Though Game of ThronesDavid Benioff and D.B. Weiss know a thing or two about adapting much-loved novels for the screen, their new series, created with Alexander Woo, presented some fresh challenges. Netflix’s 3 Body Problem draws from Liu Cixin’s award-winning The Three-Body Problem, as well as—out of necessity—the other books in his Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy.

“The guiding principle was to retain the spirit of the novels,” Woo told io9 in a roundtable interview for the series, speaking about how the show’s creators decided what to keep and what to change from the source material. “Do you want the same feeling of awe and wonder that you experience from reading the novels to be transferred to the series? However, it’s a completely different medium—and when you do that, changes do have to be made. One of the first ones is that we all, from our collective experiences, have a strong belief that the thing that propels you, from episode to episode and then season to season, is the characters. You can get as much whiz bang as you want on the screen, but it’s not going to mean anything unless you care about the people who are experiencing it.”

He continued. “So that led to the decision to pull some of the main characters from books two or three into season one—and have them have relationships with one another, have them know each other, have them cross paths, have them be in conflict or in love with each other. That was the origin of [the central characters known as] the Oxford Five. And once that was in place, we have to flesh out these characters in ways that that that was appropriate to that situation. That took over here maybe two years of doing, but that’s how that core group came to be.”

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Image: Netflix

Woo mentioned Liu’s other books in his trilogy in his answer—and it’s not a spoiler to say that the Netflix series leaves the door open for more. So far, only one season has been confirmed. But could there be more?

“We would love to get to the end,” Benioff said when asked about the group’s best-case scenario for the future of the series. “There are three books in the trilogy, obviously. And the ending is incredibly beautiful. I think that last page is probably my favorite last page of any science fiction book that I’ve read. It’s this startling final image because it takes you to the end of time, the end of the universe, and in this incredible, mind-blowing cosmic way, wraps it all up in a very emotional, human manner. And it’s unexpected. I still remember exactly where I was when I read that final page, and that was when [Weiss and I] decided, and Alex came on a little bit later: this is the show we want to make. So the hope, the happy ending for us would be we get to tell the whole story—whether that’s three seasons, four seasons, we don’t know exactly yet. It would have to be at least three seasons.”

3 Body Problem arrives March 21 on Netflix.


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