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The Expanse - Cas Anvar discusses the season 3 finale, what lies ahead for the Roci, and fan appreciation

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For fans eagerly awaiting the two-hour season finale of The Expanse, Cas Anvar, who plays Alex Kamal on the sci-fi drama, tells fans it’s probably a good idea for them to invest in saran wrap as the series’ final episode on Syfy, airing Wednesday at 9 p.m., will blow their minds. Here's what he had to say about the season 3 finale, what challenges lie ahead for the Roci in season 4 and how the fans saved the series from cancellation.

What you tease about the season 3 finale?

I’ve been saying this show…it really lives up to the title of being a space opera in the sense that it is an epic story that literally, I think, goes in movements like a symphony. In my opinion, the first movement was seasons 1, 2, and 3, and so the first movement of The Expanse will be coming to a close with the season 3 finale and it opens up the second movement of the huge space opera with season 4. I think you’re going to get a lot of questions answered by the finale, but you’re going to get even more questions aft. There are going to be as many things you don’t understand and need to know that come out of the finale, as you do get things resolved and understanding.

Are viewers going to get any answers about what exactly the protomolecule is?

Season 3 has been all about the discovery of the protomolecule: What it is, where it came from, who’s behind it. So you are going to have a much better understanding of what this protomolecule thing is. Is it biological? It is chemical? Is it mechanical? Is it mechanical? Is it intelligent? Is it sentient? Where’s it from? You’re going to have a much better understanding of it by the time we get to the end of season 3, but by no means will you understand everything. There’s just so much more story to follow in Book 4, Book 5, Book 6 that have not yet been told. There will be some very dramatic moments that it has been building up to for three seasons.

What do you enjoy most about playing Alex?

I love Alex. Alex and me are good friends. We share a lot in common. I love Alex’s sense of humor. I love his kind of laidback, kind of wisecracking ass. I love that he’s kind of normal. Everyone else’s backstories are so dark and traumatic and kind of like superhero origins, and Alex is a regular guy. He’s a family man. He’s been married; he’s got a kid. He loves to cook lasagna. He loves the new family he’s found on the Roci, and that is the most important thing to him. I love his kind of downhome-rooted, kind of earthiness and the fact he tries not to take things too seriously. Whenever things get really stressed out and scary, he tries to crack jokes to make his way through it. There’s not a lot of that in the series, and that’s how we are. We, as humans, make jokes when we’re stressed out, and so I do that; when I’m stressed out, I crack jokes.

What exactly makes this show so special?

What makes this show special is a long list. It is one of the most realistic, gritty, real science fictions show ever to hit television. We put so much real science into the show…and that you will not find in a lot of science fiction TV shows. There’s not a lot of real science in there. It’s all kind of science fiction-y science; it’s all kind of made up. We take great pride in that. We have made space a character in our show. The character is an obstacle to every single person on the show because space is trying to kill us, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year…It’s trying to destroy every piece of life in the solar system. By respecting that and honoring that and writing that into the story, we create a lot of drama, a lot of suspense, a lot of tension, and that’s very unique to The Expanse.

Where do the characters end up at the end of the season?

Jaw-dropped, wide-eyed, mind-blown, just like the rest of you guys are going to be. You see that Naomi’s coming back, which is about bloody time. Alex has missed the hell out of her. The Rocinante crew is not the Rocinante crew with Naomi. She provides the missing piece of the morality and the intellect. She’s incredibly smart and astute and intuitive, and we need that because we don’t have that. Everyone has their place on the Roci, and that’s hers. She’s like a morality compass and an intuition radar.

What would you like to see happen to Alex in season 4?

Alex has grown a lot in the last three years. I think he’s finally become the pilot he was meant to be. He always viewed himself as a bit of failure, almost a glorified bus driver. He kind of saw himself as a failure of a husband, a failure as a father, a failure as a Martian. He didn’t get of those things right and it’s because he didn’t know who he was. He didn’t know what his purpose in the universe was. He finally sat down in the Rocinante, and all of a sudden, he fell into place. He found his family in the crew of the Rocinante, and he realized who he was, what he was meant to do. Once he found that family, he was damned if anything or anyone was going to take it away from him. That ship and that crew created his identity.

So over a period of two seasons he had grown so much, matured so much. Finally in season 3, he gained the confidence and the maturity to finally deal with the family he left back on Mars, which he had been avoiding because of his fear and insecurity and not knowing who he was. Everyone on the Canterbury was there in season 1 because they were running from something. Everyone on the Canterbury was broken, in some way, shape, or form, and Alex was no exception to that. He slowly has been trying to put himself together, fix himself, and figure out who he is. Now he knows he’s meant to that fighter pilot. He knows he’s meant to be the heart and soul, that glue of the Rocinante crew, keeping it together. He knows he was not meant to be a dad or a husband. It was unfair to them, it was unfair to him. I think in season 4, because Alex has grown so much…I would love for him to somehow be able to make peace with that. He’s left a lot of people devastated, and he’s left a lot of people in pain, and he’s left a lot people, kind of like their lives have been shattered. Alex is not the kind of guy who would want to leave that kind of mess behind him. I would love if Alex could somehow try to clean up the mess that he’s made.

What was it like finding out the series had been canceled?

Devastating, heartbreaking, completely blindsided. We’re talking about a show that’s getting rave reviews and amazing responses. So the last thing in the world any of us were really expecting was that it would be canceled without even a warning. We were all caught with our jaws dropped. It was devastating. We had our last little meeting. We all hugged and kissed and cried and took our little souvenirs from the production office and went home. I don’t know; I just couldn’t accept it. I started reading Book 4, and I saw where we were headed in the storyline, and I’m like, ‘Oh man! We can’t stop now.’”

We’re not even at the climax. Season 3, as mind blowing as it is, is not even the top of the amazing hill that James S. A. Corey has written for us. There’s just so much more awesome to come, and I couldn’t accept it. Then I talked to (the others), and I got this vibe that nobody wanted this show to go. So I said to myself, ‘Ok then, let’s just fix that.’ So I started talking to the fans, and I started giving them a focus. I started giving them directions, and I started telling them how they can have impacted. They were going crazy and going in a bunch of different directions. They were pumping out energy like crazy in all different directions, and I went and did my research and found out here’s where you want to focus your energy, here’s what’s going to move this mountain. So I sent the information to the fans, and they just devoured it like a well-oiled machine, a like an army of loyal and devoted maniacal ninjas, and they just went to town. They literally broke the internet. They moved a mountain. They cracked a glacier. They made this huge monolith shift, and what was dead and buried found a home. We couldn’t be more grateful. People were astounded when the announcement came. They couldn’t believe when it happened. They’d already started tearing down the sets, believe it or not.

Anything you would like to say to the fans?

All I can say is, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you to all you fans who poured your passion out there in that social media firestorm. You can without a doubt know the only reason you’re getting a season 4, and hopefully a season 5 and a season 6, the only reason is because of you guys. You made it happen. Amazon heard you and listened to you…The fans are the ones who moved this mountain, so thank you for that. We love you.’”

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