"Three-Body Problem" series from David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Alexander Woo set at Netflix

The trio will adapt Liu Cixin's Chinese book series about humanity’s first contact with an alien civilization

Published September 2, 2020 12:20AM (EDT)

"The Three-Body Problem" books by Liu Cixin (Netflix)
"The Three-Body Problem" books by Liu Cixin (Netflix)

This article originally appeared on Variety.


Netflix has ordered a drama series based on the award-winning Chinese book series "The Three-Body Problem" with David BenioffD.B. Weiss, and Alexander Woo set to write and executive produce.

The series order covers all three books in the trilogy — "The Three-Body Problem," "The Dark Forest," and "Death's End," all of which were written by Liu Cixin. They tell the story of humanity's first contact with an alien civilization. Netflix struck a deal with The Three-Body Universe and Yoozoo Group for the rights to produce an English-language adaptation of the books.

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"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," Benioff and Weiss said. "We look forward to spending the next years of our lives bringing this to life for audiences around the world."

The project boasts an all-star lineup behind the camera. In addition to Benioff, Weiss, and Woo, Rian Johnson serves as executive producer along with Brad Pitt and Rosamund Pike. Author Liu and accomplished sci-fi writer Ken Liu, who translated the English versions of the first and third books, serve as consulting producers.

"David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and Alexander Woo have experience tackling ambitious sagas over time and space," said Peter Friedlander, vice president of orginal 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 to 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."

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Benioff and Weiss executive produce under their Bighead Littlehead banner along with the company's newly installed president, Bernadette Caulfield. Johnson, Ram Bergman, and Nena Rodrigue executive produce via T Street Productions. Pitt executive produces with along with Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner for Plan B Entertainment. Pike and Robie Uniacke executive produce for Primitive Streak. Lin Qi, chairman of Yoozoo Group and The Three-Body Universe, and Zhao Jilong, vice president of The Three-Body Universe, also executive produce.

"It's a privilege to be adapting one of the great masterpieces of Chinese science-fiction," Woo said. "'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" marks the first project Benioff and Weiss are attached to write at Netflix since the duo, who previously created HBO's "Game of Thrones," signed an overall deal at the streamer reportedly worth nine figures. The new show is no doubt the type of ambitious genre programming Netflix hoped would come from the deal, as fantasy drama "Game of Thrones" proved to be a worldwide hit and wrapped up its run last year after eight seasons and numerous awards and accolades. Benioff and Weiss are also attached to executive produce "The Chair," a six-episode Netflix dramedy starring Sandra Oh and Jay Duplass and written by Amanda Peet.

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Woo is also currently under an overall deal with Netflix, which he signed earlier this year. He most recently co-created and served as showrunner on "The Terror: Infamy" at AMC, which told a supernatural horror story set in an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. His other credits include "True Blood," "Manhattan," and the HBO movie adaptation of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."

"I have the greatest respect for and faith in the creative team adapting 'The Three-Body Problem' for television audiences," said Cixin. "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."

By Joe Otterson

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Alexander Woo Brief David Benioff D.b. Weiss Liu Cixin Three-body Problem Variety