EDIT: This guy IS in the books! Cpl. Dookie helps Holden and Co. escape the Donnager safely.
All in all, I think it’s looking good! It certainly seems a grade above the usual Syfy fare. But to be perfectly honest, I’m probably going to like/watch this no matter what. 😛
Bonus! Here’s a transcript of the trailer:
Unknown: May I ask you something? Do you miss Earth? Those endless blue skies? Free air everywhere, and open water all the way to the horizon? When you spend your whole life living under a dome, even the idea of an ocean is almost impossible to imagine.
Unknown: They are an entire culture, working together to turn a lifeless rock into a garden. We had a garden, and we paved it.
Unknown: Someday, things are going to change.
Holden: Earth and Mars have been stepping on the necks of the Belters out here, for over a hundred years.
Unknown: You want to be careful how far you want to take this. We’re all in this together.
Dawes: We are fighting for something precious here.
Unknown: They built their solar system on our backs. Spilt the blood of a million of our brothers. But in their eyes, we’re not even human anymore!
Unknown: Heaven help your enemies.
Avasarala: Heaven help us all.
Avasarala: Earth must come first.
McDowell: We made it all this way, so far out into the darkness . . . why couldn’t we have brought more light?