June 21st, 2022 – Emmy nominated visual effects studio Rocket Science (RSVFX) delivered over 2000 CG heavy visual effects shots over six (6) seasons for the hit Amazon SciFi series THE EXPANSE.
As a lead vfx vendor, THE EXPANSE Production VFX team, led by Sr. VFX Supervisor, Bret Culp and veteran VFX Producer Krista Allain, leaned on RSVFX to carry the bulk of the CG spacecraft, large scale 3D environments and heavy fx work across the series. Chris Nokes, VFX Supervisor and Kayden Anderson VFX Producer, led the RSVFX team of 300+ artists over 6 seasons.
“We were extremely sad to see the series end.” says Anthony Paterson, Co-Founder / Executive VFX Supervisor. “The Expanse will forever be woven into the fabric of the company. I am extremely proud of our crew. The series pushed us year over year to utilize technical innovation and creative prowess to deliver visually stunning work that created new worlds for our audience. Like the Millenium Falcon, the Rocinante is our icon. We are very thankful to Naren, Bret, Krista, Manny, Lewin, Alicia, Alcon and Amazon for trusting in us. Remember the Cant!”
Along with the hero ship, the Rocinante, Rocket Science created the majority of spaceships featured; the Pella, Tynan, Edward Israel, Medina and Canterbury are a few standouts. Over fifty different spacecraft ranging from single operator drones, shuttles and rock hoppers, to elite mercenary fleets, and warships were modelled, textured and rigged by the build team. Grand space stations and complex environments like the Belter space stations of Medina, Tycho, Pallas and Ceres as well as the alien machine-planet of Ilus and the ominous superstructure over Laconia, were created by RSVFX modellers and environment team.
Working closely with the Showrunner Naren Shankar and VFX Supervisor Bret Culp, Rocket Science was instrumental in bringing many of the series’ epic space battles to life. From the previsualization team orchestrating the complex maneuvers of duelling warships, to the high-velocity destruction and explosive effects, the team strived to capture the drama and scientific authenticity that defined those key moments.
“Everyone who worked on the series had a clear vision of the story and the world we were creating. Having built a solid team over six seasons, we met every challenge head on, while taking on the collective mission to push boundaries and test the limits on what we were able to create, all in the service of a great story,” says VFX Producer Kayden Anderson. “The whole team rose to the occasion and consistently delivered season after season.”
All assets were modelled in Maya and rendered in Redshift.
Showrunner for THE EXPANSE is Naren Shankar, with the VFX team helmed by VFX Supervisors Bob Munroe (S1-2), Bret Culp (S2-6), Robert Crowther (S4-5) and VFX Producers Krista Allain (S2-6), Sarah Wormsbecher (S3-5). Manny Danelon served as Producer and Lewin Webb, Co-Executive Producer. Alicia Hirst and Gary Mueller helmed Post as Post Production Executive and Co-Producer respectively.
The Expanse, set in a colonized solar system, begins with the governments of Earth, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt locked in long-standing conflict. The crew of the Rocinante—an illegally salvaged warship—stumbles onto a vast conspiracy and a mysterious alien technology that threatens to upend the balance of power and the fate of humanity. The Expanse is a high-action, realistic sci-fi adventure that broadens the vision of humanity’s path in the future as well as a deeply-felt examination of the most critical, raw, and pressing issues of today.
The Hugo Award-winning series is based on the hugely popular science fiction novels by James S.A. Corey, and was developed and scripted by the Academy Award-nominated writing duo Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby. The executive producers are Naren Shankar, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Laura Lancaster, Sharon Hall, Sean Daniel, Jason Brown, Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, Dan Nowak and Ben Roberts. Shankar serves as showrunner for all seasons. The Expanse is produced by Alcon Television Group.
Rocket Science is an Emmy nominated boutique visual effects studio collaborating with filmmakers to create stunning visual imagery utilizing artistry, science and technology. Located in Toronto, Canada, notable credits include Eric Kripke’s Emmy nominated superhero series THE BOYS (Amazon), the epic video game adaptation HALO (Paramount +), Steve Blackman’s UMBRELLA ACADEMY (Netflix), and features such as Neil Jordan’s GRETA (Sidney Kimmel) and David Cronenberg’s feature CRIMES OF THE FUTURE.
RSVFX is currently in production on Tim Burton’s WEDNESDAY (Netflix), Mike Flanagan’s Edgar Allan Poe adaptation FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (Netflix), Rian Johnson’s POKER FACE and Jean-Francois Richet’s THE PLANE (Lionsgate).