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Empress Ki casts Ha Ji-won’s rivals


Baek Jin-hee, Kim Seo-hyung, Yoon Ah-jung

We’ve got more casting additions for MBC’s upcoming Monday-Tuesday sageuk epic Empress Ki (formerly called Hwatu), starring Ha Ji-won as the Goryeo-born woman who becomes a Yuan empress. Baek Jin-hee (I Summon You, Gold) has recently joined the cast as a rival for Ji Chang-wook’s affections — he plays the Yuan emperor who takes Ha Ji-won as his consort, while Baek Jin-hee is the wife his family has arranged for him to marry. Oh, ancient kings and their messed up love lives.

Baek Jin-hee’s marriage to Ji Chang-wook will be a political one, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be upset about the fact that he falls in love with another woman. She’ll face off with Ha Ji-won in an effort to be the emperor’s only love. Poor Baek Jin-hee; history tells us it doesn’t go well for her. While Baek Jin-hee will be the rival for love, it’s Kim Seo-hyung’s empress dowager who will be the heroine’s political rival. She holds the true power, especially considering that Ji Chang-wook’s character starts out a young and politically weak ruler.

On the Goryeo side of things, we’ve got Joo Jin-mo as the hero, the Goryeo king who’s also in love with the heroine. Yoon Ah-jung (Hundred Year Inheritance) has been cast as a Yuan-born princess who gets married off to a Goryeo king. (So basically she’s the Bizarro Empress Ki? I’m getting the sense that these countries did a whole lot of political consort trading, and it’s starting to squick me out.) She gets married off to a king who’s old enough to be her father… and she’ll end up Joo Jin-mo’s stepmother. Weird.

The 50-episode historical drama comes from the writing team behind History of the Salaryman and Giant, and follows Goddess of Fire Jung-yi on Mondays and Tuesdays this fall. It premieres October 28.

Via Joy News, Star News, MBN

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Oh lord, I usually get fed up by one rival, but now they are giving us three? I just hope this doesn't turn into a b*tch-slapping fest.

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This is about Chinese court politics. Getting slapped around is the least of their worries. Getting poisoned, stabbed, disemboweled, beheaded, flayed, burned, maimed, exiled to Tibet . . . all possibilities.

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In other words, it's 'Game of Thrones' with a better fashion sense.

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hahaha, i love your comments, Quiet Thought =)

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HaHaHa!!!!!

I love your comments.

I am looking forward to this as I love Ha Ji Won in saeguks (be it fusion or otherwise). She has that face and mannerism that fits the style to the T.

50 episodes or not, I am all in especially give the love quadrangle between HJW-JJM-JCW-BJH.

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Funny. I love historical dramas, and lately I have given up on the Kdrama sageuks and watch more Chinese historical dramas, because they at least take the time to plot and scale their dramas accordingly.

I have been burned by too many awful sageuks, with drawn out, boring plots, cheap sets and costumes and actors who think they have to shout when speaking in sageuk form.

I was tricked by the early episodes of Cruel Palace, which started of so well, before falling into below average rubbish. Korean sageuks tend to drag out the stories, in order to fill the 50+ episode commitment. And if the ratings are good, then you get stuck with a 70+ boring mess.

Or a drama like Great Seer that had potential then unraveled because of lack of budget. Or a great historical story like Gwanggaeto the Great, that becomes rubbish, due to mediocre script and the writers lack of historical knowledge. Or sleep medicines like Goddess of Fire Jung-yi and Horse Doctor.

The Goryeo period is a really good one for Sagueks, unlike their later Joseon counterparts, the women had more of an active role in politics and government and had somewhat of a say in their families as well. Pretty costumes and intriguing political maneuvers. And not just the constant bleating of Norons, Sorons, and Morons fighting each other that seems to occupy most Joseon era dramas.

I hope they don't mess this up. Other than Queen Seon Duk, most women featured Korean sageuks have not fared well.

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i don't mind, as long as there's a lot of actions involve. Since i'm wishing for badassery actions, i will pray that no accidents will happen to any of the stars and the crew. Thank you!

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How is it Chinese?
Other comment:
I think Kim Seo hyung is such an elegant looking lady with the Korean 80s, 90s look of a total A+ actress. I love herrr

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'Coz hello, the center stage would be the capital of the Yuans, Khanbaliq (Marco Polo's "Cambaluc"), AKA modern-day Beijing to you and me.

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Lol same here but it makes sense and these women existed although vaguely mentioned here and there.

Yuan wanted a tight leash on Goryeo hence the trading consort and foreign queens. Queen Noguk would have been the better rival for the empress. A Mongolian princess who fought for and loved the Goryeo people. I guess she would have been the heroine here and we just cant have that in dramaland.

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It worked in Cruel Palace. Main heroine can't be fighting one person all the time. She has to knock one down, then another pops up, then knock that one down, then another comes up etc.

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Now this sounds interesting....three rivals!!
Well, with 50 episodes in total, they need more complex story lines and that explains this..

Will not be watching the show as it's too long for my drama taste....

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If it does well with the ratings it will not end with 50 episodes. They will milk it until there is nothing left.

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Aight ladies, I know its Ha Ji Won we're talking about but slow down a bit...although they do have 50 episodes for each of them to try and take her down.

Let's see: 50 episodes, twice a week, 6 months... Well bring it on show

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Yeah yeah yeah whatever... with an Emperor *that* pretty, doesn't surprise me one bit the rivals are lining up in droves! ♥♥♥

BTW, we have a Mane of Glory in place now... and it is a most glorious one! We just put up a bunch o' new BTS pics from the past few days over on Soompi. Go check it out!!! :D

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Sweet! Heading there now!

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hohoho I've got to go and see these BTS pics right away :D
Thanks for the tip !

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well, if nothing else, there's eye candy all around!

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I remember the first daily drama I watched not realizing it would be on forever. There's really got to be a good hook to get me watching. I think I'll check this one out when it's done if it's really good. The networks have churned out so many saeguk dramas after TMTETS that even if start one I wind up giving up on it. Only the fantasy saeguks keep me watching. But 50 eps for a Mon-Tues drama, you'd spend around 6 months watching it.

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YES!!!!! Omgosh!! Baek Jinhee as a love rival for Ji Changwook's affections?! I am so in to watch THAT. I love her. I love Ji. And I think they're pretty evenly matched ability-wise. Cannot wait.

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is that really the crazy 2nd lead from 100 years inheritance? i couldn't even recognize her.

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I am so excited for this! I love the love lines with HJW-JJM-JCW-BJH. This is one of those very few instances where I love the entire love-square. BJH is under-utilized in almost every drama she is in, and I really hope this drama won't do that to her.

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Oh man. I really did like Kim Seo-hyung in History of a Salaryman, as diabolical as she was. She has great presence!

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Liked her in Giant too. These writers are awesome so I have hope for side characters.

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Baek Jin Hee!!! Okay now I really have to find some way to watch this drama.

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Aw, man. I love Baek Jin Hee too. I wanna watch now, lol. I never get into saeguks for some reason, still searching for that one saeguk that will change that.

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Again, the cast gets better and better and the writers are gold, but that PD...

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I seriously love everything about this show so far except for the PD lol I don't even mind the 50 episodes. It's just did they not watch Dr Jin??

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One one hand I love half the female cast especially Ha Ji Won, on the other it's a 50 episode saeguk which means nothing happens between the end of episode 1 and the last 10 minutes of episode 50.

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I also like Baek Jin Hee -- she's a wonderful actress -- it's too bad her character probably goes through some bad things. That's one reason why I'm not a big sageuk fan. Instead of badmouthing or backstabbing your rival, you get your rival killed by: Assassination, poison, executed by the king, executed by you, executed by some other magistrate, or even enemy or friendly soldiers. Things are always just so permanent...

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Riiight? They are especially painful to watch for more than a movie's length because of that. Everything just seems 10 times more unfair. Babies might get stolen. Forbidden love is actually forbidden and probably punishable by death. Scary times.

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I loled at the empress dowager casting though Kim Seo-hyung is a regular with the writer team I realised

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Finally I found drama that have the power to bring me to k-drama land!

1. The writing team behind History of the Salaryman and Giant (both in my top 10 of all time)
2. Joo Jin-mo the MOST sexiest k-actor I've seen (and I've seen a lot!)
3. Ha Ji-won going back to sageuk, which I truely believe she's gonna rock once again (I fell for her in Damo)

Okay, I'm ready. let the show begin!

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If this is from the same production team, then I'm definitely checking in =)

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Is it just me or does Kim Seo-hyung look like Lee Bo-Young in this pic?

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I thought the same thing!

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I LOVE BAEK JIN HEE!!!! gotta check this one out! : )

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I loved Baek Jin Hee in I summon you gold. She and Park Seo Joon are so cute in there. And again they are the only reason I watched this painful train wreck. Why her characters are always married to such characters who don't love her? Hope Ji ChangWook character loves her or even sympathise her in a way.

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"[T]hese countries did a whole lot of political consort trading...." Yes, they did. So did France and England, the various Italian states, Germany and England, Germany and Russia and that's just Europe. [Let's not even get into Gossip Girl.]

And if you read the Baburnama, which is the Mughal Emperor Babar's autobiography of how he got drunk, partied and incidentally conquered arable land in South Asia, the Central Asian rulers did the same sort of thing.

Such was life back then.

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It was different for Goryeo, it only happened during the Yuan invasions. It ended when Ming took over.

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So let me get this straight, everyone:

Ha Ji-won - Lady Ki (행주 기씨) > Solongo Ölǰei Khutugh (肅良合完者忽都) > Consort Qi (奇妃) > Empress Qi (奇皇后/기황후)

Ji Chang-wook - Togon Temür (妥懽貼睦爾) > Ukhaantu Khan (烏哈噶圖汗) / Emperor Huizong (惠宗)

Baek Jin-hee - either Ukhaantu Khan's 2 Empresses:
-Danashri (答纳失里) of the Baya'ud/Bayagud tribe. She died in 1335, which makes it unlikely for her to be rivals with then-Consort Qi
-Bayan Khutugh (伯顔忽都) of the Onggirat/Khunggirat tribe. This one is the most probable guess.

Kim Seo-hyung - most probably the Empress Dowager Buddhašri (太皇太后 卜答失里) of the Onggirat/Khunggirat tribe, widow of Jayaatu Khan (Emperor Wenzong).

Why I arrived to this conclusion was the fact that there was a massive power play between Jayaatu Khan and his elder brother Küsele (Togon-temür's father who ruled briefly, later posthumously raised to the Khanate). Küsele suddenly died, officially due to violence, rumored poisoned, when he attended to a feast with his brother Jayaatu Khan.
Soon after Küsele's bereaved family was being persecuted d/t collateral damage.
-Küsele's 1st wife Babukhan (Mailaiti of the Qarluq tribe, the 2nd wife, was Togon-temür's birth mother who died in childbirth) was executed on trumped-up charges of instigating a coup.
-Babusha, another of Küsele's wives, was executed to secure Jayaatu Khan's sons' claim to the throne.
-(most importantly) Togon Temür was exiled to Goryeo. *nudge nudge wink wink*
Yet, on Jayaatu Khan's deathbed, he expressed remorse on killing Küsele and persecuting his family, and willed Togon Temür to suceed him as Great Khan (despite having a (2nd) son, El Tegüs). Even though his grand councillor El Temür & Buddhašri respected his last will, they enthroned Togon-temür's half-brother, 6-year old Rinčinbal (Emperor Ningzong) as Khan, due to the fact El Temür was rumored to be responsible to the poisoning of Küsele, & Buddhašri was responsible for executing Rinčinbal's birth mother Babusha. Rinčinbal died 53 days later.
El Temür (who was respionsible for the start of the collapse of the Mongol empire in China) wanted to enthrone El Tegüs, but this time Buddhašri refused, leaving him no choice but to recall Togon-temür all the way from Guangxi, and enthrone him as the next Khan (yet ultimately the last Emperor of Yuan).

Joo Jin-mo - Wang Jeong (왕정) > King Chunghye (충혜왕), also known by his Mongolian name Buddhašri (寶塔實里). Which makes him Gongmin's elder bro. Weird, when he played that role in "Frozen Flower"
And oh god, read this: Chunghye [is] remembered [...] for his licentious lifestyle, particularly his habit of abducting, raping, and killing women. Definitely not a good sight for Joo Jin-mo to accomplish. Though with a hot body like that of Joo Jin-mo's, who wouldn't want to be ravished by that hotness. XP anyways...

Yoon Ah-jung - Bayan Khutugh (伯顔忽都) > Princess Gyeonghwa (경화공주). And yes, she's King Chungsuk (Gongmin & Chunghye's dad)'s 3rd Mongolian princess (the other 2 had already died, one of them being Princess Noguk's paternal aunt (her dad Bayir Temür's sister Princess Joguk)). No wonder in this drama, Chunghye will go berserk and basicaly do violence against women.

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Oh wow...this will be an interesting drama...I look forward to seeing how they'll spin history with all this.

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Nomu nomu kamsahamnida, Rovi! And this, my friends, is why there are 50 episodes allocated to "Empress Ki." There's way too much epic history involved to gloss over with a 24/26/30 episode sageuk!

Emperor Huizong was no prince either (no pun intended). I've read that he was quite the jerkwad himself, ordering women and children to work camps in exchange for government favours to strengthen his initially-anemic reign. But did the news portals get it wrong when they listed Kim Seo-hyung's character as the 'Empress Dowager Bayan Khutugh,' or was there more than one through that timeline? You'd figure they'd know better being closer to the source...

Saying that, the Korean Scholars have got their panties in a wad (and have been screaming their objections early and often) over the purported script that the production is leaning towards more of a 'soft' treatment in focusing on the love-lines of the main characters instead of concentrating on all the raping and pillaging and nasty stuff. Hell, *I* wouldn't watch 50 episodes of that, even with it starring My Precious! ;)

Press Conference is tentatively set for 16 October. Oh I so hope they'll be in costume for that!!!

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Oh god, you don't know how hard it was to research and fit things for the character descriptions!

BTW, I forgot, Ukhaantu Khan had THREE legit Empresses, so I'm adding Empress Munashri (木纳失里) of the Onggirat/Khunggirat tribe to Baek Jin-hee's possible character.

As @Quiet Thought said, this is "Game of Thrones" with better fashion sense. XD I mean come on, "Shin Don" (much older drama with the same time line) donned some pretty good costumes.

Well, Ukhaantu Khan was never favored in the first place either, being sent to exile in a number of locations (Goryeo, Henan, Guangxi, etc.) and gotten passed over by his half-brother Rinčinbal.

No, press people didn't get it wrong; Kim Seo-hyung was indeed listed only as "Empress Dowager" (황태후). So unless I'm missing something else or girlfriday got the reports wrongly translated (as in the case of AllKpop, a repeat offender of mistranslating original Korean articles out of context), I'm sticking to the probable guess of her being Empress Dowager Buddhašri.

Normally Empresses Dowager would be the reigning ruler's mother or step-mother, but then any senior female above Ukhaantu Khan had already died or was sent to death (Küsele had 7 wives overall, so I'm not too sure what happened to the other 4).

We'll see when this drama airs, and I hope I get everyone right (more concerned in Baek Jin-hee & Kim Seo-hyung, tho).

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Baek Jin-hee's character has been confirmed as Danashri (according to iMBC), but that does upset the Relationship Apple Cart a bit regarding her early demise unless she gets bumped off fairly early in the episodes (say by #25 or so).

But who says the writer-nim is going for accuracy here? I betcha lots of 'artistic licence' will be thrown around for the sake of a manageable storyline. :P

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Oh god, couldn't they settle at least with the 1st and 3rd Empresses?
Oh well, I guess prod.team does have a point; not only does her rivalry with Consort Qi makes for more makjangy material, the tragedy of her "early" death ("early" more likely twisted by the writers to extend for like 6 months) makes for (doubtful)more viewership ratings.
Thanks for the heads up @cherkell. Now only Kim Seo-hyung's character to confirm.

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Aww Baek Jin Hee
I was wondering what happened to her after High Kick 3! Glad she's still working

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This is a crap drama, too long winded, too many unrealistic scenes and plots stories. Worse, it has black magic which makes me laughing my ass out. It has some boring episodes which made me stop watching at times. The whole drama has no sense of ancient chinese culture and customs at all. Bad director and bad stories. Made in 2014 but it seems made in 90s because it is lack of realism. Only good is the actress and actor are good looking. This drama keeps concentrate on pointing the looks of their stars and not the quality. So sorry, i go after drama quality and not actress/actors glamorous. It was an excitement when I found this drama but after watching, it is a disappointment, I give only 2 star out of 5 star.

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Empress ki is a very interesting drama the end really moved my heart . I don't know why some are saying the drama is a crap but to me I love the drama, the actors and the actresses where so lovely I just hope to be a Korean actress so that I can also move the heart of the people

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