‘The Expanse’: ‘The Churn’ Dives Into Amos Burton’s Past in Baltimore, Wes Chatham Is a Fan

The Expanse has been thrilling viewers with Season 5, and also offering a couple peeks into Amos Burton’s history. The character, played by Wes Chatham, is a fan favorite. He has a troubled past originating in Baltimore, clearly tied to the city’s seedy underbelly — the same community that took advantage of him when he was a child. While the show has done a great job offering enough details to hook viewers and give them a sense of his troubled past, there’s a novella available to those who’d like to learn more — The Churn

‘The Churn’ follows Amos Burton in Baltimore

Wes Chatham as Amos Burton on The Expanse
Wes Chatham as Amos Burton on The Expanse | Rafy/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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The Expanse is based off the book series of the same name, written by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham under the pen name James S. A. Corey. Naturally, as it follows Amos Burton, The Churn takes place within the same universe — but well before Wes Chatham’s character ever leaves Earth. 

Prior to his time on the Rocinante, Burton was deeply involved in Baltimore’s underground. While it’s not outright explained during The Expanse, there is clear indication that Chatham’s character was the victim of sex trafficking during his childhood. 

Burton, at the time named Timmy, is later saved by a prostitute named Lydia, and works alongside her, another youth named Erich, and a crime lord named, well, Amos Burton. 

Per the James S. A. Corey website, the synopsis for The Churn reads: 

“Before his trip to the stars, before the Rocinante, Timmy was confined to a Baltimore where crime paid you or killed you. Unless the authorities got to you first. On a future Earth beset by overpopulation, pollution, and poverty, people do what they must to survive. The Churn follows a crime boss named Burton as his organization is threatened by a new private security force tasked with cleaning up the city. When the police start cracking down, Burton and his footsoldiers – loyal lieutenant Erich, former prostitute Lydia, and young enforcer Timmy – become increasingly desperate to find a way out.”

While The Expanse has dug into some of the events surrounding Burton and Erich’s friendship and their past in Baltimore, there’s still plenty of information left out for fans to discover on their own. 

Wes Chatham is a fan of ‘The Expanse’ novella

Wes Chatham as Amos Burton, Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata on The Expanse
Wes Chatham as Amos Burton, Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata on The Expanse | Rafy/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

When it comes to The Expanse and Amos Burton, Wes Chatham has done more than his due diligence. In fact, the actor is a fan of the book series, though he made it clear he only reads one season ahead. 

“Yeah, so I knew about the books before the show,” Chatham told The Expanse Lives. However, he found himself mixing up what he should know as a character on the show versus what he knows from the novels, and so he limited himself.

“I decided that I was gonna read a book per season: In the off-season, when I finish, I’ll read the book that we’re gonna shoot the next season,” he explained. 

Chatham went on to explain that to him, the most important part of understanding Amos Burton was The Churn

“The thing that really connected me to Amos and made me a fan of him, and really excited to play him, was the novella called The Churn. When I read The Churn, that was most interesting to me.”