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An imperial wedding for An Empress’s Dignity

One more week left until SBS’s An Empress’s Dignity airs. Judging by the newly released teaser, the tone is much darker and suspenseful than I thought it would be. Jang Nara (Go Back Spouses) stars as a cheerful musical actress named Oh Sunny, whose entire life changes when she marries into the royal family of Korea in this alternate reality where the nation is governed by a constitutional monarchy. However, everything is not as it seems, and she soon discovers there’s a mystery afoot, when the dowager empress suddenly dies under suspicious circumstances.

Photos of the beautiful traditional marriage ceremony have been released, and a bit of it can also be seen in the teaser below. Jang Nara and her husband, the emperor played by Shin Sung-rok (Return) look gorgeous in their wedding hanbok. Apparently, many of the props such as the decorations and food were custom-made for this shoot because of the unique setting, which is a reimagining of a modern-day Joseon empire. Although they could have populated the crowd via CG, they got 300-plus extras to be part of the wedding ceremony. The production team really pulled out all the stops on this—even the fireworks are 100% real!

An Empress’s Dignity hooked me with its elegant traditional wedding photos, but it really got me salivating with the stills of Choi Jin-hyuk’s (Devilish Joy) biceps. Dang, he looks good… He’s playing a royal bodyguard who is seeking revenge for the death of his mother. In the teaser, there’s multiple shots of him fighting others in order to uncover the truth behind his mother’s death.

The teaser begins with the wedding ceremony, and Sunny (Jang Nara) introduces herself as the empress of Korea as she walks down the aisle. But soon it cuts to scenes of violence and murder, introducing Choi Jin-hyuk’s character. A copy flashes onscreen: “The start of a bloody revenge against the royal family.” And the teaser continues, showing that the emperor is not who he seems, and neither is the dowager empress, played by Shin Eun-kyung (Village: Secret of Achiara).

A desperate narrator says that there’s someone to kill amongst the royal bodyguards, and another warns that everyone is being deceived by the emperor. The dowager empress kicks away a girl who grovels by her feet, saying that she’s pathetic and low. A more determined narrator concludes that the only way to take revenge is to destroy everything, and a second copy flashes that says “Destroy the fallen, corrupt empire.”

Interspersed are quick scenes of Choi Jin-hyuk and Jang Nara’s first meeting, and cuts of the wedding going terribly awry. A corpse with a lavish sapphire and diamond necklace is found, and it’s shown that it’s Jang Nara’s necklace. The teaser ends with her voiceover: “I don’t know anything anymore, the emperor or the royal palace.”

Wow, much more spooky than I thought it would be. When I heard Jang Nara would be playing a musical actress in a mystery-murder plot, my mind went straight to About Time and Mystery Queen, but An Empress’s Dignity seems much darker in tone with all the foreboding language about corruption and betrayal.

You know who wasn’t in the teaser? Lee Elijah (Miss Hammurabi). She’s playing the haughty official royal press secretary, who overcame much competition and a rigorous exam to rise to that rank in the palace. Stills have been released of her character during her student days. Although she looks gentle in the photos, the character description given says she’s a ruthlessly ambitious woman whose goal is to make the emperor her man and attain the highest social status.

Wednesday-Thursday drama An Empress’s Dignity, written by Kim Soon-ok (Temptation of Wife) and directed by PD Joo Dong-min (Return), will begin airing on SBS on November 21.

Via MyDaily, Newsen (2), Newsen (1)

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Looks great! On my to watch list.

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Would love to see Shin Sung-rok in a leading role, though. I think he's an overlooked talent.

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Will Choi Jin Hyuk end up with Jang Nara in this drama?

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To be or not to be, that is the question

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I just can't take this seriously whenever I hear that she's a musical actress.

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She actually ruined One More Happy Ending for me. I hate her drunk scenes.

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So true 🙁

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Oh really? I love Jang Nara, but I didn't end up watching that show.

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What? But Jang Nara in a cow onesie in the lift was the best bit about that show.

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The writing itself ruined the whole drama.

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Can't wait for this. Alternate realities are my kryptonite. Or is it pseudo-sageuk vibes in a modern-day drama that's my kryptonite? No, wait, Choi Jin Hyuk's biceps are my kryptonite! I'm done for, is what I'm saying.

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This might revive the ratings for SBS. Sounds like the ajumma's type of drama like the writer's previous work.
Shin Eun-kyung dark/makjang goes together in a good way.
Nara looks gorgeous in her wedding hanbok <3. Her character sounds a bit like Empress Myeongseong. There was a "rumor" of a love affair with a certain bodyguard (SWORD WITH NO NAME).
Thank you for Choi Jin-hyuk! Holding the fangirling till the show starts lol.

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Soooo ready for this new drama. It looks good and packed full of mystery and serious action. I hope the world-building is good. The budget is big enough for it. Been a while since I’ve watched a sageuk too. This is not going to be a super traditional one, but that’s okay.

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Soooo, adult Goong?

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Goong 2.0

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Goong 3.0 (There's already a sequel.)

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Must i say i would have loved if Shin Sung-rok was the lead even if i like Choi Jin Hyuk a lot...Sorry not sorry this time but i like Shin Sung-rok better,his aura is sooo alluring

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Oooh. This looks much different and better then I thought it would be based off of the original description. I am super eager for this now.

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This looks oh so interesting! I think this may be the show I'm most looking forward to in the nest couple months.

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Interesting! I did not expect this alternate reality twist. Now am curious. If Viki picks it up in the US will definitely check it out.

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I do see this in the 'Coming Soon' section of Viki!

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It's a sageuk.
But it's Jang Nara.
But it's a sageuk.
But it's Jang Nara.
I just don't know.

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Guess I'll have to give Jang Nara one more chance.

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Guess I’ll have to give sageuk one more chance.

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Doesn't seem like your typical sageuk though. Can we hope for something (anything) beyond the ordinary non-creative dramas airing lately?

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I know, I was just being cheeky.

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Linda, our difference in tastes is almost legendary at this point. How can we agree on everything but what dramas are good?

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Yeah I can't stand sageuks. I do have some I want to watch but they just annoy me, almost as much as the ubiquitous modern sageuk. Jang Nara on the other hand, I think is great even if she hasn't always done shows I liked.

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We simply must come up with at least one drama we both agree on...I love revenge dramas, dark, noir, but then I'm a Scorpio so happy endings and fluff aren't necessary for my enjoyment.

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She was excellent in Go Back Couple.

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Also in hello monster .actually in that show every character had done excellent job

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Were you the person who I rec'd a Taiwanese drama that you hated? Because if you are, I have another Taiwan drama I loved that I could you about...

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Please do. That drama was terrible.

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This Taiwan drama also stars Lego Lee. It's on Netflix, "Game Winning Hit" from 2009. It takes place I think in the 60s or 70s and Lego Lee starts out only 18 years old in the military. He panics and runs after accidentally hitting an officer so becomes an army deserter. Now that isn't good and he eventually pays dearly. He ends up in a very poor aboriginal village and coaches the elementary school kids in baseball (I skip most of the baseball parts, as per usual). Halfway thru the drama he's finally caught and sent to prison, suffering torture and beatings, (coming out scarred and with a limp), and spends 5 years in military prison and then the army. After being released, he goes back to the village and tries to reform the kids and help them be successful. He doesn't end up with the girl. Even though it's definitely not the greatest production values, I thought it very interesting and researched Taiwan and the aboriginal population. Much of the drama is also spent on the kids' lives so I'm re-watching the baseball parts I skipped before. I surprised I even watched it because I am not a baseball fan at all. Also, you wouldn't like the female lead at first, she's the typical kind you hate (at first). The 2 main females really don't have much to do in this drama, but that was okay by me in this case.

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After reading my Game Winning Hit synopsis I realized there isn't one thing in the drama you would like...
Didn't we both make a list of favs before?

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I think our list of faves served a double purpose as a list of each other's most-hated.

And you're right - I would hate it. Although I don't mind Lego Lee. He's personable if a bit underwhelming.

How about:
Forest of Secrets
Circle
My Ahjussi
I'm Not a Robot
W: Two Worlds
Secret Love Affair

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@leetennant Ha! The only thing on your list I loved was Forest of Secrets. At least that's one...All the rest I actually started but dropped when I started rolling my eyes. My Ahjussi I tried but at the time couldn't get into it.
Though I understand you'd hate Game Winning Hit, I'm wondering why specifically, rather than trust my intuition. The plot? Not much romance? Hate baseball? Typical Taiwanese low production costs? Lego Lee underwhelming? I like that he's underwhelming.
I hated W. Started out liking Not a Robot but ended up disappointed in the direction it took. Wanted to like Circle but gave up halfway thru.
How about favorite actors? Many of my dramas are the actors and the plot has to be really terrible to not like my favorite actors, for instance, About Time was so terrible. More to follow...

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We'll always have Forest of Secrets. Just like @ally-le and I will always have Circle.

I don't like historicals generally and I'm not sure I can give you a reason why. Maybe it's because they tend to not have a point overall. A lot of them are just like 'this happened and then this happened and then this happened and then everybody got tortured and murdered because people are horrible'.

My opinion on romance is a bit bipolar because I love it when it's done well but in 70% of shows it isn't. So, no, the fact he doesn't get the girl doesn't bother me. It's just that the plot doesn't interest me that much.

Like you though I find Taiwan's Aboriginal population very interesting and that does attract me. Like most Indigenous peoples, they've been marginalised and almost completely removed from the country's historical narrative. They still have their own languages, culture and history but you wouldn't know from 95% of the cultural product coming out of Taiwan. That does interest me so i might see if it's on Netflix in my country.

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Wait? So the Empress of Korea will cheat on her husband the Emperor of Korea? 🤔

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Not for very long if she gets found out.

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It seems like her husband is the second lead. Unless he dies or they divorced I can’t get on board an adulterous relationship ☹️

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I doubt a kdrama will let it go so far as an adulterous relationship. In this alternative universe from reading the synopsis it looks like the emperor is not who he says. Maybe the bodyguard will turn out to be the real emperor.

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Now that’s a theory I can get on board with 😃

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But since he's the second male lead, I'm sure we will hate him and support her...

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If the story is loosely based on a rumor about the empress I'm thinking about then she knew him before she was taken to palace to marry the emperor. He decided to become a guard to protect her since he can't marry her.
That's my guess but this story might be different.

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Maybe it was an arranged marriage and they are not in love? I mean, the teaser did not even bother to show her fall in love or something like that. She just seems to be there to do the job aka produce an heir.

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Regardless I hope they don't fall in love while she is still married. We just have to wait and see.

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I read someplace the emp and her went to the same school so i thinking crush on her part. then there photo of emp at a stage show and guess who falls off stage and onto his lap, then again there photo of them drinking and guess who wakes up in bed together? so from that you can work out the rest

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thanks for the info. To be honest the trailer did not do it for me. Not really into this one.

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Looking at the above, I believe I'm in it for the 2nd leads this time.

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Give it a try for the cast. Hope the story is worthy. 🤞

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Really wish it was someone else other than Jang Nara. Despite her popularity, I simply don't think she's a good actor. She was horrible in One More Happy Ending, and I've not seen anything above average from her in her other works. She's the one really major weak link in this whole thing that diminishes my excitement.

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For me she ruined I Remember You, an otherwise good drama.

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I disagree! I thought she was very good in that drama. I watched it several times. Her drunken acting is the best... I am a new fan after watching Go Back Couple...I believe she is one of the best in Korea...

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You can't expect anything from a crap drama like OMHE. She was excellent in Go Back Couple. The best performance from a female actor in 2017 for me.

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Can't agre more about OMHE. Jung Kyung Ho and Jang Nara saved it. And I watched it while it was on air, not binge watching. Until I could not take it anymore around ep 10, I guess.
I know db is a free site for kdrama lovers to spill some beans, still the comments about an actor's capabilities should be wisely written.
We do not walk on the actor's shoes.

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Funny, because, for me, Jang Nara and Jung Kyung-ho made an otherwise lackluster drama actually enjoyable for a while.

That said, she's mentioned how even she felt "off" in her roles for a while before Go Back Couple. So if you're ever going to give her a chance again, I'd try that one. She really had one of the best performances of 2017, imo.

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Please watch Go Back Couple before saying she’s not a good actress.

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Remind me of Empress Ki.
It's so long to has this theme in Kdrama. Really love it and all of the cast so promising.

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Please let SSR be main lead. Please let SSR be main lead. *crosses fingers*

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ooohh.... dark...
waahh... CJH bod..
*sets reminder for the premier*

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While I'm looking forward to watching everyone in this drama, I'm particularly interested in watching actress Shin Eun-kyung. She always seems to play women with traumatic, complicated histories which make her intriguing to watch because she does it well. Given what we've been told about the story, she won't be appearing in this for any great deal of time so it'll be interesting to see what she brings to this interpretation of a dowager empress in modern times.

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Shin Eun-kyung is the biggest draw for me too!

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I had been looking for one of Shin Eun-Kyung‘s movies, Downfall, looks like YT has it. I’ll check it out later. Have you seen it ?
.

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I haven't seen it yet :(.

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One woman. Two men.
The emperor and the bodyguard.
One had everything, but abs.
The other had nothing, but abs.
One would kill for abs.
The other would kill with abs.

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Imagining this being played over the video in typical trailer dude voice is making my day. thanks for the laughs, @yyishere

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YY!!! I can't believe I missed this gem. >___< Someone tagged me with your poetic work of art on twitter...

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Really, @mary? Lol. Nothing like abs to inspire poetry. 😁😁

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This looks so interesting!! I will be tuning in for the first ep for sure!

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can't wait for more of jang nara and choi jin hyuk! and more many more biceps please! he looks great in royal get up too btw! this looks like an intriguing watch

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Is it just my eyes... or the pictures and screencaps look so low quality..? :/

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Choi Jin-hyuk as a bodyguard?! I'm sold!

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This has real crack drama potential. Now I’m realizing that it’s been so long since I had a crack drama, it’s almost sad.

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One reviewer from elsewhere said it looked rather "campy". I'm all for campy.

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