Delayed time and again, season 2 of hit costume drama Qing Yu Nian or Joy of Life <慶餘年> finally held its booting ceremony on May 10! While the released character stills showed most of the original cast including leads Zhang Ruoyun (張若昀) and Li Qin (李沁) back for the anticipated follow-up, actor Sean Xiao Zhan’s (肖戰) character is nowhere to be seen, confirming rumors of his exclusion from the new season.
Garnering a viewership over 16 billion and drawing 12 billion clicks on related topics on Weibo, the 2019 series was billed as an epic and catapulted the cast to fame. With filming for the web fiction-based adaptation pushed back for a total of seven times partly due to the pandemic, the possibility of casting changes have been on the rumor mill for the past two years.
Thankfully, veteran actors Chen Daoming (陳道明), Wu Gang (吳剛), Li Xiaoran (李小冉), Song Yi (宋軼) and others will be back for their parts, but Xiao Zhan, who played Yan Bingyun will not be reprising his role, even though his character will have a pretty big part in season 2, according to the web novel on which it is based. With fan discussions in overdrive, speculation is rife that his character may very well be axed – which will mean major changes to the script. Unsurprisingly, netizens are calling on the production crew to make known the identity of the actor who will play Yan Bingyun if he will still feature in the sequel, to prevent undue speculation.