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tvN's ‘The Sword of Aramun’ to revamp original series

Sequel of 'Arthadal Chronicles' seeks to entertain viewers with new cast, action-packed stories

Sept. 7, 2023 - 14:21 By Lee Si-jin
From left: Actors Jang Dong-gun and Kim Ok-bin, screenwriter Park Sang-yeon, director Kim Kwang-sik, screenwriter Kim Young-hyun, actors Shin Sae-kyeong and Lee Joon-gi pose for photos before an online press conference on Tuesday. (tvN)

"The Sword of Aramun," a fantasy series on tvN, aspires to achieve success as a sequel, featuring numerous changes compared to its original project, "Arthdal Chronicles" (2019).

“I think it is safe to say that everything -- apart from Kim Ok-bin and myself, has changed,” said Jang Dong-gun, who played one of main characters and kingpin Tagon in “Arthdal Chronicles,” during a press conference on Tuesday.

“I was concerned about feeling unfamiliar with the changes in two lead characters, but everything felt natural when we were reading the scripts and doing test shootings,” he added, assuring that the changes will bring a positive spin to the upcoming series.

Jang Dong-gun plays Tagon, the first king of Arthdal, in "The Sword of Aramun." (tvN)

The broadcaster’s earlier work, “Arthdal Chronicles,” was a blockbuster series with reportedly the biggest budget of any Korean TV series that year, at some 50 billion won ($37.4 million).

With the setting of a mythical land called Arth in the early Bronze Age, the show depicted a power struggle among competing chieftains for the throne of the very first nation.

The original 18-part series came to a lackluster end, with single-digit viewership ratings and low public interest, despite the presence of high-profile actors like Song Joong-ki, Kim Ji-won, Kim Ok-bin and more.

“The last project got me in some trouble, so I decided to work with a new motto (on the new series): ‘Keep it simple and refreshing.’ I am certain that viewers can easily follow the storyline of ‘The Sword of Aramun,’” screenwriter Kim Young-hyun said.

The new 12-part series is set eight years after “Arthdal Chronicles,” featuring the great war between Tagon, who took the throne of Arthdal, and Eunseom (played by Lee Joon-gi), the leader of the united tribes which are posing a threat to the kingdom.

Unlike the previous project, the new power struggles of Arth are set to be presented through brutal warfare.

According to “The Sword of Aramun” director Kim Kwang-sik, viewers will be able to feast their eyes on realistic action and awe-inspiring war scenes.

“The series has the most action scenes compared to any other Korean period drama. As a war TV show, the audience can enjoy the action-packed story,” the director said.

Many drama fans did not hide their excitement as one of South Korea’s go-to action stars Lee Joon-gi took on the role of Eunseom, who was originally played by Song Joong-ki in “Arthdal Chronicles.”

Lee Joon-gi plays the role of tribe leader Eunseom in "The Sword of Aramun." (tvN)

Lee, 41, made a name for himself as a highly skilled, dynamic actor, having starred in multiple projects, including “Gunman in Joseon” (2014), “Moon Lovers -- Scarlet Heart Ryeo” (2016), “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” (2017) and more.

“Instead of focusing on technical skills and flashy gestures -- as I did in my previous works, I wanted to present Eunseom’s desperate, urgent and tragic emotions through action,” Lee explained.

“The Sword of Aramun” is scheduled to premiere Saturday at 9:20 p.m. on tvN. The Saturday-Sunday drama is also available on streaming platforms Tving and Disney+.