To say The Expanse had one hell of a run over its six seasons is an understatement. Three seasons on the Syfy channel, cancelled by Syfy and then outraged fans petitioned another network to pick-up the series.
Just when things were looking grim, in steps Jeff Bezos of Amazon who was a big fan of the series and saves The Expanse. With that save, fans get three more seasons of the show. Whew!
One constant through all of the madness was the work of Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala. We’ve seen that character grow and evolve from the beginning of the series to its recent finale.
We had the chance to sit down with Shohreh to talk about her characters journey, what message she would like the fans to take from the series and if she thinks there will be more of The Expanse.
Pop Culture Principle – We see your character Avasarala evolve and change during the course of the six seasons of The Expanse. Do you feel that the evolution of this particular character shows that people truly can change?
Shohreh Aghdashloo – Absolutely! When I received the first episode of Season Six, it was obvious that she was on her way to change. For me, it seemed inevitable that it would happen. For myself in real life, I am aging, and my interpretations of certain events and things has changed tremendously. It’s like you are wearing different glasses when you are looking at the world.
With Avasarala, there are other events in her life that brings her to the point that change is inevitable. When we first me her, we find out that she is from a very rich family, she lives in a 24,000 square foot mansion and her knowledge exceeds her rank. She knows everybody in the political world by their rank and names. I was so surprised when I read her description in the book that she knows who is dating who and who is sleeping with who.
This character is a spoiled, rich rat in the political world. When we first me her, she has lost her son to a nonsense war. Yes, she has suffered, but not the way that she will suffer years later when she loses her beloved husband, her family, her job and her home and she is stranded in the universe. That inevitably will make her feel for other people in the universe. I trusted her when she started learning to listen and when she started feeling for people. She was a shrewd politician who learned her lesson that all cases are not the same and that she needs to be more understanding. She needed to be a people’s politician by telling people the truth, otherwise she would have to kiss her career goodbye and go home.
Pop Culture Principle – An interesting dynamic was the one between Avasarala and James Holden. He resigns from the Transport Union and Belter leader Camina Drummer lands the job. Is there resentment on her part for him doing this, but at the same time, realizing that this may be the correct move for her?
Shohren Aghdashloo – You are absolutely right. Even if her stoic face does not show it, deep down she knows that Holden is on her side and Holden is kind of like her son and that Holden would not betray her. He hasn’t done anything to make her believe that he is a liar or a betrayer. He has always been on her side trying to protect her and that is why she understands that he has a point and that she should listen to him.
Pop Culture Principle – Many fans weren’t thrilled that the final season only consisted of six episodes. Do you see this as a double-edged sword meaning, you get to finish the story of The Expanse, but you had to pack a lot in those final episodes as opposed to spreading the final season out over more episodes? Do you feel your character’s story had a good resolution?
Shohren Aghdashloo – Yes. There was revision after revision after revision. The writers were trying to make the final season something that every fan would be satisfied with, and I think they have succeeded.
Pop Culture Principle – One of the reasons The Expanse stands out is for its very diverse cast. Representation is so important in Hollywood today. Would you agree that this show was one of the best when it comes to diversity and representation?
Shohren Aghdashloo – What amazes me is the fact that these novels were written 15-20 years ago and that the engineer would have been a male. Now, Naomi is the engineer and these genius, visionaries Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck gave it serious thought and created so many roles for females in key positions. In the future, men and women have to work together shoulder to shoulder no matter what. Women have proven that they can work as hard as anyone else and they are here to help us all!
Pop Culture Principle – Once viewers finish watching The Expanse as a whole, what lessons if any would you like viewers to take away from watching this series?
Shohren Aghdashloo – I have a feeling that no matter what, the viewers will get the message. Whether they get the message subconsciously or consciously. The series has received amazing reviews, but my favorites have come from real scientists. If we are not careful with our oceans and our air, throwing trash into our oceans and throwing trash everywhere, this is what we are going to get in the future if we are not careful. It’s hard to bring such important issues to the masses. Eventually, we are going to have to come to our senses and realize that things like global warming are not a joke. We all need to come together, come to our senses, and protect our planet. 😊
Shohren Aghdashloo – Honestly, yes it does! I had not heard this before, but if they are calling The Expanse one of the greatest science fiction series ever, I do not only agree with them, but I am so grateful for what they are saying. 😊
We were all so happy when the show started airing on Amazon. With all due respect, we were all happy to make the series when it was on Syfy, but this show is about the people of the world, therefore it should be shown to the people of the world, but it didn’t really happen until we went to Amazon. That is when I started seeing comments and messages from people from around the world.
Pop Culture Principle – Obviously, the question is do you feel this is the actual end of The Expanse or are you hoping that maybe the show may continue in the near future via new seasons or movies?
Shohren Aghdashloo – Well, to be honest with you, of course I am hoping there will be more of The Expanse in some way. There are ideas about either doing another three seasons for books seven, eight and nine or since those books on their own sound like one book, we can turn them into a movie longer than two hours, something like Blade Runner. By the way, the production company of The Expanse also made Blade Runner, so they could easily turn it into a movie if they wanted to.
But, although no one is saying anything, when you ask them the question as to what will happen next, they give you that mysterious look and tell you we don’t know yet or we will see what happens or they are talking about it, which tells me that something may be cooking, and they won’t tell us. It’s either the movie or another three seasons and I am willing to bet on that! 😊
Shohren Aghdashloo – To be honest, I am most proud of the continuity of this series and the characters. I’ll give you an example. In Season One, Avasarala is lying on the roof gazing at the stars and her grandson joins her. He asks her if she is afraid of the rocks and she tells him that she isn’t afraid of the rocks, but afraid of the people who throw the rocks. This continues to seasons five and six where she is now dealing with the people who are throwing the rocks.
The continuity of the series is immaculate and it’s very important for a series that is on the air for a while. I took my character to bed with me every night. When we were shooting the series, I didn’t party and lived in a small condo in Toronto and that was it. It was Avasarala, The Expanse and then home. Home, Avasarala and then The Expanse and I did this because I didn’t want to lose the continuity of the character.
A huge thank you to Shohren Aghdashloo for taking the time to talk with us about all things The Expanse. You can catch the final season of the series on Prime Video now!
**All photos courtesy of Amazon Studios**