Fans of sci-fi series the vastness have been patiently waiting for the highly anticipated fourth season. That wait is almost over. Amazon Prime just released the first full trailer for the new season, featuring the intrepid crew of the Rocinante venture to explore the many worlds beyond the Ring.
As we reported back in July when the first teaser came out, the vastness is based on a series of novels by James SA Corey (the pen name for writing team Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) that explore interplanetary tensions erupting all over a solar system—usually between Earthlings, Martians, and “Belters”—long since colonized by humans. Part mystery, part political thriller, part classic space opera, the vastness has received almost nothing but praise from critics and its devoted fans, not only for its gripping stories, but also for its excellent use of accurate physics. The third season earned a rare 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes (seasons one and two earned 76% and 96%), respectively.
So it was quite a shock when SyFy canceled the series, citing “restrictive distribution arrangements,” specifically only the first straight-line rights in the US. Fortunately, Amazon quickly stepped in to save the show.
Season 4 is supposedly based on Cibola Burnthe fourth novel in the series, marking a new direction of narrative as the crew of the Rocinante explores new worlds beyond the Ring Gate on a mission for the UN. Apparently, access to thousands of Earth-like planets has “caused a land storm and increased tensions between the opposing nations of Earth, Mars and the belt”. The ship’s first stop: Ilus, a colonial world where a dispute has broken out over the planet’s rich natural resources between Royal Charter Energy (RCE) – the company that claimed rights to the world – and the first settlers there.
This full-length trailer adds a few more details. Through a story in the clear raspy voice of Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), Undersecretary of the UN Executive Board, we learn that the UN initially sent a ship to Ilus to keep the situation under control. “The mission didn’t go as planned,” Avasarala notes dryly, as we see footage of a hole in the side of the ship and the ship crashing, scattering chunks across the planet’s desert terrain. The Rocinante The crew must find out exactly what is going on in this world outside the Ring, with instructions to evacuate the Belters and themselves immediately if the situation calls for it.
They are greeted on arrival at “New Terra” by Adolphus Murty (Burn Gorman), RCE’s head of security, who is not too friendly towards the Belter refugees: “There is no version of this where we have these squatters and murderers in leaving possession of this planet,” he says. The refugees are equally defiant: “This place is our only hope. We’re not giving up.”
Complicating things is the beginning of mysterious swarms – similar to dust storms, composed only of what appear to be tiny robots. “That’s protomolecule technology,” Rocinante Captain Jim Holden (Steven Strait) observes. †expanse fans may remember that an alien civilization created the protomolecule, which played a big part in season three.) There’s also evidence that several alien artifacts are “awakening” on the planet, perhaps in response to something Holden did. “I opened those gates, so I’m responsible for everything that comes in,” he says. Now the crew must figure out how to turn off whatever he turned on.
Season 4 of the vastness debuts on December 13, 2019 on Amazon Prime.
List image by YouTube/Amazon Prime