Everything we know about '3 Body Problem'

a wide-open eye has the numbers "03.21.24" superimposed on top of it in fiery letters above the text "3 body problem"
Promotional art for 3 Body Problem. (Image credit: Netflix)

2024 looks like a great year for science fiction.

Adding to the geeky thrills this year is "3 Body Problem," an 8-episode, prestige-level adaptation for the debut book of the "Remembrance of Earth's Past" novel series, a New York Times bestselling sci-fi trilogy from Chinese author Cixin Liu and arriving on Netflix beginning Mar. 21, 2024. 

This acclaimed series is an epic examination of Earth's inhabitants as they incite, anticipate, prepare for, and endure an extraterrestrial invasion. Netflix's big-budget sci-fi project from the creators of HBO's medieval fantasy sensation "Game of Thrones" should provide fans with a compelling and visually stunning narrative spanning continents and decades, as five brilliant friends make earth-shattering discoveries as the laws of science unravel and an existential threat emerges.

Let's open our minds and immerse ourselves with all the vital details of "3 Body Problem" before the alien infiltration occurs. And remember, be very wary of desperate Trisolarians you decide to invite to your home!

Promotional poster for "3 Body Problem." (Image credit: Netflix)

3 Body Problem release date

"3 Body Problem" will be available to stream exclusively on Netflix beginning Mar. 21, 2024. The debut season consists of eight episodes titled: "Countdown," "Red Coast," "Destroyer of Worlds," "Our Lord," "Judgment Day," "The Stars Our Destination," "Only Advance," and "Wallfacer."

The cast of  "3 Body Problem" watches the skies! (Image credit: Netflix)

3 Body Problem Plot

The closest plotline for fans to identify with is an f-bomb infused fusion of Carl Sagan's "Contact," Ernest Cline's "Ready Player One," Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," Prime Video's "The Peripheral," and director Denis Villeneuve’s "Arrival." However, that's pinning it into a simplistic corner and it's much more than meets the eye as this layered saga starts unspooling.

Here's Netflix's official synopsis:

"A young woman's fateful decision in 1960s China reverberates across space and time into the present day. When the laws of nature inexplicably unravel before their eyes, a close-knit group of brilliant scientists join forces with an unorthodox detective to confront the greatest threat in humanity’s history.

"The series portrays a fictional past, present and future wherein Earth encounters an alien civilization from a nearby system of three sun-like stars orbiting one another, in an example of the three-body problem in orbital mechanics."

Season 1 is an adaptation of Cixin Liu's Hugo Award-winning 2008 novel, "The Three-Body Problem," which is the first book in his "Remembrance of Earth's Past" trilogy. The two other books that complete the trilogy are 2008's "The Dark Forest" and 2010's "Death's End." Translations of these three imaginative novels by Ken Liu are a bit rough if you’re not used to Chinese-to-English interpretations, but one can quickly adapt to the awkward style to enjoy the books.

A message is sent into the cosmos in "3 Body Problem" (Image credit: Netflix)

3 Body Problem cast

Expect an eclectic international cast with a few familiar faces from the MCU and "Game of Thrones" sprinkled in. 

It stars Zine Tseng portraying young astrophysicist prodigy Ye Wenjie, with "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's" Rosalind Chao playing the adult version, "Doctor Strange's" Benedict Wong as intelligence officer Da Shi, "Game of Thrones'" Liam Cunningham as global intelligence leader Thomas Wade, Saamer Usmani as naval officer Raj Varma, "Game of Thrones'" Jonathan Pryce as secret society eccentric Mike Evans, Eiza González as nanotech pioneer Auggie Salazar, Jess Hong as physicist Jin Cheng, and "Game of Thrones'" John Bradley as fellow "Oxford Five" scientist, Jack Rooney.

3 Body Problem trailer

The first full trailer for "3 Body Problem" came on Jan. 9, 2024 at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and provided longtime fans of the books and neophytes a semi-cryptic look at the fantastic worlds created by the production crew and staff writers. 

It begins with a somber voiceover from Benedict Wong commenting on 30 dead scientists discovered over the past month while he finds strange countdown markings on a wall. The same ticking clock other scientists are having visions of around the world. "They're going after our best and brightest," declares Liam Cunningham. 

What follows is a whirlwind of imagery suggesting otherworldly influences and paranormal phenomena that defy explanation, and a chrome VR headset offering an interdimensional portal to an interactive game grid.

"They are coming, and there's nothing you can do to stop them," an ominous warning concludes.

An explosive scene from "3 Body Problem." (Image credit: Netflix)

3 Body Problem Director, Writers and Crew

This head-spinning sci-fi thriller hails from the Emmy Award-winning "Game of Thrones" team of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and "True Blood's" Alexander Woo. Attempting to quell fears regarding the novel’s complex nonlinear structure, Woo soothes fans' worries by explaining the creative team's approach to the sacred source material.

"What we are hoping to do is to convey the experience—if not necessarily the exact details—of the novel onto the screen," he tells Netflix's Tudum regarding the writing process. "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."

In addition to Benioff, Weiss and Woo, executive producers on this ambitious undertaking include Plan B Entertainment's Brad Pitt, Jeremy Kleiner, and Dede Gardner, T-Street's Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman, and award-winning "Game of Thrones" producer Bernadette Caulfield.

Directors involved for the premiere outing are Derek Tsang, Andrew Stanton, Minkie Spiro and distinguished "Game of Thrones" filmmaker, Jeremy Podeswa.

Also on board this invasion mystery is Emmy Award-winning composer Ramin Djawadi, the musical master who delivered the haunting operatic score for HBO's "Game of Thrones," now providing "3 Body Problem's" melodic soundtrack.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.

  • StellarVoyager
    A very good read, thank you! 👌
  • orsobubu
    aside from science fiction, the 3body problem, and multibody problems, have always eluded scientists, but this is because they focus exclusively on gravity instead of expand to the other forces in nature
  • StellarVoyager
    orsobubu said:
    aside from science fiction, the 3body problem, and multibody problems, have always eluded scientists, but this is because they focus exclusively on gravity instead of expand to the other forces in nature