New 3 Body Problem Trailer Gets One Thing Right From The Books

Netflix’s ambitious adaptation of the popular Cixin Liu books has nailed one of the trickiest aspects of this sci-fi world.

The book cover for "Death's End."
Tor Books

The next big sci-fi epic from the people behind Game of Thrones — David Benioff and D. B. Weiss — is coming to Netflix on March 21, 2024. The series is the 3 Body Problem, based on the Remembrance of Earth's Past book series by Cixin Liu.

A sprawlingly, multi-generational story, the 3 Body Problem is an astonishingly ambitious story that was considered nigh impossible to adapt. But based on the new trailer, it might actually get the justice it deserves.

The first trailer captured the haunting tone of this epic story, all about aliens from a distant star system making contact with humans in strange and specific ways. Now, a new trailer, complete with teaser footage has dropped, and it introduces a major concept from the first book in a slick way. This aspect of The Three-Body Problem is something the show has to get right, and based on this footage, it does. Minor spoilers ahead.

3 Body Problem footage introduces its VR world

Within the world of the novels, aliens called the Trisolarans collaborate with humans to create a popular VR game called “Three Body,” which, is later revealed to be a kind of recruitment tool. In the book, the game simulates aspects of the Trisolaris star system, including the idea that a “three-body problem” — in which a planet is subjected to extreme and chaotic weather, all because of gravitational conflicts caused by specific orbits.

In the new footage, we don’t see characters playing the “Three-Body” game — or at least not the way they do in the book — but we do get introduced to the device that will allow people access to the VR world. In the footage, Jin Cheng (Jess Hong) shows a smooth VR device, with no labels or brands to Jack Rooney (John Bradley). Jack is blown away by the seamlessness of the technology, which Jin describes as “indistinguishable from reality.”

Once inside the VR world, Jack is astounded by what he sees, including a mysterious pyramid, and a woman with a sword, who says, “You were not invited.” Then, in the virtual world, he’s apparently slain.

The seamlessness of the switch from the real world to the virtual world clicks in this new sneak peek footage, which bodes well for fans of the book. The character of Jack seems to be a new creation for the series, though some fans have speculated that Jess Hong’s character, Jin Cheng, is perhaps a hybrid-type character based on Cheng Xin (or Xin Cheng), who actually doesn’t appear until the third novel, Death’s End.

Either way, the tone of bewilderment is dead-on-perfect for what these books are like. Hopefully, the rest of the Netflix series manages the delicate balance of realism and far-out-alien-invasion storytelling from the novels. The “three-body problem” may be difficult to solve in physics, but translating this complicated book series to the screen might be even trickier.

The Netflix series was originally announced for January 2024, but it will now begin streaming on March 21, 2024.

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