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Summary

  • Netflix’s “3 Body Problem” takes on the challenge of adapting a massive sci-fi narrative, with a proposed four-season plan that aims to do justice to the complex source material.
  • Co-creator David Benioff’s openness to potentially deviating from the original book trilogy structure shows a willingness to prioritize storytelling over rushing to the end, unlike “Game of Thrones.”
  • Learning from the rushed ending of “Game of Thrones,” the creators of “3 Body Problem” must focus on giving characters time to develop organically and avoid cramming multiple seasons of action into a single episode to deliver a satisfying conclusion.



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Given the source material, Netflix’s 3 Body Problem arguably ranks among the most ambitious literary adaptations ever, yet the series’ proposed four-season plan is good news for the story. Not only will the approach help make sense of 3 Body Problem‘s complex and cerebral narrative, but it will also aid the show in escaping the legacy of its creators’ previous project – Game of Thrones. Considering Game of Thrones‘ enduring impact and how it has already shaped expectations for 3 Body Problem, the approach is doubly important in helping the new show stand apart.


Based on Liu Cixin’s acclaimed original novel, 3 Body Problem is a bold sci-fi series that surpasses Game of Thrones in scope and complexity. In a time-hopping narrative, the show loosely revolves around humanity’s first contact with a mysterious alien species, although the story’s non-linear structure incorporates multiple other cultural and scientific themes and elements. Since the book on which the show is based is the first part of a trilogy, it was expected that Benioff and Weiss’ series would follow a similar structure. However, the show’s possible four-season plan puts this into doubt – excitingly for the story.

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3 Body Problem Could Go On For 4 Seasons, According To The Creators

Despite having the template of a three-part story structure, courtesy of Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, co-creator David Benioff has suggested that 3 Body Problem could deviate from the original blueprint. In an interview with Collider, Benioff explained how the intricate nature of the story demanded taking time over the narrative. As he put it:

“There are three books. The first season roughly follows the arc of the first book, and the second season would probably roughly follow the second book. The third book is massive. It’s twice as long, I think, as the other two books, so maybe that’s one season, maybe it’s two.
But I think we’d need at least three, maybe four seasons to tell the whole story
. It’s a beautiful ending. I think all three of us thought that the last page of Liu Cixin’s epic was maybe the best final image we’d encountered in a sci-fi saga like this. It’s incredibly moving and mind-blowing, and so we’re desperate to get to the end. That means, hopefully, if enough people watch it that Netflix will renew us and give us a couple more years.”


While Benioff’s comments suggest that plans for 3 Body Problem‘s future are very much up in the air, they also demonstrate a sense of flexibility that was notably absent from Game of Thrones. By acknowledging that four seasons might be necessary, Benioff has made it clear that rushing toward the end for the sake of completion will compromise the show’s message. This sentiment suggests not only that he respects Cixin’s source material, but that he and Weiss have learned the right lessons from their Game of Thrones finale.

David Benioff & D.B. Weiss’ Netflix Plans Prove They Learned From Game Of Thrones

Game of Thrones Emmys 2019 Dinklage Weiss Benioff


In explicitly acknowledging that longer stories, such as 3 Body Problem‘s epic final book, might require more time, David Benioff is giving every indication that he and co-creator D.B. Weiss have learned from Game of Thrones‘ notoriously rushed ending. Despite running for eight epic seasons, Game of Thrones failed to bring its story to a satisfying conclusion. While there are many reasons for this, the most obvious from fans’ perspectives was the sudden alarming change of pace as the story reached its conclusion. Repeating such a mistake for 3 Body Problem would be a disaster.

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Netflix’s adaptation of 3 Body Problem depicts several major character deaths, all of which feed into the larger story of Liu Cixin’s sci-fi epic.

Game of Thrones‘ greatest strength, aside from dragons, political intrigue, and a sinister undead menace, was that it allowed its characters time to develop organically. The show’s occasionally sedate pace left viewers with a real sense that character relationships were forged over an extended period, giving them a believable timeframe to grow and change. This also meant that the protagonists engendered greater sympathy with the viewer, creating personalities that were genuinely beloved by the show’s end.


This work, however, was thrown away by the show’s overstuffed and frenetically paced conclusion. In a desperate sprint for the finishing line, Game of Thrones‘ finale crammed a season’s-worth of action into a single episode, resulting in an unsatisfying experience that gave characters unearned arcs and failed to deliver on audience expectations. In acknowledging that 3 Body Problem‘s last book might take multiple seasons to adapt, Benioff is indicating that he has learned from his previous experience.

What 3 Body Problem Must Do Differently

A custom image of John Bradley as Jack Rooney and Sea Shimooka as Sophon from 3 Body Problem.
Custom image by Debanjana Chowdhury


Given the nature of 3 Body Problem‘s future story, it is even more essential that the show doesn’t rush things. With a narrative that encompasses multiple different time frames, the story has the potential to become very confusing very quickly if due care and attention isn’t paid to every character arc and plotline. Where necessary, this means the show should focus on story over spectacle, even forsaking or delaying some impressive set pieces if it means ensuring adequate context has been provided first.

Ultimately, the existence of 3 Body Problem‘s completed book trilogy gives the show an advantage Game of Thrones lacked. Famously, Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin has yet to complete his epic series, meaning that Benioff, Weiss, and other personnel were operating with much less certainty over where the story should go. With 3 Body Problem‘s complete trilogy already published, the showrunners have a clear path forward. Following it as closely as possible, in a way that wasn’t possible with Game of Thrones, is the show’s best hope of success.

Source: Collider


3 Body Problem Netflix Show Poster Featuring a Close-Up of an Eyeball with the release date 3-21-24 on the Pupil

3 Body Problem

Cast
Saamer Usmani with Shailene Woodley , Jess Hong , Jovan Adepo , Benedict Wong , John Bradley , Eiza González , Liam Cunningham , Sea Shimooka , Tsai Chin

Release Date
March 21, 2024

Directors
Minkie Spiro , Derek Tsang



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