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'The Expanse' Season 6: Everything you need to know about the final season

Steven Strait as Jim Holden and Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata in Season 5 of "The Expanse."
Holden and Naomi share a drink on Luna after ... not dying in Season 5 of "The Expanse." (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

This absolutely will contain spoilers for The Expanse. If you haven't watched through Season 5 already, get to it! (And stop reading now.)

The penultimate season of The Expanse — the sci-fi new classic series that began life with three seasons on SYFY before being unceremoniously canceled and then resurrected by Amazon Prime Video — has come and gone. Season 5 is history.

So let's turn to Season 6 of The Expanse.

Most of the main stars will return for Season 6. That includes Steven Strait as James Holden and Dominique Tipper as space badass Naomi Nagata. It includes Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala, and Wes Chatham as Amos Burton. And we'll see Frankie Adams back as former Martian Marine Sgt. Bobbie Draper. There are a few other faces we have a pretty good idea are returning, and suffice to say we'll find some new characters along the way as well.

So let's dive into it. Here's everything we know about Season 6 of The Expanse. That includes the release date, plot, episodes and more. 

What happened so far?

Trying to explain The Expanse in just a few sentences is not easy. I've tried. (It also makes you sound slightly insane.) We're talking multiple plot lines among three major factions of humanity — Earthers, Martians, and Belters.

But here goes:

  • Season 1: The new crew of a salvaged Martian frigate Roscinante and a space station detective looking for a missing woman separately discovery a secret plot to weaponize a mysterious blue space goo dubbed "protomolecule." Lots of people die.
  • Season 2: The fight over the protomolecule continues. The detective finds the missing woman covered in the blue goo, which is used as an experiment on hapless residents of a space station on the asteroid Eros. The goo takes control of the asteroid and threatens to fly into Earth. But it disappears into Venus instead. Meanwhile, Earth and Mars are about to go to war. Lots of people die.
  • Season 3: Remember that asteroid that flew into Venus? It emerges as a giant mechanical squid thing, then turns into an alien ring gate, but it doesn't seem to want to let anyone through. Meanwhile, the detective who died when asteroid crashed into Venus reappears as "The Investigator" and guides the Roscinante safely through the ring, but the ring now threatens to end all life in the known galaxy. They stop that from happening, but lots of people die anyway.
  • Season 4: Colonization is now happening on the other side of the ring gate. But that damned protomolecule is back and threatens to kill everyone, again, if the corporate scientists don't kill the prospectors first. The Investigator turns into a mechanical bird thing and saves the day. Lots of people die.
  • Season 5: An old Belter terrorist who has ties to one of the crew on the Roscinante is forming his own navy and flinging large rocks covered in Martian stealth tech at Earth, killing millions and causing massive environmental destruction. The Roscinante crew is split up, with one on Earth, another on Mars, a third looking after the ship — and the fourth trying to rescue her son from her son's father, who happens to be the Belter terrorist, who has teamed up with Mars to take down Earth once and for all. Lots of people die.

Will there be a Season 6 of 'The Expanse'?

Yes, there will be a sixth season of The Expanse. We know this because Amazon told us so back in November 2020.

“From the moment we committed to bringing this show to life up until this final season, we have worked tirelessly to honor the vision of the writers," Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, Co-CEOs and Co-Founders of Alcon Television Group, and Executive Producers of The Expanse, said in a press statement. "We have prided ourselves on having one of the most diverse casts on television and giving a platform to stories that matter."

Production of Season 6 of The Expanse reported was to begin in late January 2020.

Frankie Adams and Bobbie Draper and Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala in Season 5 of "The Expanse."

Frankie Adams (left) as Bobbie Draper and Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala finally will officially work together in Season 6 of "The Expanse." (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

When will 'The Expanse' Season 6 drop on Amazon?

We don't know when to expect Season 6 of The Expanse. These things take time to shoot, of course — and this will be the first season entirely in the era of COVID-19.

That said, it stands to reason that if production really did begin in January, it's entirely possible we could see another December release, with the series wrapping up in early 2022. 

Stay tuned for more on that front.

Wes Chatham as Amos and Nadine Nicole as Clarissa Mao in Season 5 of "The Expanse."

Amos (Wes Chatham) and Clarissa Mao (Nadine Nicole) made it out of prison and lived happily ever after on board the Roscinante. (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

What characters will be back for 'The Expanse' Season 6?

We know that most of the core cast will return. Holden and Naomi (Strait and Tipper)  have been reunited with themselves, and with crewmate Amos (Chatham). He's brought along an old friend — Clarissa Mao, whom he rescued from a maximum security prison that was destroyed when the rocks hit the Earth.

We know that Avasarala (Aghdashloo) should be back, too — and newly reinstalled as the UN General Secretary. And she finally has Bobbie Draper (Adams) officially working for her.

And terrorist Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) is still on the loose, having destroyed the fleet protecting the ring gate. And now he's got Mars officially on his side.

Not returning is Fred Johnson (Chad L. Coleman), who was killed earlier in Season 5.

And definitely not returning is Roscinante pilot Alex Kamal. Actor Cas Anvar was accused on sexual misconduct in the summer of 2020. After a third-party investigation, it was announced that he would not be returning to the show. His character wasn't originally supposed to die in Season 5, so there was a good bit of mystery about how that would be handled. In the end it was abrupt, but also done in a way that paid tribute to the character. Chances are the memory of Alex will be alive in Season 6, though Anvar is persona non grata.

One dark horse who may return could be Thomas Jane, who played Detective Joe Miller and The Investigator in the first four seasons. While his characters are believed to be dead, Jane was around for Season 5 — serving as director for an episode.

Does that mean Miller or The Inspector might be back for Season 6 of The Expanse? One can hope.

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Thomas Jane sitting in Fred Johnson's seat in Season 5 of "The Expanse."

Thomas Jane sitting in Fred Johnson's seat in Season 5 of "The Expanse." The hat keeps the rain off his head. (Image credit: Amazon Studios)
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Director Thomas Jane holds court in an episode of Season 5 of "The Expanse."

Director Thomas Jane holds court in an episode of Season 5 of "The Expanse." (Image credit: Amazon Studios)
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Director Thomas Jane and Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala) have a drink on set of Season 5 of "The Expanse."

Director Thomas Jane and Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala) have a drink on set of Season 5 of "The Expanse." (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Is there a trailer for 'The Expanse' Season 6?

We don't yet have a trailer for Season 6 of The Expanse, because it would have only just begun production. We'll include it here once we have one.

In the meantime, here's the trailer for Season 5, for old time's sake.

How many episodes will 'The Expanse' Season 6 have?

We don't know how many episodes Season 6 of The Expanse will have.

Let's hope Amazon goes for about 15.