The Untamed (TV series)

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The Untamed
Theuntamed.jpg
GenreXianxia
Based onMo Dao Zu Shi by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
Written byYang Xia
Deng Yaoyu
Ma Jing
Guo Guangyun
Directed byZheng Weiwen
Chen Jialin
StarringXiao Zhan
Wang Yibo
Ending theme"Unrestrained" by Xiao Zhan & Wang Yibo
ComposerLin Hai
Country of originChina
Original languageMandarin
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes50 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersSun Huaizhong
Wang Xin

Han Zhijie
ProducersFang Fang
Yang Xia
Zhang Meng
Wang Chu
Ren Qiang
Liu Mingtie
Wang Wanning
Production locationsHengdian World Studios
Guizhou
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time45 minutes per episode
Production companiesTencent Penguin Pictures
New Style Media
Release
Original networkTencent Video
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseJune 27 (2019-06-27) –
August 20, 2019 (2019-08-20)
Chronology
Related showsMo Dao Zu Shi
External links
Website

The Untamed (Chinese: 陈情令; pinyin: Chén Qíng Lìng) is a 2019 Chinese television series adapted from the xianxia novel Mo Dao Zu Shi by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, starring Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo.[1] The series follows the adventures of two soulmate cultivators who travel to solve a series of mysteries that link to a tragic event in the past.[2] While the original web novel depicted an explicit romance between the two main male characters, the adaptation was censored with homoerotic subtexts instead due to China's ban of LGBT portrayals in films.[3][4][5] It aired in China on Tencent Video from June 27 to August 20, 2019 in 50 episodes.[6][7] A 20-episodes special edition of the drama aired on WeTV starting December 25, 2019.[8] It is currently available worldwide on the online streaming platform Netflix.[9]

The Untamed was a critical and commercial success, both locally and internationally, with critics praising its strong plot, well-rounded characters, and elaborate clothing and makeup.[10][11] It became one of the highest-earning dramas of 2019.[12][13] The series has also accumulated a total of 8 billion views on Tencent Video, as of May 2020, making it one of the highest-viewed Chinese dramas on the platform.[14] According to the "Research Report on China's Internet Audiovisual Development" for 2019 and the beginning of 2020, "The Untamed" ranked first in terms of popularity index.[15] Due to the series' success, two spin-off movies focusing on the supporting characters have been released: Fatal Journey (2019), and The Living Dead (2020).[16] A mobile game based on the series is also set to be released by NetEase Games.[17]

Premise[edit]

Wei Wuxian, a loathed cultivator of dark and demonic arts, resurrects 16 years later after his tragic death. His return to the world brings him to reunite with the people in his first life, including his soulmate, the honored Lan Wangji. Wei Wuxian then begins to remember his time before his demise 16 years ago, from his beginnings as a young cultivator to his descent to dark magic.

Synopsis[edit]

16 years in the past when Wei Wuxian was a teenager and had visited the Gusu Lan Sect to receive training, he met his soulmate Lan Wangji, the righteous, quiet nature man born of a noble family. With his kind of temperament, Lan Wangji never knew how to make friends until the free spirited and lively Wei Wuxian entered into his life. Wei Wuxian returned to his home after finishing his training and a series of disastrous events made him give away his spiritual power to save the life of his brother figure, Jiang Cheng. The spiritually weak Wei Wuxian was tortured and thrown into the Burial Mounds by Wen Chao of Qishan Wen Sect, from where he returned after three months but as a man practicing demonic cultivation. Lan Wangji tried to persuade him to give up practicing such things but all in vain. Wei Wuxian lost his reputation and turned into an ostracized outcast overnight. Only Lan Wangji stood by him till the last, trying every possible measure to help him stay away from the evil but could not stop him from breaking down. During the battles in Nightless City where Wei Wuxian has killed and harmed hundreds of people, including his sister figure Jiang Yanli, he committed suicide by jumping off a cliff, unable to be saved by Lan Wangji.

Back to the present time, Wei Wuxian was resurrected by and in Mo Xuanyu’s body, with the plan of plotting a revenge. While Wei Wuxian is now being identified as Mo Xuanyu, it did not prevent Lan Wangji from recognizing his soulmate at the first glance, whose death he has been mourning over for so many years. Both of them together solved the mysteries of murders that happened recently that were revealed to be linked to tragic events from the past.[18]

Episodes[edit]

The series aired every Thursday and Friday (GMT +08:00) with two episodes each, and VIP members could have early access to two more. On the first day of its release, a total of six episodes were available to VIP members. On June 30, 2019, their official Weibo released a new schedule[19] and shifted the release from Monday to Wednesday. The series ended on August 20, 2019 with the 50th episode. On July 29, 2019 during an official fanmeeting event, they announced that VIP members would be able to watch all the episodes on August 7.[20]

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Actor Character Introduction
Xiao Zhan
Su Yaxin (young)
Wei Wuxian
(Chinese: 魏无羡)
Birth name: Wei Ying (Chinese: 魏婴)

Also known as the Yiling Patriarch (Chinese: 夷陵老祖), he is a son of Wei Changze (Jiang Fengmian’s friend and servant) and Changse Sanren (a rogue cultivator) who died in a battle when Wei Wuxian was young. He was found by Jiang Fengmian on the streets of Yiling and then was adopted by him. He then became Jiang sect disciple who later chooses to pursue demonic cultivation. He wields the Suibian sword (Chinese: 随便) and Chenqing flute (Chinese: 陈情), and is known for his ability to invent new spiritual techniques and inventions such as the Stygian Tiger Amulet (Chinese: 阴虎符). He is kind-hearted, optimistic, mischievous, and loyal, and cares deeply for his friends and family. However, due to his nature as a demonic cultivator, his identity as the Yiling Patriarch turned him into a supposedly psychopathic murderer and a boogeyman figure to many. He regards Lan Wangji as his soulmate. In the original novel, he and Lan Wangji are lovers involved in a same-sex romantic relationship.

Mo Xuanyu
(Chinese: 莫玄羽)
The illegitimate son of Jin Guangshan and ex-disciple of the Jin sect. He sacrificed his body to Wei Wuxian through a ritual in order to fulfill his revenge plans, fueling the plot.
Wang Yibo
Chen Junkai (young)
Lan Wangji
(Chinese: 蓝忘机)
Birth name: Lan Zhan (Chinese: 蓝湛).

Also known as Hanguang Jun (Chinese: 含光君), or the Light Bearing Lord,[21] he is the second young master of Lan sect and one of the Twin Jades of Lan. He is the younger brother of Lan Xichen and the second son of Qingheng-Jun (In the original novel, he gets heavily injured when Wen Xu of Qishan Wen Sect burns down The Cloud Recesses and then succumbs to death. However, in the drama, he is already dead) and Madam Lan (dies of an unknown illness when Lan Wangji was six years old). He wields the Bichen sword (Chinese: 避尘) and the Wangji guqin (Chinese: 忘机). He is cold, strict, distant, and difficult to get along with, but has a good heart and a sense of justice. He holds a soft spot for Wei Wuxian, whom he regards as his soulmate. In the original novel, he and Wei Wuxian are lovers involved in a same-sex romantic relationship.

Supporting[edit]

Gusu Lan Sect[edit]

Actor Character Introduction
Liu Haikuan[22]
Shen Yifeng (young)
Lan Xichen
(Chinese: 蓝曦臣)
Birth name: Lan Huan (Chinese: 蓝涣).

Also known as Zewu-Jun (Chinese: 泽芜君), or Brilliance Overgrowth Lord,[21] he is the leader and first young master of Lan sect, and one of the Twin Jades of Lan. He is the elder brother of Lan Wangji and the first son of Qingheng-Jun and Madam Lan. He is known as one of the Three Zuns alongside his sworn brothers Jin Guangyao and Nie Mingjue. He wields the Shuoyue sword (Chinese: 朔月) and the Liebing flute (Chinese: 裂冰). In contrast to his younger brother, he is a kind, gentle, and trusting person.

Huang Ziteng Lan Qiren
(Chinese: 蓝启仁)
The respected elder of Lan sect. The uncle of Lan Xichen and Lan Wangji. An extremely strict teacher who doesn't get along with Wei Wuxian.
Zheng Fanxing[23]
Jiang Yiting (young)
Lan Sizhui
(Chinese: 蓝思追)
Birth name: Previously Wen Yuan (Chinese: 温苑), now Lan Yuan (Chinese: 蓝愿).

A disciple of Lan sect. He was found by Wei Wuxian among the remains of the Wen sect and was raised by him, and later brought back to the Lan sect by Lan Wangji, who raised him after Wei Wuxian’s death. He is a calm and elegant individual who carries himself intelligently and sensibly, and is very mature for his age. As a child, he was more of a troublemaker. He is close friends with Lan Jingyi, Jin Ling and Ouyang Zizhen.

Guo Cheng[24] Lan Jingyi
(Chinese: 蓝景仪)
A disciple of Lan sect. Compared to the tranquil personalities of most of his fellow Lan sect members, he is short-tempered and impatient, but kind at heart, and known in the fanbase as the "most un-Lan Lan to ever Lan in the history of Lan". He is close friends with Lan Sizhui, Jin Ling and Ouyang Zizhen.
Carman Lee[citation needed] Lan Yi
(Chinese: 蓝翼)
The only female head in the history of Lan sect. She invented the infamous Chord Assassination technique, and was responsible for guarding a piece of the Stygian Iron (Chinese: 阴铁). She was also a best friend of Baoshan Sanren.

LanlingJin Sect[edit]

Actor Character Introduction
Shen Xiaohai Jin Guangshan
(Chinese: 金光善)
The leader of Jin sect. The father of Jin Guangyao, Jin Zixuan and Mo Xuanyu. He is known as a womanizer and has many illegitimate children.
Hu Xiaoting Madame Jin
(Chinese: 金夫人)
The wife of Jin Guangshan and mother of Jin Zixuan.
Zhu Zanjin[25] Jin Guangyao
(Chinese: 金光瑶)
Birth name: Meng Yao (Chinese: 孟瑶).

Also known as Lianfang-Zun (Chinese: 敛芳尊), or Hidden Fragrance Master,[21] he is the illegitimate son of Jin Guangshan and became the leader of Jin sect after the latter's death. He is known as one of the Three Zuns alongside his sworn brothers Lan Xichen and Nie Mingjue. He wields the Hensheng (Chinese: 恨生 pinyin: Hènshēng) sword. He worked as a servant of the Nie sect and as a spy in the Wen sect before winning his father's approval to join the Jin sect after the Sunshot Campaign. Due to his identity as a prostitute's son, he feels inferior and is determined to prove himself. He is known for wearing a mask of pleasantry and his smooth demeanor. He greatly admires Lan Xichen, who was the only person who showed him kindness during his days as a servant.

Cao Yuchen[26] Jin Zixuan
(Chinese: 金子轩)
The son of Jin Guangshan, Jin Ling's father and Jiang Yanli’s husband. He is proud and vain, but also upright and just. He scorns Jiang Yanli at first but grows to care for her and eventually falls in love with her. Wei Wuxian loses control over Wen Ning and then Wen Ning murders him.
Yao Shuhao[26] Jin Zixun
(Chinese: 金子勋)
The cousin of Jin Zixuan. He is arrogant and conceited and holds immense dislike for Wei Wuxian. Wei Wuxian loses control over Wen Ning and then Wen Ning murders him.
Jin Luying Qin Su
(Chinese: 秦愫)
The wife of Jin Guangyao, who she happens to be related to; the daughter of Qin Cangye, leader of the Laoling Qin sect, a subsidiary of Jin sect. Later, Qin Su kills herself after knowing some secrets.
Qi Peixin[27] Jin Ling
(Chinese: 金凌)
Courtesy name: Jin Rulan (Chinese: 金如兰).

The sole heir of Jin sect, Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian’s nephew, and the orphaned son of Jin Zixuan and Jiang Yanli. He wields the Suihua (Chinese: 岁华尊) sword and is also an excellent archer. He has a dog named Fairy who often torments Wei Wuxian as comic relief. He is prideful, somewhat immature, and short-tempered, but can also be kind and loyal if necessary. He is close friends with Lan Sizhui, Lan Jingyi and Ouyang Zizhen.

Wang Yifei[28] Luo Qingyang
(Chinese: 罗青羊)
Also known as Mian Mian (Chinese: 绵绵). A disciple of Jin sect. She is unafraid to speak up for what's right and later left Jin sect due to differing beliefs on Wei Wuxian, being one of the only characters aside from Lan Wangji who is willing to speak up for him.

QingheNie Sect[edit]

Actor Character Introduction
Wang Yizhou[26]
Xuan Yuewen (young)
Nie Mingjue
(Chinese: 聂明玦)
Also known as Chifeng-Zun (Chinese: 赤锋尊), or the Scarlet Peak Master,[21] he is the leader of Nie sect. He is known as one of the Three Zuns alongside his sworn brothers Lan Xichen and Jin Guangyao. He wields the Baxia (Chinese: 霸下) saber. He is strict, just, and known for his intolerance toward evil. However, he has a terrible temper and holds extreme grudges towards Jin Guangyao.
Ji Li[26]
Xu Weiluo(young)
Nie Huaisang
(Chinese: 聂怀桑)
The leader of Nie sect after Nie Mingjue’s death and younger half-brother of Nie Mingjue. He is well known for his incompetence and is nicknamed the Head-Shaker. Often, he is seen carrying around a fan. However, there is more to him than most think.

QishanWen Sect[edit]

Actor Character Introduction
Xiu Qing Wen Ruohan
(Chinese: 温若寒)
The leader of Wen sect, Chief Cultivator, and father of Wen Chao and Wen Xu. He is an ambitious man who wants to rule over the five sects by restoring the Stygian Iron (Chinese: 阴铁).
Wang Rong Wen Xu
(Chinese: 温旭)
The eldest son of Wen RuoHan, a cruel and violent man. He is less intelligent, but also less cowardly, than his brother.
He Peng[29] Wen Chao
(Chinese: 温晁)
The second son of Wen Ruohan. He is one of the main antagonists in the first half of the show and is cruel, arrogant, and rude. However, in the face of danger, he immediately adopts a pathetic, cowardly nature due to his fright. He enjoys punishing and hurting others, furthering his sadistic nature. In the middle of the show, Wen Chao was brutally mutiliated and eventually murdered by Wei Wuxian out of revenge.
Meng Ziyi[30]
Lin Chenxi (young)
Wen Qing
(Chinese: 温情)
A renowned physician of the Wen sect and Wen Ning's older sister. She is aloof, cold, and extremely intelligent. She is protective toward her brother and initially dislikes Wei Wuxian, but eventually warms up to him as he becomes one of the only people to treat her kindly after the Wen sect is overthrown.
Yu Bin[31]
Su Qiuyi (young)
Wen Ning
(Chinese: 温宁)
Courtesy name: Qionglin (Chinese: 琼林).

Also known as The Ghost General (Chinese: 鬼将军), he is the right-hand man of Wei Wuxian during his time as the Yiling Patriarch. He was a shy person and a stutterer when he was alive due to his strange illness and grew to trust Wei Wuxian after being showered with kindness by him. As a fierce corpse, he is prone to outbursts of anger, but otherwise remains innocent, gentle, and shy.

Feng Mingjing Wen Zhuliu
(Chinese: 温逐流)
Also known as the Core-Melting Hand (Chinese: 化丹手) due to his ability to melt a Golden Core and is Wen Chao's protector. The Wen Sect's most powerful warrior, he holds to a strict and inscrutable code which included undying loyalty to his cruel masters. He was eventually murdered by Wei Wuxian.
Lu Enjie Wang Lingjiao
(Chinese: 王灵娇)
The former maid of Wen Chao's wife and Wen Chao's lover. She is an arrogant and pompous woman; however, upon facing any real threat, she immediately cowers, for unlike Wen Chao she is not only cowardly but also inept.
Zhang Bin Wen Mao
(Chinese: 温卯)
An ancestor of the Wen sect. He was the first to focus on expanding the clan instead of the sect.

YunmengJiang Sect[edit]

Actor Character Introduction
Lu Jianmin Jiang Fengmian
(Chinese: 江枫眠)
The leader of Jiang sect, father of Jiang Yanli and Jiang Cheng. He is a kind and gentle man but holds favoritism towards Wei Wuxian.
Zhang Jingtong Yu Ziyuan
(Chinese: 虞紫鸢)
Also known as Madame Yu or San Niang. Jiang Fengmian’s wife, mother of Jiang Yanli and Jiang Cheng, and original owner of the Zidian (Chinese: 紫电) bracelet. She appears tough and strict but cares for her children and husband deep down, though she dislikes Wei Wuxian.
Wang Zhuocheng[32]
Huang Zhenchen (young)
Jiang Cheng
(Chinese: 江澄)
Courtesy name: Wanyin (Chinese: 晚吟).

Also known as Sandu Shengshou (Chinese: 三毒圣手), or Three Poisons Sage,[21] he is the leader of Jiang sect following Jiang Fengmian’s death. He wields the Sandu (Chinese: 三毒) sword and the Zidian (Chinese: 紫电) ring. He is a straight-laced and strict man who abides by the rules. He has a bad temper but deeply cares for his loved ones, especially his sister. He had a great relationship with Wei Wuxian, but their relationship deteriorated due to differing beliefs; however, they later made up at the end of the show. For some time, he had a crush on Wen Qing, until Wen Chao ordered the death of his parents, causing him to harbor hate for the Wen sect; however, he could not bring himself to hate her completely. He dotes on his nephew Jin Ling, though he is also strict and sharp-tongued toward him.

Xuan Lu[33]
Ye Xuantong (young)
Jiang Yanli
(Chinese: 江厌离)
Jiang Cheng's older sister, Wei Wuxian’s disciple elder sister, Jin Zixuan’s wife and Jin Ling's mother. She is a kind, understanding, and caring person who protects her brothers and provides emotional support. She also appears to be a very good cook, with her best dish being a lotus root and pork rib soup that she often makes for her brothers. Though she is very kind, she appears to have somewhat delicate feelings, as shown when she is snubbed multiple times by Jin Zixuan.

Yi City Arc[edit]

Actor Character Introduction
Song Jiyang[34] Xiao Xingchen
(Chinese: 晓星尘)
Also known as Daozhang (Chinese: 道长), he is one of Baoshan Sanren’s students who left the mountain for the mortal world. He wields the Shuanghua (Chinese: 霜华) sword and was best friends with Song Lan. He is gentle on the outside but determined on the inside.
Li Bowen[35] Song Lan
(Chinese: 宋岚)
Courtesy name: Song Zichen (Chinese: 宋子琛).

A cultivator from Baixue Temple, and best friend of Xiao Xingchen. He wields the Fuxue (Chinese: 拂雪) sword.

Wang Haoxuan[36] Xue Yang
(Chinese: 薛洋)
Courtesy name: Chengmei (Chinese: 成美).

A guest disciple of the Qishanwen sect who has an affiliation with the Stygian Iron (Chinese: 阴铁). He wields the Jiangzai (Chinese: 降灾) sword. He is known for his evil and twisted ways.

Chen Zhuoxuan[37] Ah Qing
(Chinese: 阿箐)
A young maiden who lived on the streets and an expert at pretending to be blind. She followed Xiao Xingchen after meeting him.

Others[edit]

Actor Character Introduction
Feng Cong[38] Su She
(Chinese: 苏涉)
Courtesy name: Minshan (Chinese: 悯善).

The wimp leader of the Moling Su sect. A former outer disciple of the Gusu Lan Sect, whom he betrayed and left to establish his own with the support of Jin Guangyao, whom he holds great respect for. He is jealous of Lan Wangji’s talents and has always imitated his actions.

Liu Tingyu Baoshan Sanren
(Chinese: 抱山散人)
The teacher of Xiao Xingchen and Cangse Sanren (Wei Wuxian’s mother). She is Wei Wuxian’s grandmaster. She was also Lan Yi's best friend.
Cao Junxiang[39] Ouyang Zizhen
(Chinese: 欧阳子真)
The single child of the Baling Ouyang sect's leader. He is close friends with Lan Sizhui, Lan Jingyi and Jin Ling
Yu Zikuang Xue Chonghai
(Chinese: 薛重亥)
The ancient owner of the Stygian Iron (Chinese: 阴铁). He is Xue Yang's ancestor.
Extended cast
Actor Character Introduction
Liu Yinjun Jin Chan
(Chinese: 金阐)
A disciple of LanlingJin sect. He bullied Jin Ling, but is stopped by Wei Wuxian.
Lin Chenyue Sixth disciple
(Chinese: 六师弟)
A disciple of YunmengJiang sect.
Jiang Weijia Chief General of QingheNie Sect
(Chinese: 聂氏总领)
He always bullies Jin Guangyao and is later killed by him.
Niu Zhiqiang Sect Leader Yao
(Chinese: 姚宗主)
One of the gossiping elders who dislikes Wei Wuxian and spread baseless rumors about him.
Pu Changcheng Sect Leader Ouyang
(Chinese: 欧阳宗主)
Baling Ouyang sect leader and Ouyang Zizhen’s father.
Zhang Ye Yi Weichun
(Chinese: 易为春)
A cultivator who participates in the Second Siege of the Burial Mounds.
Xu Xiaowen Fang Mengchen
(Chinese: 方梦臣)
A cultivator who participates in the Second Siege of the Burial Mounds.
Cai Yingchun Granny Wen
(Chinese: 温婆婆)
Wen Qing, Wen Ning and Wen Yuan's relative.
Yi Jianxiang Fourth Uncle Wen
(Chinese: 温四叔)
Wen Qing, Wen Ning and Wen Yuan's relative.
Sun Shengxuan Mo Ziyuan
(Chinese: 莫子渊)
Mo Xuanyu’s cousin who abused him.
Jia Shuyi Madam Mo
(Chinese: 莫夫人)
Mo Xuanyu’s aunt who abused him.
Liu Damin Mister Mo
(Chinese: 莫老爷)
Mo Xuanyu’s uncle.
Feng Qiruo Ah Ding
(Chinese: 阿丁)
A servant of Mo.
Feng Qiruo Ah Tong
(Chinese: 阿童)
A servant of Mo.
Zhang Linran Ah Yan
(Chinese: 阿胭)
Daughter of Blacksmith Zheng who is cursed by the Heavenly Lady statue.
Li Lujin Ah Yan's mother
(Chinese: 阿胭娘)
Ah Yan's mother and Blacksmith Zheng's wife.
Fan Huawei Bi Cao
(Chinese: 碧草)
A servant of Qin Su.
Su Yue Si Si
(Chinese: 思思)
A prostitute who had to serve Jin Guangshan before his death.
Zhang Jing Jin Zhu
(Chinese: 金姝)
A servant of Madam Yu in YunmengJiang Sect.
Liu Xiaobin Yin Zhu
(Chinese: 银姝)
A servant of Madam Yu in YunmengJiang Sect.
Jiao Changshun Song Lan's teacher
(Chinese: 宋岚师傅)
Song Lan's teacher.
Shen Xin Funeral Shopkeeper
(Chinese: 丧葬老太)
Funeral shopkeeper at Yi City.
Huang Ying Granny Liu
(Chinese: 刘婆婆)
Liu Fengmin[40] Lao Zhang (Wen Chao)
(Chinese: 老丈(温晁))
Sun Liang[40] Lao Zhang (Nie Huaisang)
(Chinese: 老丈(聂怀桑))

Production[edit]

Pre-production and filming[edit]

Hengdian World Studios, the main filming site of the series

Pre-production of the drama took two and a half years; including writing and modifying of the script, establishing the world view structure and art concept, as well as building of sets.[41] The project was first announced in March 2018.[42]

The series is co-directed by Zheng Weiwen and Chen Jialin; and the script written by a team consisting of Yang Xia, Deng Yaoyu, Ma Jing and Guo Guangyun. The main producers are credited to be Fang Feng, Yang Xia, Wang Chu and Liu Mingyi; while Yang Xia and Ji Peng serve as the art directors.[43] The drama was filmed from April 2018 to August 2018 at Hengdian World Studios and Guizhou.[44][45] Two weeks before filming, the cast gathered for script reading sessions and underwent martial arts and etiquette training.[46]

Due to the censorship in China, all BL content is removed from the drama and changes are made to the overall plot.[47] As the original novel was written in a "flashback" style, additional scenes had to be inserted to improve the flow of the story.[48] Two versions of the script were prepared; one is told in the chronological order of story development, and the other is a narrative trajectory that follows the original novel. Finally, on the basis of not breaking the core of the original story, and to fully develop and layer the storyline, the team decided to adopt a mixture of both styles.[41] To better fuse the different storylines together, the team decided to forgo traditional styles of filming, and more suspense was used in the lens composition settings.[47]

Despite being termed as "xianxia" drama, The Untamed includes many elements of traditional wuxia dramas, fused with a new style.[49] Using traditional wuxia values such as "chivalry and courage", it allows the younger audience to better relate to the drama.[49]

Casting[edit]

The casting director gave a special "character card" to each of the cast members; which includes detailed descriptions of the character such as the looks, height, clothing style and even specific details such as "Wei Wuxian has a natural smiling face".[41]

Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo were announced as the lead actors in April 2018.[44] Xiao Zhan was recommended by a friend of the producer Yang Xia, who chose him because of his "clean gaze". Wang Yibo got the role through an audition. By judging from his acting portfolio the producers had overlooked him for the role of Lan WangJi at first until they met him in the flesh. They thought that this youngster was probably immature to portray the refined and sophisticated Lan Er Gongzi, but as soon as he walked into the studio the producers knew that they've just found the most ethereal and sought-after character of the series. They said he had the cool and aloof aura of Lan Wangji since he'd just stepped his feet into the casting room.[50]

Lu Zhixing and Bian Jiang, who dubbed Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji in the audio drama and donghua adaptation of Mo Dao Zu Shi respectively, were hired to voice Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji in the series.[51]

Design and concept[edit]

According to producer Yang Xia, while designing the sets and costumes of the different sects, the team started out by searching for a culture placement where the design could be based on.[41] The costume designer of the drama is Chen Tongxun.[52]

For the Gusu Lan sect, influence from the Song Dynasty were taken into consideration while designing the costumes and sets. While designing the "Jingshi", blue and green shades were used to showcase the elegance and dignified strength/character of the sect; while darker shades of wood were used to show off the magnificence. Cascading collars and sleeves were used to design the clothes, to highlight the strictness of the sect.[41]

For the YunmengJiang sect, influences from the Hubei and Jianghan district were taken. Warm and light colors were used to showcase the cheerful and free-spirited nature of the sect. The architecture and sets were designed to be widely spaced, and yarn was used to create the feeling of "transparency". Narrow sleeves and neat designs were used to highlight the "wandering pugilistic" feel of the sect. A water recycling device was used in the lotus lake of the set, allowing ripples to be seen on the lake surface. A special ceiling was built for the ancestral hall.[41]

For the QingheNie sect, the set was designed to be surrounded by high walls and the entrance isn't easily seen because it was often invaded by QishanWen sect. For QishanWen sect, designs from the Shang dynasty were used. For LanlingJin sect, the designs were inspired by the luxurious and elegance of the Tang dynasty.[53]

Controversies[edit]

A fire broke out on July 11, 2018 while the cast and crew were filming in Nanma, Dongyang, at a facility that belongs to Hengdian World Studios. The fire reportedly spread as wide as 300 square meters, and resulted in the death of two crew members.[54]

During filming, a rumor surfaced that the producers of the drama had replaced Lan WangJi as Wei Wuxian’s love interest with a female character, Wen Qing. This rumor caused significant backlash amongst fans of the original novel.[55] The production team strongly denied such claims.[56]

On July 29, 2019, Tencent announced that VIP users have the option to pay in order to watch episodes that have not yet aired. Starting from August 7, the final episode will be released early for some viewers who choose to avail the option. This has caused outrage among viewers of the show, who were concerned that this would open up the risk of the ending being spoiled and also the possibility that the episodes will be pirated, which will then have a negative effect on views. In response, Tencent explained that in this way, they can cater to demands of certain viewers who are requesting for episodes to be released faster while the rest can still watch the series at their preferred pace.[57]

Soundtrack[edit]

The main composer of the soundtrack is Lin Hai.[52] The theme song was titled "忘羡" (pinyin: Wàngxiàn) before being renamed from Episode 11 onwards to "无羁 (pinyin: Wú jī;)".[58] On July 8, 2019, the digital album was released on QQ Music along with full version of the song as well as other character songs.[59] The instrumental album was released on QQ Music on August 5, 2019.[60]

The physical album was released on November 2, 2019.[61]

The Untamed OST (陈情令国风音乐专辑)
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedJuly 8, 2019 (2019-07-08)
Recorded2018–2019
GenreSoundtrack
Language
Label
ProducerLin Hai
No.TitleLyricsMusicSingersLength
1."Unrestrained (无羁)" (Theme song – duet version)Cheng Yi, Ming FengLin HaiXiao Zhan & Wang Yibo04:13
2."Unrestrained (无羁)" (Theme song – special version)Cheng Yi, Ming FengLin HaiBibi Zhou04:14
3."Unrestrained (无羁)" (Theme song – solo version)Cheng Yi, Ming FengLin HaiXiao Zhan04:13
4."Unrestrained (无羁)" (Theme song – solo version)Cheng Yi, Ming FengLin HaiWang Yibo04:13
5."Song Ends with Chen Qing (曲尽陈情)" (Wei Wuxian’s theme song)Yi Zhe Lian Xiao Zui Qing HeWithin_Yi MingXiao Zhan03:53
6."Won't Forget (不忘)" (Lan Wangji’s theme song)Song Bingyang, Yang XiaSong BingyangWang Yibo05:16
7."Newborn (赤子)" (Wen Ning's theme song)Zhang PengpengZheng GuofengYu Bin04:18
8."Goodbye Filled With Hatred (恨别)" (Jiang Cheng's theme song)Yi Zhe Lian Xiao Zui Qing HeChao Xi_TideWang Zhuocheng03:43
9."Involuntary (不由)" (Lan Xichen’s theme song)Ming FengWindbell ProjectLiu Haikuan04:44
10."Separation at Qinghe (清河诀)" (Nie Mingjue & Nie Huaisang’s theme song)Lin Qiao, Liu EnxunChen XueranAyanga03:44
11."If The Woodlands Has Something To Say (疏林如有诉)" (Wen Qing's theme song)Zhong WuyiChen YimingGao Qiuzi03:53
12."Passing by the Deserted City (荒城渡)" (Xue Yang's theme song)Zhang YingXia Heng, Deng QiangzhongCharlie Zhou04:19
13."Lone City (孤城)" (Yi City group's theme song)Lin QiaoYu HonglongSun Bolun & Chen Zhuoxuan03:52
14."Youth Especially Cannot Be Bullied (最是少年不可欺)" (Youth group's theme song)Yu CiChen YimingZui Xue, Zheng Fanxing, Qi Peixin & Guo Cheng03:59
15."Inappeasable (意难平)" (Jiang Yanli’s theme song)Cheng Yi, He SiweiLin HaiYin Lin04:14
16."Not In Vain (不枉)" (Group song)Yi Zhe Lian Xiao Zui Qing HeYin LinNaomi Wang03:55
17."Eternal Separation (永隔)" (Jiang Yanli & Jin Zixuan’s theme song)Lin QiaoYu HonglongLara Veronin & Fabien Yang03:37
18."Hatred in Life (多恨生)" (Jin Guangyao’s theme song)Within_Yi MingLuo XizhunZhu Xingjie04:25
The Untamed OST (陈情令原声音乐专辑)
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedAugust 5, 2019 (2019-08-05)
Recorded2018–2019
GenreSoundtrack
Language
Label
ProducerLin Hai
No.TitleLength
1."The Untamed (陈情令)"02:01
2."Unrestrained (无羁)" (Instrumental version)02:33
3."Wangji (忘机)"01:01
4."Love Entanglement (情牵)"01:59
5."Lotus Pier (莲花坞)"02:08
6."Maneuvering Dizi (御笛)"02:15
7."Glacier (裂冰)"03:26
8."Drunken Dream (醉梦)"03:27
9."Burial Mound (乱葬岗)"02:24
10."Sadness (伤情)"03:01
11."If Life Was Just Like When We First Met (人生若只如初见)"02:36
12."Won't Regret (不悔)"02:47
13."Night Scamper (夜奔)"03:51
14."Day and Night (寤寐)"01:26
15."Song of Lucidity (清心音·乱魄抄)"05:10
16."Rest (安息)"02:32
17."Greenery (草木)"02:33
18."Yi City (义城)"01:03
19."Artful Child (狡童)"01:44
20."Sunshot (射日)"02:28
21."Unrestrained (无羁)" (Piano version)01:23

On August 19, QQ Music announced that the sales for the soundtrack album had broke fifteen million copies, officially attaining the platinum certification. As of September 2019, the album was the highest-selling soundtrack album on the platform, and ranked #15 on the list of highest-selling digital album.[62]

Reception[edit]

The series has accumulated a total of 8 billion views on Tencent, as of May 2020.[14] One of the major reasons for the series' popularity is its faithfulness to the original novel.[63] It was praised by People's Daily for its "wonderful presentation of Chinese characteristics"; showcasing traditional cultural elements through exquisite costumes, traditional Chinese music instruments; as well as transmitting positive values such as courage, chivalry and love for one's country.[64] China News Service similarly highlighted the exquisite costumes and showcase of traditional etiquette, while also praising the suspenseful plot and well-connected storyline.[65] Wang Yibo was initially criticized by viewers for his blank acting style in the first few episodes, which he later improved upon with the help of director's instructions.[66]

The show has also garnered significant exposure and popularity globally for its strong plot, well-rounded characters, and elaborate clothing, makeup and stage production.[10][11] Film Daily described the drama as a "Global Phenomenon," and credited it for contributing to the increased presence and popularity of Asian content on popular streaming sites such as Netflix.[67] The heroic story with modern values was said to have struck a chord globally, and helps promotes Chinese style and traditional culture to the world, leading to a wave of interest in Chinese dramas.[10]

Economic effect[edit]

The Untamed was one the highest-earning dramas of 2019, bringing in earnings from fan meetings, concerts, album sales and merchandises.[12][13]

As Tencent VIP members are allowed watch the final episodes of the show in advance, more than 2.6 million new subscribers paid to unlock the function, generating more than 78 million yuan in profit. More than 1.6 million copies of the soundtrack album were sold on Tencent Music. In addition, a merchandise store was opened in Taobao and official merchandise was sold, with earnings amounting to 1.17 million yuan.[13] Other source of earnings include paying to unlock the full music video of "Unrestrained" in advance, as well as the Bazaar Magazine featuring both lead actors Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo which sold more than 330,000 copies within three days, before exceeding 1.1 million copies.[68]

For the fan meetings, a special system was introduced by Tencent, where VIP members have to accumulate "star points" to get a better chance to get tickets to the fan meetings and concerts. More than 3.27 million viewers paid between 30 to 50 yuan to view the live broadcast of The Untamed National Style Concert on Tencent Video. It is estimated that the platform has earned more than 100 million yuan in revenue from that concert alone. Tickets of the concert were sold-out in less than 5 seconds, and leftover tickets were also marked up to 150,000 yuan by ticket scalpers from the original price of 627 yuan.[69][12][70]

In overseas markets, Tencent announced in October 2019 that The Untamed had boosted WeTV's growth by 250 percent with an average of 1 million application downloads per month since the drama was first launched in June.[71][72]

Responding to the demand of sold-out fan meetings in Thailand and China, in January 2020, the cast members embarked on a multi-city worldwide fan meetings tour. Cities included Bangkok, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo, Seoul, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Toronto, Los Angeles, New York.[73]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Nominee Results Ref.
The Third Internet Film Festival Best Director Chen Jialin Won [74]
Best New Actor Zhu Zanjin
GQ 2019 Men of the Year Breakthrough Actor of the Year Wang Yibo Won [75]
6th The Actors of China Award Ceremony Best Actor (Web series) Xiao Zhan Nominated [76]
Golden Tower Award Most Popular Drama The Untamed Won [77][78]
Most Popular Actor Xiao Zhan Won
Wang Yibo Nominated
Sofa Film Festival Most Popular Actor of the Autumn Xiao Zhan Won [79]
6th Hengdian Film and TV Festival of China (Wenrong Awards) Best Web Drama The Untamed Nominated [80]
Best Director Chen Jialin Won
Best Producer Fang Fang Won
3rd Yinchuan Internet Film Festival Best Web Series The Untamed Nominated [81]
Best Actor (Web series) Xiao Zhan Won [82]
26th Huading Awards Best Television Series The Untamed 10th [83]
Best Director Chen Jialin, Zheng Weiwen Nominated [84][85]
Best Producer Yang Xia, Fang Fang, Wang Chu, Liu Mingtie Nominated
Best Newcomer Xiao Zhan Won
Wang Yibo Nominated
Top Ten Favorite Actors Won
2nd Cultural and Entertainment Industry Congress Best Actor (Drama) Xiao Zhan Nominated [86]
Breakthrough Actor (Drama) Nominated
Wang Yibo Nominated
Best Couple Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji (Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo) Nominated
China Entertainment Industry Summit
(Golden Pufferfish Awards)
Best Drama The Untamed Won [87][88]
Best Marketing Won
Producer of the Year Yang Xia Won
7th Thailand Headlines Person of The Year Awards Most Influential Award The Untamed Cast Won [89][90]
Tencent Music Entertainment Awards Song of the Year "Unrestrained" (by Xiao Zhan & Wang Yibo) Won [91]
China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival
(1st Network Drama Awards)
Most Popular Actor Wang Yibo Won [92]
Most Anticipated Actor He Peng Won
20th China Video Awards IP of the Year The Untamed Won [93]
China Radio Film & TV Media Survey Outstanding Overseas Promotion Television Series Won [94]
Weibo TV Series Awards Most Popular Television Series Won [95][96]
Most Popular Actor Xiao Zhan 7th [97]
Wang Yibo 4th [98]
Song Jiyang Nominated [99][100]
Wang Zhuocheng Nominated
Yu Bin Nominated
Zheng Fanxing Nominated
Liu Haikuan Nominated
Most Popular Character Wei Wuxian (Xiao Zhan) Won [101]
Lan Wangji (Wang Yibo) 2nd [102]
Golden Bud - The Fourth Network Film And Television Festival Best Web Series The Untamed Nominated [103][104]
Most Influential Web Series Won
Best Web Film The Living Dead Nominated
Most Popular Director Chen Jialin Won
Best Actor Xiao Zhan Nominated
Wang Yibo Nominated
Best Newcomer Guo Cheng Nominated
Song Jiyang Nominated
Wang Zhuocheng Nominated
Zheng Fanxing Nominated
Wang Haoxuan Nominated
New Force Energy Won
Sogou In Award Drama of the Year The Untamed Won [citation needed]
Kugou Music Awards Song of the Year "Unrestrained" (by Xiao Zhan & Wang Yibo) Won [105]
Film and TV Role Model 2019 Ranking Drama of the Year The Untamed Nominated [106]
Actor of the Year Xiao Zhan Nominated
Baidu Fudian Awards Top Ten Television Series The Untamed Won [107]
Sina Film & TV Awards Won [108]
8th China Student Television Festival Most Watched Television Series Won [109]
Tencent Video All Star Awards Web Drama of the Year Won [110]
Popular Actors of the Year Xiao Zhan Won
Wang Yibo Won
Most Promising Actor Liu Haikuan Won
Doki New Force Wang Zhuocheng Won
Tencent Entertainment White Paper Television Actor of the Year Xiao Zhan Won [111]
Star Celebrity Board: Television Actor of the Year Won [112]
Weibo Awards Ceremony Hot Drama of the Year The Untamed Won [113]
Media and Entertainment Industry Reporter Innovative Marketing of the Year Won [114]
Hengdian World Studio Classic Ranking Most Popular Drama Won [115]
Most Popular Character Wei Wuxian (Xiao Zhan) Won [116]
WETV 2020 Awards Best Wuxia / Xianxia Drama The Untamed Won

Promotion[edit]

Date Event Attendees Ref.
July 12, 2019 The Untamed Fanmeeting Xiao Zhan, Wang Yibo, Yu Bin, Liu Haikuan, Zhu Zanjin, Wang Haoxuan, Wang Yizhou, Song Jiyang, Li Bowen, Qi Peixin, Zheng Fanxing, Guo Cheng [117]
July 20, 2019 The Untamed Roadshow at Hangzhou Yu Bin, Zheng Fanxing, Song Jiyang [118]
July 26, 2019 Harper's Bazaar China Xiao Zhan, Wang Yibo [citation needed]
The Untamed Roadshow at Xi'an Cao Yuchen, Qi Peixin, Zheng Fanxing [119]
July 27, 2019 The Untamed Roadshow at Wuhan Yu Bin, Song Jiyang, Wang Haoxuan [120]
July 28, 2019 Day Day Up Xiao Zhan, Wang Yibo [121]
August 4, 2019 The Untamed Roadshow at Shanghai Yu Bin, Wang Zhuocheng, Liu Haikuan, Zhu Zanjin, Ji Li, Chen Zhuoxuan, Song Jiyang [122]
August 10, 2019 Happy Camp Xiao Zhan, Wang Yibo, Yu Bin, Wang Zhuocheng [123]
The Untamed Roadshow at Qingdao Liu Haikuan, Zhu Zanjin, Wang Haoxuan, Ji Li, Wang Yizhou, Song Jiyang, Li Bowen, Cao Yuchen, Qi Peixin, Zheng Fanxing, Guo Cheng, He Peng, Chen Zhuoxuan [124]
August 26, 2019 Crazy Magic Yu Bin, Liu Haikuan, Wang Zhuocheng, Xuan Lu, Meng Ziyi [125]
September 21, 2019 The Untamed Thailand Fanmeeting Xiao Zhan, Wang Yibo, Yu Bin, Wang Zhuocheng, Liu Haikuan, Cao Yuchen, Song Jiyang, Chen Zhuoxuan [126]
November 1–2, 2019 The Untamed National Style Concert Xiao Zhan, Wang Yibo, Yu Bin, Wang Zhuocheng, Liu Haikuan, Zhu Zanjin, Wang Haoxuan, Ji Li, Wang Yizhou, Song Jiyang, Li Bowen, Cao Yuchen, Qi Peixin, Zheng Fanxing, Guo Cheng, He Peng, Lu Enjie, Wang Yifei, Chen Zhuoxuan, Zhang Jingtong, Xiu Qing, Gao Qiuzi
Lara Veronin, Naomi Wang, Fabien Yang, Yin Lin, Zhou Shen, Zhu Xingjie
[127]

Thailand Fanmeeting[edit]

The fanmeeting was held in Bangkok at Impact Arena on September 21, 2019 and was attended by 9,000 fans.[128] The proceeds of the Thailand fanmeeting were donated to the people of Ubon Ratchathani Province, which had been hit by floods.[129]

The Untamed National Style Concert[edit]

The concert was held from November 1 and 2, 2019 at Nanjing Qing'ao Sports Park with a capacity of 20,000 seats. Tan Yizhe served as the music executive of the concert, while Yuan Jing served as the creative director. Ticket prices were sold at 627 yuan and 1980 yuan, to commemorate the first day of broadcast and the last day of filming of The Untamed respectively. 16 songs were sung in the concert, along with a segment for interactions and games.[130] Prior to purchasing tickets on Maoyan, fans had to answer a questionnaire based on the show. Viewers were able to live-stream the concert via Tencent Video, with a fee of 30 to 50 yuan.[68]

Mobile game[edit]

A mobile gamed based on The Untamed is set to be released via NetEase.[131]

The Untamed Boys[edit]

The six-membered group named "The Untamed Boys" (Chinese: 陈情少年), also known as T.U.B.S., which consists of Yu Bin, Ji Li, Cao Yuchen, Zheng Fanxing, Song Jiyang & Li Bowen, first made their appearance in The Untamed National Style Concert performing the song "Fearless". They subsequently appeared in T Mall 11/11 Shopping Festival, performing the song "Fairytale"; as well as featured in Elle Men's New Youth magazine.[132] They appeared in the variety show Youths Learning In Progress (Chinese: 少年听学中), which aired on Tencent Video starting December 5, 2019.[133]

International broadcast[edit]

The drama is broadcast via WeTV in several countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, India and Indonesia. It is streamed internationally via platforms like Viki, ODC and YouTube.[134]

The drama is broadcast in South Korea via Channel AsiaN starting from October 21, 2019.[135][136] It was broadcast in Japan via Wowow, Rakuten TV, U-Next and Asia Dramatic TV.[137][138]

The drama has been translated into 11 different languages and broadcast via Netflix in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Philippines and India starting October 25, 2019.[139]

Spin-off films[edit]

Two straight to streaming spin-off films, neither featuring the main cast members, have been released, which serve as side stories to the television series.[140]

The Living Dead (2019)[edit]

The Living Dead (Chinese: 生魂; pinyin: Shenghun) was released on November 7, 2019. The movie focuses on the characters of Wen Ning and Lan Sizhui.[141][142]

Synopsis[edit]

Near Qishan Mountain, there is a little town called Fu Feng, which is nicknamed the "City That Never Turns Dark". This city is home to the legend of the "Lit Lamp Murderer". Wen Ning arrives at Fu Feng and realizes the abnormality of the town. The whole town is filled with only the weak and sick; and is very run down. When the night arrives, Wen Ning lights up a lamp to attract ghost shadows. Just as he is about to capture them, a ray of blue sword light appears and the black shadow disappears. Wen Ning looks up and sees his nephew, Lan Sizhui. Wen Ning and Lan Sizhui decide to work together and solve the mystery to capture the culprit behind the mysterious incidents.

Cast[edit]

  • Yu Bin as Wen Ning
  • Zheng Fan Xing as Lan Sizhui
  • Wang Yifei as Xiao Qing
  • Gao Han as Xiao Yi
  • He Longlong as Zhou Zishu

Fatal Journey (2020)[edit]

Fatal Journey (Chinese: 乱魄; pinyin: Luanpo) focuses on the story of the Qinghe Nie brothers and Jin Guangyao. It was released on March 26, 2020.

Synopsis

The Qinghe Nie sect finds itself dealing with problems of its ancestral tomb of swords. Nie Mingjue takes his brother, Nie Huaisang, to restore the tomb to its original state and ensure peace in the Nie sect.

Through this, Huaisang goes from being a playful disciple and after preparing, he becomes the sect leader of the next generation and Mingjue learns, understands his brother more and helps him grow.

Cast[edit]

  • Ji Li as Nie Huaisang
  • Wang Yizhou as Nie Mingjue
  • Zhu Zanjin as Jin Guangyao
  • He Xiang (何翔) as Nie Zonghui
  • Rao Guo Feng (饶国锋) as Qinghe Nie Sect Disciple
  • Xuan Yue Wen (宣粤文) as Nie Mingjue [Young]
  • Xu Wai Luo (徐崴罗) as Nie Huaisang [Young]
  • Zhou Lu (周路) as Cuo Zei

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