‘As big as Thrones’: GoT showrunners aim high with new sci-fi series

'3 Body Problem' official trailer

Source: Netflix

After masterminding one of the most-hated TV series finales in recent history, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss are seeking redemption with their latest project.

Promoting the pair’s Netflix show, 3 Body Problem, Benioff told the BBC their goal was already set on getting to a third season as the source material is a trilogy of novels.

“I hope it’s as big as [Game of] Thrones,” he said.

The first episode reportedly drew gasps and laughter at a screening at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this month, but official reviews have been mixed.

Variety reported the show proved Benioff and Weiss remained “master adaptors”, while Rolling Stone labelled 3 Body Problem “one great big miss”.

Benioff and Weiss did not head up the series alone. They have teamed as co-creators with Alexander Woo, who previously wrote for shows such as HBO’s True Blood.

GoT showrunners chasing fresh start

Benioff and Weiss enjoyed enormous success with HBO’s Game of Thrones throughout its eight-season run. But in 2019 they drew the wrath of fans worldwide who felt the final season had been fumbled.

At the time, the pair stayed largely silent as fans vented their anger.

The backlash grew later that year when the pair walked away from a Star Wars feature film trilogy deal that many viewers had blamed for taking their focus away from Game of Thrones.

Now Benioff and Weiss have opened up, explaining they are ready to leave the world of fantasy behind for science fiction.

This is not Westeros. Photo: Netflix

Weiss told the BBC that Game of Thrones was “the greatest experience” of their lives, but they really wanted a new set of challenges.

He said 3 Body Problem was “about as far away as you can get from what we’d just done on Thrones“.

Based on award-winning Chinese author Liu Cixin’s novel The Three-Body Problem, the eight-episode debut season will follow a story that 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,” a Netflix summary reads.

“3 Body Problem is an epic story that redefines sci-fi drama with its layered mysteries and story of human connection.”

Star-studded cast

Benioff and Weiss emphasised how different the project will be from Game of Thrones, but fans of the older show will see some familiar faces.

John Bradley, Liam Cunningham and Jonathan Pryce – who all had major roles in Game of Thrones – appear in 3 Body Problem alongside the likes of Marvel star Benedict Wong.

“They’ve picked the only series of novels that are more unfilmable than Game of Thrones,” Bradley told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“But you’re never going to create anything really great if you don’t take risks like that.”

The three co-creators, who worked on 3 Body Problem for more than four years with a crew of about 1000 people, warned the Netflix show will diverge slightly from the source material.

Netflix said Benioff, Weiss and Woo received Liu’s blessing to make necessary narrative changes.

These will include “chronological shifts, character tweaks, expansions, additions, and setting the present-day story primarily in the UK”.

For example, Benioff and Weiss told the BBC they cast Cunningham as Wade, despite the character being described in the source material as “a 40-year-old American who looks like Hugh Jackman”.

“I love Liam, but I don’t think anyone could accuse him of looking like Hugh Jackman!” Benioff said.

3 Body Problem will premiere on Netflix on March 21.

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