Netflix to make 'Three-Body Problem' English series

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 2, 2020
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China's entertainment company Yoozoo Group and the U.S. streaming giant Netflix announced on Tuesday they would jointly create a new sci-fi series based on the Hugo Award-winning sci-fi trilogy "The Three-Body Problem."

As part of a deal with the rights-holder, Netflix has been granted the rights by the Three Body Universe (Shanghai) Cultural Development Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Yoozoo Group, to produce an English-language adaptation of the saga for television. 

English versions of "The Three-Body Problem" book series, officially known as the Remembrance of Earth's Past' Trilogy. [Image courtesy of Netflix]

China's most famous sci-fi mogul Liu Cixin and accomplished Chinese-American sci-fi writer Ken Liu, who translated the English versions of the first and third books, are serving as consulting producers.

Liu said: "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 nation, culture and race; one that compels us to consider the fate of humanity as a whole. It is a great honor as an author to see this unique sci-fi concept travel, and gain new fans across the globe and I am excited for both new and existing fans everywhere to discover the story on Netflix."

The series will cover all three books in the trilogy -- "The Three-Body Problem," "The Dark Forest," and "Death's End," -- all of which were written by Liu. Officially named "Remembrance of Earth's Past," the three-part saga is more widely known by the name of its first book "The Three-Body Problem."

The plot revolves around young physicist Ye Wenjie's contact with the Trisolaran civilization living in a three-sun system and the following centuries-long clashes between Earthlings and the aliens.

"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," said executive producers and screenplay writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who are also members of the creative team of the phenomenally successful series "Game of Thrones." They added that they are look forward to spending the next few years bringing this to life for audiences around the world.

Alexander Woo, whose credits include "True Blood" and "Manhattan" will also work as a writer and executive producer of the series. He said: "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."

In 2015, sci-fi writer Liu Cixin became the first Chinese author to take home the Hugo Award for Best Novel. [Photo/Xinhua]

"David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and Alexander Woo have experience tackling ambitious sagas over time and space," said Peter Friedlander, vice president of original series at Netfix. "Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman have long dazzled fans with thrilling and mind-bending epics. They are all fierce advocates of 'The Three-Body Problem.' 

"As ardent fans, it was especially meaningful for us to get the support of Liu Cixin who created this expansive universe. We all share the same goal: to pay homage to this incredible story and take members on the adventure of a lifetime," added Peter Friedlander.

The project has been boosted by an all-star lineup in the production team and creative crew. Besides Benioff, Weiss, and Woo, Rian Johnson serves as executive producer along with Brad Pitt and Rosamund Pike. 

For the Chinese part, Lin Qi, chairman of Yoozoo Group and The Three-Body Universe, and Zhao Jilong, vice president of The Three-Body Universe, are also serving as executive producers.

"The Three-Body Problem" will also have a Chinese-language series adaptation entitled "Three-Body." In early August, Tencent Video, a major Chinese online streaming platform, announced it will launch the Chinese version made by Tencent Penguin Pictures and has released a concept poster. 

Yoozoo Pictures still holds the film rights for the book series. In 2020, the film studio and Beijing Enlight Media announced China's top animator Tian Xiaopeng, known for China's 3D animated milestone "Monkey King: The Hero is Back" in 2015, would be the director of a new live-action sci-fi epic under the title of "The Three-Body Problem."

Besides the film project, "The Three-Body Problem" also developed various art and entertainment forms from stage dramas, radio shows, video games, and exhibitions to an animated adaptation project by the Chinese online video streaming platform Bilibili.

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