Into the Badlands: ‘The Game of Thrones’ we never got

Last week it was announced that “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss would be adapting the Chinese novel “The Three-Body Problem” into a Netflix series. Liu Cixin’s epic is “set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.”

The news of the upcoming adaptation was greeted with, at best, cautious optimism. Sci-fi and fantasy TV, including “Game of Thrones,” is overwhelmingly dominated by white faces. It would be exciting for Netflix to produce a big-budget fantasy show starring people of color, but fantasy fans are wary of Benioff and Weiss’ capacity to adapt a work of such cultural importance, particularly after their much-criticized last season of “Game of Thrones,” which prompted the pair to claim “themes are for book reports.”

As fantasy author Rin Chupeco summarized on Twitter, “The Three-Body Problem relies on an understanding of Chinese culture and politics so much that English translations of this book has long, well-researched footnotes. And yall giving this to the two jabronis who screwed up a fantasy series that was already as white as it could get.”…

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