3 Body Problem’s John Bradley Talks About That Shocking Third Episode and the One Thing He Didn’t Get to Do on Game of Thrones

This story contains major spoilers for “Destroyer of Worlds,” the third episode of 3 Body Problem.**

John Bradley never got his surprise Game of Thrones death. As the steadfast Samwell Tarly, he made it all the way to the end of the HBO series, despite countless other characters meeting gruesome fates.

But in the new Netflix series 3 Body Problem, which Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and co-showrunner Alexander Woo adapted from Liu Cixin’s beloved sci-fi novels, it’s finally Bradley’s turn. At the end of episode three, his character Jack Rooney is killed at the hands of the mysterious Tatiana (Marlo Kelly), an emissary working for an alien species known as the San-Ti. He brushes her off; she makes him pay.

Jack’s death marks an early shocking moment (of quite a few) in 3 Body Problem. He’s the first of the principal characters—a group of brilliant university schoolmates—to go, just as the plot starts to rev its engines and the audience begins to understand why there have been a series of mysterious deaths in the scientific community around the globe.

At first, Bradley was disappointed to learn his time on the show would be short. But the more he thought about it, the more he came around. Having worked with Benioff and Weiss before, he knows they don’t kill carelessly. “The fact that they thought that Jack’s death would affect an audience enough to make it worth doing at the end of episode three, and also challenging me to have three episodes to make an audience care that he dies—I took that to be really flattering and a real acting challenge I felt I had to rise to,” Bradley says over Zoom. “To make people miss him, and make an audience wish that he had stuck around a little bit longer.”

Despite his initial dismay at learning his time on 3 Body Problem would be brief, Bradley actually wasn’t super-eager to sign on for another long running drama after Game of Thrones. The actor from Manchester had wanted to broaden his horizons and play a range of characters distinct from Jon Snow’s sweetly-naive sidekick Sam.

But because the request came from Benioff and Weiss, the gig was an easy yes. “I think if anyone else would have asked me, I’d have asked more questions and thought about it for a bit longer,” he says. “But because I know that they know me so well, having spent so much time with them and they’re so good at writing to people’s strengths— I just knew that I was going to have a lot of fun with it.”

3 Body Problem. John Bradley as Jack Rooney in episode 102 of 3 Body Problem. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023COURTESY OF NETFLIX

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