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The transformation of ‘Arthdal Chronicles’: Why ‘Arthdal Chronicles: The Sword of Aramoon’ is a refreshing change

tvN’s ‘Arthdal Chronicles,’ Eun-seom and Sa-ya (double role) and Tan-ya are no longer. The second part, tvN’s ‘Arthdal Chronicles 2,’ has evolved its characters as it portrays events eight years after the original series. However, one of the reasons for this change is also because the actors have completely changed.

‘Arthdal Chronicles,’ which made its debut in June 2019, depicted the fateful stories of heroes in the land of ‘Arth,’ where different legends were written. Starting filming in September 2018, it took nine months to recreate the enormous set, and prominent actors such as Jang Dong-gun (as Tagon), Song Joong-ki (as Eun-seom and Sa-ya), Kim Ji-won (as Tan-ya), and Kim Ok-bin (as Taelha) delivered overwhelming performances.

However, perhaps expectations were too high. Despite its massive production budget and the star-studded cast and crew, ‘Arthdal Chronicles’ did not achieve significant success. While it had rich content, its overly complex and vast storyline made it difficult for viewers to engage with the series. As a result, the series only achieved a bitter rating of around 7%.

Nevertheless, Kim Young-hyun and Park Sang-yeon, the writers, did not give up. With great determination, they continued their work and completed the second part of the series, not as ‘Arthdal Chronicles Season 2,’ but under the new title ‘Arthdal Chronicles: The Sword of Aramoon.’ Fortunately, Jang Dong-gun and Kim Ok-bin reprised their roles as Tagon and Taelha, respectively, from the first part. However, Song Joong-ki and Kim Ji-won did not return for the second part.

As the production team was tasked with portraying events eight years after ‘Arthdal Chronicles,’ they needed to find different actors to play the existing characters. This led to the inclusion of Lee Jun-ki and Shin Se-kyung, who portrayed Eun-seom and Sa-ya and Tan-ya, respectively, with more growth in their characters. Viewers are now expressing their enthusiasm for these new actors.

During the production presentation for ‘Arthdal Chronicles: The Sword of Aramoon,’ held online on the 5th, writer Park Sang-yeon stated, “When the two actors were cast, I was so delighted that I caused a commotion in the studio. It felt like a long-awaited reunion with Lee Jun-ki. I was extremely pleased. While Shin Se-kyung had participated in our previous work several times, her status was relatively low. We portrayed her as a living god in Arthdal.”

Lee Jun-ki responded, “As a fan who has always enjoyed the works of writers Kim Young-hyun and Park Sang-yeon, I wondered why they never called me for their projects. When they proposed such a vast world and story, it made me very nervous. While reading the script, I felt a tremendous psychological burden and fear. I wondered if I could handle it. Until the 10th episode filming, I could hardly sleep. I thought it might be best to put my life aside and focus on the set. The pressure was immense.”

He continued, “The psychological burden of having to complete it was enormous, but the actors and staff creating a focused atmosphere on set helped alleviate it. I felt like I had to live on the set, just like at home. I couldn’t rely on imagination alone. To relieve the pressure and fear, I decided not to leave the vicinity of the set, so I arranged my accommodation nearby. That was the only option.”

Shin Se-kyung shared, “I had some concerns. Over the eight-year period, I wondered how Tan-ya would have grown and how she would differ from the other powerful figures. Of course, I felt a significant burden, and there were challenges, but I was excited about the story. I thought Tan-ya’s actions would be fantastic. Although I have done many historical dramas, I felt that I could present a different feeling to the fans.”

Jang Dong-gun and Kim Ok-bin, who are satisfied with the change in partners, have expressed their approval. Jang Dong-gun said, “At first, I wondered how it would be if the two main characters changed. However, after seeing their test filming, my worries and concerns disappeared. I felt comfort and a new synergy during the script reading. I was actually surprised that there was no sense of unfamiliarity. It seemed to fit well with Eun-seom, Sa-ya, and Tan-ya eight years later. I was amazed.”

Kim Ok-bin also commented, “Lee Jun-ki and Shin Se-kyung seemed perfect for Eun-seom, Sa-ya, and Tan-ya eight years later. When we were acting on set, both actors expressed the eight years’ passage through their expressions and gestures. There were no disagreements. Many viewers may find the answer when they watch ‘Arthdal Chronicles.'”

Now, the remaining task is for viewers to evaluate the series. Due to the confidence in the casting change, the key lies in whether the second part is easier and more enjoyable than the first. Lee Jun-ki and Shin Se-kyung are trusted actors, which adds to the anticipation.


Author Nat.O
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