The Expanse authors talk Leviathan Falls’ world-altering ending

After ten years and 9 books, James S.A. Corey’s The Area series ended in November with the release of Leviathan Falls. Readers will get one last journey into The Area’s world when the upcoming novella The Sins of Our Dad is launched in March 2022, and fans of the tv adjustment will likewise get a 6th and last season, which premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 10. Co-authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who compose together under the Corey pen name, inform Polygon that the television program will offer a “good resolution” to the on-screen story, however it’s just in Leviathan Falls that fans can see how James Holden and his Roci household’s complete story artfully ends.

[Ed. note: Extensive spoilers ahead for Leviathan Falls.]

After years of battling to equalize info and unify humankind, Holden is required to break these worths in order to conserve the mankind from catching Duarte and the ring home builders’ strategies to subsume humankind into their hive mind. By injecting himself with the protomolecule, Holden has the ability to take control of the ring station in order to keep the dark gods at bay long enough for everybody — consisting of the Roci team — to leave the ring area. Naomi and Amos head for Sol, while Alex bids farewell to his discovered household to be with his biological household in the Nieuwestad system, taking the Roci with him. As soon as the ring area is cleared, Holden utilizes the last of his strength to ruin evictions, making an executive choice for all of humankind in order to conserve them — a bleak paradox that is not lost on him.

The ending is equivalent parts heart-wrenching and confident, and it’s what Abraham and Franck have actually been developing towards for more than a years. The set even understood Leviathan Falls’ last line — Naomi musing, “The stars are still there. We’ll find our own way back to them” — because they were composing the 2nd book, Caliban’s War.

In discussion with Polygon, Abraham and Franck went over the inevitability of Holden’s fate, the book’s open-ended epilogue, humankind’s durability in the face of difficult chances, and — obviously — aliens.

This interview has actually been modified and condensed for clearness.

Completion of Holden’s story feels both inescapable and paradoxical. What was your procedure for determining his arc and structure towards this minute where he’s required to make the type of option he constantly combated versus?

Daniel Abraham: What we were attempting to do was take this extremely exemplary man with an extremely strong viewpoint and spiral him through a growing number of experiences, depth, unpredictability, and gray up until we had him still quite himself, however at a location where he might make this difficult option, this option on behalf of everybody, when that’s precisely what he didn’t ever wish to do. And we did that with a lot of other characters too. If you take a look at Naomi, she was attempting not to be a leader. She was attempting to conceal behind her hair in the very first book. That’s not where she ended up.

Ty Franck: And Elvi absolutely breaks all of her clinical concepts, all the important things that she would have sworn were the most essential elements of her ethical life. She breaks all of them in an effort to conserve humankind. Among the important things we do over and over with characters is we reveal them in the area where they’re most comfy, and after that we drag them out of it. […] The only character that that never ever takes place to is Amos, due to the fact that Amos is just one thing, and he’s just ever going to be something. And it ends up that that a person thing is extremely hard to eliminate.

In the epilogue, we discover that Amos is the one assisting guide humankind through this next phase. Why was this the best location for him to land?

Abraham: We had him describe himself as the last guy standing actually early in the series. […] He’s that mix of odd empathy and overall absence of sentimentality that it simply felt right. What a great place to grow to.

Franck: And as a guide for a broken humanity, he seems like a guy, as Daniel said, without sentimentality. So he’s going to say, “Stop being such dipshits.” And when they don’t stop being a bunch of dipshits, he’s going to kill all the ones that are necessary to get everybody else back on board. […] He simply seems like the perfect person to do that.

The epilogue leaves a lot open to readers’ interpretation — now that the different systems can be connected again, will history repeat itself or can people find a better way forward? What were your intentions there?

Abraham: Part of what we were doing with the whole series was making the argument that history is prophecy, that humans don’t actually change much as an organism. The stuff we were doing in Rome, we’re doing now. And the happy ending that we have is, now we’ve got 1,300 chances to get it right. Now, maybe somebody will figure it out. One of the reasons I think the epilogue is short is, I’m not sure what that would look like.

So much of this book raises questions about the definition of selfhood and identity, from Duarte’s planned hive mind to Amos’ transformation to the way time has changed the Roci crew. How did this theme influence the characters and the story?

Franck: Daniel and I disagree greatly on the nature of consciousness, but the one thing we absolutely agree on is that humans are just a story we’re constantly telling ourselves, and that story is very important to us. Most of the horrible things that people do — and most of the great things that people do — are because that is the story they want to believe about themselves. […] And to most people, changing the story about what we are is the greatest violation that can happen to us. And we will die to keep that from happening. […] You take that fact of humankind and you present it with, “Hey, everybody, we can win, but all we have to do is give up the thing that is the most important aspect of every human life.” What’s the human reaction to that gotta be? I don’t think it’s going to be quiet acquiescence.

Whenever there’s a mysterious threat or figure, there’s always the risk that if you reveal too much, it will lose its potency. But we did get to learn a lot more about the ring builders and their destroyers in this book. How did you find that balance between answering questions about these alien species without explaining too much?

Abraham: We knew a lot about the evolutionary history of the gate builders and how their biology affected what they did, how they saw things differently, and the strategy that we saw in book one of hijacking other life and using that and incorporating it. So all of that was actually pretty well thought out. It was simply finding a way to explain it that wasn’t just a graduate lecture. And the ring entities, they were always supposed to be mysterious. They were always supposed to be the dark gods. I know that there are folks who really like having all of the answers, and that’s great, but I don’t think it’s ever satisfying.

After the past few years, people have much more of a first-hand understanding of how quickly what we know to be reality can change, and what it’s like to live through a period of universal tragedy and uncertainty. How do you think the ongoing pandemic will influence how people relate to and receive this story?

Abraham: I will be glib. Every age lives through its tragedies. Every age lives through its uncertainties. I was growing up having nightmares about nuclear war. We’ve been through AIDS, we’ve been through polio, we’ve been through 1918. This is a singular moment in our lives, but it’s not a singular moment in history. This is something that we’ve done a lot over and over and over throughout centuries. This is just our turn, and it kind of sucks because we’re here for it. I hope that the stuff Ty and I put out is — I don’t know if comforting is right, but consoling, maybe. Just the idea that the churn is how history goes. The churn is how it is and it always has been. And even with that, we keep stumbling forward more often than not.

Franck: Humans, even when we feel defeatist […] we just keep trudging forward. And I think that’s what gets us from age to age. You read about horrors of history, like the Trail of Tears — they kept walking. People were dropping dead on the trail, and they kept walking anyway. And some of them got to where they were going. […] Some people just hang on. And I think that is, to me, one of the most compelling things about humans, is we just hang on.

The upcoming anthology Memory’s Legion will include the final novella in the series. What can readers expect from The Sins of Our Fathers?

Franck: It’s a bit of a coda to the series. It’s probably not what people are expecting, but that’s OK. In some ways, it is the conversation about what you have to do next. Daniel talked about the 1,300 chances to get it right, and it is just one little story of one of those 1,300 chances of somebody trying to get it right.

Beyond this novella, do you ever anticipate revisiting this world once again?

Franck: No. We told the story we wanted to tell.

Abraham: What I do hope is that folks who are hungry for more grab the role-playing game or start writing their own things […] and keep the literary conversation going. That would be how I would wish to see this. I wouldn’t want to see another Expanse book.


Leviathan Falls

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The biggest science fiction series of the decade comes to an incredible conclusion in the ninth and last book in James S.A. Corey’s Hugo-award winning science fiction that motivated the television series, now from Amazon Studios.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.