Dominique Tipper & Steven Strait Interview: The Expanse Season 6

In The Expanse season 6, James Holden (Steven Strait) and the crew of the Rocinante endure the hardship of war, as they assume a key role in the system-wide effort to defeat Belter terrorist Marco Inaros and the Free Navy. Reunited with the group after going through the wringer in season 5, Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) feels the weight of her trauma and grapples with her identity as a Belter among Earthers and Martians. Despite the strains on their romantic partnership - which has lasted since season 1, Holden and Naomi have to lean on each other like never before in The Expanse season 6 if they are to make it out the other side.

Related: Marco Inaros & Naomi Backstory Explained In The Expanse

Screen Rant spoke with Dominique Tipper and Steven Strait about the struggles Naomi and Holden face in The Expanse season 6 and what makes their characters' relationship so strong.

Screen Rant: Naomi has an interesting dynamic in season 6. Obviously, she's a Belter, and she finds herself fighting a war against Belters. How does it make her feel to be in this situation, especially knowing that her son Filip is still on that side?

Dominique Tipper: She's going through so many things. She's in a constant state of devastation. I think she is really struggling with knowing whether she's doing the right thing or not, and this has been a continual struggle for her. It's this thing of not all Belters see eye to eye. But then also what makes you a real Belter, you know? And I think she has always struggled with that and, morally, this war is tearing her apart. She's at the end of her tether with how much killing they've done - how much killing of Belters - the labels of them as fanatics and all these kinds of things.

My favorite line in this season is when Avasarala and Drummer are talking and Avasarala says something about Marco, and Drummer says, "Marco was inevitable with the centuries of oppression that you've put on our people." I think that's the crux of what this is about for all of them. They're just finding the best way for Belters to exist not oppressed, and this is always the moral place that Naomi borders. But it's really hard for her right now, and also the fact that her baby's mixed up in it. It's an impossible situation.

Holden finds himself in a new position as well. After the loss of Alex at the end of season 5, how has Holden's role on the Roci changed in season 6?

Steven Strait: Well, he's piloting now. In many ways, he's doing the things he's always done and trying to hold everyone together through his sense of empathy, but it's increasingly more difficult. In the beginning of season 6, everyone is exhausted. They've been at this now for half a year and nothing seems to be moving, and it's just taking a terrible toll on the crew, and he's just trying to hold it together. So, on one hand, he's got different responsibilities technically on the ship, but on the other, it's increasingly much the same.

credit: Shane Mahood/Amazon Studios

I think it's interesting that Holden and Naomi's relationship is the only romance that lasts in The Expanse. What do you both think is so special about their bond?

Dominique Tipper: That's a good question. I think the thing that really kind of holds them together is the constant want for the relationship to work. I know that sounds weird, but even in life, someone normally gives up at this point, especially when they don't see eye to eye as they haven't politically. Sometimes outer situations can really just rip you apart in a relationship in ways that you don't really expect them to, so it's rare to see a relationship where they've traversed so much tribulation and the desire is still to be together.

But I do also think it's rooted in trauma in a way - that all they had was each other to cling to and they kept finding solace and respite from what was going on outside in each other and can cushion each other in that way. So, I actually don't think that's special in terms of other relationships I know in life to be. I just think it's a really honest portrayal of one, which is special. I don't think we see that on-screen much.

Steven Strait: I agree. It's a relationship built on respect. Whenever I think of Holden and Naomi, I always think of two people clinging to each other in a storm. That's the visual in my mind. They've anchored each other while all this craziness is going on around them and they've managed to survive and grow through all these crazy circumstances and hardships. I think this season culminates in a really elegant and satisfying tone. It's a really lovely way that they ended it with the writing.

Next: Luna Station Is Now Safer Than Earth - The Expanse Season 6 Set Up Explained

The Expanse season 6 premieres December 10 on Prime Video.

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