‘3 Body Problem’ Cast and Character Guide

Netflix’s latest sci-fi epic comes from the creators of “Game of Thrones” and “The Terror”

The cast of Netflix's"3 Body Problem"
The cast of "3 Body Problem" (Credit: Netflix)

Liu Cixin’s acclaimed science fiction trilogy “Remembrances of Earth’s Past” is the latest epic book franchise to head to screens with Netflix’s “3 Body Problem” — and it’s got an epic cast to match. From “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and “The Terror” executive producer Alexander Woo, the new series promises to explore space, time and one wild VR video game with a long international roster of characters.

The series is both a faithful and reinventing adaptation that holds close to the core character beats and unforgettable moments, but swaps genders, races and nationalities for several characters. It also switches up the narrative structure of the trilogy, advancing significant chunks of the second and third books to the first season.

So, if you need help keeping track of who’s who, if you’re wondering where you’ve seen the stars before, or if you’re wondering what the characters’ names are in the books, we’ve got you covered with a thorough guide to the “3 Body Problem” cast and characters.

Rosalind Chao as Ye Wenjie

Rosalind Chao in "3 Body Problem"
Rosalind Chao in “3 Body Problem” (Credit: Netflix)

It all starts with Ye Wenjie, a brilliant astrophysicist born to a family of intellectuals. After witnessing her father’s violent, public death during a struggle session in the Cultural Revolution, and her family’s subsequent betrayal, Ye lost her faith in humanity. She nearly died in jail until she was recruited to a mysterious military project where she became the first human to make contact with the San-Ti. In the present, she’s Vera Ye’s mother, processing her daughter’s suicide. Though there are some changes and a less nuanced examination of her motivations, Dr. Ye is among the most directly adapted characters from the book.

Rosalind Chao plays Ye Wenjie and has a wide-ranging résumé, with more than 130 credits across five decades of working on screen. Her best-known roles include Keiko O’Brien in”Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” Soon-Lee in “M*A*S*H” and “AfterMASH,” Pei-Pei in “Freaky Friday,” Rose in “Joy Luck Club” and Li in Disney’s live action “Mulan” remake. More recently, her credits include “Sweet Tooth,” “Better Things” and “The First Lady.”

Zine Tseng as Young Ye Wenjie

Zine Tseng in "3 Body Problem"
Zine Tseng in “3 Body Problem” (Credit: Netflix)

Zine Tseng plays young Ye Wenjie in several decades of flashbacks, starting in the 1960s. This is the actress’ first major project. Her previous credits include the short films “Learning English” and “On a Whim.”

Eiza González as Auggie Salazar 

Eiza Gonzalez in "3 Body Problem"
Eiza Gonzalez in “3 Body Problem” (Credit: Netflix)

Now let’s dig into the “Oxford 5,” a construct of the show that contains many of the core protagonists from the books, reimagined as a brilliant group of friends who went to university together. First up, there’s Auggie Salazar, whose direct counterpart in the novels is the character of Wang Miao, the central protagonist of the first book in the trilogy. Auggie is a nanomaterials researcher, on the path to a breakthrough technology until she starts to see a terrifying countdown everywhere she looks.

Eiza González is best known for her film roles including “Baby Driver,” “I Care A Lot,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Ambulance” and “Hobbs & Shaw.” In TV, the actress got her start in the youth-oriented telenovelas “Lola: Érase una vez” and “Sueña conmigo” and reprised Salma Hayek’s iconic role as Santanico Pandemonium in the series “From Dusk til Dawn.” She also recently cameoed in Amazon’s “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” series.

Jovan Adepo as Saul Durand

Jovan Adepo in "3 Body Problem"
Jovan Adepo in “3 Body Problem” (Credit: Netflix)

Saul Durand is the equivalent character to Luo Ji, a primary protagonist introduced in the second novel, “The Dark Forest.” Netflix’s “3 Body Problem” moves the events of the timeline around so that all the characters are introduced from the beginning, and also includes a significant chunk of Luo Ji’s storyline from the second book in Season 1. Saul is part of the Oxford 5, a cynical researcher who believes he’ll never achieve scientific greatness at this point in his career, but might have greatness unexpectedly thrust upon him. 

Jovan Adeppo earned an Emmy nomination for his performance as Will Reeves in HBO’s “Watchmen” series. He is best known for films including “Fences,” “Overlord” and “Babylon,” and shows including “The Leftovers,” “When They See Us,” “The Stand” and Season 2 of Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” series.

Jess Hong as Jin Cheng

Jess Hong in "3 Body Problem"
Jess Hong in “3 Body Problem” (Netflix)

The Oxford 5’s next member is Jin Cheng, a senior researcher studying theoretical physics. She is the series’ counterpart to Cheng Xin, who is a primary character introduced in the third novel, “Death’s End.” As with Saul/Luo Ji, a portion of Jin’s storyline and backstory has been moved into the first season so that all the core characters are introduced together. She’s in a romantic relationship with Raj Varma. 

Jess Hong is relatively new to the screen, making her debut in the 2019 short film “Krystal.” She’s also appeared in “Inked” and “The Brokenwood Mysteries”

Alex Sharp as Will Downing

Alex Sharp in "3 Body Problem"
Alex Sharp in “3 Body Problem” (Credit: Netflix)

Will Downing is another member of the Oxford 5 who hasn’t quite made it to the scientific or financial heights of his college friends, and he faces tough, lonely decisions after learning he has cancer. He is the series counterpart to Yun Tianming, who is introduced in “Death’s End.” Will has been head over heels in love with Jin since college, but has no intention of telling her.

Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning actor Alex Sharp plays Will. Aside from his award-winning Broadway work in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” Sharp’s credits include Netflix’s “To the Bone” and “The Trial of the Chicago Seven,” as well as “The Hustle,” “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” “Living” and, most recently, “One Life.” Fun fact: he was also cast in the scrapped “Game of Thrones” prequel spin-off starring Naomi Watts, which never aired.

John Bradley as Jack Rooney

John Bradley in "3 Body Problem"
John Bradley in “3 Body Problem” (Credit: Netflix)

The final member of the Oxford 5, Jack Rooney left behind his scientific background to become a wealthy soda and junk food tycoon. He is loosely based on the character Hu Wen from the novels, though that character has a much less significant role.

“Game of Thrones” star John Bradley, who played Samwell Tarly in the long-running HBO series, reunites with his showrunners in “3 Body Problem.” Bradley’s recent credits also include “Moonfall,” “Marry Me” and “North Shore.”

Benedict Wong as Clarence “Da” Shi

Benedict Wong in "3 Body Problem"
Benedict Wong in “3 Body Problem” (Credit: Netflix)

Clarence Shi, aka Da Shi, is a former MI5 agent investigating the sudden rash of death by suicide among the world’s premier scientists. In the books, he’s Shi Qiang, aka Da Shi. The character is a bit different in the show, born in Manchester with more of a high-profile spy background. A no-nonsense, dry-humored expert in security, Da Shi also has a son with big ambitions.

Benedict Wong is best known for his role as Wong in the MCU, in which he’s appeared in films including both “Doctor Strange” features, “Avengers: Endgame,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.” His best-known films also include “The Martian,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Prometheus” and “Annihilation.” Previous TV credits include “Marco Polo,” “Deadly Class,” “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” and the “Black Mirror” Season 3 episode “Hated in the Nation.”

Saamer Usmani as Raj Varma

Sameer Usmani in "3 Body Problem"
Sameer Usmani in “3 Body Problem” (Credit: Netflix)

Raj Varma is a dedicated Naval officer who comes from a proud military family, led by his war hero father. He appears to be the series’ incarnation of Zhang Beihai, an essential character introduced in “The Dark Forest.” Raj is in a relationship with Jin, though sometimes his dedication to the mission threatens to topple their romance.

Sameer Usmani plays Raj and is best known for his performances as Chase Sikorski on “Inventing Anna” and Avery in “What/If.” His credits also include “Succession,” “The Mauritanian,” “Katy Keene” and “Reign.”

Liam Cunningham as Thomas Wade

Liam Cunningham in "3 Body Problem"
Liam Cunningham in “3 Body Problem” (Credit: Netflix)

Thomas Wade runs a mysterious international intelligence agency tasked with investigating the inexplicable scientific meltdown happening worldwide. Commanding, unrelenting and merciless, Wade is a fearsome leader for humanity with dubious morals. Thomas Wade is a key character in “Death’s End,” and his translation here is fairly faithful, though like many other characters, he’s moved up in more of the early narrative than in the books and entangled with more of the characters.

Liam Cunningham is best known for playing Davos Seaworth on “Game of Thrones” and has a wide-ranging résumé that includes more than 100 credits. Some of his work includes films “Hunger,” “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” the 2010 “Clash of the Titans” remake, the 2009 “Harry Brown” remake and “Safe House.” More recently, he’s starred in “The Last Voyage of the Demeter,” “The Hot Zone” and Netflix’s animated “Masters of the Universe” series.

Jonathan Pryce as Mike Evans

Jonathan Pryce in "3 Body Problem"
Jonathan Pryce in “3 Body Problem” (Credit: Netflix)

Mike Evans is a former environmentalist who inherited the world’s biggest privately owned oil company and has a history with Ye Wenjie. He shares the same name as his book counterpart and is faithfully adapted in the series, though we never get to hear him wax poetic about his “Pan-Species Communism” philosophy.

Oscar, BAFTA and Emmy-nominated actor Jonathan Pryce plays Mike Evans. A prolific actor, he’s got plenty of recognizable roles, including the High Sparrow on “Game of Thrones,” Prince Philip on “The Crown,” Governor Weatherby Swan in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, Sam Lowry in “Brazil” and James Lingk in “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Recent titles include awards contenders “The Wife” and “The Two Popes,” as well as Apple’s spy series “Slow Horses.”

Marlo Kelly as Tatiana

Marlo Kelly in "3 Body Problem"
Marlo Kelly in “3 Body Problem” (Credit: Netflix)

Tatiana is a true believer in her “lord,” the San-Ti, and faithfully executes orders on behalf of Evans’ organization. She doesn’t have a direct counterpart in the books, but seems a combination of a few smaller characters.

Marlo Kelly is known for playing Skye Peters on “Home and Away,” Jamie Murdock on “Joe vs. Carole” and Beth Cassidy in “Dare Me.”

Sea Shimooka as Sophon

Sea Shimooka in "3 Body Problem" (Netflix)
Sea Shimooka in “3 Body Problem” (Netflix)

Sophon is a physical ambassador for the San-Ti, who communicates with the citizens of Earth both within the VR game and outside of it. In the novels, the character doesn’t appear until the third book, “Death’s End.” She’s designed to appeal to humans and is described as stunningly beautiful.

Sophon is played by Sea Shimooka, who is best known for playing Emiko Queen on “Arrow.”

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