Huge Netflix Sci-Fi Hit Gets Canceled After Season 3

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

Netflix has long had a reputation for canceling great shows right as they become mainstream hits, and it looks like that won’t be changing anytime soon. The streamer recently revealed that 3 Body Problem will be canceled after season 3.

That means that fans still have two more seasons to look forward to, but it’s not entirely clear how much of the original novels will ultimately be adapted by the show.

3 Body Problem Canceled

At first glance, the news that Netflix has canceled 3 Body Problem after season 3 comes as something of a shock.

After all, the first season was a genuine hit: it currently has a 79 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 78 percent audience score.

Speaking of audiences, the show has also been receiving great word of mouth, which is effectively free advertising for Netflix as well.

Reason For Hope?

Fans have some reason to be a bit hopeful about the decision to cancel 3 Body Problem after season 3. When the show was renewed in mid-May, its creators (David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and Alexander Woo) released a joint statement saying that “We’re thrilled that we get to tell this story through to its epic conclusion.”

It’s possible that this isn’t a punitive cancellation but instead a deliberate plan on the part of these creators to end their show after its third season.

Netflix Changing Course

If Netflix is fully investing in the 3 Body Problem and only ending season 3 with the consent of its creators, this may indicate that Netflix no longer wishes to cancel new shows based on streaming numbers alone.

According to Yahoo!, vice president of equity research for Wedbush Securities Alicia Reese says Netflix has “gotten religious…that it’s the quality of the content, not the volume.”

Valuable Original IP

3 Body Problem season 3

Furthermore, she believes the streamer has realized it is the “combination of highly valuable original IP, along with really strong, licensed content, is what really keeps people on that platform and keeps people from churning out.”

3 Body Problem, 3 Seasons

3 Body Problem season 3

Another reason for fans to potentially be optimistic about 3 Body Problem ending after season 3 is that Netflix may very well just need three seasons to adapt Cixin Liu’s trilogy of books, which includes The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and Death’s End.

As fans of this series (the Remembrances of Earth’s Past trilogy) already know, season 1 mostly adapted the first book while introducing elements from the second and even third book. It’s all circumstantial, of course, but this adds to the growing evidence that the entire trilogy will be fully adapted by the end of the third season.

Multi-Year Deal

3 Body Problem season 3

Even if you don’t trust Netflix to fully adapt the rest of the 3 Body Problem story by the end of season 3 for creative reasons, you may count on them to do so for financial reasons. The streamer has a multi-year deal with Benioff and Weiss that reportedly cost Netflix a cool $200 million.

The first season of the show has already proven to be a hit, so Netflix has a strong incentive to get their money’s worth with the next two seasons…almost as much incentive as Benioff and Weiss have to make fans forget how bad Game of Thrones season 8 really was.

Streaming 3 Body Problem

3 Body Problem season 3

This optimism may be our inner fanboy talking, but we sincerely hope that Netflix completes adapting the entire trilogy of books by the end of 3 Body Problem season 3.

Like the books before it, this show is unlike anything else in sci-fi, telling a tale just as compelling as it is fiercely original.

In the meantime, we’re going to just enjoy how this show’s creators pulled off a miracle: getting Netflix to finally let a hit new show get more than two seasons.

Source: The Wrap