Game of Thrones co-creators, David Benioff and DB Weiss are all set to adapt another iconic book series. Said to be the pair’s first Netflix project, Benioff and Weiss will be adapting Liu Cixin’s award-winning novel “Three-Body Problem” into a series for the streaming giant.
Together with Alexander Woo (True Blood), Benioff and Weiss’s first project is reportedly a $200m (£164m) overall deal. And tells the story of humanity’s first contact with an alien civilization.
Though Cixin’s trilogy, which consists of The Three-Body Problem and it’s two sequels, The Dark Forest and Death’s End, was originally published in Chinese. The Netflix series will be an English-language adaptation. The novel won the Hugo award for fantasy fiction in 2015, whereas its follow-ups have gone on to become international bestsellers. Fans of the series include the likes of Barack Obama, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.
“The most ambitious science-fiction series we’ve read”
“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 Benioff and Weiss, who will write and executive-produce the series. “We look forward to spending the next years of our lives bringing this to life for audiences around the world.”
Like Game of Thrones, The Three-Body Problem, which consists of, Remembrance of Earth’s Past, The Dark Forest and Death’s End, is set against an alternate universe. The first book tells the story of Ye Wenjie. Following her father’s death at the hands of the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, she attempts to help aliens invade Earth. While different factions on Earth plan different ways of welcoming the extra-terrestrials. It originally was serialized in Science Fiction World in 2006 before being published in 2008.
The Dream Team
The English-language series will be led by the experienced team of Benioff & Weiss and they will be supported by an all-star behind-the-scenes crew.
Alexander Woo, co-creator of AMC’s The Terror: Infamy, will write and exec produce alongside the GoT pair. Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi and Knives Out, will exec produce alongside his producing partner Ram Bergman. Plan B, the production company run by Brad Pitt, Jeremy Kleiner and Dede Gardner, will exec produce. Alongside Rosamund Pike and Robie Uniacke via their company Primitive Streak.
Lin Qi, chairman of rights-holders Yoozoo Group and the Three-Body Universe. And Zhao Jilong, VP of the Three-Body Universe, also will exec produce. Alongside Bernadette Caulfield, the GoT exec producer who was recently installed as president of Benioff & Weiss’ production company. Joining them is Nena Rodrigue, President of Television for Johnson and Bergman’s production company, T-Street.
Author, Cixin will act as a consulting producer for the series, alongside Ken Liu, who translated the first and third books of the trilogy.
“It changed what science fiction meant to me forever”
For Netflix, it will be overseen by Peter Friedlander, VP Original Series Drama. Who is one of the streamer’s first original-content hires who has looked after series including House of Cards, Mindhunter and Narcos.
Friedlander said that when he read the trilogy for the first time, “it changed what science fiction meant to me forever.”
“Although it may seem like a familiar premise, Chinese author Liu Cixin’s ability to interweave science with fiction made his vision of the future and extra-terrestrial contact feel more realistic than any other science fiction I’ve read,” he said. “At the same time, I was also drawn in by the story of all of humanity vulnerable to the same external threat. And how this both unifies and divides humans. Since my earliest days at Netflix working on series like Black Mirror and Sense8, I’ve sought out stories and POVs that are singular. This story felt singular, special and eminently relatable.”
“It is a great honor as an author to see this unique sci-fi concept travel and gain fandom across the globe”
Liu Cixin 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 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.”
“I’m thrilled to kick off my partnership with Netflix with this accomplished creative team”
Woo who is also currently under an overall deal with Netflix, 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.”
The Three-Body Problem will be Benioff and Weiss’ first drama series since Game of Thrones ended after eight series last year.