Cas Anvar had a premonition that something good was going to happen that night.
He shouldn't have been in a chipper mood. He and most of the cast of SyFy's The Expanse were at a table at the Governors' Dinner during the National Space Society's International Space Development Conference in late May, just two weeks after .
But also at the dinner was Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who was set to receive the society's Gerard K. O'Neill Memorial Award for Space Settlement Advocacy. Anvar had hit it off with Bezos earlier in the evening and had the cast and producers autograph an origin comic book the actors used to prepare for their roles, which he hand-delivered to Bezos.
Shortly after that, Bezos went up on stage. "I just got word The Expanse was saved," he said, to thunderous applause.
Amazon picking up The Expanse from SyFy capped off a furious campaign by fans that included hiring a plane with a #SaveTheExpanse banner flying over Amazon's Seattle headquarters, cakes being delivered by fans, and support from the likes of George R.R. Martin. It's another instance where a show with a devoted fan base sees second life on a streaming-video service.
"Even now, thinking about it gives me goose bumps," Anvar said in an interview ahead of the show's season finale, which airs Wednesday night on SyFy. "It just goes to show you, you have power. 100 percent of this show is back because of the fans."
Anvar, who plays the Martian-born Alex Kamal, the pilot of the Rocinante, talked to CNET about the show's finale and its life as an Amazon show. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.
Warning: There are spoilers if you're not caught up with the show.
Q: What can we expect tonight?
Anvar: Well, I can't say, since that would be telling. But you will be blown away by the finale. This closes one chapter, and Season 4 is almost like a new story.
Let's talk about Season 4. How will the show be different under Amazon?
Anvar: Let's be fair to SyFy. It really is the show that's in the books.
With Amazon, we'll have more freedom. We're not restricted on time -- gotta fill that 47 minutes; gotta have commercial breaks; cliffhangers have to happen in a way that a commercial-driven TV show demands.
This can be like a one-hour movie -- 5 minutes longer or 2 minutes shorter, it doesn't matter.
(Chrisjen) Avasarala (played by actress Shohreh Aghdashloo) will be let off the chain. It's hard to get the real Avasarala in a show controlled by the TV code.
What was it like to hear that Amazon had saved your show?
Anvar: It was probably one of the coolest experiences in my life. That shit never happens, where all the things align and all the things that you want to happen actually happen.
What's the elevator pitch to people unfamiliar with The Expanse?
Anvar: "Game of Thrones in space" is accurate because it's based on epic novels and it's multiple story lines happening simultaneously that interweave.
If you like hard-core science fiction -- with real balls-to-the-wall science in it, this is the show for you. There's award-winning writing. We've got spectacular special FX and award-winning material we've been drawing from. It's a killer creative team.
What's the tech you can't live without?
Anvar: I'm grafted to my phone. But I'm a big fan of tech and love exploring and discovering new tech that's out there.
What does the best pilot in the solar system play in his downtime?
Anvar: I'm a big RPG fan. My favorite game is the Last of Us, and I'm waiting for Last of Us 2. I'm a big Skyrim fan, Mass Effect, Fallout and I'm partial to Assassin's Creed (he voices Altair ibn-La'Ahad in Assassin's Creed: Revelations).
Any guest stars you want to see?
Anvar: Rainn Wilson is a buddy of mine, and he came in big helping us save the show. Greg Grunberg, who's in every J.J. Abrams film, hard-core supported the show. Wil Wheaton would be great. He's friends with the authors (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck).
As the chef aboard the Rocinante, what's your favorite Martian meal?
Anvar: Lasagna is obviously an old standby. My stroganoff looked pretty good. I'm going to come up with a new recipe in Season 4. Maybe some boysenberry cobbler.
It'd be pretty hard to get the ingredients for that in space.
Anvar: I got it.
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