Uh Oh. Supposedly leaked photos for the upcoming adaptation of Jin Yong’s The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber are said to be circulating the net. If Hu Yi Tian gets the main role, his stardom is basically secured for the foreseeable future. But then I see Niu Jun Feng (Princess Agents) up for the same role and my heart breaks! I adore the lad and if we go by past adaptations, the main hero isn’t exactly the handsome type. Lol. But a handsome man explains why all the girls fall for the kind-hearted hero too (shallow, I know!)…. Then there’s miss Jian Ren Zi (My Sunshine) who is in the running for the role Zhou Zhi Ruo.
Leaked Photos of Their Auditions:
The detailed-synopsis from Wiki for those new to the story: Set in the late Yuan dynasty, the story revolves around a pair of priceless and extremely powerful weapons, the Heaven Reliant Sword (倚天劍) and Dragon Slaying Saber (屠龍刀), which are coveted by many martial artists in the jianghu. Either or both of them are thought to allow their wielder to rule the wulin (martial artists’ community), according to a widely circulated mantra which goes, “Honoured by the wulin, the precious Saber slays the Dragon. It commands the world. Who dares to disobey? If the Heaven Reliant does not appear, who can challenge it?” (武林至尊，寶刀屠龍，號令天下，莫敢不從！倚天不出，誰與爭鋒？) The origins of this mantra are not known at the beginning of the novel.
The protagonist, Zhang Wuji, is of mixed heritage. His father, Zhang Cuishan, is an apprentice of Zhang Sanfeng, the highly revered leader of the Wudang Sect; his mother, Yin Susu, is the daughter of Yin Tianzheng, the chief of the “unorthodox” Heavenly Eagle Cult. He spent his childhood on a reclusive northern island, where he was born, with only his parents and his godfather, Xie Xun, to keep him company. When he is about 10 years old, he returns to the Chinese mainland with his parents. They soon find themselves the target of several martial artists, who try to force them to reveal the whereabouts of Xie Xun and the Dragon Slaying Saber. His parents refuse and commit suicide. At the same time, Zhang Wuji is wounded by the Xuanming Elders, but he survives after seeking medical treatment from Hu Qingniu, an eccentric physician.
After ending up in an isolated valley by chance, Zhang Wuji discovers the long-lost Nine Yang Manual, masters the inner energy skills described in the book, and becomes a formidable martial artist. Later on, he helps to resolve the conflict between the Ming Cult and the six major orthodox sects, which are bent on destroying the cult. He earns the respect of the cult’s members and becomes its leader after mastering the skill ‘Heaven and Earth Great Shift’. He reforms the cult and helps to improve its relations with other sects. He becomes a key figure in leading the rebel forces to overthrow the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty.
Throughout his adventures, Zhang Wuji finds himself entangled in a complex web of love relationships with four maidens. The first, Yin Li, is a horribly disfigured girl who is actually his maternal cousin. The second, Xiaozhao, is a Chinese-Persian servant girl who understands him very well. The third, Zhou Zhiruo, is a childhood friend whom he develops a strong bond with. The fourth, Zhao Min, is a Mongol princess and his former arch-rival. Yin Li is apparently killed in the middle of the novel while Xiaozhao returns to Persia after it is revealed that she is destined to lead the Persian Ming Cult.
Zhou Zhiruo soon falls in love with Zhang Wuji, but has to turn against him as she is bound by an oath she made in front of her teacher Miejue, who hates and distrusts Zhang Wuji and anyone related to the Ming Cult. Miejue devises a vicious scheme for Zhou Zhiruo to seize the two weapons by exploiting Zhang Wuji’s love for Zhou. Zhou Zhiruo also turns vicious after Zhang Wuji reneges his promise to marry her and swears vengeance on him. Zhao Min was initially Zhang Wuji’s rival as they were on opposing sides. However, Zhao Min gradually falls in love with Zhang Wuji after their various encounters, and she even turns against her clan to help him.
At the end of the novel, Zhang Wuji decides to retire from the jianghu after he mistakenly believes that the Ming Cult’s members are plotting to betray him. He decides that Zhao Min is his true love and they leave to lead a reclusive life far away from society. (The second edition of the novel has an ambiguous ending about Zhang Wuji’s relationship with Zhou Zhiruo.) Zhang Wuji gave up an opportunity to become a ruler because the Ming Cult eventually overthrew the Yuan dynasty. Ideally, Zhang would have become the new emperor, but instead, Zhu Yuanzhang takes the throne and establishes the Ming dynasty.
Stills from Past Drama Adaptations:
– 1978 TVB drama with Adam Cheng, Liza Wang, and Angie Chiu. Nope, I didn’t watch this version.
– 1984 TTV (Taiwan) with Liu De Kai and Liu Yupu.
– 1986 TVB drama with Tony Leung, Kitty Lai and Sheren Tang. Watched and loved this one.
– 1994 TTV (Taiwan) with Steve Ma, Cecilia Yip, and Kathy Chow. I always thought Cecilia Yip was a nun in here and called her that for the longest time. My mom found it very funny. Lol. What the hell was that topknot with three mini cinnamon buns?!
– 2000 TVB drama with Lawrence Ng, Gigi Lai, and Charmaine Sheh. Here was where I fell for Charmaine. It’s weird how I always wanted Zhou Zhi Ruo to throw a finger at her Shifu and get a happy ending. Maybe I’m evil so I rooted for her. XD Loved the music they used in here!
– 2003 with Alec Su, Alyssa Chia, and Gao Yuan Yuan. Where I fell for Gao Yuan Yuan….. heheh. I’m a bad girl!! xD
– 2009 with Deng Chao and Ady An. I just graduated high school here and was still pretty shallow when it came to passing looks judgements okay. Leave me be!
The person behind the remake production is Wong Jing. You either like or dislike Wong Jing, a well-known director, writer, and producer of both films and dramas. He was in charge of past wuxia adaptations such as The Duke of Mount Deer 2000, The New Adventures of Chor Lau-heung 2001, and Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain 2006. Anyhoo, I have a hate-love relationship with this story. Love, love, love the girls but really couldn’t understand how they all fell for this one man who was just so wishy-washy! In any case, it’s getting a new adaptation now, which has been in the news for a long time. The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (倚天屠龙记) is the third installment of Jin Yong’s Condor Trilogy, preceded by The Legend of the Condor Heroes and The Return of the Condor Heroes. I really liked the character backgrounds and setups in this part as compared to the other two parts.
The new adaptation hopes to kick off in December. Do you have a dream cast in mind?