The duo behind Game of Thrones have just announced a new project — but not everyone is excited about it. On Tuesday, September 1, Variety reported that Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are adapting Liu Cixen's Three-Body Problem sci-fi series, in collaboration with writer and producer Alexander Woo. The series will cover all three of Liu's books — The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and Death’s End — which Woo described in a statement to Variety as "one of the great masterpieces of Chinese science-fiction."
Originally published in 2008, the Three-Body Problem series chronicles an alternate history in which humans have made contact with aliens from a neighboring solar system, and follows the various ways that the relationship between the two species affects humanity on a grand and individual scale. "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," Benioff and Weiss said in a statement. "We look forward to spending the next years of our lives bringing this to life for audiences around the world."
However, not everyone is as excited about the upcoming adaptation as Benioff and Weiss. In response to the news, many social media users shared their skepticism about the pair's ability to do the bestselling series justice after their last major adaptation. Three-Body Problem will be the first major project that Benioff and Weiss have written for since Game of Thrones ended in June 2019 amid a great deal of backlash and controversy.
According to Variety, in addition to Benioff, Weiss, and Woo, the Three-Body Problem adaptation will also be produced by Rian Johnson, Brad Pitt, and Rosamund Pike, with Liu and sci-fi writer Ken Liu — who translated the first and third novels into English — serving as consulting producers. Having Liu on board and so many other respected names from both the film and sci-fi worlds also contributing to the series may help assuage some fans' doubts about Benioff and Weiss' ability to adapt the series. In addition, Liu told the outlet that he had great faith in the pair's talent and plan for bringing the books to Netflix, saying, "I have the greatest respect for and faith in the creative team adapting The Three-Body Problem for television audiences."
Despite Liu's seal of approval, Benioff and Weiss have been criticized on multiple occasions for their lack of diversity and mishandling of racial issues, which has contributed to fans' skepticism of this new project. In 2017, HBO announced that they were developing Confederate, a TV show which takes place in an alternate history where the Southern States never seceded from the Union, slavery is still legal and has "evolved into a modern institution," and the country was heading towards the "Third American Civil War." The announcement was met with a great deal of backlash and controversy and in January 2020, the network confirmed that Confederate was no longer in development.
In addition, Game of Thrones has been criticized for its lack of diversity over the course of its 8-year run. "We really believed we were doing it like the books, basically," casting director Nina Gold told Vanity Fair in 2017. "I guess I don’t know what to really say about it, because it’s not like there’s no diversity in the casting in Game of Thrones. We’ve turned Grey Worm and Missandei into really deep characters." However, Nathalie Emmanuel — who played Missandei — and was one of a handful of non-white actors to have a significant role in the series, called out Game of Thrones for its lack of diversity after her character was brutally killed off in Season 8 (a plot twist many fans objected to).
"I understand people's heartbreak because this is the conversation around representation," the actor told Entertainment Weekly in May 2019. "It's safe to say that Game of Thrones has been under criticism for their lack of representation and the truth of it is that Missandei and Grey Worm have represented so many people because there's only two of them. ... The anger about [Missandei's death] speaks to that conversation of why representation matters."