Saul Durand In ‘3 Body Problem’ Explained: What Is The Wallfacer Project?


Saul Durand was one of those scientists in 3 Body Problem who always maintained the fact that he didn’t want to make any sort of contribution to the ongoing situation, as he always believed that it was a hopeless cause. Saul was the one with whom Vera probably had her last conversation before she finally passed away. Saul’s story was based on the Chinese sociology professor who was mentioned in the second novel of Cixin Liu’s trilogy, The Dark Forest. Things changed for Saul when, at the very end, when some striking revelations were made and he got to know that he didn’t have any option but to play his part in the scheme of things. So, let’s find out what happened to Saul and if he decided to join the battle against aliens or not.

Spoiler Alert

How did Saul process Will’s death? 

From the very beginning of 3 Body Problem, Saul had made it very clear that he was not going to be a part of the preparations for the upcoming battle with the aliens. Saul knew that he wouldn’t be alive in 400 years, and that’s why there was no point in thinking about what would happen then. Deep down, Saul knew that his life would still be affected, but he chose to harbor his delusions, and he told himself that he didn’t have the skill set to contribute to the cause in any way. But Saul was special, and it was just a matter of time before fate revealed its deepest mysteries to him. Saul liked Auggie, and it was quite evident from how he was always there for her, no matter what. Auggie valued him as a friend, but it felt like she didn’t have the same feelings for him as he did. Saul was there for Auggie when she started seeing that timer in front of her eyes, and in the end, once again, they got reunited when they went on that mini-vacation to be with Will. Saul got to know that Will was approached to go in the probe, as Wade found him to be the most suitable candidate for the mission. But Saul was not convinced, and he wanted Will to give it some thought before he made any decision. Will knew deep down that Jin Cheng wanted him to go there, and that’s why he made the decision to sign the contract and accept the terms and conditions stated there. Saul asked him repeatedly to think through what he was going to do, as he probably didn’t feel that there was any nobility in giving one’s life for such a hopeless cause. Saul moved on in his life, and he started dating another girl, once again harboring the delusions that his life won’t get affected by whatever developments were taking place. 

What Was The Wallfacer Project?

The UN had launched the Wallfacer Project, and Wade was also one of the people who was closely looking into it. We came to know, during a conversation that Mike Evans had with the aliens, aka “Lord,” that these extraterrestrial beings could communicate through their thoughts. So basically, their telepathic connection was so good that whatever one alien had in mind, it was read as is by others, even without uttering a word. The alien world didn’t understand the concept of telling lies. For them, every thought that came into their minds was conveyed to the other party in an unadulterated manner. This was a great power, but there was also a demerit to it. The scientists realized that the fact that aliens could not express emotion through looks and facial expressions could be used to the advantage of mankind. Aliens had released Sophon into the earth’s atmosphere, and those protons were collecting every bit of information and then relaying it to the aliens. The scientist realized that if they didn’t speak a word and somehow found a way of communicating through facial expressions, Sophon would not come to know about their plan. The Wallfacer Project was launched after that, and it was decided that three people with special abilities would be selected to be a part of a team that would become the most lethal weapon of mankind in the battle against extraterrestrial beings. Saul was very surprised when he got to know that he was one of the three people, and even before understanding what his scope of work was, he made up his mind that he didn’t want to be a part of the entire charade. 

Why was Saul made the Wallfacer? 

In the last episode of 3 Body Problem, we saw that Saul and his girlfriend were crossing the road when, suddenly, multiple auto-driven cars crashed in front of them. Luckily, Saul didn’t get hurt, but his girlfriend succumbed to her injuries on the spot. Then later, when Saul left the convention after rejecting the position of Wallfacer, a man sitting with a sniper on the roof tried to shoot him dead. This man was caught by the law enforcement authorities, and it was then that we came to know that they were acting under the orders given to them by the aliens. Da Shi told Saul that even the auto-driven cars were programmed by the aliens to kill Saul. One thing that became very clear at the end of 3 Body Problem was that the aliens, for some unspecified reason, wanted to kill Saul, which in turn meant that they perceived him as a threat. Saul was as surprised as anybody else when he got to know that it was not a mere accident but a pre-planned move to get him killed. He had no clue whatsoever about why the aliens wanted to do so. Saul was vehemently against being a part of the Wallfacer program, and he bluntly expressed that to the authorities. He considered himself to be a commoner who had nothing to do with the issue and one who didn’t have any technical know-how or skill that could benefit the cause of humanity.

Also, Saul believed that mankind had no chance in front of the aliens, who had such superior technology. He believed that it was a sheer waste of energy and resources and one should simply accept their defeat. It was then that Da Shi took him and Jin to a nearby Lakeland and showed them that even in adverse circumstances, the bugs found a way to thrive. Da Shi said that just like the bugs, humans would also find a way to tackle the issues, as we have in the past. The way Da Shi simply put it all made Saul realize that he couldn’t just give up hope easily. Yes, the odds were not in their favor, but the scientists were making progress, and there were high chances that in the future, they would find ways to get rid of the aliens. Up until that moment, the aliens hadn’t felt threatened by anyone so much that they tried to kill them multiple times.

I believe that Saul would eventually join the Wallfacer Program, and he would make a significant impact in the scheme of things. With time, I believe, Saul would realize that apart from expressive communication, there were other very strong emotions that human beings felt that could give them an advantage in the upcoming war. The aliens didn’t form interpersonal relationships like human beings did. They didn’t experience love, grief, regret, and all the other sentiments that an average human experiences on several occasions during their lifetime. The key to expressive communication was to form bonds with each other, and I believe that once Saul understood that, there would be no stopping him. If there is a 3 Body Problem season 2, we would get to know what the aliens had found about Saul that the scientists and even he himself didn’t know, and if Saul could use that to his advantage and tilt the balance in favor of the humans. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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