Netflix has announced that it has commissioned a TV adaptation of Cixin Liu’s sci-fi blockbuster the Three Body Problem. We take a look at how this is shaping up and when you can expect to see it appear on the streaming service.
At the time of writing, there is no confirmed release date for the Three Body Problem. This isn’t surprising as the project was only announced on 1 September 2020 by Netflix and is still in the very early stages of production.
As with all big-budget sci-fi and fantasy shows, there will no doubt be a lot of post-production work to do, rendering effects and other enhancements, so it could be 2022 before the first instalment arrives.
What is the plot of the Three Body Problem?
Cixin Liu’s trilogy of novels (Three Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and Death’s End) tell the story of humanity’s first encounter with an intelligent alien race, the Trisolarans, who are discovered by Chinese scientists who decide to keep their own existence a secret so as not to potentially trigger an invasion. These plans are scuttled by Ye Wenje, a dissident astrophysicist, who decides that the human race is beyond saving and sends a message to the Trisolarans who then begin a 450-year voyage to Earth.
After a few decades, several prominent scientists begin to commit suicide, leading a detective to discover a strange, dream-like game that plays itself out in people’s minds. The scenario is that of a planet with three suns (hence the series title) whose weather and environment change rapidly from a stable state like Earth’s to a completely inhospitable desert or ice-covered wasteland. Could this be Trisolaris? If so, how are humans seeing this game, and what message is it revealing about the motives of the alien race?
It’s an epic tale that incorporates science, world politics, the nature of humanity and our place in the universe. Plus, that’s only the first book.
Who are the cast and crew of Three Body Problem?
With the production only at the early stages, there are no confirmed details about who will star in the show. What we do know is that the series will be produced and created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (who you may recognise as the producers responsible for Game of Thrones), plus Alexander Woo who produced and wrote True Blood.
Rian Johnson, director of Knives Out, Looper, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, has also been confirmed as an executive producer. Whether he’ll direct any episodes is unclear though, especially as he has just signed a deal with Netflix for two exclusive sequels to the excellent Knives Out.
In a press release from Netflix, Alexander Woo says, “It’s a privilege to be adapting one of the great masterpieces of Chinese science-fiction. The Three-Body Problem trilogy combines so many things I love: rich, multi-layered characters and true existential stakes – all told as an elegant and deeply human allegory. I’m thrilled to kick off my partnership with Netflix with this accomplished creative team.”
There’s also a joint statement from Benioff and Weiss that says, “Liu Cixin’s trilogy is the most ambitious science-fiction series we’ve read, taking readers on a journey from the 1960s until the end of time, from life on our pale blue dot to the distant fringes of the universe. We look forward to spending the next years of our lives bringing this to life for audiences around the world.”
All we can hope is that the team deliver an adaptation that has the quality of the early Game of Thrones seasons and learns from the considerable mistakes of its final outing.
Where can I watch the Three Body Problem?
As this is a Netflix original series, you’ll need to be subscribed to the streaming service to view the series when it finally arrives. In the meantime, to whet your appetite, you can enjoy another of Cixin Liu’s sci-fi creations by watching The Wandering Earth movie on Netflix. or reading the novels published by Tor Books.
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