Netflix Will Renew 3 Body Problem–But the Decision Feels More Like a Funeral Than a Celebration

The series by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss has garnered good viewership, but at a very high cost.

3 Body Problem
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Nearly two months after its release (an unusually long time to announce a renewal), Netflix has made it clear that it intends to move forward with 3 Body Problem. However, the announcement wasn't exactly that of a normal second season. Contradictory data regarding the viewership of the series, created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, had even raised fears of a premature cancellation after only one season.

In the end, that wasn't the case. Instead, Netflix has revealed that it has commissioned “additional episodes” to complement the series, which suggests that the platform doesn't want to leave the story hanging, even if a whole second season isn't in the cards. For practical reasons, the show’s ending is very likely to stray from The Dark Forest and Death’s End, the two Liu Cixin books that remain to be adapted in this trilogy. It’s also the complete opposite of Benioff and Weiss’ vision, who have said on record that "We’d need at least three, maybe four seasons to tell the whole story.”

Netflix announced the news about the continuation of 3 Body Problem at its second annual Upfront event. (Upfront events are presentations where platforms and channels show advertisers their content for the coming months in an effort to obtain advertising contracts, which shows just how important this source of income is for the company). After this announcement, Netflix also announced that Benioff and Weiss will continue to produce material for the platform.

Based on the news, it’s likely that Netflix came up with an agreement to keep the prestigious (and quite expensive) showrunners happy. The new episodes will bring the 3 Body Problem—the platform’s second most expensive series, which cost 20 million dollars per episode—to a sort of conclusion without committing to an entire second season. The creators, for their part, claim to be “thrilled that we get to tell this story through to its epic conclusion,” which, again, seems to suggest that Netflix is planning to announce a finale for the series sometime in the next few weeks.

Since its debut in mid-March, viewing data of 3 Body Problem has difficult to interpret, as so often happens with the series that make it into the platform’s Top 10. In this case, the numbers were strong, but they didn’t surpass Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen, one of Netflix’s biggest hits of the year so far. The high cost per episode had previously raised fears of cancelation, especially taking into account the platform’s long tradition of getting rid of underperforming projects.

Image | Netflix

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