The Expanse Showed Us How to Kill Off Any Space Opera Character

The 5th season of The Expanse ended by killing off one of the main characters because the actor playing him had to be fired after he was accused of harassing and abusing several women. Instead of a spectacular death in a battle with explosions, the writers simply had him quietly die from a stroke after traveling at high speeds and enduring massive G-force. The show established that doing that can cause internal injuries and even a stroke. The latter was what happened. They didn't need to get the actor back for a reshoot. They simply used a take of him sitting in his chair and added a drop of blood coming out of his nose with CGI. They then reshot the ending scenes without him and had the rest of the characters talk about his funeral.

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Still from "The Expanse", Amazon Prime Video

To hardcore fans of The Expanse, both the show and the books, this was rather disappointing since Alex Kamal survives to show up in the rest of the novels. From a practical production point of view, this was rather brilliant. The series has a reputation for sticking to hard Science and how space travel affects the human body. It turns out that space has loads of ways to kill us. It also gave all writers of space operas a gift: you can now kill off any character just by giving them a stroke!

Really. Just think about it. It's established science that high-speed travel with major G-force can mess up the human body and kill someone by rupturing their organs or giving them a stroke, but The Expanse is the first show to do it. The same can apply to any and every space opera now: Star Wars, Star Trek, Blake's 7, Farscape, Red Dwarf, you name it! Any time the writers need to get rid of a character for whatever reason, they can just have them travel at extreme speed, including warp speed without protection, and Boom! Stroke! Dead! Deus ex Stroke! No need to write a big explosion or gunfight or blood splattering or a big dramatic death scene. They can just not get up from their chair! Done and dusted! The Star Wars franchise can now just say a certain character died off-screen from a stroke while flying through the warp. No one is going to dispute that. This is the beauty of Science Fiction – you can just use what's already around in real Science! The Expanse has shown us the way forward!

About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.

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