Brother Wolf approves, yes he does. The long drawn out Da Mo Yao–SARFT debacle has finally come to an end. On August 5th, a drama titled The Sun Moon Legend quietly got issued a SARFT permit and eagle-eyed fans recognized it as the plot synopsis of the drama adaptation of Da Mo Yao but with a different title and character names. There was no way Tangren would let a fully filmed drama get blacklisted forever since that sinkhole of that financial investment would be impossible to crawl out of unless this drama airs. So let this be a lesson learned for all wannabe drama production companies in China on now not to make a drama there. One – do not piss off SARFT. Ever. Always wait to get a SARFT permit before starting filming. Tangren either thought it would be a slam dunk process or some junior assistant dropped the ball and has long been sacked. Two – do not mess with the very personality and actions that form the basis of famous patriotic figures in Chinese history. In DMY, the story is set in the early Han dynasty and features real life historical characters with fictional flourish such as Emperor Wu Liu Che, legendary General Wei Qing, Empress Wei, famed Consort Li Yan, and young patriotic General Huo Qu Bing.
Writer Tong Hua’s take on these characters was based on her own imagination, but SARFT officials and lots of Chinese readers have apparently been beyond offended when her take on General Huo Qu Bing, who is the male lead in the novel, made him a love-focused young man who ended up disillusioned with Han militaristic policies and faked his own death to go live in anonymity with his lady love. That’s akin to making a drama for Scottish TV about William Wallace not dying for freedom and Scotland but instead secretly faked his death and lived in France for the rest of his life with an English lady. Heads would roll in that production team, I tell ya. And the third and final lesson here? Three – do some market research and if plenty of folks are annoyed with the storyline, then just changed all the character names and make it 100% fictional. Which is what has happened here to get SARFT approval, the drama has removed all references to any real life historical figures and the title even has the word “Legend” in it just to make double clear this is a fantasy tale. Me and Brother Wolf just want to see this story finally make it to the small screen so we approve. I’m not sure if leads Liu Shi Shi, Hu Ge, and Eddie Peng approves, because maybe the drama is one hot mess and they all know it and would prefer it to be buried six-feet under never to see the light of day. I expect a trailer to drop soon now that its gotten the permit and I’ll render a first impression at that time.
Synopsis for The Sun Moon Legend:
A young girl was rescued and raised by a Han scholar who named her Jin Yu, who grows up enamored of the Chang An her father spoke about. She dreams of one day returning to Chang An with her father. But a military coup in the borderland sends her father to his grave without fulfilling that dream. Jin Yu encounters Mo Xun and Wei Xu Ji. Under the help of both men, Jin Yu changes her name to Jin Yue and takes her first steps towards Chang An. The rejected from the gentle and crippled Mo Xun devastates Jin Yue. She has a chance encounter with Wei Wu Ji who is off patrolling the borders and they are reunited. Because Jin Yue knows the landscape of the borderlands, Wei Wu Ji keeps her in the army to assist. The two fall in love after going through thick and thin. During one battle, Wei Wu Ji is poisoned and Mo Xun sacrifices his own healthy to test out the poison to find an antidote to save him so that Wei Wu Ji can be with Jin Yue. In the end, it’s unclear whether Wu Ji lives or dies, and Mo Xun leaves it all behind and departs alone.