The Expanse: Cas Anvar on Sci-Fi Challenges, Crew's Next Move & More!

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We're into The Expanse Season 3 on Syfy and it's more exciting now than it's ever been. We're embarking on a whole new world with the Roci crew, and we're not sure what they're going to do next. One thing's for sure, they'll keep us on our toes and coming back for more every week.

The Expanse has received 100 percent thumbs up from fans and reviewers alike, so if you're not watching The Expanse yet, you're missing out. Start watching!

TV Fanatic had the pleasure the other day of talking to one of the talented stars of The Expanse, Cas Anvar! As you know, he plays Alex, the pilot of the Roci crew.

Cas had lots of interesting and insightful things to say about his character, the action-packed 3rd season and the rest of the characters aboard the Roci ship.

Check it out!

Cas Anvar - Headshot - The Expanse Season 3 Episode 3

Aside from the amazing acting, of course, why should people watch The Expanse?

They should watch this show for a very hardcore sci-fi experience that has extremely relevant, poignant and pertinent issues and elements that you can see in our everyday life.

It's a very relevant show for people today. What's happening on this show, which is happening 300 years in the future, we can look around and see that in our every day lives quite blatantly.

It's also got like you said, amazing actors and cast, and some of the best, most beautiful special effects that you're ever gonna to see on Syfy. 

It has so much going on too.

Yeah, it's a very complex, layered, compelling, and challenging story. It's been compared many many times to The Game of Thrones in space.

It doesn't give you any answers, it only asks questions. It's all shades of gray. There's no black and white in The Expanse. Every single faction, every single perspective has its point.

They all think they're right and, if you listen long enough, they are right. But they can't all be right because they have opposing views. So, it really allows the audience to make choices and decide what team they're on.

Everything sounds reasonable from one perspective or another.

Alex, Chrisjen & Jim - The Expanse Season 3 Episode 3

We saw on The Expanse Season 3 Episode 3 how Alex reached out to his family and they broke his heart with their reply. Alex doesn't seem like the type to give up. What do you think his next move with his family will be?

Um, well, you're right in one sense. He's a good man, he has a good heart, and he definitely takes responsibility. It's taken him a while to figure it out. He ran away from his responsibilities for many years, but that's not necessarily the heart and soul of who he is.

He finally gets to figure out who he is when he gets to be with the Roci crew, to be on that ship, and he said, he's "getting to do some good out here, some real good." And that's ultimately all he ever wanted to do.

He's wanted to make a difference, he's wanted to contribute, wanted to fly, but he never had the guts. He never had the guts or the courage to face that and recognize that he's had a life himself, he lied to his family about the life that he wanted. 

Now he's finally stepping up to the plate, and as hard as it is, as difficult as it is, he's taking responsibility for it and dealing with the consequences.

If he feels in any way, shape or form that pursuing or going after, contacting or reconnecting is going to make things better, he will do that.

It's just a matter of him being able to figure out what's best for everyone.

He's tired of making selfish decisions. He's tired of doing things just because it's what everyone thinks he should do. So, that's to be seen in how it all plays out.

Looks like Alex, being that he has a good heart, is going to be the first to forgive Naomi. How do you think the rest of the crew will respond? Especially Amos.

Well, I mean that's a good observation. I mean Alex, is kinda the heart and soul. He's the glue of the Roci crew. Everyone else has their own agenda. Everyone else has their role.

Holden is the leader, Naomi is the brains, the intellect, and the conscience, Amos is kinda the watchdog, the protector, and Alex is the glue.

He's the family! He cares about the family more than anything else, even saving the world. That's his universe, so it makes sense that he's going to be the one that first forgives and tries to make peace, and tries to reconcile the group.

He has a decent relationship with Amos, and I think Amos respects Alex because Alex's not a selfish person, and that's a big deal for Amos.

Amos likes good, selfless people.

He doesn't like people with their own agenda because he has to be able to trust; however, Amos is completely his own enemy. He looks for morality, he looks for a moral compass outside himself, but in terms of making decisions about which direction to take his life or who to trust, he does that on his own.

He's growing and he's changing and he's become more "normal" like the rest of us, but he's still a very polarized and is an extreme decision-maker. So, no one can really predict how his brain is going to process the information.

Cas Anvar - Thinking - The Expanse Season 3 Episode 3

What are the similarities between you and Alex?

Yeah, there's a lot. I identify with Alex a lot. We see the world from very similar perspectives. A lot of the stuff that he's going through and has gone through, can relate to the life experiences I've had in my life. He's probably one of the most human characters.

Everyone else's backstory and struggles and dramas are quite dramatic, like superhero origin, so volatile and dark and fraught with peril and danger and trauma.

Alex hasn't had that. Alex had a little bit more of a normal life. It's very human and something most people can identify with. He's dealing with being someone who hadn't figured out who he was or what he wanted to do. What was his purpose or potential? Dealing with his family, dealing with the expectations of his family, and of his culture.

Not being able to fulfill that, being a disappointment, and being a failure. Thinking of himself as a failure at everything, and trying to reconcile that. Then running away from his obligations and his responsibilities, just because he didn't have the courage to face himself, to face his life. 

Caught In the Middle - The Expanse

Alex and I deal with stuff, struggles, chaos, and stress with humor. I'm often cracking jokes to relieve the tension and to disburse the awkwardness in the room. I'm very much the social person in the sense that I like everybody to get along. I like to be the mediator.

If I think people aren't getting along, I mediate and try to patch things up, if I can, because I like a smooth working environment. I like my friends to get along. I don't like controversy, tension or people holding grudges. It's all very much like an Alex thing.

We have similarities in terms of a very eclectic cultural mix. Alex is a Mars-born, fighter pilot of Pakistani/East Indian decent with a Texas accent, who's supposed to be a Martian, working in the MCRN or terraforming, but has decided to escape that expected role and go to be a pilot, flying to try to save the universe.

I'm a Canadian-born, Persian/Lebanese/Indian mix, multiple cultures, grew up to be a scientist, but then couldn't turn away from the arts and acting. Being the only one in my immediate family to go into a non-scientific, non-tactile direction in my life and went after it aggressively. So, I kind of identify with that.

My background and my history have always been very isolated. I wasn't like a big lot of friends and groups and stuff like that. We share a lot of touchstones.

Cas Anvar - The Expanse Season 3 Episode 3

What do you think the best outcome of the war would be? Who do you think should win?

The best outcome of the war would be for it to stop and the least number of people to be hurt.

I don't think there's anybody of the three factions that has the best interests of anybody else in mind.

For me, the best outcome would be for all three to somehow be disarmed, and some unknown fourth perspective be able to unify everybody.

Right now the self-interest and the selfishness of all three of these races, they're so self-involved, they would never be able to honor the needs or wants of the others.

Even Christjen?

She's an interesting creature. She's the smartest person in any room. She is so focused and so devoted to her cause and it's so pure, in the sense that she will do anything and everything to make sure Earth comes first. Earth's agenda and needs and interests are served. To that end, she rationalizes and justifies her actions.

She will literally do anything. She will torture, lie, deceive, manipulate. She will do whatever it takes for Earth's agenda. It's never for herself.

She's gotten where she's gotten because she's brilliant and strategic. She's even supposed to be the assistant to the undersecretary because, if you're out of the mess and all the red tape of being the boss, you get to do a lot more and have a lot more impact than if you are the actual boss.

When she got promoted, it kinda screwed with her game because she's no longer able to fly under the radar. She's not in it for herself, though, just to serve Earth. You can always count on her to tell you the truth about what she's thinking. Like a truck driver.

Undersecretary Avasarala and  Cotyar - The Expanse Season 2 Episode 11

We may have touched on this a bit, but what do you like most about Alex?

I like his sincerity, his honesty, his sense of humor and his devotion to his family. His new family.

Who do you think Alex would most likely hang out with outside the ship?

I think the person that he most bonds with, even though they're the most diametrically opposite, is Amos. Because neither one of them judges, and they're both pretty chill. They don't fret and fuss about everything else. They just like to hang and talk about stuff, and they don't stress about the future. That's very important when you're choosing a drinking buddy.

Naomi and Holden are neurotic about so many things. They're constantly worrying about this, that, and the other. They're worrying about what's right and what's wrong and what's gonna happen. That's why Holden's the leader. He's the one who's taken that burden on, but when it comes to just having a drink and chillin' out, that's not the person you choose because it's stressful.

And Naomi is very judgemental. She has very strong Belter opinions about everybody. I think that kind of angry hard-done-by culture, they only tend to get along with each other. They're not necessarily the best buddies outside of their group because they're always looking sideways at you. Even on the Roci crew, ya' know?

She's always gonna think we don't quite get her, or we don't get her cause or understand where she comes from. And in some ways she's right, but it would influence how she'd behave in a relaxed social setting.

Be Ready For Anything - The Expanse

How does Alex feel about being pulled back into military operations, since he's retired?

I think he's proud of his military service. I think it's a feather in his cap. I don't think he was particularly proud of what he got to accomplish, because he really never realized his potential in the military. I think he's proud to have served and served honorably.

He probably learned a lot, and he absorbed a lot because Alex's skill set in terms of being a soldier is very high. I just don't think he was used properly. I don't think they encouraged him or gave him credit for what he was capable of.

Kind of like when you're a kid and you learn skills, but you aren't mature enough to use those skills until you're older and more mature in body and mind. Then you can use those skills and it's kind of like being reborn.

When Alex was reborn on the Roci, with all his military knowledge, and skill set coming back to him, and his pilot skills, he was finally able to release all that talent inside him, which is natural talent as well as the incredible drive and determination that Alex never fully expressed.

Then you start having fun! I think he's enjoying re-discovering that, without the burden of actually being in the military environment. He likes the format that exists on the Roci, where they're all equal.

We have a captain, but that's more just deciding what to do next, but we all get to vote. I think he really appreciates and likes that.

What's the most challenging part about playing a retired Navy pilot in the future?

The future doesn't really do much in how we play our characters. Human beings don't change, unfortunately. They really don't. If you look at military stories from 100 to 150 years ago, the circumstances change, the environment changes, and the logistic changes, but people, their responses and how they deal with things don't. Their motivations don't.

For me, the personal challenges, I've never done the military thing. I was born in Canada, so we don't have such a hard-core military emphasis. I have a lot of people close to me who are in the military, and I get a lot of insight and input from them.

Understanding the military perspective is a new and challenging adventure for me. It's a whole different world.

That, for me, is the fun part from the acting perspective, and it challenges me. Technology is different, but all our human problems are the same.

Cas Anvar pic

Holden's crew already let Chrisjen send a message to try and end the war. What's the crew's next move?

It was spoken about where he says, all we're going to do is send a message, we're not getting involved. So, he's on this campaign now to keep the Roci out of trouble and keep himself from trying to save the universe all the time.

That's his agenda. It's just a question of whether we believe that Holden, and who he is at his core, is capable of staying out of things when he knows he could probably have an influence.

His crew has his back and we'll follow him. Holden is a natural-born leader and he's proven himself time and time again. He always makes decisions based on his gut instinct and sometimes it gets him into trouble, but it's always right. We trust him and if he wants to stay out of it, then we'll follow him.

At his core, is he capable of staying out of it? I don't know. I guess it's just a matter of how compelling the reason for him is to get involved. We shall see!

Anything else you'd like to add?

One thing I can tell you is we were nervous about going into Season 3. We didn't know how the hell we were going to top Season 2! We have great actors and action, but the writers outdid themselves, and our Season 3, I feel, without hesitation, blows season 2 out of the water.

What people have seen already, is just the introduction. It's a steep ski-slope climb to the climax at the end of season 3. The grand finale!

So, you ain't seen nothing yet! 

We got 100 percent rotten tomatoes and popcorn, so where do we go from there? You can't get any better, but I'm telling you it gets better and more exciting. So, what the hell's going to happen? I don't know, we're probably gonna blow up some TV sets. They're gonna explode!


Don't miss a minute of The Expanse. It's amazing TV! The Expanse airs Wednesday's at 9 pm EST on the Syfy channel, and they will be live tweeting with tonight's episode for both the east and west coasts. Don't miss it! I'll be there. Will you?

Kim Russell was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in January 2019.

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The Expanse Quotes

Naomi: If your girlfriend logged that distress call, she's going to be living it down for a long time.
Holden: I did it. I just couldn't shake it.
Naomi: I'd keep that to myself if I were you.

Miller: So what's my contract exactly?
Captain Shaddid: Find Julie Mao, if she's still here on Ceres detain her and ship her home.
Miller: Kidnap job. My pleasure.