Credit: Rafy/Syfy

The Expanse may look a bit different with its move to Amazon for season 4. As showrunner Naren Shankar told us, some of the nudity and language that was not permitted on Syfy will be as open as the Ring gates now connecting our galaxy to 1,300 new inhabitable systems.

But what about how season 4 will actually look? Because now that those 1,300 inhabitable systems are out there waiting to explored, it’s only natural that season 4 — which will cover the fourth book in the series, Cibola Burn — go and explore one of them. In this exclusive concept art, we catch our first glimpse of Ilus, the battle ground between independent settlers, corporate security forces, and an alien technology that everyone is still struggling to understand.

The Expanse
Credit: North Front/Amazon Studios

“The story of Ilus is a classic Western in many ways,” says Shankar. “In the book, it reads like southwestern desert. It’s rugged, it’s a frontier, it’s a remote place. We keep talking about how the first European ships that came to Australia must have felt when they landed on that continent. We’re right in the process of scouting where we’re going to shoot this, and so wherever we end up shooting it, that’s what we’re really going for, is that sense of feeling like you’re truly in new territory that hasn’t set up —basically where persons have not been to before. Along with that, there’s not knowing how the biology and the flora and fauna are going to treat you. How is your body is going to react to these places where there are things that you never experienced before?”

In addition to dealing with unfamiliar nature, there are other concerns for the first people to explore this mysterious new world: “There are underlying issues of protocol and procedure and how that’s working in the Ring gates and all of the things that they discover.”

But while the book Cibola Burn takes place almost completely on Ilus, Shankar assures fans that the TV version will not abandon the other side of the Ring. “We’re not leaving Earth and Mars and the Belt behind,” he promises. (Spoken like a true inner.) Check out the exclusive season 4 concept art of Ilus above.

The Expanse
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