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‘3 Body Problem’ Creators Say Season 2 “Gets Really Wild”


Cixin Liu’s 3 Body Problem trilogy was considered unadaptable, but D.B. Weiss, David Benioff and Alexander Woo did it for Netflix. Even though Season 1 is streaming, that doesn’t mean they’ve solved Season 2. The trio joined Deadline’s Contenders TV event Sunday to discuss the adaptation, and Weiss explained why continuing the show poses even more creative problems.

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“This kind of eases you into the world of the story but the story gets really wild in the best possible way,” Weiss said. “With something that’s that wild, there are a lot of choices to be made and a lot of things to be figured out. We’ve been putting our heads together to figuring them out recently especially the past couple months.”

3 Body Problem involves scientists from around the world discovering a virtual reality video game which leads them to another intergalactic species. The story spans past and present. The globalization of the adaptation marks a change from the books, which focused on China.

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“Out of necessity we needed to be the cast mostly speaking English,” Woo said. “The Chinese flashbacks were very much intact. It afforded us an opportunity to tell a very global story. Humanity either comes together or doesn’t come together to face an existential threat.”

There are still very many scientific concepts and historical backstories relevant to 3 Body Problem. Weiss said the show had to find different ways to explain those that Liu employed in the books.

“You don’t want people to be pushing pause and hitting Wikipedia every five minutes,” Weiss said. “You could do the version of that that makes people do that but it pulls people out of it. In the book, he’s explaining all this stuff to you anyway in writing. It was a challenge that was ultimately what drew us to the project to begin with.”

As complex as the story and science was, Weiss said 3 Body Problem still employed some good old fashioned dialogue-based drama. Weiss pointed to a scene between Jonathan Pryce and a voice on a speaker.

“Jonathan has a long conversation in a small room with a disembodied voice on a 1950s dictaphone speaker about the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood,” Weiss said. “That scene is every bit as much of what I love about this story as any of the bigger stuff.”

In addition to cracking the adaptation, the show had to cast actors to embody Liu’s characters. Benioff said Benedict Wong and John Bradley were their first choices. Zine Tseng had to audition on an international Zoom with a bad connection, but weathered technical issues to land her role.

“I think a lot of people would have just been broken by that,” Benioff said. “How do you maintain that intensity again and again?”

Check back Monday for the panel video.



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