Netflix versus. Tencent with Rival Adaptations of “The Three Bodies Problem”


October 28, Netflix announced 12 actors set to appear in TV adaptation of award-winning Chinese sci-fi novel The three body problem, Liu Cixin’s first book Remembering Earth’s Past trilogy.

The TV series will be directed by David Benioff and Dan Weiss, the duo that started the HBO epic Game Of Thrones.

Recently nominated actors are: Jovan Adepo (Watchmen), John Bradley (Game Of Thrones), Tsai Chin (Shang-Chi), Liam Cunningham (Hunger), Eiza González (Baby Driver), Jess Hong (Ink), Marlo Kelly (Challenge me), Alex Sharp (The curious incident of the dog during the night), Shimooka Sea (Pink sky ahead), Saamer Usmani (Mauritanian), Benoît Wong (Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) and Zine Tseng (On a whim).

Image via Netflix

Netflix appears to have made an effort to find actors of Asian descent, who make up 33% of the recently announced actors, but Chinese internet users aren’t too impressed.

Several accounts reported the casting announcement on Weibo, and commentators are all asking the same question: Why aren’t all the actors Chinese?

The story of the novel is primarily based in China and takes place during the Cultural Revolution in the second half of the 20th century – a time when there weren’t many foreign faces in the country.

An internet user commented: “[if the show is not based in China,] it is impossible to show the situation of Ye Wenjie (the protagonist) when she was young.

Netflix has not disclosed where this new series will take place, leading Chinese internet users to suspect that it will occur outside of China. “I think they change most of the Chinese characters to people from other countries,” one complained.

Another interjected: “This is so strange. So no Chinese do the show, eh?

Six days later, Chinese tech giant Tencent released the trailer for his version of The problem of the three bodies November 3. The series has an all-Chinese cast.

Tencent announcement he would create his own version of the famous novel last year, and the release of the trailer has been met with fanfare.

Internet users quickly started celebrating the Tencent trailer, with the most popular comment on Weibo by reading: “Do the series well!” Don’t lose to Netflix, which will make another story.

The problem of the three bodies by Liu Cixin is probably the most beloved science fiction novel in China, and the English version (translated by fellow science fiction writer Ken Liu) won the prestigious Hugo Award in 2015. Obama said The New York Times in 2017, that he was reading the book, which he later praised for its “immense reach”.

Cover image via Tor Books

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