EXCLUSIVE Game of Thrones Creators Explain Dragon to Alien Transformation in New Series

Game of Thrones Creators Explain Dragon to Alien Transformation in New Series

The Game of Thrones creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, have embarked on a new venture with their latest TV show, “3 Body Problem”. In this sci-fi series, they’ve traded in the fire-breathing dragons for something even more otherworldly: advanced aliens.

Game of Thrones Creators: Dragon to Alien Transformation

David Benioff and DB Weiss are in high spirits. With Game of Thrones a distant memory, its creators are fired up about their latest TV show, 3 Body Problem, and there isn’t a dragon in sight.

Game of Thrones ended after 59 Emmys and eight series in 2019. Having shelved a Star Wars trilogy that year, Benioff and Weiss chose to adapt a best-selling Chinese sci-fi novel.7

Liu Cixi’s The Three-Body Problem, published in 2008, has sold up to nine million copies worldwide and won a Hugo award.

Without spoiling the plot, it’s about advanced aliens invading the Earth. They’re fleeing an unstable solar system with three suns orbiting each other – hence the Three-Body Problem.

The book has two key characters trying to outsmart the aliens, a scientist, and a detective, but the TV show’s creators felt this wasn’t enough.

So, with Liu’s blessing, five young, diverse Oxford scientists are trying to beat the aliens. Technically four, as the fifth player in Game of Thrones, John Bradley, is a millionaire who used his scientific knowledge to create a multi-million-pound snack empire.

Game of Thrones Creators Explain Dragon to Alien Transformation in New Series

The show is an adaptation of the best-selling Chinese sci-fi novel “The Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin.

The novel has sold up to nine million copies worldwide and won a Hugo award.

The plot revolves around advanced aliens invading Earth. These extraterrestrial beings are fleeing an unstable solar system with three suns orbiting each other, hence the intriguing name, Three-Body Problem.

The story follows five young, diverse Oxford scientists desperately trying to outsmart the aliens. Their mission involves solving problems within a deadly virtual reality game (which coincidentally also has three suns) while simultaneously saving Earth from the impending alien onslaught.

The cast includes actors like John Bradley (known from Game of Thrones), Eiza González, Benedict Wong, and Liam Cunningham.

The creators were drawn to the novel’s complexity, describing it as “unlike anything we’d ever read” and a unique challenge to bring to the screen.

Interestingly, even former US President Obama praised the novel’s imagination but declined a cameo role, humorously stating that he’d save himself for a real alien invasion.

After their immense success in fantasy, Benioff and Weiss decided it was time to explore new horizons.

Snacks are always useful in a crisis.

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They try desperately to solve problems in a deadly virtual reality game, which coincidentally has three suns, while also trying to save the Earth from alien onslaught.

They’re watched by a world-weary Mancunian detective, played by Dr Strange star Benedict Wong, and a senior official, played by Game of Thrones’ Liam Cunningham.

Game of Thrones Creators Explain Dragon to Alien Transformation in New Series

Thrones creator Weiss explains they were blown away by the book’s complexity, calling it “unlike anything we’d ever read, certainly unlike anything we’d ever contemplated bringing to the screen.”

Other fans of Liu’s novel include former US president Barack Obama, who called it “wildly imaginative” – although he ultimately declined a small role in the show.

“He did sign a very funny note when we tried to get him for a cameo,” Benioff told USA Today.

“It was to the effect of, ‘In case there ever is a real alien invasion, I think I should probably save myself for that crisis.'”

But after so much success in the fantasy genre – why did Benioff and Weiss leave it behind?

Despite their huge fanbase, not everyone was delighted with Game Of Thrones’ finale; 1.8m fans even signed a 2019 petition demanding the eighth series be remade, with a different script.

But Benioff and Weiss didn’t want to return to that world, having spent “10 solid years” making 73 episodes in the Kingdoms of Westeros.

It was “the greatest experience of our lives,” says Weiss, but they wanted “a new set of challenges on every level.”

Game of Thrones Creators Explain Dragon to Alien Transformation in New Series

Weiss calls 3 Body Problem “about as far away as you can get from what we’d just done on Thrones.”

Ready for a new challenge, they had to be picky.

The issue was that Game of Thrones had set a high bar for their expectations.

“You show up at work every day and are kind of amazed you actually get to do this for a living – and that’s the feeling that you’re chasing,” Weiss says.

“Whenever you choose a job you’re spending years of your life on, you don’t want to make the wrong choice – it’s pretty easy to get bored.”

Having finally decided on Liu’s book, the duo became a trio, joining forces with Alexander Woo, who created the vampire TV series True Blood.

Woo calls the novel “a very exciting challenge to adapt,” adding: “There were ideas, images, and stories in there, and I almost couldn’t conceive of how one author could have come up with this.”

He agrees choosing the right project is crucial, given how all-consuming it inevitably becomes.

“If you don’t feel exhilarated by it, it’s a slog. It’s a really, really dreadful way to whittle away your life unless you love it,” he says.

The three have worked on 3 Body Problem for the last four and a half years, with a crew of about 1,000 people.

The book contains knotty scientific problems, which were difficult to translate into a TV show.

A crash course in physics was needed, and the show’s creators say they would have been lost without the help of two scientific experts.

Game of Thrones Creators Explain Dragon to Alien Transformation in New Series

They spoke to Matthew Kinsey, who Weiss says was “on the team that discovered the Higgs Boson particle,” and Bobak Ferdowsi, a flight engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“Bobak has been in many control rooms when they were launching rockets,” Weiss explains.

The two scientists “kind of walked us through physics for dummies” and were crucially on hand throughout the series.

The show begins during China’s Cultural Revolution in 1966 and goes to the present-day UK, via Badajoz in Spain, New York’s United Nations Headquarters, and Florida’s Cape Canaveral. Plus quite a lot of outer space as well.

Weiss and Benioff were familiar with the UK, having used it as a location for Game of Thrones. Returning was the perfect excuse to loop up with some former cast “Thrones friends” including actors Bradley, Cunningham, and Sir Jonathan Pryce.

Bradley had played the fearful, kind-hearted Samwell Tarly in Thrones, and Benioff says they delighted in creating a completely different character for him.

“Dan [Weiss] and I were in a pub in Belfast, and we saw John talking to an American tourist. He was so funny and sarcastic – it was a side of him we know quite well, from spending much time with him.

“The real John is nothing like Samwell, so we thought it’d be fun to write a role closer to the real him.”

The result was snack merchant Jack Rooney, who gets some of the show’s best one-liners.

When they cast Wade, a gruff character who leads the fight against the aliens, they went against the book’s depiction of “a 40-year-old American who looks like Hugh Jackman”.

Instead, they hired Liam Cunningham, who played the knight Ser Davos in Game of Thrones.

“I love Liam, but I don’t think anyone could accuse him of looking like Hugh Jackman!” Benioff laughs.

Game of Thrones Creators Explain Dragon to Alien Transformation in New Series

“But he’s just so great and, again, it’s a very different role.”

They also cast Sir Jonathan, who played Thrones’ religious fanatic High Sparrow, as billionaire oil tycoon Mike Evans.

Benioff calls him “one of the great living actors” while adding that they “basically begged” Dr Strange star Benedict Wong to join the show as Mancunian detective Da Shi.

This exciting shift from dragons to aliens promises an intriguing and fresh narrative.

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