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Syfy Orders Space Opera 'The Expanse' to Series

The drama, from "Iron Man's" Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, is based on the James S.A. Corey book series.

Leviathan Wakes Book Cover - P 2014

Syfy is continuing to reinvent itself, handing out another straight-to-series order for a space odyssey based on the best-selling book series The Expanse.

The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has picked up 10 episodes of The Expanse, based on James S.A. Corey's book series that includes the well-known Leviathan Wakes.  

The drama is described as a thriller set 200 years in the future and follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened detective and a rogue ship's captain together in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.

The series hails from Alcon Television Group, with Oscar-nominated screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man) attached as writers and exec producers. Sean Daniel and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Co. developed the pitch with Fergus and Ostby and are also on board to exec produce. Alcon co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson will exec produce alongside company president Sharon Hall. Alcon's Ben Roberts will co-produce, while Ben Cook will produce. The series marks the first series order for Alcon Television Group, a division of Alcon Entertainment.

STORY: Syfy's Plan: More Space Operas, Less 'Sharknado'

Expanse comes to Syfy as the cable network is looking to go back to its roots in the sci-fi/fantasy series it once ruled with Battlestar Galactica. The cable network in the past month alone has renewed Helix for a second season and ordered originals Z Nation, 12 Monkeys, Olympus, Dominion and six-episode space opera event series Ascension, to join a roster of originals that also includes Defiance, Haven, Lost Girl and Continuum.

"The Expanse is epic in scale and scope and promises to be Syfy's most ambitious series to date," Syfy president Dave Howe said. "Bringing this coveted book franchise to television with our partners at Alcon and the Sean Daniel Co. is a giant win for Syfy, reinforcing our overall strategy to produce bold, provocative and compelling sci-fi fantasy stories. The Expanse joins a killer lineup of high-concept, high-quality series, along with recently announced original projects Ascension, 12 Monkeys, the renewal of Helix, and the soon to premiere Dominion."

For its part, The Expanse is a three-book series that includes Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War and Abaddon's Gate. The first book in the series was nominated in 2012 for the Hugo Award for best novel as well as the Locus Award for best sci-fi novel. Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin described Leviathan as a "kickass space opera." The best-selling book series is published in 17 countries, including China, France, Japan, Australia, Canada and Germany. Caliban's War also was nominated for the Locus Award. Alcon will retain worldwide distribution rights to the series and is currently out to cast and directors.

Fergus and Ostby are repped by CAA and Mark Gochman.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit