Syfy and Alcon TV today announced that Steven Strait (Magic City) and Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Saddam, House of Sand and Fog) will star in The Expanse, the new 10-episode space opera based on the international best-selling book series, premiering on Syfy in 2015.

Strait plays Holden, an officer on the ice-carrying freighter the Canterbury. Holden is a natural leader who's not sure he wants responsibility, but who will soon have no choice when he is drawn into a dangerous plot. Strait's many credits include the movies 10,000 B.C. and City Island.

Aghdashloo portrays Chrisjen Avasarala, a smart and passionate member of a political family legacy who has risen high in the ranks of Earth's governing body without once standing for election. In addition to appearing in the long-running TV series 24, Aghdashloo has starred in films such as X-Men: The Last Stand, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Stoning of Soraya M. She just completed filming on Septembers In Shiraz with Adrien Brody and Salma Hayek, and The Last Knights with Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman.

Earlier, Syfy and Alcon TV announced that three-time Golden Globe nominee Thomas Jane (Hung, The Punisher) will also star as the world-weary Detective Miller, a native of "the Asteroid Belt" between Mars and Jupiter.

The Expanse is a thriller set two hundred years in the future. The series follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened detective (Thomas Jane) and a rogue ship's captain (Steven Strait) together in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.

In making the announcement, Bill McGoldrick, Executive Vice President, Original Content, Syfy, had this to say.

"Steven and Shohreh are both outstanding talents who we feel lucky to have in our series."

Sharon Hall, President, Alcon Television, had this to say about the casting in her statement.

"We knew this material would attract high end talent. Steven Strait embodies the humor, gravitas and humanity that the character of James Holden possesses. Having him alongside Thomas Jane as our leading men is thrilling. The incomparable Shohreh Aghdashloo is our dream Chrisjen Avasarala."

Award-winning director Terry McDonough (Breaking Bad, Suits, Better Call Saul) will direct the first two episodes.

The Academy Award-nominated screenwriting duo Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men, Iron Man) wrote the pilot and will continue to serve as writers as well as executive producers. Fergus and Ostby are showrunners alongside fellow executive producer Naren Shankar (CSI, Farscape).

The Expanse is produced by Alcon Television Group (ATG), a division of Alcon Entertainment, and marks the company's first series order. Alcon co-founders and co-CEO's Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson will serve as executive producers with Hall. Alcon Television executive Ben Roberts will serve as co-producer. Ben Cook will serve as producer. Sean Daniel (Graceland, The Mummy) and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Company developed the original pitch, with Fergus and Ostby, and will also executive produce.

Developed with the Sean Daniel Company as a direct-to-series project, Alcon is financing and executive producing the hour-long, 10 episode series, based on the popular New York Times bestselling book series collectively known as The Expanse, written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (under the pen name James S. A. Corey). Abraham and Franck will be show producers.

The multi-installment, best-selling book series is published in 17 countries, including China, France, Japan, Australia, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. Book one in the series, "Leviathan Wakes," was nominated for a Hugo Award as well as a Locus Award, while the second novel, "Caliban's War" was nominated for a Locus Award.

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