With MBC‘s next Wed-Thurs drama Warm and Cozy premiering next week, the network must be relieved that the follow up drama Scholar Who Walks the Night finally locked down the main cast last month. I actually found the casting discussion changes surrounding Night Scholar even more exhausting than befell Kill Me Heal Me, now only time will show whether the end product of Night Scholar turns out as satisfying as KMHM despite the casting difficulties. In a sign of how fast time flies, Night Scholar starts production next week as male lead Lee Jun Ki wraps up his schedule and heads to the drama set.
Sageuk dramas typically need more prep time so it’s not a indication of quality concerns that the drama is filming now despite the air date still a ways out in July. The network released articles this week revealing which characters are being played by the cast and providing a short description. Lee Jun Ki is, of course, playing the titular male lead, a scholar (yangban) vampire named Kim Sung Yul who is over 150 years old and has been cursed to never age and drink blood as sustenance. He dedicates his life to protecting the stability of Joseon and has resigned himself to a life of loneliness until he meets the female lead. Beyond Jun Ki’s perfect casting, all the other castings take a big longer to get used to.
Lee Yoo Bi will be playing the female lead, the daughter of a fallen noble family named Yang Shan. She cross dresses as a male bookseller to make ends meet, with a dream of earning enough money to leave Joseon behind and go to the Qing dynasty. Kim So Eun plays two new characters not in the source manhwa, one is the first love of Lee Jun Ki from 150 years ago when he was still human, and the other is a noble woman in the present time line named Hye Ryung who is engaged to marry the Crown Prince.
Changmin is Crown Prince Lee Yun who finds himself in a love triangle with Yang Shan and Sung Yul, and has a fiancee in Hye Ryung. While Changmin’s character Lee Yun is in the original manhwa, he doesn’t have a love line with Yang Shan, while another male character does so it appears the drama is combining those two male characters into one. Lee Soo Hyuk‘s character is the vampire antagonist to Kim Sung Yul while Jang Hee Jin rounds out the main cast as a love-spurned gisaeng named Soo Hyang who is unable to realize her love for Sung Yul ever since he saved her as a child and raised her.