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3 Body Problem’s Opening Scene & Connections To Showrunner’s Real Life Explained By Alexander Woo-TGN

Warning: This article contains spoilers from Netflix’s 3 Body Problem.



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Summary

  • The opening scene in
    3 Body Problem
    reflects real-life experiences from the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
  • Director Derek Tsang and showrunner Alexander Woo bring authenticity to the historical events depicted in the series, as their families went through them.
  • By showcasing the chilling reality of the past,
    3 Body Problem
    makes Ye Wenjie’s actions feel more authentic.


3 Body Problem showrunner Alexander Woo explains how the show’s impactful opening scene connects to his real life. Woo serves as co-showrunner on the new Netflix show alongside Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Adapted from Liu Cixin’s novel of the same name, 3 Body Problem explores how the events of the Chinese Cultural Revolution lead to a fateful decision that will change life on Earth and beyond for generations to come.

While speaking with The New York Times, Woo discussed the importance of the opening scene that takes place during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, along with how it connects to his life, and the life of director Derek Tsang. The scene features a teenage Ye Wenjie (Zine Tseng) watching her father, Ye Zhetai (Perry Yung), being beaten to death by a militant youth group known as the Red Guards. Read Woo’s comments below:


It’s a part of history that is not written about in fiction very much, let alone filmed. And my family lived through it, as did the family of Derek Tsang, who directed the first two episodes. We give a lot of credit to him for bringing that to life, because he knew that it had not been filmed with this clinical eye maybe ever. He took enormous pains to have every detail of it depicted as real as it could be. I showed it to my mother, and you could see a chill coming over her, and she said, “That’s real. This is what really happened.” And she added, “Why would you show something like that? Why do you make people experience something so terrible?” But that’s how we knew we’d done our job.

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How The Chinese Cultural Revolution Shapes Ye Wenjie’s Fateful Decision

Young Ye Wenjie with a beaten up face and some soldiers behind her in 3 body problem
Image via Netflix


As Woo and Tsang intended, 3 Body Problem‘s Chinese Cultural Revolution opening is historically accurate and chilling to behold. It is humanity at its worst as the Red Guards humiliate physics professor Ye Zhetai, pressure him into denying the existence of the Big Bang Theory and other proven scientific theories, and ultimately beat him to death when he refuses to do so, all while the majority of the watching crowd cheers. Meanwhile, his wife and fellow physicist, Shao Lin (Li Fengxu), publicly denies these scientific truths to save herself, all while their daughter Ye Wenjie watches.

Seeing humanity at its worst makes Ye believe that there is no hope for humanity to save itself from self-destruction. When Ye later joins the Chinese military’s secret initiative to establish interstellar communication, she is the first one to see a message from the alien species known as the San-Ti, and who tells them to come to Earth because she believes humanity is beyond saving. Her decision forever alters the future of humanity and for the San-Ti, setting forth a series of events she could never have foreseen.


Ye’s consequential actions are more compelling and understandable because of the opening scene and because of the suffering and hopelessness she endured during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. It makes her faith in the San-Ti feel more authentic, and ultimately more tragic when she realizes that the San-Ti have forsaken her, and are coming to conquer humanity instead of saving them. 3 Body Problem shows an essential piece of history that brutally and effectively sets its nuanced exploration of humanity in motion.

All episodes of
3 Body Problem
season 1 are currently streaming on Netflix.

Source: The New York Times

3 Body Problem Netflix Show Poster Featuring a Close-Up of an Eyeball with the release date 3-21-24 on the Pupil

3 Body Problem

3 Body Problem is a Netflix original series from Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with Alexander Woo. Based on the novel of the same name by Liu Cixin, 3 Body Problem centers on a detective who joins forces with a group of scientists after an unknown force begins killing scientists around the world.

Cast
Saamer Usmani with Shailene Woodley , Jess Hong , Jovan Adepo , Benedict Wong , John Bradley , Eiza González , Liam Cunningham , Sea Shimooka , Tsai Chin

Release Date
March 21, 2024

Seasons
1

Writers
David Benioff , D.B. Weiss , Alexander Woo

Directors
Minkie Spiro , Derek Tsang

Creator(s)
David Benioff , D.B. Weiss , Alexander Woo


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