Descendants of the Sun
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|Descendants of the Sun|
|Original title||태양의 후예|
|Created by||KBS Drama Production (KBS 드라마 제작국)|
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||16 + 3 special episodes|
|Executive producer(s)||Bae Kyung-soo|
|Running time||60 min|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital|
|Original release||February 24– April 22, 2016|
Descendants of the Sun (Hangul: 태양의 후예; RR: Taeyang-ui Huye) is a 2016 South Korean television series starring Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Jin Goo, and Kim Ji-won. It aired on KBS2 from February 24 to April 14, 2016 for 16 episodes. KBS then aired three additional special episodes from April 20 to April 22, 2016 containing highlights and the best scenes from the series, the drama's production process, behind-the-scenes footage, commentaries from cast members and the final epilogue.
The series was a major hit in South Korea where it drew a peak audience share of 38.8%, and gained popularity across Asia. It received several awards, such as winning the Grand Prize in television at the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards; and was named the Most Popular Show of the year by Korea Broadcasting Advertising Corporation.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 4 Original soundtrack
- 5 Reception
- 6 Ratings
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 International broadcast
- 9 Adaptation and sequel
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Yoo Si-jin (Song Joong-ki) is the captain of a South Korean Special Forces unit. He and his friend Sergeant Major Seo Dae-young (Jin Goo) are off-duty when they witness a young man, Kim Ki-bum (Kim Min-seok), steal a motorcycle and apprehend him. The thief is injured during his capture and therefore sent to the hospital. Dae-young realizes his cell phone was stolen by the thief and goes to the hospital along with Si-jin to retrieve his cellphone.
In the emergency room, Si-jin meets Dr. Kang Mo-yeon (Song Hye-kyo) for the first time, and is instantly attracted to her. Mo-yeon mistakenly assumes Si-jin is part of the thief's criminal gang, due to his nickname "Big Boss", which is actually his call sign. He proves his identity with the help of army surgeon Yoon Myung-ju (Kim Ji-won).
Si-jin and Mo-yeon begin to date, but due to their jobs, their dates are often interrupted halfway. Si-jin receives his orders to be deployed on a peacekeeping mission in the country of Uruk (present day: Iraq). Meanwhile, Mo-yeon is upset because she had been passed over for professorship in favor of a colleague who had familial connections to the hospital management. When Si-jin returns and meets Mo-yeon again, they talk about their views on life and realize how different they are. Si-jin, as a soldier, kills to protect lives while Mo-yeon, as a doctor, honors the Hippocratic Oath and tries to save lives. Due to this difference in viewpoints on life, they agree to part ways. Dae-young, on the other hand, faces a dilemma on whether to continue his relationship with Myung-ju or risk being forced out of the army by Myung-ju's father for breaking fraternization rules.
Eight months later, Mo-yeon rebuffs the advances of the hospital director and, as a result, is assigned to lead a medical team to Uruk. There, Si-jin and Mo-yeon reunite. Through their encounters in Uruk, an earthquake and an epidemic, their love for each other grows stronger. Mo-yeon gains an insight into Si-jin's job and is forced to confront the stark reality that she may never have full disclosure of his whereabouts due to the highly classified nature of his work and the possibility of him being killed in action. While in Uruk, Mo-yeon accidentally confesses her feelings (much to the amusement of their respective teams) and the two officially start dating.
Si-jin and Mo-yeon continue their relationship after returning to Korea, until Si-jin and Dae-young are sent on a classified operation in which they disappear and are assumed to be dead. Months pass, and Mo-yeon mourns Si-Jin's death, deciding to commemorate his passing with a volunteer trip to Albania. This is where Si-jin eventually finds her after he and Dae-young are rescued from captivity by "a friend from afar", a soldier from North Korea whom Si-jin had helped earlier. Si-jin and Mo-yeon along with Myung-ju and Dae-young are all happily reunited with each other.
- The Captain and team leader of Alpha Team, a fictional elite special forces team of the 707th Special Mission Battalion in South Korea. He followed in the footsteps of his father, a retired Sergeant Major, into the military and graduated from the Korea Military Academy at the top of his class. Si-jin cares little for the politics of war and believes in protecting and defending those who need help, his country and his men's honor, even if it means having to question his superiors' orders. His light-hearted approach to life and witty sense of humor made him popular with his team but Mo-yeon quickly realizes that it was his way of deflecting her questions about his job and coping with the pain of losing comrades. At the end of the series, he was promoted to Major.
- A cardiothoracic surgeon who works at Haesung Hospital. She is an assertive woman who believes that competence overrules connections but is hit by the harsh reality that she still cannot go anywhere without any connections. She stands firmly by her principles and doesn't fall prey easily to her emotions, though she is not afraid to admit her mistakes.
- As the senior non-commissioned officer in Alpha Team, Dae-young is a career military man who sticks to his principles and is extremely loyal to his commanding officer Si-jin and comrades. He is notorious amongst recruits and Academy cadets as a strict instructor. His level head and vast experience often come in handy in times of crisis during deployments. He is often the straight man to the happy-go-lucky Si-jin and possesses a sharp deadpan sense of humor. For much of the series he struggles with expressing his true feelings for Myung-ju.
- An army doctor who is also the daughter of Lieutenant General Yoon, commander of the South Korean Special Forces Brigade. She follows her father's footsteps and graduates from the Korea Military Academy, where she was a junior of Si-jin, before doing an internship at Haesung Hospital. At her first assignment she meets Dae-young, a non-commissioned soldier. Their relationship was considered a taboo as she was an officer and he was a non-commissioned officer but it did not hinder her from pursuing Dae-young, much to the Lt. Gen's chagrin.
Alpha Team Members
- Park Hoon as Sergeant First Class Choi Woo-geun (a.k.a. Snoopy)
- Choi Woong as Staff Sergeant Gong Cheol-ho (a.k.a. Harry Potter)
- Ahn Bo-hyun as Sergeant First Class Im Gwang-nam (a.k.a. Piccolo)
Haesung Hospital Medical Services Team
- Onew as Lee Chi-hoon (1st year resident of Thoracic Surgery a.k.a. Handsome Spaceman)
- Lee Seung-joon as Song Sang-hyun (General Surgeon)
- Seo Jeong-yeon as Ha Ja-ae (ER Nursing Team)
- Park Hwan-hee as Choi Min-ji (ER Nurse)
People at Haesung Hospital
- Hyun Jyu-ni as Pyo Ji-soo (Pathology Specialist)
- Tae In-ho as Han Suk-won (Chairman of Haesung Hospital)
- Park Ah-in as Kim Eun-ji (Thoracic Surgery Specialist)
- Jo Woo-ri as Jang Hee-eun (1st Year Resident of Anesthesiology) (wife of Dr. Lee Chi-hoon)
Tae Baek Army
- Kang Shin-il as Lieutenant General Yoon Gil-joon (a.k.a. Yellow Tiger) (Myung-ju's father)
- Kim Byeong-cheol as Lieutenant Colonel (later promoted to Colonel) Park Byung-soo
- Kim Min-seok as Private First Class Kim Ki-bum (later promoted to Staff Sergeant as seen in ep 16). A pickpocket later enlisted to the army.
- Cho Tae-gwan as Daniel Spencer (Peacemaker Emergency Doctor Team)
- Jeon Soo-jin as Ri Ye-hwa (Peacemaker Emergency Nurse Team)
- David Lee McInnis as David Argus (Gang Boss, former Delta Force Captain), the main antagonist.
- Dean Dawson as the Chief of Police (Tae Baek Police Chief)
- Jo Jae-yoon as Jin Young-soo (Chief Manager of Uruk Electric Power Corporation)
- Lee Yi-kyung as Kang Min-jae
- Zyon Barreto as Fatima
- Elena Zhernovaia as Valentine
- David Pipes as Martin (World Times Reporter)
- Ji Seung-hyun as Senior Lieutenant Ahn Jung-joon, Korean People's Army.
- Kwak In-joon as Lee Han-soo (Minister of Foreign Affairs)
- Joey Albright as US Army Delta Force member
- Lee Kwang-soo as shooting arcade operator (episode 1)
- Lee Jong-hyuk as Captain Kim Jin-seok (episode 2, 5, 10, 15)
- Matthew Douma as Jordan, US Army Delta Force Captain (episode 2, 10, 12)
- Jung Ji-won as TV announcer (episode 2)
- Park Tae-won as TV announcer (episode 2)
- Ryu Hwa-young as Seo Dae-young's ex-girlfriend (episode 4)
- Jun In-taek as Yoo Young-geun (Yoo Shi Jin's father) (episode 6, 7, 15, 16)
- Park Joon-geum as Lee Chi-hoon's mother (episode 7, 11)
- Yoo Ah-in as bank reception Eom Hong-shik (episode 13)
- Nam Ki-ae as Kang Mo-yeon's mother (episode 13)
- Lee Jae-yong as Lieutenant General Choi Ji-ho, Korean People's Army
- Red Velvet as themselves (episode 16)
Descendants of the Sun was fully pre-produced before airing which is a departure from the live-shoot production format that characterizes most Korean dramas. The drama is Song Joong-ki's comeback project after serving his two years of mandatory military service. The production cost 13 billion won (approximately $10.8 million) to produce.
Initially, there were doubts about the profitability of the drama, as a story involving a soldier may not be enough to garner a very high successive rate. This is revealed when SBS were reluctant to continue with the project. It was then passed to KBS. According to local reports by Newsis, lead actor Song Joong-ki was not the first choice of writers and directors for the hit South Korean series, as he was deemed too slender for the role of a heroic special forces officer. Song was later cast as the producers decided to change the character of the role. The 6 June episode of tvN's The List 2016 revealed the names of four actors who rejected the role before Joong-ki was chosen. As per the show, the A-listers who passed the role includes Won Bin, Jo In-sung, Gong Yoo, Hyun Bin and Kim Woo-bin. Reportedly, the actors were skeptical on sporting the army style short hair. It is also said that the artists expressed slight discomfort on portraying a role of a soldier and could not commit with the pre-production format of the show.
On June 12, 2015, lead actors Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo filmed their first scene in Seoul. On September 28, 2015, the entire cast and crew (including the four leads, Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Jin Goo, Kim Ji-won, as well as supporting actors Kang Shin-il and Onew) departed for Greece. The team resided in the country for approximately a month to shoot episodes crucial to the drama's plot. According to Greek and South Korean news portals and blogs, filming mainly took place in Zakynthos, Arachova, Lemnos, and Navagio. The series' location was modelled after Iraq, a remote area located at the margin of Balkan Peninsula; but changed its name to Uruk to avoid diplomatic conflict.
On November 25, 2015, it was announced that actor Song Joong-ki injured his arm while filming an action scene for the drama on November 23. On December 7, 2015, Song Joong-ki returned to work only 2 weeks after he was injured and spotted filming at a station in Seoul. The MERS-CoV outbreak in South Korea in 2015 also seriously hampered filming schedules. The outbreak claimed the lives of 33 people, according to WHO.
The location which served as the Mowuru Company's base camp was set at the exhausted Taebaek Hanbo Coal Mine while earthquake scenes were mostly filmed at the Samtan Art Mine. Filming also took place at Camp Greaves DMZ Experience Centre, once a US Army base camp during the Korean War. Filming at Haesung Hospital was actually done at the Seoul St Mary's Hospital.
The crew wrapped up the last shoot in the early morning of December 30, 2015. The director's cut, which feature a re-edited version of the last and 16th episode, as well as deleted scenes, a music video and behind-the-scenes footage, was released in the second half of the year.
After the success of Descendants, the industry saw a shift toward pre-production of Korean dramas. This is because pre-production allowed producers to secure investment and distribution in a carefully planned fashion; and allowed the show to air simultaneously in China, thus bringing greater profits. Kim Won-seok, co-writer of Descendants, said the system helps raise quality of the drama. However, apart from Descendants, none of the other pre-produced dramas thus far such as Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Uncontrollably Fond and Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth have been successful.
Production company NEW said that there have been hundreds of violations of their publicity rights by businesses, in an attempt to take advantage of the drama's success. The announcement came about when lead actress Song Hye-kyo sued jewelry firm J.Estina for using her pictures for promotion though the contract ended in January. J.Estina said in a press release that it abided by the contract with production staff of Descendants, which allowed it to use stills from the episodes as one of the main sponsors of the series. However, NEW refuted the claims, saying that the jewelry firm’s arguments lacked legal grounds. Song eventually won the legal battle, and donated the damages received to charity.
|Descendants of the Sun |
Original Sound Track Vol. 1
|Soundtrack album by Various Artists|
|Released||March 25, 2016|
|Label||Music&NEW, OU Entertainment|
|Descendants of the Sun|
Original Sound Track Vol. 2
|Soundtrack album by Various Artists|
|Released||April 21, 2016|
|Label||Music&NEW, OU Entertainment|
|2.||"Everytime"||Chen and Punch||3:08|
|3.||"This Love" (이 사랑)||Davichi||3:46|
|4.||"You Are My Everything"||Gummy||4:00|
|5.||"Once Again" (다시 너를)||Kim Na-young feat. Mad Clown||3:55|
|6.||"Save The Day"||Various Artists||3:20|
|7.||"Mission Part 1"||Various Artists||4:25|
|8.||"Time Is Running Out"||Various Artists||3:29|
|9.||"Hidden Genius"||Various Artists||4:53|
|10.||"Endless War"||Various Artists||2:48|
|11.||"My Everything"||Various Artists||2:54|
|12.||"Heart Break"||Various Artists||4:16|
|13.||"Military Dignity"||Various Artists||2:08|
|14.||"Mission Part 2"||Various Artists||6:14|
|15.||"I Love You"||Various Artists||2:53|
|17.||"War Of Tomorrow"||Various Artists||3:58|
|18.||"The Lover"||Various Artists||3:25|
|19.||"You're My Everything (English ver.)"||Gummy||4:00|
|1.||"Talk Love" (말해! 뭐해?)||K.Will||3:37|
|3.||"By My Side" (사랑하자)||SG Wannabe||3:46|
|4.||"Wind Beneath Your Wings" (그대, 바람이 되어)||M.C the MAX||3:55|
|5.||"How Can I Love You"||XIA (Junsu)||4:20|
|6.||"No More War"||Various Artists||3:52|
|7.||"Always I Love You"||Various Artists||2:42|
|9.||"Mission2 – Epic Tension"||Various Artists||4:45|
|10.||"Lonely Road"||Various Artists||4:18|
|11.||"Vital Fantasy"||Various Artists||3:01|
|12.||"Love You 2"||Various Artists||2:58|
|13.||"Don't Forget Me"||Various Artists||3:30|
|14.||"Time Is Running Out (Ver. 2)"||Various Artists||3:41|
|15.||"Attention (Mission ver.)"||Various Artists||3:25|
|16.||"Move Forward"||Various Artists||3:41|
|18.||"Attention O.R.I"||Various Artists||1:51|
Descendants received immense popularity both locally, with a peaking rating of 40%, making it the first weeknight series to do so in the country since Moon Embracing the Sun in 2012; as well as internationally, where it has been sold to 32 countries and translated into 32 different languages. The success of the drama helped revive the Hallyu wave that was in decline over recent years, boosting tourism and spreading Korean culture. The series was also watched in North Korea, one of the most secluded countries in the world.
The drama's success factors were attributed to its elaborate screenplay, beautiful love story and the co-production between South Korea and China. The Korea Times said, "At a time when Korean melodramas are said to have been losing steam, 'Descendants of the Sun' brought fantasy together with a number of different genres to create a high quality production." and "the drama appeals to viewers' desires for justice in a society that appears to lack it." The drama also earned plaudits from (former) president Park Geun-hye, who praised the drama for instilling "patriotism" among young Koreans. She also called Descendants an exemplary case of the positive effects of cultural content on the manufacturing industry.
The drama's success helped boost Korea's economy; contributing in a rise of tourists, overseas sales of products (exports) and creating new jobs. It has also resulted in more investment in Korean entertainment companies by Chinese companies seeking partnerships. Descendants has been reported to have earned 3 billion won from product placement advertisements (PPL) and 10 billion won from sales of related sound tracks and video-on-demand service. According to reports, the direct and indirect economic effects of Descendants are estimated to hover above 1 trillion won ($880 million).
The "Two Tone Lip Bar" lipstick that Song Hye-kyo wore in a scene on the show has broken sales records for Aritaum in South Korea with Laneige subsequently hosting its own Descendants of the Sun makeup event on its homepage. The product became so popular that it sold out four days after its release on the popular Chinese shopping website, 11th Street, owned by its Korean parent-company, SK Planet. The same product also experienced "double digit growth" in Singapore.
Laneige, Dal.Komm Coffee, KGC Cheong Kwan Jang Korean Red Ginseng, Subway and Hyundai all reported a surge in sales after exposure of their products in the drama. The popularity of the show has also led to KBS launching several merchandise of the drama, such as cookies, memory sticks, emoticons and commemorative medals, which were specially created and sold to fans.
Filming locations and sets of the show underwent restoration by the government, due to the demands by both local and foreign tourists. Camp Greaves, the former U.S. military camp near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju, north of Seoul, was turned into a park composed of separate zones focusing on natural scenery, culture and arts, and military experience. The Taebak film site was also re-modeled as a tourist site, where visitors can browse the medical camp and military base wearing costumes with the same design as those worn by the cast. The set in Taebaek was featured on popular variety shows 2 Days & 1 Night and Battle Trip. Navagio, one of the iconic locations where the "relationship between the lead characters blossom", experienced a surge in popularity among Chinese and Korean tourists.
The success of the drama has given rise to the popularity of "soldier talk", a style of Korean speaking only used in the military. There is also a spike in the number of young men wanting to join South Korean special forces units for their mandatory military service.
However, there has been controversy surrounding the use of product placement in this drama. Some critics argued that there was excessive product placement in the drama and that the use of product placement undermined the drama's content and artistry. Kim Si-hyoung, cinematographer of Descendants admitted that product placement was excessive, but argued that they were “essential,” as he and other production staff found it hard to secure revenues from TV advertising.
The series also drawn criticism for its unconvincing plot and unrealistic storyline. Critics say that the drama ironically reflects what today’s Korean society lacks, such as the cohesive military culture; and also pointed out deeply embedded sexual discrimination featured in the drama. The drama was also accused of missing a noticeable plot, and kept with the terrestrial tradition of being overly predictable.
In the tables below, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.
|Episode #||Original broadcast date||Average audience share|
|TNmS Ratings||AGB Nielsen|
|Nationwide||Seoul National Capital Area||Nationwide||Seoul National Capital Area|
|1||February 24, 2016||12.6% (7th)||12.7% (4th)||14.3% (4th)||14.4% (4th)|
|2||February 25, 2016||13.5% (6th)||14.5% (4th)||15.5% (3rd)||16.0% (4th)|
|3||March 2, 2016||21.8% (2nd)||22.7% (1st)||23.4% (2nd)||24.6% (2nd)|
|4||March 3, 2016||22.9% (2nd)||23.5% (2nd)||24.1% (2nd)||25.1% (2nd)|
|5||March 9, 2016||24.6% (2nd)||26.3% (1st)||27.4% (1st)||29.2% (1st)|
|6||March 10, 2016||25.4% (2nd)||27.6% (1st)||28.5% (1st)||29.8% (1st)|
|7||March 16, 2016||27.0% (2nd)||28.9% (1st)||28.3% (1st)||30.1% (1st)|
|8||March 17, 2016||25.9% (2nd)||28.7% (1st)||28.8% (1st)||30.5% (1st)|
|9||March 23, 2016||29.7% (1st)||32.3% (1st)||30.4% (1st)||31.0% (1st)|
|10||March 24, 2016||28.8% (1st)||31.0% (1st)||31.6% (1st)||33.3% (1st)|
|11||March 30, 2016||29.1% (2nd)||31.3% (1st)||31.9% (1st)||33.5% (1st)|
|12||March 31, 2016||31.1% (1st)||33.9% (1st)||33.0% (1st)||34.3% (1st)|
|13||April 6, 2016||30.4% (1st)||33.7% (1st)||33.5% (1st)||35.0% (1st)|
|14||April 7, 2016||31.1% (1st)||33.5% (1st)||33.0% (1st)||35.6% (1st)|
|15||April 13, 2016||31.1% (1st)||35.6% (1st)||34.8% (1st)||37.5% (1st)|
|16||April 14, 2016||35.3% (1st)||40.5% (1st)||38.8% (1st)||41.6% (1st)|
|Special||April 20, 2016||15.3% (5th)||16.6% (4th)||17.7% (4th)||19.5% (3rd)|
|April 21, 2016||12.3% (6th)||13.9% (5th)||13.6% (5th)||14.7% (5th)|
|April 22, 2016||10.9% (7th)||11.8% (6th)||12.2% (5th)||13.2% (6th)|
Awards and nominations
- In China, iQiyi bought the exclusive rights to stream the show for US$250,000 per episode which, in total, is equivalent to about 40% of the show's production costs. The show was released simultaneously in South Korea and China, the first Korean drama to do so, and was viewed 2.4 billion times by April 2016. The success of the drama was credited for driving up the paid membership of iQiyi.
Government mouthpiece People's Daily praised it as "an excellent advertisement for conscription" showcasing South Korea's "national spirit" and "communitarian culture". However, its popularity in China caused concern with the country's Ministry of Public Security, posting a warning on its official Weibo account against the drama warning viewers "watching Korean dramas could be dangerous, and even lead to legal troubles". It was part of a growing concern among Chinese officials at the time who were wary of the growing influence of Korean pop culture on the Chinese populace since the similar success of My Love from the Star which aired in 2014.
- In Singapore, the drama was streamed on Viu with English and Chinese subtitles. Each episode was available to stream eight hours after the original South Korean broadcast. During its run it was the most-watched show on Viu in the country and enjoyed ratings as high as 31.8%. Statistics from March 2016 showed about 60% of users on Viu had tuned in to watch the drama. In the week following its finale, eight songs from the drama's soundtrack occupied the top 10, including the top six positions, of Singapore's Top 30 Singles chart. In May 2017, it was aired on Channel U and premiered on May 3, 2017. It was dubbed into Mandarin and featured English and Mandarin subtitles.
- In Malaysia, the drama was streamed on Viu with English, Malay and Chinese subtitles within 24 hours of the original South Korean broadcast. It aired one week later on KBS World through ASTRO channel subscription. It premiered on 8TV on June 9, 2016, with Malay subtitles.
- In Vietnam, the drama premiered on April 21, 2016, on HTV2. The popularity of the show drew 8000 tourists from Vietnam, who signed up for tour packages to visit major sightseeing areas and filming locations of Descendants. Prior to the airing of the show, there was a debate on whether it’s appropriate for Vietnamese to watch it given the alleged atrocities committed by Korean soldiers against civilians during the Vietnam War.
- In Thailand, the drama premiered on May 7, 2016, on Channel 7. Prior to the screening of the drama in Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, the prime minister of Thailand, called for citizens of Thailand to watch the drama claiming it conveys messages of "patriotism, sacrifice, obeying orders and being a dutiful citizen". The drama's lead star, Song Joong-ki, was invited to Thailand by Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. He visited the country to promote the drama as part of his Asia tour.
- In Japan, the drama premiered on June 21, 2016, on the cable channel BS Sky PerfecTV!. Reports have claimed that the drama was sold for US$100,000 per episode.
- In Hong Kong, it was streamed on Viu with Traditional Chinese subtitles four hours after the original broadcast and also aired on ViuTV. Song-Song couple attended a promotional event for the premiere. It recorded over 1.2 million views.
- In the Philippines, the drama premiered on July 25, 2016, on GMA Network as part of The Heart of Asia programming block, dubbed in Filipino.
- In Indonesia, the drama is available to stream on Viu with Indonesian subtitles. It premiered on RCTI on July 25, 2016 and re-aired on Global TV on July 24, 2017.
- In Cambodia, the drama premiered on August 5, 2016, on Hang Meas HDTV under the title, រឿងភាគកូរ៉េ "ម្ចាស់ព្រះអាទិត្យ dubbed in Khmer.
- In Sri Lanka, the drama is available to stream on Iflix with English subtitles. Google Trends revealed there were more searches for "Descendants of the Sun" than "Donald Trump" in Sri Lanka which stood in stark contrast to most of the world in the year 2016.
- In India, it premiered on February 8, 2017 dubbed in Hindi and was on Zindagi and was well received by Indian audiences. The Hindi dubbed version of the Series is also available to stream on a VOD platform owned by ZEEL, called ZEE5.
- In Pakistan it aired on Filmazia dubbed in Urdu in July 2018.
- In Greece, the drama premiered on December 7, 2016, on TV100 The Municipal Television of Thessaloniki with Greek subtitles. TV100 is the only TV network in Greece that airs K-Dramas. The drama also contributed to the rise of tourism in Greece, where scenes of the drama were shot.
- In some countries, the drama is available to stream on Viki with subtitles in many languages created by the volunteer community. Each episode was available to stream a couple hours after the original South Korean broadcast. The drama was also broadcast around the world on KBS World with English subtitles. In particular, it enjoyed popularity in the United States, where the drama was the most-searched on Viki.
- The drama was put up for streaming worldwide on Netflix.
Adaptation and sequel
A Philippine television adaption produced by GMA Entertainment Content Group is planned.
As per KBS's Head of Drama, Jung Sung-ho, said the sequel is in planning, and filming would likely to take place in Greece. The sequel, this time, will be co-produced by Jidam Inc., the production company behind the hit and award-winning TV dramas My Daughter, Geum Sa-wol and Jang Bo-ri is Here!.
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- "Actor Jin Goo gets boost with 'Descendants of the Sun'". The Korea Herald. March 22, 2016.
- "Kim Ji-won Gains Leverage from Hit TV Soap". The Chosun Ilbo. April 2, 2016.
- "SHINee Onew dons doctor gown for his new role". Kpop Herald. February 10, 2016.
- "Jo Woo-ri joins the cast of 'Descendants of the Sun'". Kpop Herald. June 30, 2015.
- "(Yonhap Interview) Supporting actor for 'Descendants of the Sun' says he 'could have been better'". Yonhap. April 6, 2016.
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