'The Expanse' Season 4 Premieres This Week: Here's What to Expect.

The spacefaring crew of the Rocinante take on a brand-new mission in the much-anticipated fourth season of "The Expanse" on Amazon Prime Friday (Dec. 13) and you can bet there's a ton of cosmic action to look forward to.

If you're new to "The Expanse," the show takes place in the not-so-distant future when people settle on Mars (human Martians!) and extract resources from the asteroid belt to support and extend themselves throughout the solar system. The first three seasons had its share of alien contact, interplanetary warfare and struggles for social justice. The show is based on the popular science-fiction book series by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who write them under the pseudonym James S.A. Corey. . 

All of the first three seasons are now available to stream on Amazon Prime, their new home after airing on the television channel Syfy. Syfy canceled "The Expanse" in 2018, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (who also founded the private spaceflight company Blue Origin) announced the show's resurrection last year. 

So, with "The Expanse" launching back to television, here's what to expect in Season 4.  

Warning: Spoilers from Seasons 1-3 if you aren't caught up!

Related: "The Expanse" Cast Visited Blue Origin. Here's What Happened Next (Video) 

Actor Burn Gorman in the Season 4 trailer for the Amazon Prime series "The Expanse." (Image credit: Amazon Prime)

The new season follows the Rocinante crew — James Holden (Steven Strait) as the captain, Belter Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper), Earther Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) and Martian pilot Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar) — who accept a bold request from U.N. Secretary General Chrisjen Avasarala to visit a planet that Belter refugees have claimed as their home. The show's trailers have revealed this and many other tidbits ahead of the season premiere Friday. 

As a brief recap of Seasons 1-3 (we'll have a more in depth later this week), Holden and his Rocinante crew got embroiled in a complicated interplanetary plot that pitted the forces of Earth, Mars and the Belt (Asteroid Belt) against each other as a shadowy organization worked behind-the-scenes to weaponize an alien "protomolecule." Suffice to say, it all goes to pot, the protomolecule devastates an asteroid colony and crashes into Venus, where it builds components to a weird interstellar gate that leads to strange, new worlds. 

Many of those worlds, including Season 4's "New Terra," lie beyond a wormhole network called the "ring." The plethora of options ushers in a cosmic land grab. And while hardscrabble pioneers hope to find a home among the stars, interplanetary megacorporations see lots of opportunity, too, setting the stage for some major shenanigans.  

The trailer touches on the human hubris that once again causes the central conflicts of "The Expanse." This new season promises fans more of the captivating premise that makes this show so compelling: the extension of the good and bad of the human condition into space. 

First, for a fun refresher of the series, check out the video below in which Kevin Smith brings fans up to speed. Warning: There is some adult language in this video. 

Viewers will also see a new face during the premiere. The fourth season folds in actor Burn Gorman ("Game of Thrones," "Torchwood") to the cast as an adversary to the Rocinante's crew.

The scenes for New Terra were shot in a quarry outside Toronto, and Gorman got a frigid welcome to "The Expanse" set.

"A funny story… talking about Burn's look when he's walking," Chatham shared during a panel at New York Comic Con in October. "So his first day of shooting, he had the red-eye from London. He got there, they dropped him in the middle [of a] still dark quarry ... He had this wind and blood and he's all beat up [in the filmed scene] and he's walking, the sun's coming up, he's freezing, and he's walking through this thing ... I say, 'Hey, Burn, it's so good to see you!' and he turns around like, 'What did I just sign up for?!'"

What, indeed. To find out, we'll have to tune in to "The Expanse" this weekend. 

The series also shows no signs of  slowing down. Amazon Prime has already greenlit "The Expanse" has  for a fifth season.

The full fourth season of "The Expanse" will premiere on Amazon Prime Video Friday. You can watch it for free with an Amazon Prime subscription, or sign up for a 30-day free trial

Follow Doris Elin Urrutia on Twitter @salazar_elin. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook

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Doris Elin Urrutia
Contributing Writer

Doris is a science journalist and Space.com contributor. She received a B.A. in Sociology and Communications at Fordham University in New York City. Her first work was published in collaboration with London Mining Network, where her love of science writing was born. Her passion for astronomy started as a kid when she helped her sister build a model solar system in the Bronx. She got her first shot at astronomy writing as a Space.com editorial intern and continues to write about all things cosmic for the website. Doris has also written about microscopic plant life for Scientific American’s website and about whale calls for their print magazine. She has also written about ancient humans for Inverse, with stories ranging from how to recreate Pompeii’s cuisine to how to map the Polynesian expansion through genomics. She currently shares her home with two rabbits. Follow her on twitter at @salazar_elin.