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[Drama chat] So they’re really replacing Jung So-min in Alchemy of Souls?

alchemy of souls jung so-min
You guessed it! This is your place to vent your hot drama tears about the recent confirmation that Jung So-min will not be returning for Alchemy of Souls part 2, and that her character will instead by played by Go Yoon-jung.

Now, with some other dramas behind them, the Hong sisters do have some ‘splaining to do, but also, this *kinda* makes sense? I mean, it’s a giant risk to replace your leading actress mid-drama — especially on purpose — and I’m of the opinion that the risk will either pay off with something amazing that can wins us over with its epicness… or it will fall flat, crash land, and make us wish that we too could harness some magical lake energy and wreak serious havoc.

 

How are we feeling about this Alchemy of Souls part 2 casting confirmation?

 
Let the chatting begin!
 
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@missvictrix Good plan to open a space to discuss this as things are blowing up and with a week of no episodes it’s the ideal time. I am not watching this drama but was tempted to start when I saw the recap chat 2 comments away from 400 this week!

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The hiatus is for next week’s eps not this weekend’s/Monday’s (by KST).

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Yes sorry, because I am not watching I assumed this weeks had finished and it was the next batch that were on hold and people needed a place to unleash in the gap. I have experienced the random gaps in dramas airing due to elections or sports events which is annoying enough. It’s not normally flagged in advance so the wait for the release being longer than usual directs me to search the web and get the info but never heard of it being because of the actual show and people being aware in advance.
I hope that the fears of disappointment that people were discussing from day one do not become reality due to the content of the remaining episodes.

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Frankly, I'm not bothered with the actress replacement. What I'm bothered with is the question 'So what happens to Naksu? How will they resolve the soul mixing?' The thought that this replacement spells impending volatile rollercoaster endings for our characters...I'm invested in the characters and I just don't want to think about it, and just enjoy the ride.
If they introduced us to how great Buyeon is and all that daebak! moments and just off her, just like that...damn! I will be pissed.

But why won't Jung So-min be returning? Season 2 better has something extremely solid planned for Naksu, and Naksu to be back as Naksu. It's also going to get really serious and solemn. It's going to be hard seeing Go Yoon-jung carry that sarcastic Mu-deokie look Jung So-min gave us for 20 episodes.

I'm really going to miss her banters with the characters...and her banters with CP Won. It's been a while we had such a relationship between different social classes...but oh!, it's gonna be snuffed out as well.

Perhaps as I read more comments, more rantings will come into my head. But I just want to enjoy AoS without the news🙈.

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It's going to be hard seeing Go Yoon-jung carry that sarcastic Mu-deokie look Jung So-min gave us for 20 episodes.

I just realized I'd be bothered with the actress replacement🤦🏽😅. Good one AoS. Good one, Hong sisters. Good one🤦🏽😪😅😅.

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You made me realize the one thing I love about Mudeok - the sarcastic and indifferent comments lol. That will be missed, you're right. Even if later on Naksu makes sarcastic comments, it won't feel the same coming from an all-powerful assassin. It's just funnier coming from a clumsy helpless servant who seemingly thinks too highly of herself but is unable to do anything other than make sarcastic comments. It's part of the humor and the banter between her and others, and that will definitely disappear if this rumor proves true.

Frankly what bothers me most is not another actress but the fact they will probably keep Janguk pining over her and that will be weird to watch, because it'll essentially be a different show with the dude pining over another woman, lol. It'll look weird, even if we all know it's supposed to be the same character, I just know it will feel weird. Unless he gets amnesia and forgets that he's in love with her and then they make them fall in love all over again, but god I hope they don't go down the makjang route...

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But why won't Jung So-min be returning?

My take is that at the the end of this season, Naksu will come to the fore. Currently Mu-deok and Naksu's souls are fused in Mu-deok's body and Mu-deok at the fore in all her weakness. When Gang junior achieves Hwansu, he will revive Naksu in all her strength and glory. Season 2 will be exciting and all action! Not sure about the romance, though.

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Go Yoon-jung was in Law School right?
Then easy done, just replace the rest of the current Alchemy of Souls cast with that of the Law School cast. Now I would definitely watch that!

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😂😂 I'm up for Kim Bum as Uk because he too can pull off childish characters well and has good comedic timing.

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Really? I pictured him for Seo Yul, I’m all about that pining man
Tho Ryoo Hye-young takes my vote for Naksu (sorry, Go Yoon-jung)

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Personally, I don't really care 😅

Naksu is the female lead, not Jin Bu Yeon. Even it it's her body, she didn't really intervene in the present story except to save Uk from the soul exchange. But nobody looks to know it was her (if it was her). They don't really seem to share the body, it looks more like she was in a realm of souls and not in the body too, and acts only at some moments.

So I think it would be great for Naksu if she can get back her body, now how? They burned it.

I'm not so invested in the characters or the actors. I don't find the chemistry between JSM and LJW great, so the change won't affect me. But for people who are invested in the couple by these actors, it's a big change to accept and not sure it's a good idea. The actors will get only 10 episodes to make the public forget about JSM...

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I love Jung So-min and have NEVER seen Go Yoo -Jung in anything but flashbacks. I think she’ll bring more intensity to the role from what I’ve seen though. I’m kind of looking forward to it.

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She has really big shoes to fill in if they(Hong sisters) are going to keep up the mood of season 1 in season 2.

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But she won't have to pretend to be a maid anymore and to use this awful accent (that nobody uses except Mu-Deok, so it's not very credible...).

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The tone for season will have carry enough gravitas as we had in the first 20 mins of the premiere episode(the very thing that hooked me in with this series). This alone has me excited. Thank you for pointing out the accent, too. I find it a bit... distracting at times. I prefer her soliloquies to her word exchanges sometimes.

And it would make a whole lot of sense for Go Yoon-jung to carry along with the serious Naksu in season, I also kind of wanted JSM to do that as well no matter how small. As long as JSM gets to portray what Go Yoon-jung served us in the beginning episode before she vacates the screens, I think all will be a little fine. But if she remains weak to the end or becomes powerful at the tail end of the season 1(I think this will piss me off more), I'll rant as heavily as I did in my head with Ruler: Master of the Mask. They better not go down that route at the very tiny least. Just do Naksu right for as long she is portrayed by JSM.

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So I think it would be great for Naksu if she can get back her body, but how? They burned it.

That is what I am more intrigued about. How are they going to justify Naksu getting her body back? But then again...I don't think we actually confirmed that the body that burned was hers. Maybe Master Lee has been keeping the body "on ice" and can put the soul back into her body (or Bunyeol's soul finally pushes out Naksu?). It does set up an interesting moral/ethical question whether you love Naksu's soul or Mudoki's physical form. If it's the "soul", then Uk should be able to love her regardless of what physical form Naksu is in. But the viewers might be a different story!!! :P

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Was thinking Part 2 will be a prequel instead, that's why JSM will not be involved. I think that's the only thing that will make sense.

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But it's weird because all the others actors will be in the second season. So it would mean they won't meet each other...

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I'm trying to make peace with changes I cannot control while cultivating a sense of calm, anticipation of an ending that falls somewhere in between amazing epicness and crash landing, and a willingness to go with the flow and enjoy whatever parts I can.

Ah, who am I kidding? This will be a flaming wreck. I will yell and throw popcorn at the screen and rant all over the comments here. The best I can hope for is a coherent tragic ending to Part 1 that leaves no temptation to watch Part 2 if it turns out to be some dumb melo spinoff.

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@Elinor: Yep, yep.
Potential spoiler: There are upcoming ep stills of Ook burning a book which rematerialises. Maybe there is a hint there as to how Naksu’s corporeal form may reappear?

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👀

Is it different from the blank 'Words of the Heart' book he unsuccessfully burned when he was trying to read it? I never have much luck finding official stills until someone posts them here. If you have a link, that would be awesome.

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@elinor: I think that’s the one so has already been shown. It was a fan’s speculation on Twitter which kinda made sense to me. I am not on Twitter but will try to find it.

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This was the teaser introduction for jaewook’s character! Remember the introduction of the 4 seasons? Ep 1

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[email protected] I had completely forgotten!

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@elinor: I didn’t manage to find that Twitter thread. Sorry! But like someone who has just arrived in a big city, was overwhelmed to find so much else there (great pics and vids of the main cast). Take this thread for instance: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23alchemy_of_souls

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Everytime there is a Hong Sister project, there is always something dramatic happening behind the scenes.

I avoid their work because there has not been one series where I have made it past episode 2 of.

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🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿

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🍹🍹🍹🍹💀

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I should be drawing this. Lol

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OH 😮 !!!
*rubs hands together in anticipation*

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ah shit now they have expectations- I shouldn't have said anything 😂😂😂

(meanwhile that Link essay...)

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Well... you got your wish. Lol.

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@sicarius
*jaw dropped*

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This should've been a Hot Take instead of a Drama chat.

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😏😏

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Wait till ep 20😂😂😂 DB will be on fire

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The Hong Sisters have had a history of casting lesser known talent in their shows. Jung So-min herself was a replacement for the original cast actress, Park Hye-eun, who only had two credits before joining the show's pre-production. When she withdrew, it was said she did so because she felt she could not handle the burden of being the lead actress in high profile series.

But with the later reveal that the show is actually 20 + 10 episodes, an actress could be offended that she would not play the lead to the very end (i.e. killing her off in part one). I suspect JSM accepted that her character Mu-deok would not be in part two. I am not bothered by that if that is what the actor signed up for.

What may be more baffling is why the writers did not give JSM more to do with her character. It may seem to some that Mu deok was merely a placeholder until the return of Naksu. The foreshadowing implies that Mu deok and Naksu cannot act together in the same scenes. But I do look forward to Naksu's epic fight scenes.

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"The Hong Sisters have had a history of casting lesser known talent in their shows"- Hmmmm not sure I agree with this. Do they??
Their older shows I can speak less for, but Hwayugi at least was stacked from front to back, and even the supporting cast was full of actors of well renown.
The supporting cast of HdlL not so much, and perhaps the leads were somewhat "less" famous than some of their previous show leads, maybe????, but IU had made her break with My Ahjussi by that point and Jingoo is a famous child actor.
*shrugs*

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In their first 6 or 7 dramas, they went with sort of B/C list actors at the time or actors who were rising but were stuck in a certain image (like Shin Mina in melodramatic roles). I don't think the casting choices back then were deliberate. It was just happened that they didn't gave enough draw at the time. I think once they ended up having a reputation of remaking images (Cha Seung-won went from movie guy to movie+tv guy), more well-known actors became interested in the Hong sisters and if you have super popular actors knocking on your door, the PD and writer and investors would be hardpressed to turn that down.

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Thank you for making this point. I love JSM, but I think AoS got highjacked along the way by the fervent fandom over a perceived injustice.

Everybody has an idea of what they want, but don’t seem to care what the original intent of the storyline and writers vision.. I’ve been willing to wait until I see their end game, then rant if I didn’t like it.

It’s been spoiled by everyone’s campaign to restore the actress, without considering if she wants to return, and whether the surprise twist will explain the cast choices.

I think that’s why they need that cooling off week and the special actors episode. Hopefully JSM will step up and explain she’s fine her part of the story, to cool the controversy and allow them to finish the drama. She seems happy to get back to her real life and relax a bit from her vlog entries. She had been working nonstop, with AOS right after finishing Monthy Magazine, for over a year.

Maybe the PDs are trying to patchwork an ending to satisfy the viewers, but I always feel it is an insult to the writers, who spent over 3 years on this project, and who all the actors supported with their excitement for this drama. Hong sisters were the ones who brought in the financing for this project based on their reputation. Unless you are the original maker of this story and this world, please don’t impose your vision using characters and dialogues you did not create. Are we writers by profession? Or avid amateurs? Leave it to the actual experienced creators.

There is also so much fan wars over the cast, which I feel sad about. It’s OK to exalt your favorite, but does one have to put down everyone else? There are already a bunch of breakout stars, as well as renewed fervor for older veterans, who ALL deserve the love we give them.

As to her character, yes, I agree they have left it late in Part 1 to explore the Naksu/MD/BY arc. I Believed it was necessary to show the change in her due to the wrongful soul switch. She expected to be inside of a young strong body, without regard to the poor occupant. She also had to see that her original revenge motivation was gone. So what now? Is there still any remorse for any of her victims, who were beheaded? And what about the whole BY Arc and the whole Jin family wars about to erupt?

I’m a peacemaker at heart and don’t like the anger from frustration and misguided loyalty. I look forward to the comments of people who enjoy anticipating plot points, or figuring out the next step. Healthy discussions are so fun!

MissVictrix, you’ve opened torrent of energy! I also agree, this is a good spot to vent, so we don’t spend so much space on the episode comments going over the same rants over and over.

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Readers rallying to bring back a character has gone on for more than 150 years now. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed Sherlock Holmes, there was such a hue and cry in 1920s that he was brought back. Authors have to realise that one’s a story is out in the world, it’s belongs to the readers more. I will forever remember the divergent series, on how the author killed off the main character, people who had waited for years for the series to come out were so badly disappointed. Also authors like George Martin are not being respectful when they make readers wait for decades for a book and then they claim they owe nothing to the readers. In all professions people who something to the target audience. Hong sisters wrote it yes, but it’s the actors who bought it to life, the director who directed it and the production director who brought everything together. As such this drama is not just the hong sisters drama. Plus they have a track record of giving endings which leave audience hanging example Hwayugi, this is why maybe people are justifiably not happy. If they wanted to let Jung So Min go, they should have refrained from romance in the first place. The audience is mature enough to handle changes to plot. But this is just playing with audiences invested emotions within the drama.

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Then let us see the end of Part 1. I did reserve the right to rant afterwards. :-)

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Yes I agree with you. However if the audience rants change the plot line, that’s not wrong in my humble opinion. Authors are not god. I remember how disappointed I was with forecasting love and weather, when the writer started glorifying cheating. I felt I lost at least 30 hours of my life, watching the drama and discussing it. It left such a horrible taste. The viewers who are big fans are justified. For me personally, my FLAW incident has scarred me permanently. I have stopped watching any real time drama. I know of many k drama viewers who stopped watching dramas real time because of bad experiences midway through the drama when the authors don’t play fair. This is not good for k dramas either since less viewers mean less sponsorships too. I am so glad I am aware of the broad storyline but that I avoided this drama watching real time.

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I can’t answer you below. My own point of view is that it is disrespectful not to let someone finish their vision. I’m older, and am used to novel form, where the work is complete, and stands by its story. It’s up to readers to buy the book or not.

Nowadays, the classics are taken out of context and modernized, mostly to their detriment.
My son is the one with the “what happen then” books, where you choose your own story among various chapters, and RPG games, where you choose you own path among various scenarios.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments SK2. I’m just different from you, and Don’t feel I should influence the writers in the middle of their tale.

I think this hiatus is probably the dramas effort to explain why they chose their storyline, and hope that they do not change it because of fans who do not see the story arc they have been building (albeit very slowly!)

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Factual error, he was killed in 1893 and brought back with the hound of Baskerville. According to some sources in 1890s people were so outraged with the strand magazine "The public reaction to the death was unlike anything previously seen for fictional events." The Strand Magazine "barely survived" the cancellations. Why should people now behave any different almost 150 years later, if you mess with their beloved characters.

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Totally agree with you here. Although JSM is main lead here, but changing actress for S2 didn't bother me that much as long as the storyline save it (for future).
For me, every single person is entitled to own their opinion, to vouch their favourites but within morally context (not dragging down for others/ insulted them or their fans). This is why I stay in DB platform for a very long time, be a silent reader for years and only interacted when some Kdrama that pique my interest. Indeed, healthy lenghty discussion is totally fine and fun for me too ❤️.
Never had I ever ranting for storyline or drama that end up badly towards the end 😅. I personally just accept it, and move forward with another drama. Only do rerun when current airing drama isn't my cup of tea or keep seeing my wishlist to watch but never click for playing it 🤭.

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There is nothing I hate more than the plot point changing just to give fan service - especially if it results to more plot holes.. and an incoherent story overall. I also don't mind the change in the actress as long as the story keeps its integrity

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Yeah, she was pretty impressive in the fight scenes of episode 1. As long as changing actresses advances the plot I'm okay with it. Sure I love Jung So-min, but I understand that someone's body has to show up somewhere, LOL.

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I love Jung So-Min in general and in this role in particular, but my understanding is that season 2 is side/back stories. As such it makes perfect sense that we would see Naksu in her original body. I'm more concerned that Season 2 is just going to filler, randomness than about the actress change.

I mostly hope that they reach a satisfying end with this one. I'm disappointed that they haven't let this Naksu consciously channel any power this deep into the season.

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Perhaps season 2 will be a prequel.

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As a longtime drama watcher, I have learned to be wary of dramas with body-switching as a plot device. Things always get weird at the end. If two actors had amazing chemistry, and then one half of the couple is replaced with a totally different actor, it just feels icky. I'm thinking of 49 Days and Big. I actually quite like JSM in this role, but I am trying to keep an open mind.

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I forgot 49 Days! Loved it! And each soul went back to their original fate.

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I think it worked in 49 days since the romance between Nam Gyuri's character whose soul goes into Lee Yo Won's body and Jo Hyun-jae's character wasn't as intense. He got to hang out with Nam Gyuri before the body-takeover and after it. And both actresses were featured equally in the episodes since Nam Gyuri's character doesn't take over Lee Yo Won's character's body all the time.

Big was really awkward, since the ML is supposed to be a high school student and the young actor was in a coma for pretty much the entire series and we didn't see the swapback on screen. In the end, the drama showed the OTP reunion with Gong Yoo instead of the young body of the ML, so the audience didn't have to deal with seeing Lee Min Jung's FL with another guy.

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I was going to say the same thing! It totally makes sense in 49 Days but not in Big. All in all, 49 Days was a great drama but Big's last 5 minute of the last episode ruined the entire drama for me cuz the drama insisted putting Gong Yoo in the last scene, even though he's character has supposedly switched back to his original high schooler body.

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It's an interesting one. I can't see how a prequel/side drama about Naksu would be planned so far ahead, was everyone so certain they had a hit on their hands? Well done if they did, I would have thought it was far from certain. My only conclusion is that they resurrect Naksu for the final 10 episodes and that's it's a continuation of the story. They need to be very confident about their drama though to dispatch with the female lead. We can think about how they conjure up a body for Naksu on another thread, but I don't necessarily want to see BY/MD meet a bad end either.
It isn't filling me with confidence that they are taking a hiatus for a week either, it reeks of 'I'm stuck and don't know which way to go with this...'

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I'd be horrified with a prequel or a side drama. I hope that they do a continuation with a resurrected Naksu. I hate prequels because too many things are set in stone and it limits the plot. For instance you can't kill someone who's alive and not a soul shifter later.

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Same here - no prequel, please. I want a continuation of the story with Naksu at the fore. I want to see how her romance with Gang junior will proceed, or be destroyed, as long as the story is a continuation!

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In terms of the story, it may well make sense and I’m fine with that. But I’m worried changing actresses will lose all the momentum we’ve gained.
Also it might lack coherence - it’s so hard to play a character who someone else has already set up. Go Yoon-Jung is going to have to work really hard to get the expressions, style, slyness and banter of JSM’s Naksu - and I don’t know if she’s got the talent / experience…

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I don't think Go Yoon-jung really needs to follow JSM's Mudeok style. In S2 she'll probably have he powers back and be a badass warrior -- no more pretending to be a meek little servant. She'll probably be too busy fighting baddies and maybe also fending off not-so-baddies who don't understand her old misunderstandings and who are pissed off about her old body count and/or expect her to run wild and kill everybody.

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But I thought this season was about Naksu maturing and softening thanks to Wook…? It would feel a little pointless if she went back to exactly how she was before, no?

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This right here. I keep seeing comments to the effect that viewers are just waiting for the moment Naksu gets back her body or powers so she can go back to who she was before. But for what? If she goes back to being the same person what was the point of the drama? She would be the only character in the story without a character arc. Even almost negligible side characters are growing, changing and developing. It would be terribly poor story telling if your main protagonist has no character arc. I've seen people hoping she cuts off these new relationships and choose the life of revenge over her growing love. Um... we've literally already seen her do that. While I love a good fight scene, I don't begrudge the time it is taking Naksu to mature and develop emotional intelligence. I find watching her use her wit and intelligence equally as entertaining as watching a good fight scene.

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I wanted to keep Go Yoon-jung from the start, so I'm totally okay with it. I don't really care for Jung So-min in the role or think she has much chem with LJW. I don't know if GYJ will either, but I'm hoping they focus more on action than romance in Part 2.

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Jung So-min definitely had chemistry with Lee Jae-wook. As a master-pupil, and as owner-maid, the chemistry is as clear as crystal, and frictionless. The romantic chemistry however comes from just LJW.
This is not to talk of the chemistry with the rest of F3 and of course CP Won.

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I am one of those who was impressed by GYJ in the earlier scenes so I look forward to her coming back. Nothing against JSM, but I can't imagine her (JSM) fierce enough to handle the action side of Naksu.

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Jung So Min is one of the weakest character in Alchemy. I’m not sure if it’s the character or the actress. Her character has basically been stagnant over the past few episodes. Intentionally perhaps, but she doesn’t look graceful on screen especially when she’s running. I find it hard to believe 3 male leads (ML, ML2, CP) are yearning for her. Liking her, definitely, she has fun camaraderie vibes like her relationship with F3. Yearning, it’s a bit hard for me to suspend disbelief.

Jung So Min is a reliable actress. Which makes me think it’s either she’s not suited to historical, her character’s arc needs shaking or her interpretation (the provincial accent which I know is intentional, her overall lack of grace) is a bit off.

I still think audience may miss the actress since she’s so integral if she’s totally missing in the sequel.

But right now, I’m not particularly impressed with her.

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@Erica: But how could she be graceful and strong when it is repeatedly mentioned that Mudeok’s body lacks stamina and is not capable of feats of strength? That is an unreasonable expectation to have and hence JSM’s perceived lack of grace and strength are exactly what is called for in this context.

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So that is why, if the story is going to go into the battle side of things in the next season, GYJ would be more believable , I think (physically).

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I love Jung Somin BUT I hate it when movies/dramas change the story to have a famous or your fave actor to appear on the screen again when you know that their parts ended (FOR EXAMPLE: Big's ending ruined the whole drama for me cuz the PD insisted to have Gong Yoo in the last scene instead of a lesser known rookie actor).

So I'm all for it. I'm curious as to how the story will play out since Naksu's body supposedly was burnt. And I'm looking forward to Go Yoon Jung playing a lead role for the first time.

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WAIT ITS BEEN CONFIRMED??????? no way where was I when it dropped????

Personally, I would have to see how they handle the change in the story. As it is a HUGE factor in the show, they could nail it or fk it up badly.
For the context of the story, it would make sense if the FL is changed as initially it was about Naksu, who is played by an entirely diff actress (no hate she looks awesome as shit) but due to the soul shifting, ended up as MD yet it is still Naksu who is inside her. Naksu who is the skilled assassin who mastered magic, Naksu who fell for Uk, Naksu who is going through everything rn.
Throughout my time watching the show, I always wondered if we would get to see Naksu again as she looked amazing at the start and I wanted more of her. There is the matter of her burnt body and the question, who Uk fell for, MD or Naksu.

There are so many factors to this and I'm just hoping they would be executed well.

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Yup… and add some lore about either

A) the ability to unburn bodies lol
B) the dwelling of 2 souls in one body.

As it is I was holding out sommmmmme hope of a switcheroo we never watched behind the scenes 😶

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How about changing the “skin” of the current shared body? Like mage plastic surgery? My deluded dream last night. It’s easier to change the skin, than resurrect a burned body.

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😮 Interesting idea. That would be very Harry Potterish.

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"...the question, who Uk fell for, MD or Naksu."

Uk is in love with Naksu. It's his mission to master Hwansu to bring his master back.

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I’m very confused. Was there an official confirmation? Can someone point me to the link?

As it is the only news I had was that:
1- there was a leak saying go youn jung was the main female lead replacing? Somin. The news here is sketch cos replacing might imply different things.

2- so min didn’t say she wasn’t in part 2, but her original contract was for part 1 and they were in discussion…?

3- tvn said they couldn’t comment as it might be a spoiler.

4- both so min and gyj’s agencies said they would not comment as well until part 1 ended.

So we are left with either possibilities:
- so min is replaced but her storyline does not change
- og naksu comes back.

Second one makes more sense as it’s considered more in line with a spoiler, rather than a casting choice/ contract.

But I haven’t seen any news confirming why 🥺

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Dramabeans posted the News Bite yesterday...

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Yeah but it was so strange considering they came out to issue a statement previously to quell the furore.

I would have expected them (the news agency, not dramabeans) to be abit more formal than just slipping in the “jsm is not in p2” bite along with new casting news.

Sigh.

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I'm also confused as there has been no official confirmation. I'm mostly confused not because I think it's unlikely for this to happen, but because revealing something like this officially is a MASSIVE spoiler for the finale and I can't imagine them doing that.

So I followed the link from the news bite and it's an article talking about the casting of an actor for the role of Yul's uncle and it also mentions in the end what was already revealed a month ago, namely that Jung Somin has only signed up for season 1 while the other actress has signed up for season 2. But after that was revealed the production company made an official statement that they can't comment on season 2 as it would spoil season1 and nothing else has been officially revealed since then.

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I started watching Alchemy because I like JSM as an actress, and I like her in this role. That said, I was hooked after the second episode because the development of the story looked like this drama could be epic, and LJW is hilarious and extremely likeable as JU. As for the story, up to and including episode 14, I think it’s flawless. I feel uneasy about the change in FL, which probably fuelled my need to get to the end ASAP (the hiatus is a little frustrating but no choice), however, I’d really like to see the drama as the writers intended, for both seasons. My end game though, if I’m not convinced by the ending of Season 1, whether or not they keep JSM and she ends up in Season 2 (they have publicised that they can’t reveal if she’s in S2 as it will ruin the plot for S1 - I can respect that), I won’t continue watching. The story has to make sense with all the plot and subplots, the innuendo, the character development and developing relationships – all of it has to be cohesive. I’m interested to see how they bring back GYJ as Naksu since her body was burned but if S2 is a prequel, then why reveal the background in this series? Further, I agree with those that the chemistry between LJW and JSM comes off as awkward sometimes but how does he consciously switch his affections from MD/Master to Naksu? He barely acknowledges Naksu, except to tell MD that she used to be a skilled assassin. And what happens to BY? Is she really just a body full of energy that Naksu can access unconsciously, and that the soul of BY doesn’t exist? [NOTE: even that’s contentious – two souls sharing one body…hmmmm]. I’m confident all the subplots will culminate to a satisfying ending but…we’ll see.

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Here, here! I’m LJW fan, but like JSM too and actually have come to love the entire cast.

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I'm really bummed unless part 2 is a prequel or a romance-less story. I know Cho Yeong (Naksu's birth name) is Cho Yeong no matter what body...it would have worked for me if it was a book or webtoon, but visually on tv, I can't see Wook romancing someone with a different body and having the exact same dynamic. I hope the main story - take down Jin Mu and ice stone and avenge Cho Yeong- finishes at episode 20 and the 10 episodes.

Maybe Cho Yeong dies a heroic death after avenging her father (my guess is that kdramas won't let assassins live a happily ever for some awkward moral reasons; her victims were not straight-cut bad guys), and part 2 is of Bu-yeon who managed to revive and take over Naksu's body and destroy the ice stone. This would prevent Go Yoon-jung from having to replicate JSM's performance. It seems unfair to set up a new actress like that.

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If only our writernim reading all of our discussion here...be either Hong sisters or any other writer/PDnim. Can we petition to them about our precious Dramabean here? 😁

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For me the problem is that I didn't see any interactions between Naksu in Naksu's body and Uk at the beginning. I don't even know if the actors have chemistry and I really like the current dynamic. And I only got to know Naksu in Moduk's body, before shifting bodies I saw her as a warrior and I wasn't invested yet in the story.
In Big, for example, did it well (in the beginning) and I was waiting at the end of the drama for the ML to get his body back because all the time I had kept the memory of them from the first episode, but here for me Naksu is Somin. I honestly can't even remember what the other actress looks like.

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But the main problem is Naksu's body was burnt so it will be ridiculous to bring it back by fooling us.

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The ice stone is the deus ex machina.. If it can bring back petrified soul-shifters, it can bring back burnt bodies.

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Bring back a stone to life is fine, but ashes to a solid body? Sure it is a fantasy movie, but this is way too ridiculous. They can just bring back anyone from afterlife😅😅

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Is that why Jang Gang is looking for the ice stone to bring back his wife?

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Isn't it ironic that in body-swapping dramas, people are always unhappy because the hero/heroine ends up with the body despite the fact that he/she loves the soul (Big, Oh My Ghostess, Mr. Queen), and now Alchemy of Souls is giving us that ending, yet people are still unhappy?

I hate mid-season actor replacements, including ones who were kicked out for committing a crime, because it ruins the immersion for me. I'm attached to Jung So-min's Mu-deok, who is the only Mu-deok that we know, but if there is one pro of this change, Jung So-min has no romantic chemistry with Wook, so hopefully Go Youn-jung will. She does have romantic chemistry with Yul, and I can see her character following him to Seoho Fortress, but I would riot if Yul were also written off the show. Even if Jung So-min plays Bu-yeon, it wouldn't be the same.

Personally, I don't think this drama needs to be 30 episodes. It didn't even need to be 20 episodes.

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People are going to unhappy either way because a good story would show the character to be an integral part of the plot, but here, OG Naksu was completely sidelined, except for a 2 minute scene of her on the tree blowing whistle with Yul which they keep repeating as the only flashback of Naksu. As @sunnysaturdays mentioned they should have included more clips of her training or surviving in the cold mountains, so when the switch happens it will not cause a whiplash for the viewers.

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Isn’t that the young actress, though? The one repeating clip of real Naksu is the one of her fighting on the ice… I think

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You are right, but I was referring to the scenes of Naksu's soul in her own body (young/old, alive/dead) which were like bread crumbs

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I can see her character following him to Seoho Fortress, but I would riot if Yul were also written off the show.

No. No. No.
I thought of this as well but I don't even want to entertain this at the moment but alas!, you've raised it up😂.

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The actor who plays Yul is already confirmed in Part 2 as a main cast member. Why would they write him off?

Why is everyone looking for an excuse to riot without knowing the ending of Part 1?

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I meant if they ship Yul and Mu-deok off to Seoho Fortress to explain Jung So-min's disappearance.

I would riot because Yul is one of the only two characters I care about (Crown Prince Won being the other). I'm not invested in the OTP.

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I like Jung so min and I like what we saw with OG Naksu. It will be awkward sure but we will see. I have one thing to say though. This transition would have been better if Naksu had a lot of flashbacks. We have only seen about five minutes of her OG BODY in total. How are we supposed to get used to her?

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Yeah!

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yes i was really hoping for some flashbacks or 'My Love From Another Star' style voiceovers' by Go Yoon-Jung to supplement the comedy

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Storywise, it makes sense. I don't mind that Jung So Min will not be back. I love the actress so I say that wth all good will. In terms of the story its a spoiler on what will happen with Naksu and Mudeok/BuYeon. I just want the writers to resolve the FL's story well.

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Personally I hope we get to see the OG Naksu WITH Uk in the next season. JSM's performance just doesn't work for me, and it is glaringly obvious she doesn't have chemistry with LJW. The kissing scene was not it. It felt like we were propelled back to the old dead fish kiss days. That was the last straw for me.

I really hope if we get GYJ in season 2 she has chemistry with LJW because that guy is trying his best to romance his female lead but there is nothing for now.

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Uk's character has chemistry with Heo Yoon Ok. Even when their scenes were minimal it was very obivious.

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True. When they were not sharing the screen, even then there was chemistry. Uk noticing the leftover nuts comes to mind. "She must have been really bored" was delivered in a really interesting way.

But tbf, male or female, LJW has chemistry with everyone but his female lead which is disappointing

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Same. I like Uk with Yun Ok.

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I remember their scene where Wook just happily smile without any heavy thoughts with Lady Heo, while flapping away the bug.
Wookie smiles ease my eyes and heart in that shot ❤️. It may not be love but something makes me feels butterly in my heart when watching that part.

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Naksu needs to be back in her body. Right now Naksu is pretending to be someone else to avoid detection and be killed again!

Jin Buyeon needs her body back and she needs justice to the great injustice that half-brother of her mother has done to her.

Also I hope Jung Somin is still is AOS. Coz she need to be Jin Buyeon!

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Also I wonder if it's real Naksu doing the voice over's when Mudeok is thinking nowadays episodes!

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Anyone recall that when Jang switched bodies with the King's weak body, he was unable to switch back on his own power? Jin Bu Yeon redirected Naksu's selected switch into the weak Mu Deok body that has trapped Jin Bu Yeon and her memory. So why is Mu Deok weak? Was this "control" accomplished by Shaman Choi and Jin Mu to procure the ice stone? Naksu is unable to regain her energy on her own so why would she be dominant over Jin Bu Yeon's body? Another thought is that they are sisters with the same father. Jin Bu Yeon's father is unknown, and Naksu's mother has not been revealed.

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If all that I'm speculating is actually intentional then this is a good strategy. By that I mean the lack of romantic chemistry between the leads(not the acting compatibility JSM is great with everyone) and the leak of the FL changing earlier.

I wasn't happy with the news at first but now wherever the story is going, it does make sense. I'm more prepared for the change now. Leaving crumbs before rather than exploding the news, may have worked for some but still spoils the show. Plus, the lack of romantic chemistry could be totally intentional so that we can see Uk with another FL.

I'm siding with the script and the writers. Many elemnts have been unpredictable in the show so I'm hoping the HS are prepared.

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Personally I am rolling with it. I remember being disappointed during the first episode when she switched bodies, but I learnt to love our mu doek. I'm sure the ending will not be good though. I cannot for the life of me list five korean dramas with good endings.

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I can think of a lot of levels to be concerned about a change in any lead actor part way through a story. It's not an easy thing but it is also not wholly unexpected in a story about soul-switching. (And a story that seems to acknowledge that both the body and the soul involved have an impact on the overall power and person's experience)
- Some might be concerned because they really really enjoy JSM's performance or feel a great deal of loyalty to her because they are fans. I will miss her version of MuDeokie and even if you don't like every part of it any change is going to feel jarring. But shouldn't both the audience and characters feel jarred by a soul-swap? We get used to things one way, we think our eyes are telling us what is real and then they aren't...
- It means something complicated plot wise. How does a burned body come back? What huge things are going to happen at the end of these 20 eps? (I am not super worried because the Ice Stone already brought BuYeon to life after being in the womb for over a year and her mother was pretty sure she was dead. I can't imagine having to be pregnant for that long, 2 weeks overdue was long enough! We haven't seen anything as dramatic as a totally burned body being brought back but considering the news has been rumoured for awhile I think it's been part of the plan.)
- My biggest worry is that no matter the actors, playing the same character as another actor in the same story is incredibly HARD (this is not just playing your version of Hamlet and not getting bogged down in another actor's style, this is sharing a role in a continuous story, you have to mimic each other. Hard stuff, I've tried.) So much about communication and acting are about those little facial ticks, the body language, the way you walk, use your eyes and mouth.... And Naksu has changed as a person (even if people miss the badass from first eps, I really hope no character stays exactly the same as the first time we see them) so I hope some of the mannerisms and interplay that have been built in many episodes of interaction are preserved. It can certainly be done. I wonder if any of you are old enough or dorky enough to remember Face Off with John Travola and Nicolas Cage? The two actors did a remarkable job in moving and talking in totally different ways, basically doing and impression of each other, to show which person was which even when they swapped. It's tough but I will remain open minded that it can be done. And we've seen how the body language changed when the old King swapped with Jang Gang or that elderly conspirator stole his apprentice's body. They showed that a new soul was in town by the way they used their face and voice.
A change in actor shouldn't mean a totally different set of mannerisms and ways of moving or subconsciously it will not feel continuous. (Please please don't let there be some dramatic time jump too....) And chemistry is so hard to quantify and reproduce...

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Honestly, I think JSM was mindful from the start to recreate the base persona of Naksu to make it easier for GYJ to continue. The hilarious MD character that interacts well with the F4 is JSM. She used that persona to string Yul, CP and Dang-Gu along and manipulate them. If Cho Yeong comes back, she doesn’t need that persona.

If the soul is switched again, GYJ can recreate “crazy master” persona and create her own steam with LJW. I think he will confirm it’s her with the jade eggs. Naksu has not really fully realized her love for UK. It might be possible for the romance to be fleshed out by GYJ.

I’m speculating too, so who knows?

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Yes, it would be very wise for the actors in shared roles to have at least some discussion about how they plan to approach things. It's tough to know what GYJ's Naksu is like actually. We only saw her in the role for part of the first episode and a few flashbacks so there wasn't much established for what tone she wants to take.
The flashbacks to her childhood were done with younger actor version and all the moments of getting to know her since have been via JSM's performance- the impact of her father's death and the knowledge of how it really happened and the heartbreaking moment in front of his memorial, all the interactions with adult Yul and her exchanges with CP, her horror towards the petrified soul shifters and her fear of sucking others' lives and running mad etc. The way her face changes when she is suspicious of someone or actually likes someone or gets frustrated or is grateful to a friend... those moments are impactful.
What I actually like about JSM's performance is the various versions that she shows. There is the hilarious over the top MuDeokie played for comedy which certainly won't be necessary to maintain if she is no longer that servant. However, there are also the many interactions that are not the done from the personna of comedy MD. She shows her serious thoughtful side to Yul, the CP also knows the cartoonish version is an act and when she is more serious. Plenty of times she talks to Master Lee in a serious way and to many others.... they know the substance underneath too.

The intensity and ruthless part of her true self she can only really show with Uk since he is the only one she is sure knows her real identity. And the comedy played as MuDoekie is the other end of the spectrum but she has also given us lots of smart or loyal or daring or heartbroken parts of her character that even Park Jin sees under the facade. Almost no one around her believes that "comedy MuDeokie" is all there is to her anymore.

I hope those parts of Naksu don't disappear or alter too much with a change in actor. If I were GYJ, I would be watching all the episodes very carefully (which I am sure she is doing) so if she speaks to the Crown Prince or Master Lee, or Maidservant Kim or Park Jin or Yul or even Young Lady Jin again in the future, we can feel the history and established relationship there.

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Love that you have so many questions. I do too and I need them answered! I've been thinking; Jin Bu-yeon also has some control over weather/temperature, right? I wonder if she switched into Naksu's body and prevented it from perishing as it burned. Or could Bu-yeon's soul be coexisting within Mu-deok? I am also so interested to know whether Bu-yeon, as a powerful priestess, is trapping and preventing Naksu from utilizing her full powers, and whether she could be doing this willingly. I have so many questions and I can't imagine it all being answered in four more episodes. I need Jung So-min to be Bu-Yeon next season and answer my questions damn it! I am hungry for another powerful female protagonist and this is their chance to showcase one!

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I get attached to characters and so I am sad if Jung so min is not in season 2. But, the story belongs to the writers, it's their baby, not mine. I am curious to see how their imaginations wrap this drama up. I guess I would be pleased if Jang uk accepts the physical change in Naksu/MuDuek no matter which woman plays the character. The thing I do not want is for Jang uk to put his powers to evil. So even if Jung So min is gone from season 2, I will accept it (sadly).

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Una pena, me parece fantástico que quieran revivir Nasáu, pero deberían mantener a la actriz principal traspasan la pantalla con Lee J Wook, Jung So Min tiene un talento impresionante, no será lo mismo que pena

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It could be a prequel of sorts - how Naksu became "Naksu", how she trained and became the best shadow assassin ever and so forth. Need not fear the worst!

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that'd be so cool!

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K-dramas, with the exception of weekend soap operas, weren't traditionally designed to be multi-season. Multi-season attempts have ranged from lackluster (Hospital Playlist, Yumi's Cells 2) to disastrous (Mystery Queen, Vampire Detective). I expect actor schedules are also not typically set up for multi-seasons, either. Jung So-min has a movie coming out in September!

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This is so not fair. Jung So Min has such chemistry with the 4 male actors. Such a huge pity. I for one will consider dropping this drama. I'm already behind it since the news of this and frankly not motivated to catch up... I have nothing against Go Yoon Jung and her first appearance was awesome especially her fighting scenes. For the sake of this drama let's hope she can continue the chemistry that Jung So Min executed so well in.

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Que desepcion que lo cambien ala actriz y como harían si Mudeok es la hija de la familia jin y ella es de las costelaciones que abre no estoy de acuerdo en fin me quedo con la 1 temporada 😡😡😡💜

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I would have really hoped to see So-Min playing Bu-yeon in S2. Imagine the hijinks where Mu-deok is no longer the same person we, and the main characters, have spent most of season 1 with. I refuse to think of the story implications behind JSM not being cast for S2. She was too precious and played a huge part behind the cast's amazing chemistry. Though tbh, one possibility I can imagine is Bu-yeon sa sacrificing herself. But that would mean Cho-yeon and Dang-gu not getting their happy ending! Ugh. Why did ever announce the casting for S2 way ahead of time? Dunno if this is working for them or against them. 😅😔

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YES JSM needs to be bu-yeon next season! I am really invested in bu-yeon's character and would love to see JSM be her next season. And agreed announcing the casting ahead of time was so weird. Either they're testing the waters by gauging viewer feedback or wanting to torture us or it was a leak in information. Or it's a PR move, as kdrama typically do not have second seasons. I'll be honest, if its a PR move, it worked because the announcement of the 2nd season made me cave and finally watch this drama

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I think she will be back as Jin Bu-yeon. Maybe as a "Special Guest" for a few episodes but I don't doubt for a minute that JSM will return.

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thank you for this space...this is the only show i have been watching regularly as it airs but this news was so weird...at this moment, i'm invested into this show, but didn't really know there was second season planned or a different FL later will take lead....i just hope i still continue to enjoy else what a waste for me since my drama completion rate is already so low, but what i watch till the end are shows that were enjoyable to watch for me.

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In a soul-shifting drama, I can think of various plot-lines where bodies change. But the real tragedy is...WHY ARE THEY SPLITTING THE DRAMA INTO 2 SEASONS!!?!! I can handle a sequel or a prequel, but not if they leave us with a cliff-hanger for a year. A huge component Kdrama magic is that they tell a complete story, like a book. I don't take a long break from a good book and it doesn't work for a good Kdrama story.

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I took a long break with Harry Potter because the last books hadn't been published yet, and by the time they did I had already moved on and lost interest... Hope this (and drama with several seasons) doesn't become a trend in kdramaland. There's a reason why I chose this type of content.

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This hasn't been officially confirmed though? There were just rumours like a month ago that Go Yoon Jung is the lead in season 2 and then they officially made a statement saying they can't comment on the second season because that would spoil the first season's finale.
So I don't get how you can say it has been confirmed.
What am I missing?

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Nothing. Dramabeans just gave a space to rant, share opinions on the actor being cut off since the drama has very few episodes for the Part 1 finale

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that's dicey, replacing an actress mid-story. and the second half only has ten eps to convince the audience that they share chemistry as leads. when you have 20 eps to establish that rapport with jung so min.

i like the dynamic between the two leads, and wanna see how it will evolve when she becomes naksu again. but i'll also have a hard time believing it's the same soul. i can foresee that my engagement is gonna take a hit. jung so min pulled off the goofy serious interactions like a pro.

also, it's so hard to develop chemistry among the leads. to think they'll deliberately mess that up, with the way many fans are invested in the couple, not sure if that's a train wreck waiting to happen, so we'll just hafta wait and see.

i love many of the supporting characters, tho, so even if the main leads flop (such a shame, jung so min made this role so hilarious and lovable), i'll likely check the second season for maid servant kim and the uncle.

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Seriously, I've had it with them Hong Sisters, I don't think I'll be watching another of their dramas again. Not because of the Jung So Min change or anything, I don't really know how to fully express this, but based on the ground work, I expected more from this drama than what it's dishing out.
Who else thinks this hiatus is suspicious? Like they're sneaking off to refilm some scene or somefing' somesuch.
I got hooked on Kdrama because of the one season we're done and gone format, so the chances of me watching a S2 is on a minus right now. Mess really, the whole thing.

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Hmmm...seems my gut-feeling to drop this one early was correct - at least for me, personally. Meanwhile, I will heed the advice of those who say to always check who the writers are before deciding to invest time and emotion into a show.

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Replacing Jung So Min will result season 2 to flop miserably. Season 1 was amazingly good but season 2 will again be a mediocre K-Drama as usual.
It is surprising that producers repeat this same mistake over and over again - e.g Altered Carbon ratings dropped from 8.2 to 6.6 because of it.

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My understanding is that the soul is Naksu's but the body is the sister of Jin cho yeon. Technical they could have both but its my understanding that that body can only hold Naksu and prevents her from running wild because she is a priestess mage.(It hint's she died in the womb and had the Alchemy of souls performed on her once already) This makes me think it may be a pre sequel about her and Seo yul instead.

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My understanding is that the soul is Naksu's but the body is the sister of Jin cho yeon. Technical they could have both but its my understanding that that body can only hold Naksu and prevents her from running wild because she is a priestess mage.(It hint's she died in the womb and had the Alchemy of souls performed on her once already) This makes me think it may be a pre sequel about her and Seo yul instead. So pre sequel, no problem to have Go yoon jung be Naksu, she's awesome but if it takes place now are they just gonna write out jin family's long lost daughter?

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I'm mad I can't believe they are replacing Jung So-min, the energy she brings tge character , the chemistry she has with the cast man , I'm mad. And what will happen to Naksu charter , at least bring her back as her original character come on .. I'm highly upset 😡 I'm going to watch the 2nd season but if I don't see Jung So-min I'm not watching.

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For me, I am so happy to see Mu-deok goofy silly character go away, and be replaced with a more serious action oriented actor Go playing the real Naksu. Oh I can't wait. Sorry Jung SoMin (Mu-deok), but I just feel Jung SoMin didn't really portray the real Naksu. For me, I started watching AoS because how Go portrayed Natsu, a serious action oriented woman taking revenge. Jung SoMin totally ruined that for me. I AM HAPPY GO is returning.

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Bruh, first, I wanna say that I was never planning on watching another romancy k-drama. It's all thanks to ya'll beanies obsessing over this drama that I caved (plus, the cast); so THANKS. Or maybe it was when I saw the next season's announcement that my resolve broke and I rushed to binge it.

I may be in the minority but I love Go Yoon-Jung. She's a lesser known actress but I have been looking forward to seeing her in a bigger role. I really liked her small role in He is Psychometric. Something about it showcased her genuine acting talent. So as much as I love Jung So-min, I am looking forward to Yoon-Jung reprising her role as Naksu. It's just fitting.

I just wish that Jung So-min would continue to be Jin Bu-Yeon! It would be insane to not see her in the next season after Jin Bu-Yeon's epicness was so hyped this season. Jung So-Min's presence would appease our sorrows in a sense by providing a seamless transition into where and why she changed roles. Gahhh

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I have yet to watch it but if the show is interesting and the replacement is happening with a logical reason (the body swap in this case), I will not mind it. As much as I like Jung So Min, I watch a Hong Sister Drama for Hong Sisters. (Whatever they chose to do with this faith in each show is a different matter)

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It won’t be same anymore if it’s not jung so min , I’ll not be watching for s2 [sob][sob]

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Are we forgetting that the blind Mu doek is who appears in the botched soul shift of Uk? In the Jin family cavern the relics respond to her not to Naksu. It is Mu doek who had the power to retrieve the ice stone in the first place. In the demonstration of the ice stone, it is blind Mu doek whose power is evident. Naksu has no powers beyond those of the other mages. Those belong to Mu doek who is special and is connected with UK and his prophecy. Naksu and Yul may share a past but there is not the destiny of saving their world. Master Lee did explain that while others train to acquire skills some have them from birth. Uk is made better by Mu doek's presence. What does it say that in instances where Mu doek experiences blindness it is her powers being asserted, not the assassin's skills. Master Lee has left instructions for Jang so will that be to split the identities? When Lee had the opportunity to end Naksu the soul shifter he held back because he sensed a greater power. He has mentioned several times that a physically powerless Mu doek is Uk's protector. Is Mu doek being restrained by Shaman Choi and that is why Naksu found a weak body unable to provide energy? I cannot see that Naksu is the story here, she is not extraordinary. Can we hope that when the restraints are lifted, it will be Mu doek and Uk who save the day?

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Mmmm am not happy concerning the new change..but I will stay calm.....my main aim is for d movie to have an happy ending..

I just can't wait

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