Chinese Television Beats Netflix to Game of Thrones Creators' Next Big Project

Chinese television has beaten Netflix to air with their own adaptation of Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Wiess' next big project, The Three-Body Problem. China's CCTV debuted their own series, Three-Body, based on the novel The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, earlier this year. Netflix's adaptation does not yet have a release date.

The Chinese version of the series is separate from the upcoming Netflix version and when it comes to the Chinese version, it's been a very long road. Chinese media company Tencent first obtained the rights to the novels in 2008, though efforts to produce a live-action adaptation didn't begin until 2015 with The Three-Body Problem movie from YooZoo Film. That film has never been released. Then, in 2020, YooZoo Group made a deal with Netflix for an adaptation — the Benioff and Weiss one — while at the same time, Tencent was working on a script for a Chinese version. Filming on the Chinese adaptation began in July 2020 (via Variety) and lasted for just 126 days with the series ultimately debuting on January 15 on CCTV and streaming on WeTV and Rakuten Viki in China.

The Three-Body Problem series, also known as the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy, takes place in a future where Earth is awaiting an invasion by aliens from the neighboring star system. That system consists of three stars orbiting each other in a three-body system. A single habitable planet exists there, frequently suffering extreme temperature and climate changes, causing a cycle of societal rises and falls. The Netflix series cast includes Thrones alums John Bradley (Sam Tarly) and Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), plus Marvel's Doctor Strange star Benedict Wong. Other cast members include Jovan Adepo (Watchmen), Tsai Chin (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), Eiza González (Baby Driver), Jess Hong (Inked), Marlo Kelly (Dare Me), Alex Sharp (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Sea Shimooka (Arrow), Zine Tseng, and Saamer Usmani (Succession).

"I have the greatest respect for and faith in the creative team adapting The Three-Body Problem for television audiences," Cixin said at the time Netflix announced the series. "I set out to tell a story that transcends time and the confines of nations, cultures and races; one that compels us to consider the fate of humankind as a whole. It is a great honor as an author to see this unique sci-fi concept travel and gain fandom across the globe and I am excited for new and existing fans all over the world to discover the story on Netflix."