'Thrones' creators join 'Star Wars' director for Netflix series

Los Angeles (AFP) –


The creators of "Game of Thrones" will team up with "Star Wars" director Rian Johnson and Brad Pitt for an ambitious new Chinese sci-fi adaptation, Netflix announced Tuesday.

Liu Cixin's bestselling book trilogy "The Three-Body Problem," which tells the epic story of humanity's first contact with an alien civilization, will become an international series for the streaming giant.

"Liu Cixin's trilogy is the most ambitious science-fiction series we've read, taking readers on a journey from the 1960s until the end of time, from life on our pale blue dot to the distant fringes of the universe," "Thrones" duo David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, who will co-write, said in a statement.

They will be joined as executive producers by Rian Johnson, who oversaw 2017's critically acclaimed "Star Wars" movie "The Last Jedi," as well as Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment company.

Prolific Chinese science fiction author Liu said the apocalyptic series "transcends time and the confines of nations, cultures and races; one that compels us to consider the fate of humankind as a whole."

It imagines an alternate history in which a female Chinese astrophysicist caught up in the Cultural Revolution makes contact with an alien civilization, prompting global fears of an invasion.

Fans include former president Barack Obama, who once said the "wildly imaginative" trilogy made "my day-to-day problems with Congress seem fairly petty -- not something to worry about. Aliens are about to invade!"

Another of Liu's works, "The Wandering Earth," was given the big-screen treatment last year -- billed as China's first space-age blockbuster, it became one of the country's highest grossing movies with over $690 million domestically.

- Changed sci-fi 'forever' -

"Thrones" showrunners Benioff and Weiss signed a multi-year deal with Netflix last August to write, produce and direct new series and films.

Tuesday's announcement is the first confirmed project to emerge from that deal, which was reportedly worth a nine-figure sum and followed an intense bidding war between major studios.

The pair spent around a decade on HBO's fantasy epic "Thrones," which demolished audience records, scooped an unprecedented number of Emmys for a fictional show, and redefined weekly "event TV."

Announcing the deal last year, Benioff and Weiss said they shared a love for "the same books" as several Netflix executives.

"The first time I read 'The Three-Body Problem' trilogy (Remembrance of Earth's Past), it changed what science fiction meant to me forever," said Netflix original series drama vice-president Peter Friedlander.

Benioff, Weiss and the other producers exchange frequent e-mails and "discuss the books compulsively," he added.