3 Body Problem producers promise "wild" season 2 if Netflix signs off

If Netflix renews 3 Body Problem for a second season — which it's welcome to do any time, hint hint — showrunner David Benioff thinks they could start filming as early as this fall.
3 Body Problem. (L to R) Liam Cunningham as Wade, Jess Hong as Jin Cheng in episode 108 of 3 Body Problem. Cr. Ed Miller/Netflix © 2024
3 Body Problem. (L to R) Liam Cunningham as Wade, Jess Hong as Jin Cheng in episode 108 of 3 Body Problem. Cr. Ed Miller/Netflix © 2024 /

The first season of 3 Body Problem, the Netflix show based on Liu Cixin's Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy, dropped back on March 21, so it's been out for almost a month. According to Deadline, the show — an ambitious story about humanity's first contact with an extraterrestrial species — remained the number one show on Netflix for the week of April 1-7, as well as for the week of April 8-14, and it's still in Netflix's list of top 10 most-watched shows as of this writing. Those numbers aren't bad, but Netflix still hasn't announced a renewal of this bracing science fiction show. What's the holdup?

We can't know for sure, but if 3 Body Problem does get another season, showrunner Dan Weiss promised a good time. “[Season 1] kind of eases you into the world of the story but the story gets really wild in the best possible way,” he said during Deadline's Contenders TV event. “With something that’s that wild, there are a lot of choices to be made and a lot of things to be figured out. We’ve been putting our heads together to figuring them out recently especially the past couple months.”

The three guys in charge of this show are Weiss, David Benioff, and Alexander Woo, who have already planned pretty far ahead. "We've got better than a rough idea [of what's going to happen in season 2]," Weiss told Collider. Season 2 would be based on Liu's book The Dark Forest, after season 1 adapted his book The Three-Body Problem. The third and final book in the trilogy, Death's End, is a bit further in the future, but Weiss is looking forward to adapting some of its "landmark" scenes. "We're not completely sure how our characters are gonna get to that place, but we know they gotta get to that place, because that place and that place and that place are the reason we picked these books up and wanted to adapt them in the first place."

Benioff mused that it would take "three, maybe four seasons to tell the whole story." He expects season 2 to adapt the whole of The Dark Forest, but since Death's End is such a long book, that may take longer. "It's a beautiful ending," he said. "We're desperate to get to the end. Hopefully enough people watch it that Netflix will renew it and give us a couple more years."

But again, that go-ahead hasn't come...yet. When it does, we don't know if Netflix will renew the show for just one more seasons or multiple seasons at a time, like it did with Avatar: The Last Airbender. Would the showrunners like a multi-season pickup? "I wouldn't say no," Weiss said.

Whatever happens, it'll be a while before we see new episodes. If Netflix renewed the show quickly, Benioff thinks they could be shooting again by the fall. Does that mean we could see season 2 by the end of 2025? "That seems optimistic," he said.

3 Body Problem's pessimistic view of humanity

Obviously I want to see new episodes of 3 Body Problem sooner rather than later, but waiting is a way of life as streamers try to figure out the best way to make this kind of big-budget, high-quality TV. In the meantime, we can ponder the first eight episodes of the show, which depict a world where humanity splits into factions following the revelation that an extraterrestrial species coming to conquer us, rather than coming together to stop it.

Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Benioff explained why he thought that was true to life. "The three of us started planning this show...on Zooms while we were locked up in our separate houses...during the pandemic, and watching the world not come together in any meaningful way to combat this threat to the entire species," he said. "And certainly we've seen over the years the failure to come together in a meaningful way over global warming and over international conflict. As you say, it's very hard to be pollyannaish about it."

"And it did inform not only the skepticism about that, but also the skepticism about people's faith in science, and how there is a large part of the populace — maybe even the majority of the populace — that just doesn't really have faith in science, and doesn't really believe it when scientists say, 'This is happening, this is real.' The fact that temperatures are warmer now than they were 50 years ago, that's a real thing. A lot of people just don't buy it. So that informed a lot of decisions in terms of the writing. There's a giant eye in the sky! We all see it. It's up there. But a lot of people aren't gonna buy it or they're gonna think it's some kind of conspiracy."

That's the kind of big-brained thematic summary I want to see play out on my TV. Please harken, Netflix.

Next. 3 Body Problem. 3 Body Problem is a digestible remix of the sci-fi books, and that's a good thing. dark

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