Why is The Expanse Season 6 only six episodes long?

The Expanse Season 6 -- Courtesy of Shane Mahood/Amazon Prime Video
The Expanse Season 6 -- Courtesy of Shane Mahood/Amazon Prime Video /

The Expanse Season 6 is the shortest season to date. Why did the final season only get six episodes? We have an official answer.

We’d heard rumors, but it wasn’t until we got an official premiere date that we got the truth. The Expanse Season 6 would get just six episodes to finish the story. It was a disappointing blow, but at least we were getting the final season in 2021.

Of course, there was always the question about why the final season was so short. The show’s bosses have spoken, and it comes down to two things.

The Expanse Season 6 is an expensive season

According to Gizmodo, the decision to cut the season down from 10 to six was an Amazon and Alcon Television thing. It pretty much came down to the budget available.

We know that the series isn’t a cheap one to make. That’s part of the reason Syfy canceled it back in the third season. Amazon was able to pick it up because it has deeper pockets, especially when it comes to a show that is successful globally and not just in the United States.

However, the cost of the sixth season was big. Amazon and Alcon Television asked if the season could be reduced to six episodes. The Expanse bosses took a look at the plan knowing that 10 or eight episodes would be doable, but would six? With some changes, it was.

The biggest changes are some of the storylines that needed to be cut. We won’t get as much Pastor Anna and Prax as was the original plan.

The pandemic was slightly to blame for The Expanse Season 6 being shortened

Showrunner Naren Shankar and Ty Franck both also discussed how the pandemic was partly to blame. Amazon still wanted the show to arrive in December 2021. The only way to make that possible was to reduce the season order.

Six episodes could be completed at the start of the year. Eight or 10 episodes would have meant pushing the season into 2022.

And yes, it was because of the pandemic that filming became a problem. Filming was put on hold in 2020 and most shows didn’t start filming again until January 2021, especially when it came to the streaming shows. So, The Expanse Season 6 had to get through some major and expensive moments in a shorter space of time than normal.

The good news is the series finale is supersized. It’s a 75-minute (ish) episode instead of the usual hour.

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What did you think of the first episode of The Expanse Season 6? What would you like to see in the final episodes? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Expanse Season 6 airs Fridays on Amazon Prime Video.