Bilibili’s “The Three-Body Problem” Animated Series to Debut Dec 10

The producer of an animated series based on the science fiction hit novel series “The Three-Body Problem” officially announced on December 8 that the long-anticipated show will debut at 11:00 on December 10, and that two episodes will be broadcast on the first day. As its principal producer and financier, Bilibili saw its share price rise by 22.4% as of press time.

The Three-Body Problem is a series of long science fiction novels created by Chinese author Liu Cixin, dealing with themes such as information exchange, life and death, struggle between human civilizations and the rise and fall of the two civilizations in the universe. The sci-fi masterpiece was serialized in 2008, and three books were published in 2010.

In 2015, the English version of The Three-Body Problem translated by Liu Yukun won the Hugo Award. It was the first time that an Asian author won the award, extending the influence of the novel across the whole world. The series has accumulated a group of loyal readers in China, and multiple platforms that have reached adaptation cooperation with Three-Body Problem attracted much attention.

The animated series is being co-presented by Chinese sci-fi company The Three-Body Universe and animation studio YHKT Entertainment. Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Wuhan, YHKT Entertainment has received several rounds of investment from Bilibili, Tencent, 37 Interactive Entertainment and Tiantu Capital. In February this year, the company completed financing of several hundred million yuan, with the latest valuation of nearly 2.5 billion yuan ($358 million). 29% of its shares are held by Tencent‘s subsidiary, 30% by Bilibili affiliates, and 15% by the founder.

A character in The Three-Body Problem animated series (Source: Bilibili)

As one of the hottest sci-fi works nowadays, there are multiple platforms that have reached adaptation cooperation with Three-Body Problem. Tencent Video and Netflix have joined the melee of TV series, and Yoozoo Games is developing the game version.

As early as August 2020, Tencent showed the producers and concept poster of The Three-Body Problem TV series, which will be broadcast on CCTV in 2023.

In September 2020, Netflix’s head of scripted series Peter Friedlander announced that they would produce the English version of The Three-Body Problem TV series, which would be created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones creators, and Alexander Woo, the operator of the second season of The Terror. Liu Cixin himself and English translator Liu Yukun will serve as consultant producers. Netflix has now completed the first season of shooting, which is expected to go online in 2023.

However, the list of actors unveiled by Netflix is full of Hollywood stars, while The Three-Body Problem is a story with a strong Chinese theme. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether this version will be recognized by the audience.

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According to records of investor relations activities disclosed by game company Yoozoo Games in June 2022, the game version of The Three-Body Problem is expected to be introduced to the market in the next three to five years. As early as December, 2020, the company announced that two licensing projects built with Unreal Engine 4 would start development. The company completed a full copyright acquisition of The Three-Body Problem for 120 million yuan in 2018, and established the Three-Body Universe, an IP development and operation company.