The Wandering Earth, China's first successful Science Fiction blockbuster movie, will get a sequel released during Chinese New Year in 2023. Frant Gwo, the director of the first movie, will be helming the sequel as well. This makes The Wandering Earth China's first successful Science Fiction movie franchise.
A teaser poster for the sequel features the phrase "Goodbye Solar System" written in multiple languages, hinting at the plot of the new movie. "There is a feeling here of the earth setting sail, with the sun on the right side indicating that we will move forward towards a brighter world," Gwo said of the poster. It seems martial arts star Wu Jing, who played the heroic astronaut father of the hero in the first movie, will be back in the sequel as well.
The Wandering Earth became a surprise hit during the 2019 Lunar New Year. Produced by Beijing Culture on a budget of around US$50 million, it went on to make US$691 million in China, but less than $6 million in North America, mostly from Chinese ex-patriots in the US flocking to see it. It is now streaming on Netflix.
"After two years of pre-production and thinking about the script, we've decided to initiate our shooting plan for 'The Wandering Earth 2,' and at the same time have set our release date for New Year's Day 2023," set to fall on Jan. 22, Gwo told the public during China's Golden Rooster Film Festival, which concluded at the weekend. Though a title has yet to be announced, the script is largely completed, he said, adding: "Next, we will try to begin new production processes, and will involve more new technologies."
As reported by Variety, the sequel will again be directed by Gwo, produced by Gong Ge'er, and supervised by original author Liu Cixin, who wrote the original 2000 novella, which is actually a lot weirder, more surreal, and mind-blowing than the movie.
"The preparation work for 'The Wandering Earth 2' has already been ongoing for some time. We have created a new world full of science fiction elements and are looking forward to audiences discovering new, better plots and more details," Gong said.
Fu Ruoqing, vice chairman of China Film Group, which is backing the sequel, said that the challenge of shooting the sequel would spark a rising tide that will lift all boats, improving technical standards in a manner that will benefit the film industry at large. "The Wandering Earth 2 will explore ways of streamlining and standardizing production that hopefully will make films get better and better."
Meanwhile, an extended, 3D Special Edition version of The Wandering Earth with 12 extra minutes is currently in Chinese cinemas. Liu's Hugo Award-winning trilogy The Three-Body Problem is set to be adapted into a TV series by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss with writer-producer Alexander Woo for Netflix, despite Liu's support of the Chinese government's persecution of ethnic minority Uyghurs in Xinjiang.