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Lee Min-ho reunites with star writer Kim Eun-sook for sci-fi romance

Whatever her faults, one thing I do appreciate about star writer Kim Eun-sook is her willingness to experiment with genres. Romance is always at the center of her stories, but, at least recently, her stories have been set against some really interesting backdrops, whether that’s in a disaster zone, or pre-colonial Joseon. This time around, she’ll be trying her hand at sci-fi for the first time (unless you count Secret Garden or The Lonely Shining Goblin as sci-fi), and the writer will be reuniting with her Heirs star Lee Min-ho (Legend of the Blue Sea) in his first project post-army duty.

The drama, titled The King: Eternal Ruler, will center around a door between two dimensions, and two very different Koreas. In one dimension, Korea is still an empire, and the ruling emperor fights against demons in order to close the door linking his dimension with another. On the other side of the door is the Korea that we know, where a detective does his best to protect the life, love, and loved ones of someone dear to him. The detective and emperor will work together and, I expect, find love along the way.

The emperor is described as the rational, logical type, whereas the detective is more creative and emotional. Specifically, the show’s synopsis labels them as ‘STEM’ and ‘liberal arts,’ which is shorthand in Korea to describe ‘left-brained’ and ‘right-brained.’ From the casting reports, it sounds like Lee Min-ho will be pulling double duty and playing both the emperor and the detective, which should make for some interesting mistaken identity shenanigans. I always love the fish-out-of-water situations when Joseon-era characters find themselves in modern-day Korea, so this should be an interesting take on that trope.

I have to say I am intrigued by the concept of parallel universes, and I would be fascinated to learn how these alternate dimensions came to be: Did the realities split at a certain point in time? When did that split occur? Does that mean in the dimension where Korea is an empire, the peninsula was never colonized by the Japanese? Knowing Kim Eun-sook, I know there’s a good chance that these questions are never answered in the show, but it’s an interesting subject to ponder about at the very least.

Kim Eun-sook will be teaming up with director Baek Sang-hoon, who is credited as a co-director for Descended from the Sun and whose other works include Who Are You—School 2015 and Secret. I’ll be interested to see how working with a different director than PD Lee Eung-bok will affect the style of Kim Eun-sook’s latest entry.

The King: Eternal Ruler does not yet have a broadcaster, though I’m sure the stations will be lining up their bids soon, and is planning to premiere in the first half of 2020.

Via iMBC

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"In one dimension, Korea is still an empire, and the ruling emperor fights against demons in order to close the door linking his dimension with another."

Noooooo I hate (love) setups like this where the angst is built into the initial goal. How much are we betting that the Emperor will find "something" on the other side that will make him reluctant to close the portal after all?

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!!! What if the "demons" are just people from the modern world entering the portal and being... horrible, selfish human beings? With magical=modern weapons?

We call old customs uncivilized sometimes but I'm sure if they read some of our news, they will think the same of us. :(

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Yaaass, ohmiGod..
Actually I think the story will be more intriguing if we have two different actors playing the Emperor and the detective, but it's Kim Eun Sook, so we'll see..

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overall i really like the sound of this—the premise, the two worlds, etc. i confess i’m a little wary of LMH in this role, but i hope my expectations are exceeded!

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Let's have Faith. :P

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bahahaha!! touche. the perfect reply.

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i have faith in LMH and can't wait for his return. all the way to 2020 :( "mini pout" however i think it will be worth waiting for. i have really enjoyed her writing for the most part.

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I actually also quite liked him in Mermaid... and, shoot me, I think he was even better than Jun Ji Hyun...

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Tell my dad about this good news from his favorite writer comeback drama (he dont watch kdrama but manage to finish dots and mr.sunshine while live-watch it with me and mom)
Dad: oh really? Count me in!
Tell my dad Lee Min Ho will be the one playing the male lead
Dad: is that the pretty boy you like more than me in mid school? No!

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He'll be putting a twist on the usual Dad line "I'm watching you, boy" to their daughter's bf/crush.

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Now i want to see that...

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The plot sounds intriguing. But, it's a risky move, because sci-fi and the two dimension plot are genres/stories that could easily have plot holes and writing flaws. Knowing Kim Eun-sook, I'm sure she won't explain many things, and I can bet 100% that we will see scenes that will be frustrating. But, one thing I've liked from this writer so far was the romance and lack of annoying second leads to break our main couple apart.

About Lee Min-ho...I'm sure many people like him. But I've have mixed feelings about him. He is handsome, he truly is...However, I've followed him since Boys Over Flowers and...to tell the truth, he is not a very good actor. Bored face, lack of emotions, sometimes he speak as if he was reading the script straight-on...he's been on the acting scene for a very long time, but watching a Lee Min-ho from Boys Over Flowers, a Lee Min-ho from Heirs and a Lee Min-ho from the Blue Sea, I didn't see much improvement on acting...at all...sorry folks, that's just what I think. But, I don't dislike him.

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i am not a fan of K-drama to be honest. Me, more into hollywood movies and series. But even so, i have watched several of them (k-drama) since full - house era. In some of them, i found my self bored in the middle of series. Sometimes because of the storyline, but most of the time are because the actors. Well, call me picky.

This actor that we talked about, Lee minho?, I remember have watched some of his works. en, I love it, really. My fave is his movie about, what is it, gangnam? For me, he surely can act. Not just a handsome face. He also has eyes that could speak by it self. His eyes is really the most strong point on him. As long as I remember, only a few artist/actors who have that ability. this ability is pretty rare I think.

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The only show I've watched Lee Min Ho in is Boys over Flowers, and I developed severe second lead syndrome for the yellow-haired second lead with the violin.

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mmm,, Kim Hyun Joong's bad acting keeps me from second lead syndrome..

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Lee Minho is a see it to believe it actor for me. All of his drama characters end up being somewhat similar so I’ll have to watch at least first 3 episodes to give it a fair chance bc the premise sounds a lot like Faith and Tunnel

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Ok, I’m intrigued. Yes probably KES won’t explain how everything works, but I loved Lee Min Ho in FAITH. His stoic Goryeo general character walking around modern Seoul was just fantastic. I’m actually glad it’s a different PD- maybe the pace will be faster.

LEGEND OF THE BLUE SEA wasn’t the blockbuster it was expected to be, but I thought I saw a Lee Min Ho who was more relaxed and mature as an actor. He played a dorky yet suave conman, as well as a tortured Joseon man. His tale was the heart of the show for me, rather than the mermaid.

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Agree with every word!

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I'm also love him in Faith!

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Lee Minho in a Kim Eun-sook drama -- revolutionary! 🙄

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😂 second that eyeroll

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I wish there was another actor playing the other male lead. The best parts of Goblin, Mr. Sunshine, and Descendants was the "bromance" between the male characters. Let's hope there is still this banter with the detective and the emperor.

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She really does well with that comedic bromance. I also hope we don't miss it with this one.

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I finished Gentleman's Dignity only because of those 5 min bromance intros 😁

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Agree! Those 5 mins are gold.

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The premise sounds interesting, but I'm not a fan of KES at all. LMH is okay, but since this will probably be another hit, I say give someone else a turn in the spotlight.

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Glad I'm not the only one who feels the same way you do.

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I've never been a fan of her works but I've always love the rating hype because she always deliver. She is a total girl power and she has taken most of her lead actors to another level of popularity.

I'm happy that she keeps getting the masses to watch tv.

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"I'm happy that she keeps getting the masses to watch tv." This. :)

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Don't like KES's writing style and I hardly finish any of her shiws but totally agree with you on the girl power front. I am glad that a woman is being the amin force behind driving people to watch TV. Even though most drama writers of Korea are women, KES has gained a different standard after numerous criticism she keeps getting (if her interviews are to go by).

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Shows* main* ughh

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I just wish she would use this girl power for girls and not for boys... her heroines are usually meh...

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I love Lee Min Ho in faitn the most. And this gives similar vibe in terms of his character and then some. I just hope KES delivers.

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Helloooooo Lee Min Ho! ♥

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Welcome back my boy. I have missed you. I can watch any drama he is in, but this plot sounds super good. bonus!

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I had convinced myself, for some reason, that it would be Kim Soo Hyun! High profile, coming out of the army, they hadn’t worked together before... I got myself excited! And that is a shame because it’s not that I don’t like Lee Min Ho... he can be hit or miss for me, but City Hunter remains a favorite! And even now I find myself going, if Lee Min Ho played the detective and Kim Soo Hyun the emperor, wouldn’t that be a huge attention getting epic inter dimensional bromance?

... no I must resist my own imagination! Anyway I have my fingers crossed LMH, also on a shallow note please have black hair.

I read KES isn’t doing the casting for this drama, so I wonder if there’ll be a different flavor to the show. I do like her dialogue generally and Goblin in particular, and this seems Goblinesque! I do truly hope for it to be good and for exciting casting in both the romance and bromance departments.

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Yes! Black hair!!

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This type of scifi/fantasy genre can fail miserably if the plot is not well woven/ thought through or simply loosing gas towards the end (remember W?). I'm a little skeptical because I feel like Kim Eun Sook's writing is not logical/sensible enough for this genre. In most of the her dramas, it's the cast that keep me stay, not the story. LMH is honestly not the strongest lead she can get. LMH can be great with suitable character and proper writing/directing but the whole drama can go south pretty quickly if one of those things goes wrong. For example, I love love him in Hunter City but he is meeh in almost everything else. In short, his acting range is very limited so I'm not sure how he will hold up in this new drama.

I will definitely give a couple first episodes a try just in case Kim Eun Sook's writing sparks some new magic like what she did with Goblin.

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...the detective and emperor will work together and, I expect, find love along the way.

it sounds like Lee Min-ho will be pulling double duty and playing both the emperor and the detective, which should make for some interesting...

...I could spin that as not exactly standard kdrama love :)

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I had to read it thrice too because my mind went where yours did...

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Lee Min Ho will be playing dual roles: the Emperor, and the female detective. He dons a wig for both roles. He'll be falling in love with himself, so it's going to be a first in korean drama.

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I thought all narcissist chaebols are in love with themselves? :O

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Now THAT would be interesting and novel. We need some not-exactly-standard-kdrama-love for a change.

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Aaaahh! I'm excited. Can't wait!

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The world created in Goblin was complex and epic - I think we could expect as much here?

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The world created in Goblin that was epic was the Goryeo part. I want to see Gong Yoo there again but a whole drama's worth.

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But also, it was so clever to create their own lore!

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Is the empire Korea set in modern times, or in the past? And did KES hang out with Song Jae-jung? The premise sounds like a jumble of The Last Empress + W - Two Worlds + Kingdom + some random detective thrillers.

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I like Kim Eun Sok's dramas. I found in her dramas what I search in Kdramas romance, fun, interesting second leads, etc.

For Lee Min Ho... Of all the actors who already acted in one of her dramas, I don't understand why she picked him. He was the weakest in Heirs. Kim Won Bin was way more charismatic and even little roles by Kang Ha Neul, Kang Min Hyuk or Park Hyung Shik shined more for me.

I never liked City Hunter (too different from the original story :p ). But I liked him in Faith, I think he was good in.

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Do they say if the 2 dimensions will be in the same century? Or is the empire set sometime in the past?

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Parallel universe means they are occurring at the same time so that means the empire and the 'familiar' modern era are both occurring simultaneously. I'm excited to see LMH pull double duty because his dual role in LOTBS was quite good.

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So is Kim eun sook gonna write her wrongs for Lee Min Ho. That is what I’m most curious about 😂

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Haha me too! 😬

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I could totally see Joo Ji Hoon in the lead here, because he was so dashing as the crown prince in Kingdom. Or Shin Sung Rok, because I miss Hyuk terribly, and he was so cool as the charismatic emperor in The Last Empress. Sigh.

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I second Shin Sung Rok!! Lol

I personally find him a charismatic actor and he worked wonders in his roles. Though I don't watch a lot of KES dramas, I'm aware her dramas are well known for boosting the casts careers. If SSR can get the opportunity to be considered or ultimated casted in her drama, I will be a very happy fan. Heh

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Lee Min Ho is my kdrama "first love" so he can do no wrong (acting-wise) in my book. I can't wait to tune in to this!!!😍

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The premise sounds awesome. I love a good sci-fi and fantasy and the premise sounds super interesting.

I might get hate for this but I'm not that pleased LMH was cast. I'm not the biggest fan of him. I liked him in Boys over Flowers and City Hunter but I've not been impressed with him in anything since. I think he fits a certain role and I don't feel like this will be that role. Hopefully I am wrong!

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After reading the comments I realized I'm not alone on my feelings for LMH. I thought everyone loved him so I was surprised many of the comments are in a similar vein as mine.

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Yup. I initially wanted to read these comments because I was sure I was the only one not enthused about LMH. If I remember correctly I didn't think he could act.

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DB audience in general are not really LMH fans and that's mainly because of Heirs. I am also a part of it. And I think he did improve in LotBs but this role is very intense. He did have somewhat a double role in LoTBs but I see someone with more acting calibre and range pulling this off.

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I started losing interest in him since Faith. He is serviceable but just isn't my favorite actor out there. The casting could have gone worse, for sure, but they could have also gone much better imo. Hopefully he will surprise me(us).

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@trinpie

You're not alone. I wasn't enthused at all about LMH's casting for this drama. His acting range is limited, he doesn't challenge himself and sticks to these blockbuster roles. To be honest, he does have charisma, but it wears off after we realize that he really doesn't deliver in his roles and is just going through the motions. I thought he started off strong in BOF, and was quite good in City Hunter. I adored him in Faith; but something broke in him after all the behind the scenes debacle that was Faith; and he no longer gives his roles the same passion that he did early on in his acting career.

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Reminds me of his earlier work "Faith" (The Great Doctor to some)
It also had time traveling and portals to other dimensions as the theme.
One thing is for sure though; Lee Minho looked great in Sageuk getup.
So, I'm in!

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Can't wait for Lee Min Ho new drama. Missed his handsome face and outstanding acting so much. Hope its going to be an action movie as well as romantic. I hear it a science fiction fantasy which is my favourite genre. Welcome back. We know you're going to be awesome.

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I am more excited by the writer than the actor - she does romance well in her scripts (even if they are lacking in some other ways)

I have struggled to understand the fuss about Lee Min Ho over the years as there are better actors..... but I do watch his dramas so will probs watch this one

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My favorite of characters played by LMH was the architect in Personal Taste, a regular guy struggling to excel in his profession. But for his looks, he could have been any of us.

After that his roles were all bigger than life characters--action hero, rich jock, man of the world. It's like he's too good-looking to play the average man now.

This next one seems to be in the same mold, but I still look forward to it.

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The parallel world reminds me with Counterpart series.

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I have a soft spot for LMH. He's awfully handsome. And he's working this red suit. But every time I watch him in something I enjoy him a bit less than the drama I saw him in before.

Maybe he needs to be one of those actors who doesn't really act so much as he just relies on his charm (that boy has a SMILE ON HIM) and floats the rest. Be a rom-com king. Smile, smirk, lean, pout.

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So excited this Oppa comeback :)

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Lee Tae-min (born July 18, 1993), better known by the mononym Taemin, is a South Korean singer, actor and dancer. He debuted as a vocalist of the group Shinee in May ...

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