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Game of Thrones showrunners are adapting The Three-Body Problem as first major Netflix project

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The legendary Chinese science fiction trilogy is getting a Netflix series

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Netflix on Tuesday announced that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the showrunners of HBO’s Game of Thrones, are working on an adaptation of Chinese science fiction author Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem trilogy as their first major project since signing exclusive contracts with the streaming service last year.

“Liu Cixin’s trilogy is the most ambitious science-fiction series we’ve read, taking readers on a journey from the 1960s until the end of time, from life on our pale blue dot to the distant fringes of the universe. We look forward to spending the next years of our lives bringing this to life for audiences around the world,” reads the duo’s joint statement.

Known formally as the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, of which Three-Body Problem is the first installment, the novels were originally published in China starting in 2008 and later translated into English. They’ve received critical acclaim for Liu’s stunning grasp of real-world technical and scientific concepts — The New Yorker calls him China’s answer to Arthur C. Clarke — and the immense scope of the trilogy’s narrative, which spans from China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s to universe-spanning events many thousands of years into the future.

The creative team behind the project is staggering. It includes not just Benioff and Weiss, who last year inked a major Netflix deal worth about $200 million, but also Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Knives Out director Rian Johnson and his producing partner Ram Bergman. Alexander Woo, known best for his writing work on True Blood, is also joining as a writer and executive producer. But perhaps most importantly, Liu himself and the primary translator of his works, celebrated American science fiction author Ken Liu, are both signed onto the project, too.

The deal involves adapting the entire trilogy into a Netflix series, but no other details about production or planned release date have been announced. “We have been granted the rights from The Three-Body Universe and Yoozoo Group to produce the English-language series adaptation and have assembled a talented and thoughtful creative team to do so,” writes Peter Friedlander, Netflix’s vice president of original series, in the announcement post. “Every person involved not only shares a passion and high esteem for the books, but also the creative vision and ambition to help bring this remarkable story to life for audiences around the world.”