“I do think it’d be an excellent marketing opportunity to be the first show that shoots a scene in space,” said Chatham, who plays the role of a space jockey with a gruff exterior but a soft heart on the Amazon Prime Video series.
His comments came to light in a video documenting the “Expanse” cast’s visit to Blue Origin’s headquarters in Kent, Wash. That visit took place in March, but back then, all we had to go on were tweets from Chatham’s fellow actors. Today, Prime Video posted highlights from the visit to publicize next week’s Season 4 premiere. This’ll be the first season to have its first-run airing on Amazon, thanks in part to CEO Jeff Bezos’ intervention.
Bezos also owns the Blue Origin space venture, so it was an obvious move to have the “Expanse” cast and crew stop by during March’s tour of Amazon’s home territory. In addition to the show’s stars, the entourage included showrunner Naren Shankar as well as Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who are co-authors of the “Expanse” book series under the pen name James S.A. Corey.
The four-minute video clip focuses on the virtuous circle that connects real-world spaceflight with science fiction. Plenty of space scientists and engineers have said they were inspired by shows such as “Star Trek,” and Shankar said “The Expanse” returns the favor by sticking as close as it can to the realities of working in space.
“On more than one occasion, I have given Blue Origin videos to our VFX guys to say, ‘I want it to look like that,’ ” he said during a panel discussion organized for an audience of Blue Origin employees.
The cast members even had a chance to try out the seats in a mockup of Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital crew capsule. “This is way more comfy than the Roci,” said Cas Anvar, who plays the pilot of the fictional spaceship known as the Rocinante (Roci for short).
Chatham said he’d like to draw an even tighter circle around science fact and fiction. “We should have a swap day where we work on the rocket,” he said.
That led Franck to imagine a dark turn in a future plot. “What part of the rocket failed? It was the part installed by an actor,” he joked.
Blue Origin is planning to start putting people on its New Shepard suborbital spaceship sometime next year — and who knows? Maybe “The Expanse” will follow through on Chatham’s idea. It’s not as if the issue hasn’t come up before.
Last year, when Bezos told me and the world that “The Expanse” would be airing on Amazon Prime Video, I asked him whether the cast might like to take a ride on New Shepard. “I think they would,” Bezos said back then. “We talked about whether we should just film on location. That might drive the budget up a bit.”