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Finally we have the male lead for the high-profile epic sageuk Hwatu, which has now changed its title to Empress Ki. Maybe the name was confusing as it means a card game and the new descriptor is closer to the historical period and figure on which the drama is based. Joo Jin Moo, who was busy in films for the past few years (his last drama Dream came in 2009.) I liked him in 200 Pounds Beauty and so I could have been excited about him being the leading man opposite Ha Ji Won but there are three things that plummeted my enthusiasm: PD did Dr. Jin, it’s a 50 episode show and a sageuk. That aside, I think the cast is great with Jin Yi Han and Jung Woong In also coming on board.

Ha Ji Won plays the titular role of Empress Ki who becomes an empress of Yuan from the initial background of being a normal Goryeo-born woman. Joo Jin Moo has taken the role of King Chunghye, a determined and intelligent man who wants freedom of Goryeo from Yuan rule. He will also have a romantic storyline with respect to our heroine.

Jin Yi Han plays a scholar who plays an important role in progress of Yuan. I have not seen any of his shows but he was really good in the cameo role in Master’s Sun and helped a lot in building up the emotional depth of his story. Jung Woong In is an actor who has done a wide range of roles and has been great in all of them: the sensible and understanding hyung in Last Scandal, totally hilarious and funny in Coffee House and so scary in the recent I Hear Your Voice. In Empress Ki, he is again doing a negative role of an ambitious Goryeo man who works for the Yuan and betrays King Chunghye.

Empress Ki premieres on MBC after Goddess of Fire Jung-yi wraps up in October. Yes, the sageuk train it is.

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