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Director Frant Gwo Announces “The Wandering Earth” Sequel

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China’s Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival (yes, that really is its name) kicked offin the southern city of Xiamen with an opening gala of star-studded pomp on Tuesday night. And it didn’t take long for hot news to break. At a forum before the ceremony, The Wandering Earth director Frant Gwo (郭帆) announced that a sequel to the smash hit blockbuster is in the works.

The Wandering Earth came out in January this year and earned over 700 million USD at the box office, making it the third highest grossing film in Chinese box office history. The film was a notable step forward for Chinese sci-fi, and comprised a mix of nationalism, world-saving, and surprisingly sound scientific detail. It also became the first Chinese sci-fi film ever released on Netflix.

Gwo was sparse on details when he unveiled plans for a sequel on Tuesday night. He said audience surveys were conducted and are being sorted to guide plot structure, and that the sequel would pay more attention to characters’ emotions, perhaps in response to some criticism of wooden acting and one-dimensional characters in The Wandering EarthHe also said the sequel will try to improve the use of visual effects.

Gwo said that filming for the sequel may not start for at least four years (though he later clarified on Weibo that filming could start after two and a half years). Commenters on Weibo were excited nonetheless.

“Don’t be controlled by concerns of commercial factors,” said a Weibo user in response to Gwo’s post about the sequel. “Increase the human elements and achieve depth.”

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“The script must be written well!” said another Weibo user. “I hope the world of the film can reflect Liu Cixin’s original vision.”

The Wandering Earth is just one recent adaptation of sci-fi fiction written by Liu Cixin, China’s leading science fiction writer. His classic trilogy Remembrance of Earth’s Past (of which The Three-Body Problem is the first novel) is being made into a miniseries, an animation, as well as a comic. Liu’s novel Ball Lightning will also be made into a TV show.

Zach Hollo
    J. Zach Hollo is a RADII contributor currently based in Guangzhou. He recently competed a master's degree in international affairs at National Chengchi University in Taipei, where he studied as a Fulbright scholar. Before that, he taught English in China's Hunan and Henan provinces. As an undergraduate, he attended Northwestern University's campus in Doha, Qatar, where he majored in journalism.