The people of Earth prepare for war in final trailer for 3 Body Problem


Netflix’s new sci-fi series 3 Body Problem makes its world premiere tonight at the SXSW Film & Television festival in Austin.

The countdown continues for the hotly anticipated debut of 3 Body Problem, Netflix’s eight-episode sci-fi series adapted from the award-winning novel The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, the first book in his Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy. Those attending the SXSW Film & Television Festival in Austin will get to see the series’ world premiere tonight. The rest of us have to wait until later this month, but in the meantime, the streaming platform has released a final trailer.

(Some spoilers for the novel below.)

The 3-Body Problem‘s narrative is told in a nonlinear fashion, jumping between a young astrophysicist, Ye Wenjie, who witnesses her father being beaten to death by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, and Ye’s return to Tsinghua University as an established professor many years later. During the earlier timeline, Ye figures out a means of sending an interstellar message to possible extraterrestrial civilizations and receives a response from a planet called Trisolaris. (As its name implies, the planet has three suns, which wreak havoc on Trisolaris via unpredictable “chaotic periods”—hence the novel’s title, which refers to a classic problem in celestial mechanics.) Despite being warned that the aliens intend to invade and conquer Earth, Ye responds to the message and invites them to do so, disillusioned by the state of the world.

The Trisolarians depart on their 450-year journey. Meanwhile, there have been complicated developments on Earth as people learn of the pending arrival of aliens. There is a secret society of scientists, political leaders, and other scholars who share Ye’s sentiment about the state of humanity, which, over time, splits into three competing factions. Some members continue to support the full destruction of humanity; others plan to help the aliens in exchange for the survival of themselves and their descendants; and still others regularly play a VR game called Three-Body and attempt to find a computational solution to the actual three-body problem that plagues Trisolaris. That’s a recipe for tension and conflict, which plays out in various ways throughout the novel.

The Netflix series was created by David Benioff, D.B. Weiss (Game of Thrones), and Alexander Woo (True Blood). Per the official premise:

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.

Zine Tseng stars as the young Ye Wenjie, with Rosalind Chao playing the older version. The cast also includes Benedict Wong as Da Shi, an intelligence officer who is investigating the mysterious deaths of scientists; Liam Cunningham as Thomas Wade, the charismatic leader of a global intelligence operation; Saamer Usmani as Raj Varma, a naval officer; and Jonathan Pryce as a wealthy eccentric named Mike Evans who helps set up a secret society. Ben Schnetzer plays the younger version of Mike Evans, while Marlo Kelly plays Tatiana, who was raised in Evans’ organization.

The “Oxford Five” are John Bradley as Jack Rooney; Alex Sharp as Will Downing, a sixth-form physics teacher; Jess Hong as Jin Cheng, a brilliant theoretical physicist whose curiosity is both a strength and a weakness; Jovan Adepo as Saul Durand, another physicist; and Eiza González as Auggie Salazar, a pioneer in nanotechnology (comparable to the character of Wang Miao in the novel). Sea Shimooka plays Sophon, an avatar in the show’s mysterious VR game.

The first teaser was released last June, followed in November by an exclusive clip showing Jack Rooney trying on a mysterious VR headset—only to learn from the avatar Sophon that he wasn’t “invited.” Netflix debuted the official full trailer for 3 Body Problem at CES in Las Vegas in January, and it focused heavily on the central mystery surrounding the deaths of 30 scientists in a single month, as well as people starting to see numbers representing some kind of countdown before their eyes.

This final trailer focuses a bit more on the backstory, namely the detection of the famous WOW! signal in 1977 with a glimpse of Ye Wenjie’s personal tragedy during China’s Cultural Revolution. The older Ye Wenjie tells us that “they are coming,” as others wonder who “they” might be. Of course, it’s aliens, bringing the threat of impending war as Dinah Washington croons “This Bitter Earth” in the background, lending an almost elegiac mood to the trailer. At one point, Ye Wenjie asks Jin how she will be remembered, and Jin replies, “As someone who fought back.”

All eight episodes of 3 Body Problem will hit Netflix on March 21, 2024.

Listing image by YouTube/Netflix


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