Netflix is no stranger to controversy in 2020, and they might have a new issue on their hands. A group of Republican Senators have all signed off on a letter of protest to the streaming giant in regards to an upcoming adaptation of The Three-Body Problem, a novel by Chinese author Liu Cixin.
The letter of protest criticizes Netflix for creating an adaptation of The Three-Body Problem because of comments made by the property’s author, Liu Cixin. Cixin has shown support for the brutal imprisonment of 1 million Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region of China. These Republican Senators claim that Netflix is supporting those imprisonments by agreeing to create a television series based on Cixin’s work.
Netflix had their VP of Global Public Policy, Dean Garfield, respond to the letter of protest. In his reply, Garfield states that the streaming studio judges content on its own merits and not those of the original creator. Garfield makes it clear that neither the company nor the series showrunners support the viewpoints put forth by Liu Cixin. Garfield also reminded the Senators that “Netflix does not run a service in China.”
It is unclear how much of an impact this complaint from these Republican Senators has impacted the development of The Three-Body Problem at Netflix. The series will be headed up by former Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. There are also some extremely notable producers with their names attached to the Netflix series, including The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, Gone Girl star Rosamund Pike, and legendary actor Brad Pitt.
Unfortunately, Liu Cixin’s name is also attached to the project as a consulting producer. To be fair, it is unclear how honorary that tile is and if Cixin even has much to do with the Netflix adaptation. Still, his name being on the project will call attention to the comments he made. Will that kind of bad press hurt the development of The Three-Body Problem going forward? The show is still in its early stages and vulnerable to any sort of outside narrative.
The Three-Body Problem is another attempt from Netflix to create a prestigious genre television series that can rival blockbuster movie experiences. The story is a science-fiction tale set in the future and deals with an alien invasion. If prior efforts from the streaming behemoth are anything to judge by, it is likely that The Three-Body Problem is hoping to capture a sense of scale and scope that viewers rarely see outside of the largest Hollywood feature film productions.
The series is still in its early stages over at Netflix so we will have to wait and see if this controversy dies off or picks up steam. As of this writing, there is no release date listed for The Three-Body Problem. No casting or other important pre-production milestones have been met. If The Three-Body Problem was going to fall apart, it is probably going to be now rather than later. If it can shrug off this complaint and keep moving, it should be able to stay on schedule.