The Expanse season 5 finale, which dropped on Amazon Prime Video on Wednesday, served as the swan song for one of the show’s original main character.
Titled as Nemesis Games, the final episode of The Expanse season 5 saw the death of Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar), who met his demise after teaming up with Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) to save Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) from the Chetzemoka.
Alex’s initial plan was to dock with Rocinante in the Screaming Firehawk. But because the Chetzemoka had been primed to explode, Naomi left the fuel transport freighter, forcing Alex and Bobbie to grab her from space. Bobbie managed to catch Naomi before she ran out of oxygen, but just as the two were ready to return to the Firehawk, Alex stopped responding to Bobbie’s transmissions.
The episode then cut to inside the ship, where Alex was shown dead in the pilot’s seat with droplets of blood coming out of his nose. It was later revealed that Alex died of a stroke.
In an interview with ComicBook.com, executive producer Naren Shankar revealed that killing off Alex let them solve one of the show’s concerning problems.
“As we were developing the story [for season 5], what we realized is that we’re telling a story about war and people who do very violent things and a group of people that we care about struggling to reconnect with each other and help each other and find each other in the midst of this tremendous cataclysm all around them,” Shankar said “And it started to dawn on us that we were telling a story about all of those things with no consequences. And it felt like we were running into that same old issue in science-fiction ― not only, but often ― this idea that certain characters have ‘plot armor,’ that danger to them isn’t real, that consequences don’t occur, that they don’t really experience loss. And so we started talking about losing a major character on the show.”
Apparently, that major character was Alex, who had been one of the main characters of the show since it launched in 2015. Though Alex is still alive in The Expanse novel series, Shankar said that the character’s death on the live-action adaptation will only make the show feel more realistic moving forward.
“The loss of this character is so important with the show at five seasons. In this way, saving the life of somebody else is something that hangs over the show going forward,” Shankar explained. “And this is something that, dealing with that loss, dealing with how to continue and fight through it, that’s part and parcel where you find our people in season 6.”
Shankar echoed the same sentiments in a separate interview with Business Insider. When asked about Kamal’s death, the showrunner said that it “raises the stakes” for the final season. “Main characters feel safe. It was appropriate to make the characters’ struggles have an incredibly poignant cost,” he explained. “That idea of loss hangs over season 6.”
Though Alex’s death was hard to take for some fans, it wasn’t really a surprise that The Expanse season 5 would be Anvar’s last season in the series.
A month before The Expanse season 5 premiered, Amazon Studios announced that Anvar wouldn’t be returning for season 6. While it’s not clear whether Anvar was fired from the show or personally decided to exit the series, the news of his departure came five months after The Expanse studio Alcon Entertainment launched an independent investigation into numerous sexual harassment and sexual assault accusations made against him.
Anvar has been mostly quiet about the issue. But in a statement released last June, the actor said he welcomes the third-party investigation launched by Alcon Entertainment and respects the women who have come forward. “[I] will make myself fully available to participate in the process as appropriate so that I may refute these very serious claims that strike at the core of what I value,” Anvar said at the time.
The Expanse season 6 doesn’t have a release date yet.