ARTS / BOOKS
Chinese netizens react to Netflix's 'The Three-body Problem' adaptation
Published: Sep 02, 2020 08:01 PM

Photo: VCG


US streaming platform Netflix announced on Tuesday it has ordered an English-language series based on the well-known Chinese science fiction book trilogy "The Three-Body Problem." The China-US coproduction has aroused complicated feelings among Chinese netizens and film experts, who have expressed both excitement and worry.

The best-selling series, also known as the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy but more often referred to as The Three-Body Problem after the first book in the series, was written by Chinese writer Liu Cixin, who won a Hugo Award in 2015 for the translated English version of the first book. 

The film and TV industry has been paying increased attention to Liu's works since his big win. In 2019, the film the Wandering Earth, based on one of his short stories, was made into a major motion picture that became the third-highest earning film in China with 4.6 billion yuan ($674 million). Meanwhile, Chinese language TV and film adaptations of The Three-Body Problem are also currently underway in China. 

Si Ke, a project director for the film version at China's SKMR Global Films Company, told the Global Times on Wednesday that he was very pleased to hear about the Netflix announcement and that he had high expectations for it. 

"I hope more high-quality Chinese works like The Three-Body Problem can be appreciated by the people around the world," he said.

The hashtag "Netflix will adapt 'Three-Body Problem'" had been viewed more than 230 million times as of Wednesday on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, with more than 44,000 netizens joining in on the discussion.

The Netflix series will see Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and writer/producer Alexander Woo write and executive produce. Liu will also act as a consulting producer on the project. 

Some Chinese netizens expressed high expectations for the series. 

"We have to admit that US production teams operate at a higher-level when shooting science fiction works. Both their equipment and technology are more advanced, so I am looking forward to watching the adapted-version of The Three-Body Problem," one netizen commented on Sina Weibo.

But some netizens were worried about how the scriptwriters of Game of Thrones will adapt the fiction. 

"After watching the final season of Game of Thrones, I am anxious about the abilities of these scriptwriters. Please respect the original stories in the books," another netizen wrote.

While fans may be worried, Liu himself expressed his confidence in the production team and Netflix during an interview and in a tweet. 

"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," Liu wrote on Twitter.

"The series is an important step of Netflix's Asian plan. The platform has produced series in several regions in Asia such as Japan and South Korea, and this time it selected 'The Three-Body Problem,'" Shi Wenxue, a cultural critic and teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Shi noted that the top production team has made him look forward to the adaptation.

Shi also commented on the advantages of the film-version Three-Body Problem

"The domestic film has a natural advantage in conveying the thoughts of the original work and the thinking of Chinese people. In addition, the film itself has a wide screen advantage over the TV drama in terms of production quality and style."


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