David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the showrunners that famously (or infamously) brought Game of Thrones to television are back with a new show based on another internationally renowned novel, The Three-Body Program.
Netflix last week released the first trailer for the show (alternatively tiitled 3 Body Problem) which hints at the epic scope of the sci-fi story, which stars Benedict Wong, Jess Hong, Eiza González, and GoT alums Liam Cunningham, John Bradley, and Jonathan Pryce. You’d be forgiven if the trailer left you scratching your head, with a story that spans multiple timelines, touches upon everything from the Chinese Cultural Revolution to an alien invasion and a snazzy set of mirrored VR head ware.
Given its pedigree — Alexander Woo, of True Blood fame, is also working with Weiss and Benioff as a showrunner — it’s poised to be the next big thing. But how do you adapt an infinitely complicated novel with a large established fan base?
It turns out, you don’t.
“Unless you’re adapting the Harry Potter books, you really need to make a show for people who haven’t read the books,” Weiss told Cord Cutters News at a Netflix booth promoting the show at CES 2024 last week. “There are lots of fans of these books and we expect they’ll watch the show, but you can’t make the show for people who already know the story.”
The eight-episode season will have a lot of work cut out to establish the out-three premise while developing multiple characters and a storyline expected to go into two other novels.
“This is filtering down some very heavy science fiction concepts into language and images that the average person can understand,” he said.
Weiss added that the showrunners worked with lots of science advisors, and are confident the ideas have been worked in a way that people will understand the show when they watch it.
This isn’t the first time Weiss and Benioff have worked from source material that wasn’t on the radar of the public — yet.
“I remember when the first Game of Thrones trailer came out, one of our friends said the trailer was kind of cool, but they still had no idea what the show is about,” Benioff said.
He added that another trailer would come out closer to the March 21 release date that would offer more context.
“This one whets the appetite — it’s something different, strange,” he said. “The next one is what the show is about.”
Image credit: Netflix