A Martian Marine Comes into Her Own on 'The Expanse'

Sgt. Roberta (Bobbie) Draper
Sgt. Roberta (Bobbie) Draper, played by Frankie Adams, is introduced in Season 2 of Syfy's "The Expanse." (Image credit: Syfy)

From being introduced in combat training on Mars to arm wrestling her own power armor (and winning!), Martian marine Bobbie Draper made a big splash with her arrival in "The Expanse" Season 2. Now, we'll be seeing a lot more of the character as her storyline kicks into gear.

(We'll try not to say anything too revealing, but consider this a warning for spoilers about the plot's direction as we head into Episode 8, "Pyre," tonight at 10 p.m. EDT and 9 p.m. CDT on Syfy.)

Space.com talked with Frankie Adams, who plays Bobbie, about becoming the character and what we should expect for her story. [Don't Ask Why Cats Populate This 'Expanse' Recap Video — Just Enjoy]

At the beginning of the second season, viewers saw Bobbie in her element: She was running through a training program with her marine corps and dreaming about a terraformed Mars. But after the traumatic events of the most recent episodes, Bobbie will be taken far out of her comfort zone — with (slight spoilers!) a trip to Earth.

"Bobbie is really challenging in the best way — it's different from any role I've ever played," Adams told Space.com by email. "She goes through so many moments of growth and inner turmoil that make her a much more interesting character. I think initially you see her as one-dimensional, but by the end of the season I feel the audience will have more of a connection with her as she starts to appear more human throughout her storyline."

Bobbie should also have more chances to interact with other characters in the series, giving her interludes a less isolated feel while still providing a narrower Martian perspective on the three-way conflict among Mars, Earth and the inhabitants of the asteroid belt.

Bobbie struggles to understand the events on Ganymede, which threaten to spark war between Earth and Mars. (Image credit: Syfy)

As Bobbie struggles to understand what happened back on Ganymede and the role she'll play in Mars' political plans, viewers should begin to see more nuance in the character. Bobbie starts out closed-minded and sheltered because of her lifetime of training, but she "gets more colorful throughout," Adams said. (The mental, emotional and physical strength Adams described at the Season 2 premiere event should become more evident as well.)

Bobbie is a character beloved by readers of "The Expanse" book series, so living up to readers' expectations proved the most challenging part of the role for Adams. (Adams, by the way, reads only a little bit ahead; she doesn't want to know what happens to the character too early.)

"The immense pressure and expectation from audiences [was most challenging] because Bobbie was already an entity of her own before I was attached to it," Adams said. "I think everyone has a different idea of who Bobbie is, and it can be a little scary applying my own ideas of her, because you can never please everyone!"

Frankie does most of her own stunts, and we should see much more from her — combat-wise, maybe, but certainly in terms of character development — as the second half of the season unfolds.

"I think towards the end of the season is my favorite part of Bobbie's storyline," Adams said. "I have a feeling the audience will really enjoy that side of her."

And what "Expanse" tech does she wish existed in the real world?

"Bobbie's power armor, of course!"

Email Sarah Lewin at slewin@space.com or follow her @SarahExplains. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com

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Sarah Lewin
Associate Editor

Sarah Lewin started writing for Space.com in June of 2015 as a Staff Writer and became Associate Editor in 2019 . Her work has been featured by Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, Quanta Magazine, Wired, The Scientist, Science Friday and WGBH's Inside NOVA. Sarah has an MA from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program and an AB in mathematics from Brown University. When not writing, reading or thinking about space, Sarah enjoys musical theatre and mathematical papercraft. She is currently Assistant News Editor at Scientific American. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahExplains.