HomeUncategorizedDoes the 3 Body Problem Cast Think Humanity's Worth Saving?

Does the 3 Body Problem Cast Think Humanity’s Worth Saving?

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for 3 Body Problem, Season 1 Episode 2, “Red Coast.”]

Here’s a funny story from the set of 3 Body Problem, courtesy of co-showrunner David Benioff: “We did a poll on set, while we were shooting the season, of the crew: If you were in Ye Wenjie’s shoes, would you push the button and summon the aliens? And I don’t remember the exact count, but it was pretty close to 50/50. About half the crew said, ‘Yes, I would summon the aliens to come fix this mess — or just wipe it all out.’”

When you watch the Netflix adaptation of Liu Cixin’s novels, Ye Wenjie’s choice at the end of Episode 2, “Red Coast,” stands out, for the exact reason why so many of those making the show saw Ye’s point-of-view — it’s hard not to relate, just a little bit.

Ye’s circumstances in the sci-fi drama are very specific, of course: Her first successful communication with the alien race soon to be known as the San-Ti comes with a warning — if they come to Earth, they will come as conquerors. Yet, as a 1970s Chinese scientist trapped in a brutal regime, she feels like this is the only option she really has.

Jess Hong, who plays one of the scientists caught up in understanding the San-Ti’s pending arrival, says that “Those are very particular circumstances that [Ye Wenjie] is facing. And in that context, you can actually relate and go, you know what, yeah. I would also be like… No, no, maybe I wouldn’t.” She laughs. “But in that situation, it’s easier to be swayed into thinking that it’s not worth it and maybe someone else should come in from the outside and save us all. And I think she did think she was saving the human race.”

That’s at least how Zine Tseng and Rosalind Chao, the actors who play Ye Wenjie at different ages, feel about it. In shooting that moment, Tseng laughs that on a personal level, “My reaction was like, ‘Good. Period.’ Like, yes, it’s what should happen.”

Chao, Ye Wenjie’s older self, elaborates: “She had no choice at that time. She’s isolated. She’s suffered extreme trauma. And as far as she knows, the world is coming to an end. This is not a hopeful world in nature and in humanity. And her action, I believe, is a way of righting that wrong.”

Tseng adds that from her perspective as the younger Ye, “I thought it was the only hope for myself” — though, Chao elaborates, “Zine is saying, ‘That’s the only hope for myself’ — that’s the young Ye thinking that. And I am referring to it as a hopefulness for humanity. I think that’s where Ye eventually goes.”

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