Netflix's 3 Body Problem Has Found A Supporter In The Last Jedi Director Rian Johnson After Reviews Were Less Glowing Than Game Of Thrones

 Jack and Jin in 3-Body Problem.
Jack and Jin in 3-Body Problem.

One of the most highly anticipated book-to-screen adaptations of 2024 arrived this month, along with some otherworldly visitors, as David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ sci-fi saga 3 Body Problem debuted for streaming audiences with Netflix subscriptions. The new show earned a barrage of mixed reviews from critics, and while CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell said it will reward viewers’ patience and curiosity, it’s clear that this series’ initial season fell short of earning the same kinds of acclaim that the first batch of Game of Thrones eps earned when they hit HBO back in 2011.

Someone who found 3 Body Problem to be a big winner right out the gate, however, is a director who’s pretty well-versed in the science fiction genre, Rian Johnson. The filmmaker delivered arguably the most polarizing Star Wars chapter to date, Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, and preceded that with the awesome time-traveling shenanigans of Looper. Johnson took to X to share his recommendation, saying:

Three Body Problem is up now on Netflix. To see the ideas and images in Liu Cixin’s books realized on this scale and told this well is exciting… and if you’ve read the books you know the places this all ends up going, and it’s INSANE. Worth strapping in for the ride, I promise.

I can’t imagine even the most critical viewers of 3 Body Problem could argue against the idea that the show goes to some wild places, both literally and figuratively. The dual-timeline narrative centers in part on the brilliant astrophysicist Ye Wenjie (Rosaline Chao, Zine Tseng), whose tragic past gives way to a future working at a highly classified military base, where her choices change the course of history and humanity itself.

As Johnson put it, this show’s scale is massive, and brings to life many of the awe-inspiring moments from the first novel in author Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy. And the director offers up his word as a sign of proof that 3 Body Problem is worth the viewing experience. Which may not hold a lot of weight with those who despised The Last Jedi (or even the Knives Out films), but for the swath of sci-fi fans who champion Johnson’s work, that bit of raving might just convince someone to watch who was previously on the fence.

ReelBlend w/ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

Creators David Benioff, D.B. Weiss & Alexander Woo / John Bradley In 3 Body Problem
Creators David Benioff, D.B. Weiss & Alexander Woo / John Bradley In 3 Body Problem

'3 Body Problem' Interview | Spoiling 'Game Of Thrones,' Netflix's New Sci-Fi Epic & More

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss landed the 3 Body Problem adaptation back in 2020, more than a year after the heavily criticized final season of Game of Thrones, which furthered the duo’s deviation from the still unfinished source material from George R.R. Martin. Making matters more complicated was the fact that both showrunners were rather open about wanting to move on and away from the epic fantasy, and viewers felt the latter seasons reflected their wandering mindsets.

So it’s possible (bordering on likely) that at least some of the viewers and critics streaming 3 Body Problem came into it with GoT on the brain, which may have affected their viewing experiences. But that might not have been an issue for anyone who, say, only watched the very first Thrones season, which is currently still rocking way better numbers than Netflix series’s debut.

At the moment, 3 Body Problem is sitting well enough, and free from Rotten status, with an average critic score of 76%, while the audience average is slightly lower at 72%. Meanwhile, Game of Thrones’ first season is still holding strong to its 90% critics score, while more than 5,000 viewers have pushed for its audience score to top out at 96%.

As such, Benioff and Weiss’ show may need another season to potentially get closer to their previous critical heights with the Lanniesters and Starks. Whether that season will get ordered or not no doubt depends on how long 3 Body Problem can bury itself within the streaming service’s Top 10 rankings. It’s been steady in the #2 slot, but that probably won’t be good enough unless it remains there for months on end.

The co-creators knew the pressure was on when it came to following up Game of Thrones, and the scope of 3 Body Problem certainly reflects that. Will audiences be kinder to this sci-fi show than they were the latter days in Westeros or Rian Johnson’s chapter in the Skywalker Saga? If only there was a way to ask ourselves in the future.