Benioff And Weiss's Adaptation Of The Three-Body Problem Will Bring 'Lots Of Humanity' To The Story [Exclusive]

Most big science fiction fans are at least somewhat familiar with the ground-breaking novel "The Three-Body Problem," written by Cixin Liu. Originally published serially in 2006, "The Three-Body Problem" was published as a standalone book in 2008 and translated for an English-speaking edition in 2014. Wildly inventive and thought-provoking, the alien-invasion story is possibly the most successful Chinese science fiction novel in the past few decades. Liu's two sequels make up the "Remembrance of Earth's Past" trilogy, which as a whole is routinely praised for just how ambitious and imaginative it is.

Fellow writer at /Film Jeremy Mathai has recently spoken to Michael Wilkinson, a costume designer for the show. Although the interview was about Wilkinson's work on the currently airing Disney+ hit "Andor," Wilkinson briefly talked about his work on "The Three-Body Problem," which will be coming out on Netflix sometime next year

"It was a huge challenge," Wilkinson said of the show, which has been adapted by "Game of Thrones" showrunners David Benioff and David Weiss. "It's full of really interesting, complex ideas, both philosophical and scientific. But I feel like the filmmaking team has really succeeded in bringing lots of humanity, and it's now a very engaging and thought-provoking story."

It's an encouraging sign from Wilkinson, considering that one of the few criticisms you'll often hear of the trilogy — especially of the first book, which the first season of the new show will cover — is that the characters themselves are a little flat. They're not completely one-dimensional or anything; it's just that readers often get the sense that the characters are overshadowed by the plot and the worldbuilding.

Are we ready to trust D&D again?

Wilkinson's praise of the upcoming show's sense of humanity is a particular relief, because the last time Benioff and Weiss adapted a beloved book series, it was the show's lack of humanity that doomed it in the end. In the final season of "Game of Thrones," the characters' stopped driving the plot — the plot started driving the characters. It's clear that the showrunners had an endpoint in mind, and they changed the characters as much as possible in order to reach that endpoint. 

But maybe "Game of Thrones" was a special case, one that shouldn't be taken as an indicator of what's to come with this new series. Unlike "A Song of Ice and Fire," for instance, the source material for "The Three-Body Problem" is completely finished. Most fans agree that the first four seasons of "Game of Thrones," when the showrunners still had the published books to adhere to, made for some genuinely impressive TV. Maybe all Benioff and Weiss need to make a good show is completed source material.

There's also the often-neglected fact that Benioff and Weiss are not the only two showrunners here. Joining them is Alexander Woo, best known for his writing on "True Blood" and "The Terror." For many fans of the book who are skeptical of Benioff and Weiss's ability to respectfully adapt a story so firmly rooted in Chinese culture, the presence of Woo — a Chinese-American writer who's clearly talented and experienced in screen-writing — is another good sign. The "Game of Thrones" showrunners may carry a lot of baggage with them, but there's still plenty of hope to be had that "The Three-Body Problem" will be worth the watch.