Just days after the Syfy channel announced it was canceling “The Expanse,” sparking a fan campaign to save the space opera, The Hollywood Reporter says Amazon Studios is in talks to keep the show going into a fourth season.
Variety and Deadline said they confirmed the report with their sources. But all three news outlets quoted sources as saying a deal had not yet been closed, and Amazon Studios said the reports were still speculative.
“We are have not confirmed anything about ‘The Expanse’ yet,” Tammy Golihew, director of publicity for Amazon Studios, told GeekWire in an email.
“The Expanse,” based on the popular James S.A. Corey series of science-fiction novels, tells the story of interplanetary conflicts involving Earth, Mars and other players including the asteroid belt’s rebellious “Belters.”
The saga is said to be one of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ favorites. The Hollywood Reporter quoted unnamed sources as saying Bezos was livid when the show, produced and financed by Alcon Television Group, went to NBC Universal’s Syfy network in 2014.
Amazon Studios holds North American streaming-video rights to the first three seasons, and Netflix has international rights. The Hollywood Reporter said the fact that those companies were tapping into the show’s revenue streams “put additional pressure for the show to perform on its linear network,” implying that the arrangement may have contributed to Syfy’s decision to cancel after the third season ends in June.
Word of the cancellation was greeted with a #SaveTheExpanse push on social media that included pleas for Amazon to pick up the show.
— The Expanse Writers (@TheExpanseWR) May 18, 2018
— Airads Worldwide (@airadsworldwide) May 15, 2018
Bezos and other executives have been pushing Amazon Studios to come up with sci-fi/fantasy franchises on a par with HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
That’s led to a series of development deals involving classics ranging from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” (yes, again) to Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash,” Larry Niven’s “Ringworld,” Iain M. Banks’ Culture series and Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle” — plus an anthology series titled “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.”
Update for 10 a.m. PT May 22: We’ve added the emailed statement from Amazon Studios.