Last week, news outlet Caixin reported that Remembrance of Earth’s Past, an epic trilogy by China’s preeminent sci-fi author Liu Cixin often referred to by the name of the first novel Three-Body Problem, would be developed into a 24-episode series by Shanghai production company YooZoo Pictures.
The adaptation has taken a long and tortuous road to the screen: around this time three years ago, a film and video game adaptation of the trilogy announced by YooZoo in December 2015 was already in production limbo. That film never hit theaters, and given the shitty Game of Thrones game that YooZoo pushed out earlier this year, we’re glad that the video game never made it to market either.
In the intervening years, Liu’s star has continued to rise: Amazon reportedly put 1 billion USD on the table to gobble up adaptation rights to the Remembrance trilogy last March, and earlier this year another Liu adaptation, The Wandering Earth, cruised its way to the coveted top spot of the 2019 Chinese New Year box office.
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The Caixin report is based on an approval document hosted on the government website of SARFT — the central body that administers radio, film, and television content in China — granting permission for the production to proceed. The document lists the series title as Three-Body (三体; san ti), an abbreviation of the trilogy’s first novel and the official Chinese name of the trilogy. It specifies a shooting start date of September 2019 and a 12-month production window. So, the clock is really ticking now for YooZoo, who were quick to assert their adaptation rights against Bezos’ hoverdrones back in March 2018.
Looking forward to that. In the meantime, if you want to know how Liu Cixin is really just a trade war cypher, check out this recent New Yorker long-read that makes it three paragraphs before mentioning Huawei.
Cover image: Poster art for a previously proposed film version of Remembrance of Earth’s Past
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