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The Expanse Season 3: Alex the Observer

The premiere episode of Syfy’s The Expanse was intense! I got teary-eyed a few times in this episode.  Once was when Alex (Cas Anvar) sent a video message to his family.  It was rare to see such a personal moment with the character and Anvar acted the hell out of that scene!  The other moment was close to the end when Chrisjen (Shohreh Aghdashloo) was saying goodbye to Coytar (Nick Tarabay) as she was getting into the racer ship.

I was lucky enough this past Wednesday to chat briefly with Anvar about the season three premiere before it aired that night.  He did hint at some more story arc for Alex this season, so I can look forward to that. What else is he excited about season 3? Let’s find out, shall we? Also, fans can see him in person at Big Apple Comic Con in New York this weekend! We discuss that briefly too. Enjoy!

Cas Anvar:          . . .  Now, I’m all yours. Let’s let the games begin.

TNE:      Yeah. So, The Expanse is premiering tonight. I just saw the premiere of it, I’m like, “Holy smokes!”. . . “Oh, my gosh!” Alex finally leaves a message for his family because it’s been a minute. So, is that –

Cas Anvar:          I have a question for you, when are you gonna air this?

TNE:      After it airs.

Cas Anvar:          After the episode, okay. . .

TNE:      Yeah. . . . Alex finally leaves a message. [I]s that a hint or foreshadowing that we will actually get to see his family? Even if it’s via a video call or something that’s happening on Mars, and we’re just seeing it from their perspective. Is there any hint to that?

Cas Anvar:          Let’s say Mars is a big component of the season for Alex. And he has been growing a lot over the past two seasons. He’s been changing and morphing and evolving. His family that he has developed on the Roci has had a really strong influence on him. And so, that’s what provoked the sudden and kind of spontaneous need for him to reach out and connect. You can tell it’s been on his mind. He’s brought it up in the past two seasons.

TNE:      Yes, yes, absolutely.

Cas Anvar:          He’s been thinking about it, and he’s been wanting to do something, and he hasn’t known what to do. And so, finally, because of the events of the past two seasons, finally, at the top of this one, he finally, as they say, ‘shits or get off the pot.’ Let’s just say that there is a lot for him to go through in this season.

TNE:      Awesome. Because he’s kind of like peripheral. [The show] kind of focuses a lot on Holden and then Chrisjen and then Bobby. But you’re kinda seeing what’s going on with Holden and then Naomi and all that stuff, kind of observing. And so, it’s nice to see that Alex gets kind of his own story arc this season[.]

Cas Anvar:          It’s part of his personality, actually. Alex is very private, and he’s very reserved, and he’s very – he doesn’t talk about his family with anyone. Some people kinda poke at him. Amos gets a little bit of information out of him and provoked him a couple of times. Bobby asks some questions. But there’s very little information. He doesn’t share everything. He keeps it very close to the chest. And he’s an observer, and he’s always helping other people. He’s always helping other people out of situations and helping calm the waters and keeping the new family together. But very rarely does he actually share. And part of that has to do with the crew that he’s with.

TNE:      True.

Cas Anvar:          [Laughs]They’re all very self-involved. And they’re all going through major kind of chaos and bedlam and maelstroms of their own, emotionally. No one’s really asking him any questions. So, he’s kinda just dealing with things in private. And now, he’s kinda gotten to a point where he actually has to do something about it.

THE EXPANSE -- "Iff" Episode 302 -- Pictured: (l-r) Steven Strait as Earther James Holden, Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal, Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata -- (Photo by: Rafy/Syfy)
THE EXPANSE — “Iff” Episode 302 — Pictured: (l-r) Steven Strait as Earther James Holden, Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal, Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata — (Photo by: Rafy/Syfy)

TNE:      Now, Naomi took it upon herself to provide the protomolecule to Fred Johnson without really –

Cas Anvar:          [Exclaims]What is up with that!?

TNE:      Do you think if she had at least discussed it with everyone – I felt like she tried to, but it wasn’t quite – you all were set on it. Do you think if you all had made the decision together that this wouldn’t – you all would not have tension right now?

Cas Anvar:          That’s kinda how the Roci works, right? It is not an autocracy. It is a democracy. And we vote on everything. And we voted. We discussed it, and we voted around the dinner table. And she was outvoted. So, it’s a huge breach. It is this huge breach of trust. It is a huge betrayal. She made a decision for all of us. So, there’s gonna be fallout, there’s gonna be consequences for that.

TNE:      Do you like the new name that the Roci has to go under now? I think it’s called – what is it? Cor – oh, my gosh. I went blank on it already. But it starts with a C.

Cas Anvar:          The Pinus Contorta. Hell, no!

TNE:      The Contorta, yeah. Contorta. Like contortion or whatever.

Cas Anvar:          It is and always will be the Rocinante.

TNE:      I hear that. I was like, “But the Roci sounds better.”

Cas Anvar:          Every time Alex has to look at that on the screen, he’s like, “Oh, God dammit! What’s with this?”

TNE:      So, from the trailers, it looks like Bobby [Draper] and Chrisjen [Avasarala] are gonna be interacting with you guys. So, how does it feel to finally interact with some of the other characters that have actually had their own story arcs up until this point, that you’ve actually just read scripts for. And you’ve kinda followed along [watching] and, of course, live tweeting the show. So, how does it feel to actually, finally, interact with them and just be part of that story arc[?]

Cas Anvar:          It’s very exciting to finally be able to kind of interact with the other leads in the show. We’re all friends. We all go out to dinner. And we all have fun with each other. And we all have gotten to know each other. But we haven’t gotten to work with everybody. And that was frustrating at times. I’ve been wanting to work with Shohreh for two, three years. And to finally get to be in the same set and interact with her was wonderful! And it’s very exciting.

TNE:      Now, you’ve at least interacted with [Shohreh Aghdashloo], you said, off set, but also, have you – in between takes, have you actually gone to her set and seen her film scenes or…?

Cas Anvar:          It’s very rare that we do, actually, because usually they’re on completely different days.

TNE:      Oh, wow.

Cas Anvar:          And they’ll be an entire week that is all Earth. And so, the Roci crew isn’t even called into set. A lot of us go back to Los Angeles or do other things. So, it’s very rare, except on these special occasions, they call them double-up days. And that’s when one episode is finishing, the last day, and the next episode is starting the first day, and we have two episodes shooting simultaneously.

And typically, everybody is at the studio at the same time. And we have twice as much crew. And we literally have two directors going and two sets and everyone – and so, during those days, we will overlap and run into each other on set and in the trailers and in the makeup and hair. And oftentimes, we will cross each other on set. And I will go and watch some scenes when I’m not shooting.

TNE:      Awesome!. . . Alex, as you’ve mentioned before, has just grown so much. And there’s still some people that you haven’t really had a chance to interact with. And so, who, next on your list, would you wanna interact with after Chrisjen and [Bobby] Draper?

Cas Anvar:          Bobby is fun, as I said, because she’s a Martian. I’ve been waiting for that. Miller, I don’t know what’s gonna happen with [Detective] Miller. I may have missed the boat on that one. We got to shoot some scenes together, so I did get to work with Thomas [Jane], which was fun. I don’t know if there’s much left in terms of – I have not gotten to work with Errinwright. I’m a big fan of the actor [Shawn Doyle]. We’re actually buddies off set. I would love to be able to shoot some scenes with him. I don’t see how we would ever meet. So, I can’t think of a circumstance where Errinwright and Alex would actually meet face to face and have words.

TNE:      Right, right, right, right.

Cas Anvar:          But I love his work, and I love his character. That would be fun.

TNE:      He’s so devious. Oh, my gosh!

Cas Anvar:          Mm-hmm. And you just can’t read him. You never know where he’s going.

TNE:      Well, he’s screwing Chrisjen [Avasarala] already, so it’s like, “What else do you have up your sleeve? I wanna know!”

Cas Anvar:          Exactly, exactly. And it’s like he always kinda gets you from out of left field. You think you figured him out, and then you realize, nope, you didn’t.

TNE:      Now, do you have a favorite episode of this season so far? Have you guys finished filming completely, or are you still filming?

Cas Anvar:          Oh, no, we’re done. We’re doing the final touches on the post production.

TNE:      Okay.

Cas Anvar:          But we finished shooting. Favorite episodes. Phewf!

TNE:      You can just list numbers, you don’t have to list –

Cas Anvar:          It is so exciting. It, literally, this season escalates. It’s like a reverse avalanche is – it just keeps going up and up and up and up. Every episode gets more tense. I think by the time we get to episodes 11 and 12, it’s, basically, hold on to your seats. You’re gonna be holding your breath for the next episode. I just think it just gets better and better as the season goes on.

TNE:      So, since I’m gonna still call it the Roci, is Alex gonna be fighting some – gonna be in some ship battles?

Cas Anvar:          You can be guaranteed that he is gonna be right there to protect his family when they get into trouble, absolutely.

TNE:      Yay!

Cas Anvar:          Absolutely. He’s not gonna let me them down ever again.

TNE:      Aw, that just makes me wanna cry.

Cas Anvar:          There you go.

COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL: SAN DIEGO — “The Expanse Press Room” — Pictured: Cas Anvar — (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/SYFY)

TNE:      So, you’ve been to a few conventions. You just went to WonderCon, correct? Are you gonna go into any other conventions this year?

Cas Anvar:          Yeah, I’m going to Big Apple Comic Con in New York City in a few days, like Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

TNE:      Wait. What con is in New York?

Cas Anvar:          I’ll be at the Big Apple –

TNE:      Big Apple?

Cas Anvar:          Yeah, it’s the called the Big Apple Comic Con.

TNE:      Oh, okay. I’m used to New York and BookCon and even the Anime. I’m just like, “What?”

Cas Anvar:          This is an independent con. They’re doing a bunch of stuff there this weekend. So, I’m going down there to partake.

TNE:      And you’re probably gonna be at San Diego. Let’s be for real.

Cas Anvar:          I’m pretty sure we will be, yeah. I’m trying to get the fans to get us invited to Dragon Con.

TNE:      Oh, that would be awesome because I’m going for the first time.

Cas Anvar:          Yeah, it would be my first time, too. I’ve heard so many good things about it. I heard it’s really a fan con and an artist con as opposed to a corporate thing.

TNE:      Yeah. Are there are other cons other than Dragon Con that you’ve, pretty much, wanted to go to but just haven’t had a chance to?

Cas Anvar:          Chicago, I wanted to go to. I’ve been to Motor City, which I really liked, once. I’d love to go back. London, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and European cons, I’ve heard great things about these cons in Europe. The Expanse is really popular in Europe. So, I would love to go overseas. I think top of the food chain would be Australia and New Zealand.

TNE:    Of course, of course. Because it’s just gorgeous over there.

Cas Anvar:     Dragon Con. And Australia and New Zealand, I think they’ve got Armageddon and MegaCon or something. I can’t remember the name. There’s Armageddon and Supanova, I think are the two Australia cons.

TNE:    So, for your gaming fans, are you gonna be voicing any characters soon or any games coming out that are voiced by you or have characters by you?

Cas Anvar:     I think I just had a voice – no. Gaming, no. But I think I just had a voice role come out with a new animated film, Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles team up. And so, it’s Batman and the TMNT versus Ra’s al Ghul and Shredder.

TNE:    Oh, okay! And which character are you?

Cas Anvar:    I’ll be doing the honors of playing Ra’s al Ghul.

TNE:    Oh, wow.

Cas Anvar:     Something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

TNE:     I know. You could’ve been on Gotham, man. That would’ve been awesome.

Cas Anvar:    What, right? I know. What was up with that?

TNE:      They did have another good actor. I’ll give them that. But I’m just like, “Okay, there’s Cas Anvar. He could’ve been Ra’s ah Ghul.”

Cas Anvar:          He could do it. He could play Ra’s al Ghul.

TNE:      But at least you get to voice him. Maybe eventually do a live version. So, thank you, Cas, for taking a few minutes of your very busy day to talk to me.

Cas Anvar:          I’m very happy, very happy to be of service.

TNE:      And I’m glad that The Expanse is finally back. I look at the video from last year, from San Diego, and I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, it’s finally here.”

Cas Anvar:          Absolutely. And we’ll be live tweeting tonight. So, whatever coast you’re on, whether it’s East Coast or West Coast, 9:00 pm, we will be there. All the actors are gonna be there, and we will join you guys. So, if you wanna interact with us, just seek us out, hashtag us, The Expanse, and get the show trending. We trended last year almost every week. You should be part of that because it’s a lot of fun to interact with the cast and crew.

TNE:      Yes, I will be live tweeting from the TV Talk pod Twitter handle. So, I’ll be looking forward to that. Yeah, you guys usually – a few of you usually try and live tweet, at least on the East Coast, every week, which is cool. We appreciate it.

Cas Anvar:          Yeah.

TNE:      All right.

Cas Anvar:          Hopefully, your readers will come and visit me in New York.

TNE:      Yes, absolutely. You’re a great guest to interact with, especially since your table is not too – well, it’s busy, probably, on some days, like Saturday, it’s probably super busy. But if there’s a quiet moment, we can really talk to you. So, that’s awesome.

Cas Anvar:          Yeah, absolutely. I always enjoy talking to my fans.

TNE:      Yes. And that’s always a good experience with a fan that goes to a con like that. So, we appreciate when those slow moments happen. We’re like, “Oh, my gosh. We get to actually have that conversation.”

Cas Anvar:          Exactly.

TNE:      All right. Thank you, Cas.

Cas Anvar:          Thank you. And you take care.

As always it was a pleasure talking with Anvar. Here’s to a phenomenal season 3 of The Expanse! Sound off below about what you like about the character Alex!

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About Natty Willy

Went to the library and Natty fell in love with all things fiction. Natty grew up watching all kinds of movies ranging from Star Wars, "The Chinese Connection", all things Disney, musicals like "The Music Man" to comedy action films featuring Whoopi Goldberg. Lover of old school cartoons like X-Men, TaleSpin, and DuckTales. Grew up on shows like Family Matters, Full House, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Have eclectic musical tastes. Lover of books, appreciation of all things geeky.
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