Of the laundry list of shows and projects that Syfy is currently developing, the one we’re most excited about has to be The Expanse. The prospect of an adaptation of James S.A. Corey’s Leviathan series is a legitimately exciting one, and while the network’s track record is spotty to say the least, we can’t help but be optimistic about this one. Not only is the story and subject full of potential, but they’re also in the process of putting together a strong cast, including two more new additions.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Shohreh Aghdashloo (X-Men: The Last Stand) and Steven Strait (Magic City) have both signed on for the deep space mystery thriller. They join Thomas Jane (Punisher), who climbed on board early last month. The two newcomers may not be household names, but they bring a lot of clout and prestige. Aghdashloo won an Emmy and has been nominated for an Academy Award, and Strait has been working steadily over the last few years, increasing his profile and strengthening his resume.
Strait actually landed the lead role in The Expanse, and will play the protagonist James Holden. He is the captain of the ship, a former water miner with a natural ability to lead, though a reluctance to do so. According to the report, he “will soon have no choice when he is drawn into a dangerous plot.” Should The Expanse be a success, expect to see Strait become the public face of the series.
Aghdashloo is set to play Chrisjen Avasarala, who is described as a “smart and passionate member of a political family legacy who has risen high in the ranks of Earth’s governing body without once standing for election.” In what may be a departure from the story as it exists on the page, Avasarala is apparently a major figure, but not until the second book, Caliban’s War. This could indicate serious changes from the source material, but we’ll have to wait and see.
The Expanse is set 200 years in the future and is framed as a mystery of a young woman who goes missing, only she’s on a spaceship, so she can only have gone so far or disappeared to so many place. A grizzled detective (Jane) and the ship’s rogue captain (Strait) have to work together to solve the whodunit and unveil the biggest conspiracy the human race has ever come up with in the process.
Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, who have worked on notable titles like Iron Man and Children of Men, are writing The Expanse, which adds to our optimism a bit. And the fact that Syfy bypassed the pilot process and ordered ten episodes also seems like a good sign. At least they seem to like what they’ve seen thus far. Season one will debut in 2015, and supposedly will follow the first book, Leviathan Wakes, though with the Aghdashloo casting that could be more up in the air than we expected.