‘The Three-Body Problem’ Netflix Series: Everything We Know So Far | © 2023

'The Three-Body Problem' Netflix Series: Everything We Know So Far

Netflix is moving forward on their ambitious new sci-fi adaptation series of Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem trilogy that’s being led by True Blood‘s Alexander Woo and Game of Thrones writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Filming is still ongoing as of August 31st, 2022 under the codename “Straight Shooter,” so let’s dive into everything we know so far. 

Netflix struck a deal with The Three-Body Universe and Yoozoo Group for the rights to produce an English-language adaptation of the books in September 2020.

The sci-fi drama will be produced by Game of Thrones duo’s Bighead Littlehead production company and will be one of the many projects in their overall deal with Netflix.

db weiss and david benioff and alexander woo the three body problem

Pictured: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss and Alexander Woo

In an official press release, Benioff and Weiss offered their comment on adapting the Chinese book series into television:

“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.”

Alexander Woo added:

“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.”

Attached to the sci-fi project as executive producers are also Star Wars and Knives Out director Rian Johnson as well as actors Brad Pitt and Rosamund Pike. It is currently unknown whether Rian Johnson will also serve as a director. Johnson is no stranger to television as he helmed the iconic Breaking Bad episode “Ozymandias” several years ago.

What is the plot of The Three-Body Problem?

Written by Chinese author Liu Cixin, the three books in his trilogy tell the story of the first human contact with alien life from the planet called Trisolaris and the conflict between the two species that starts to brew over many years.

The Netflix series is expected to start from the first book of the trilogy, Remembrance of Earth’s Past, which sets the story in China during the cultural revolution era, with scientists committing suicide due to involvement with the mysterious society Frontiers of Science.

Without getting into major spoilers, one of the main leads, Ye Wenjie, is a scientist who gets disillusioned by the government and humanity in general and willingly causes the Trisolarians to discover Earth’s location and prepare for invasion. It would take them a couple of centuries to get to Earth so humans still have time.

Years later, Ye is the leader of a secret organization of alien invasion supporters. The group has broken into two factions: those who want Trisolarians to invade and forcibly improve humanity and those who want the Trisolarians to exterminate humanity. The aliens on their part have been conducting various forms of espionage over the years causing mysterious cases of deaths, suicides, and disappearances of key scientific figures. As the year’s pass, the conflict becomes closer and tenser.

The book author himself, Liu Cixin, is very excited and proud of this partnership with Netflix:

I have the greatest respect for and faith in the creative team adapting ‘The Three-Body Problem’ for television audiences. I set out to tell a story that transcends time and the confines of nations, cultures and races; one that compels us to consider the fate of humankind as a whole. It is a great honor as an author to see this unique sci-fi concept travel and gain fandom across the globe and I am excited for new and existing fans all over the world to discover the story on Netflix.

The Three-Body Problem is an ambitious large-scale story with many interesting characters, locations and plotlines. With luck, this will be a very big hit for Netflix.

Who is cast in The Three-Body Problem?

3BP CastAnnouncement v220211028 4541 3lriot EMBED 2021

On October 29, 2021, Netflix announced 12 primary cast members for the series. They are:

  • Jovan Adepo (Watchmen)
  • John Bradley (Game of Thrones)
  • Tsai Chin (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings)
  • Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones)
  • Elza González (Baby Driver)
  • Jess Hong (Inked)
  • Marlo Kelly (Dare Me)
  • Alex Sharp (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
  • Sea Shimooka (Arrow)
  • Zine Tseng
  • Saamer Usmani (Succession)
  • Benedict Wong (Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)

We’ve also learned that Russell Yuen will guest star throughout season 1. He’s expected to play Emperor Zhou.

Stacy Abalogun is also expected to play the role of Thelma in the series.

Tony Leung also has been on the record in implying he’s part of the project.

Jonathan Pryce Rosalind Chao and Ben Schnetzer The Three Body Problem

Jonathan Pryce, Rosalind Chao and Ben Schnetzer – Picture: Getty Images

In June 2022, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that four more cast members had joined the cast with those being:

  • Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes, Game of Thrones)
  • Rosalind Chao (Better Things)
  • Ben Schnetzer (Y: The Last Man)
  • Eve Ridley (Peppa Pig)

How many episodes the first season will The Three-Body Problem have?

No official number has been given with regards to an episode count for The Three-Body Problem.

With that said, Pandaily has reported that 24-episodes in total are being produced for the series in total. We do know that each episode is about 60 minutes in length.

What’s the production status of The Three-Body Problem?

Netflix’s The Three-Body Problem is currently set to enter production in November 2021 in the United Kingdom and China. Filming is planned to continue through to August 2022 according to issue 1265 of Production Weekly.

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