Amazon Prime has released the first teaser for the upcoming fourth season of the beloved science fiction series,
is based on a series of novels by James S.A. Corey (the pen name for writing team Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), exploring interplanetary tensions that are breaking out all over a solar system long since colonized by humans—mostly between Earthers, Martians, and “Belters.
” Part mystery, part political thriller, part classic space opera, has earned almost nothing but praise from critics and its devoted fans alike, not just for its gripping storytelling, but also its excellent use of accurate physics. (‘s Rhett Allain has explored the physics of a spinning spacecraft and an accelerating spacecraft, among other topics.) The third season earned a rare 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes (seasons one and two earned 76% and 96%, respectively).
So it was something of a shock when SyFy cancelled the series after just three seasons, citing “restrictive distribution arrangements,” specifically, just first-run linear rights in the US. Per Deadline Hollywood, “That puts an extraordinary amount of emphasis on live, linear viewing, which is inherently challenging for sci-fi/genre series that tend to draw the lion’s share of their audiences from digital/streaming.”
Whatever. Fortunately, the production company, Alcon Entertainment, committed to shopping the show around to other networks, and its devoted fan base circulated an online petition (with over 100,000 signatures) to Netflix and Amazon. In the end, Amazon saved the show; no doubt it helped that CEO Jeff Bezos was also a fan.
Details about this long-awaited fourth season have been scant, although we know that the first episode is titled “New Terra.” It’s supposedly based on , the fourth novel in the series. The crew members aboard the Rocinante travel to Ilus, a colonial world where a dispute has broken out between Royal Charter Energy (RCE)—the corporation that claimed rights to the world—and the first settlers there. There are also surviving members of an alien civilization living there, who created the protomolecule that featured so heavily in the story arc of season three in particular.
This first teaser doesn’t add much information. We see a strange new desert world, the crew gearing up for a skirmish with REC security forces, and it looks like we’re in for some pretty exciting space battles and a certain number of casualties, judging by a haunting shot of bodies floating in the expanse of space. The final scene shows Royal Charter Energy security chief Adolphus Murtry (Burn Gorman), pointing his gun at an unseen foe: “I hope that answers your question.” I have many unanswered questions, but I’m happy to wait a few months for answers.
S4 debuts on Amazon Prime on December 13, 2019. That gives folks who have fallen behind a chance to catch up on this fantastic series.