The Bilibili-produced The Three-Body Problem (三体) doghua series adaptation of Liu Cixin’s “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” Hugo Award-winning sci-fi trilogy has finally got an update!
The Three-Body Problem animated series will premiere on December 3, 2022!
The news was announced on October 29, during the Made by Bilibili 2022-2023 panel.
The computer-animated sci-fi doghua (Chinese animation) series is co-produced by China’s eminent sci-fi company The Three-Body Universe (the rightsholder of the ill-fated Three-Body IP) alongside China’s top animation studio YHKT Entertainment.
The Three-Body Problem author, Liu Cixin, didn’t hide his elation at the revelation:
“I am excited to announce that The Three-Body Problem animated series will debut on Bilibili. Animation, like science fiction, is the art of imagination. Imagination is humanity’s most powerful force. I believe in the world of animation, a sci-fi story like The Three-Body Problem can really come alive.”
Additional staff and cast members haven’t been revealed yet, so stay tuned!
You can see the two available PVs here and here.
The Three-Body Problem doghua series timeline
The project was originally announced in November 2019 when the first trailer PV was revealed. The donghua series was planned for a 2021 release but was eventually postponed.
The Three-Body Problem trailer PV 1 has since attracted over 3 million followers and generated ca. 40 million views, and not without a good reason!
Namely, “The Three-Body Problem” is one of the most popular sci-fi novels of all time that has managed to break both cultural- and language barriers since its release. As mentioned above, it is the first installment of the “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” trilogy. The book was released in China in 2008.
The novel won the Chinese Science Fiction Yinhe (“Galaxy”) Award in 2006 before even being released. “The Three-Body Problem” was originally serialized in “Science Fiction World” (from May to December 2006).
Years later, Tor Books and Head of Zeus licensed the novel in the USA and UK, respectively. The English translation by Ken Liu was published in 2014 (Tor Books). Following this release, “The Three-Body Problem” reached a wider audience and subsequently won two major awards: a Hugo Award for Best Novel (2015) and a Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis for Best Foreign Work (2017).
“The Three-Body Problem” is the first Asian novel ever to win a Hugo Best Novel Award, which speaks volumes about its seminality.
The original trilogy was published in China from May 2008 to November 2010. The series’ second and third novels are titled “The Dark Forest” and “Death’s End,” respectively. The entire trilogy was published in English from November 11, 2014 to September 19, 2016.
Hayakawa Books has licensed the series in Japan.
The book title refers to the three-body problem in orbital mechanics and the plot focuses on a fictional timeline where Earthlings encounter an alien civilization in a nearby star system.
Since this is nowhere near enough for a sci-fi trilogy so splendid, here’s one of the official publishers’ synopses:
“1967: Ye Wenjie witnesses Red Guards beat her father to death during China’s Cultural Revolution. This singular event will shape not only the rest of her life but also the future of mankind. Four decades later, Beijing police ask nanotech engineer Wang Miao to infiltrate a secretive cabal of scientists after a spate of inexplicable suicides. Wang’s investigation will lead him to a mysterious online game and immerse him in a virtual world ruled by the intractable and unpredictable interaction of its three suns. This is the Three-Body Problem and it is the key to everything: the key to the scientists’ deaths, the key to a conspiracy that spans light-years, and the key to the extinction-level threat humanity now faces.”
The Three-Body Problem: Additional adaptations
An American TV series based on The Three-Body Problem novel by Netflix is underway. David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and Alexander Woo are executive producers for the series, which is set to be released in 2023 (no official premiere date yet).
A Chinese TV adaptation, produced by Tencent Video is being directed by Fanfan Zhang and starring Feng Shaofeng and Zhang Jingchu. Apparently, the shooting is over but the movie hasn’t been released yet. There are no updates as of October 2022.
The Chinese film adaptation of another Liu Cixin’s novel, namely “The Wandering Earth” (2019), proved an immediate success, with the movie grossing RMB 3.9 billion (ca. US$ 576 million) in just two weeks. Since then, it has become the second highest-grossing Chinese film ever, so there’s no wonder why The Three-Body Problem movie adaptation is afoot.
Tencent has also adapted The Three-Body Problem into a manhua (comic) series, which is available via the WeComics platform, the Tencent Comics app, and the Bodong Planet app. It is the first-ever Tencent’s global launch in multiple languages.
With all this activity, we can’t wait to see the upcoming The Three-Body Problem doghua series, which is likely to be available to international audiences as soon as it premieres… or so I’m hoping.