3 Body Problem – streaming preview

A star-studded cast, $160 million budget and Game of Thrones' creators ... everything we know about the new, eight part sci-fi series.

What is this?

A new prestige sci-fi series with a star-studded cast. According to Netflix:

‘The story begins in 1960s China when a young woman makes a fateful decision that reverberates across space and time into the present day. When the laws of nature inexplicably unravel, a tight-knit group of brilliant scientists must join forces with an unflinching detective to stop humanity’s greatest threat. 3 Body Problem is an epic story that redefines sci-fi drama with its layered mysteries and story of human connection.’ 

What is the show’s budget?

The budget for 3 Body Problem is reported to be $160 million.

Who created the series?

The Game of Thrones‘ duo of David Benioff and DB Weiss, and True Blood‘s Alexander Woo

Is 3 Body Problem based on a book?

Yes, it’s based on the novel The Three-Body Problem by the Chinese author Liu Cixin. The novel is the first part of a trilogy known as Remembrance of Earth’s Past, which follows a past, present and future version of the world in which an alien civilisation is discovered in a system with three sun-like stars that are orbiting each other.

The work was serialised in 2006 in the Chinese monthly publication Science Fiction World before becoming a standalone book in 2008. As of 2021, the novel is thought to have sold at least 8 million copies, with an English translation (2014) becoming the first Asian novel to win the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Novel. The two other novels in the trilogy are The Dark Forest (2008) and Death’s End (2010).

How different is the series to the novel?

Not sure yet. But according to Woo: ‘The experience of watching a television series is different from watching a feature film, [which] is so different from the experience of reading a novel. What we are hoping to do is to convey the experience – if not necessarily the exact details – of the novel onto the screen. What stayed, we hope, is the sense of wonderment and the sense of scope, of scale, where the problems are no longer just the problems of an individual or even a nation, but of an entire species.’

Who stars in 3 Body Problem?

Benedict Wong, Jess Hong, Jovan Adepo, Eiza González, John Bradley, Alex Sharp, Rosalind Chao, Zine Tseng, Jonathan Pryce, Ben Schnetzer, Liam Cunningham, Marlo Kelly, Sea Shimooka, Saamer Usmani and Eve Ridley.

Who’s the director?

Derek Tsang

Show me the new trailer for 3 Body Problem

Wait, is that an epic cover of Radiohead’s Everything In Its Right Place in the trailer?

Yep. In addition, Ramin Djawadi is composing the music for 3 Body Problem, having done so previously for Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon.

How many episodes are there?

Eight. The episodes are titled: Countdown, Red Coast, Destroyer of Worlds, Our Lord, Judgment Day, The Stars Our Destination, Only Advance and Wallfacer.

What’s the country of origin for the show?

United States.

Where and when can I stream 3 Body Problem?

3 Body Problem premieres on Netflix on 21 March.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites