‘Descendants Of The Sun’s Future In Limbo Despite Its Immense Popularity

Descendants of the Sun, KBS’s romance-filled Korean military drama, has garnered unparalleled popularity in East Asia.

The drama story is centered on the romance that evolves between Captain Yoo Si-jin, the leader of a peacekeeping unit, and Doctor Kang Mo-yeon while they battle the calamities and problematic situations that arise in their professions. Sadly, on many occasions, the two protagonists seem resigned to their fate and part ways to give priority to professional emergencies by responding to the call of duty.

However, despite the odds against them, the couple is shown to rejoin each other during every calamity, and their love seems to grow stronger as a result of every emergency. Apart from evoking feelings of romance among the younger audiences, the Korean drama also stresses the importance of developing a national spirit by following the example of the protagonists.

Due to its theme and message, Descendants of the Sun has become popular not only among ordinary citizens but also with the political leaders of Southeast Asian countries as well. Another reason for the series to garner so much attention is the exotic locations in which it is filmed. In one of the episodes, the protagonists are shown to visit the fictional war-afflicted Mediterranean location of Uruk.

During the filming of the series, the television crew had chosen exotic locations in Greece to serve as the fictional Uruk. Another location which is becoming popular thanks to the series is Taebaek City, which is located in the Gwangon Province. In the series, this is the location where Captain Yoo Si-jin’s military unit is stationed along with Doctor Kang Mo-yeon’s medical camp. According to the Asia Times, the television drama’s production site in Taebaek has become a famous tourist destination with more than 20,000 visitors flocking the site within a month.

Despite its popularity, Descendants of the Sun has been facing problems lately with regard to its broadcasting in China due to the political disputes that have surfaced between China and South Korea. Recently, South Korea has displeased the Chinese government for deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, an anti-missile system, as a defensive mechanism against North Korea’s growing missile threat.

Apart from raising security concerns, China has also cited the potential health hazards that could be caused by the radiation emitted by the system. As a means of showing their displeasure, China’s General Office of Broadcasting and Television has ordered the prohibition of the broadcasting of advertisements which features popular Korean actors, including Song Joong-ki, the actor who plays Captain Yoo Si-jin in Descendants of the Sun. According to the International Business Times, Song Joong-ki appears in an advertisement to promote a phone model manufactured by Vivo, a Chinese smartphone company.

The popularity of Descendants of the Sun in China had enabled the actor to enter into various lucrative contracts with Chinese companies. In fact, it is estimated that the actor earned more than $3.3 million from his stint in the Vivo advertisement alone. However, the politics of the region have caused fans to raise doubts over whether the future seasons of Descendants of the Sun will be as popular in China as the first season undoubtedly was.

In yet another setback for the show, Lee Eung-bok, the director of Descendants of the Sun, has resigned from his position, and KBS let him walk away by accepting his resignation. Earlier, Kim Eun-sook, the writer of the series also called it quits.

The recent resignations by some of the show’s key people have fueled speculation regarding the future of the show amid rumors of the impending second season. It is rumored that the new season will not feature the popular romantic characters of Captain Yoo Si-jin and Dr. Kang Mo-yeon. Instead, The Bit Bag reports that the much-awaited Season 2 will focus on the military-themed love story between Sergeant Seo Dae-yong and Lieutenant Yoon Myung-joo, the new characters in the rumored sequel.

[Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]

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