'The Expanse' Books & TV Show Have Some Differences, But The Original Themes Stay In Tact

Syfy's highly anticipated premiere of The Expanse is surely exciting, but did you know that the show is based on a series of novels? It joins Childhood's End as the second Syfy show to use literature as the source material, and since popular opinion always believes that "the book is better," I'm curious to see how The Expanse book and TV show compare.

Originally a series of novels written by James S.A. Corey (which is a pen name for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), The Expanse is set 200 years in the future and follows the adventures of humankind that now not only inhabits Earth, but Mars, Saturn, and a belt of asteroids that encircles all of the "inner planets" as well. The division has caused each society to evolve differently, and the tension that exists between them is on the brink of escalation, according to the on-the-nose title cards that introduce the set-up during the opening scenes of the show.

The premise for the show, which premieres Monday night at 10 p.m., is certainly titillating, but how does it compare to the original novels? Here's what you should know about Syfy's adaptation.

Chrisjen Avasarala Appears Later In The Novels

In an interview with Bustle, Shohreh Aghdashloo explained that her character, U.N. Deputy Undersecretary of Executive Administration Chrisjen Avasarala, does not actually appear in the books until later on. The decision to incorporate her character into the first season of the television show was because "the writers wanted to have this character in the first season, they borrowed bits and pieces from other books to bring her into the first season." On her part, Aghdashloo was thrilled to see such a complex, powerful female character on television.

The Themes Translate To TV

In an interview with Blastr last July, writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck discussed how the themes in their novels will remain true to those depicted throughout the TV series, especially the fact that the show deals heavily with fictional technology. "The basic argument we’re making about humanity is going to hold true whether the imaginary tech is a super-efficient fusion drive or a wormhole gate," Abraham said.

You can count on the book's many themes translating well to the screen because Abraham and Franck paired with the duo behind sci-fi thriller Children of Men, Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby, to craft the screenplay. In a feature for Barnes and Noble, Franck and Abraham detailed how the four of them decided that they wanted to maintain the book's diverse characters for the television series, and emphasize the race relations between the people of different planets that are prominent in the novels.

The Stories Stay Loyal

Just as in the novels, The Expanse is set in the 23rd century. Mankind has colonized parts of the solar system, with the focus mainly on three parts: Earth, which is under the control of the U.N.; Mars, which has been colonized and operates beneath an independent, militaristic rule; and parts of the asteroid belt. The first season of the series follows the investigation into the disappearance of an heiress on Earth, the political maneuvering by the U.N., and the impending revolution by the "belters," who serve the remainder of the universe with their resource-mining and harvesting. As told by the title cards, the worlds are on the brink of war.

While plot details and characters are bound to diverge from the source material as The Expanse unfolds, I'm looking forward to seeing how it maintains Abraham and Franck's themes in this medium.

Images: Rafy/Syfy (4)