Starring in the successful romantic fantasy Ashes of Love <香蜜沉沉燼如霜> in 2018, Chinese actor Deng Lun (鄧倫) and co-star Andy Yang‘s (楊紫) pairing was well-received, pulling off strong viewership of over 15 billion and sending the popularity of its leads soaring.
However, Deng Lun’s embroilment into a tax evasion scandal in mid-March has severely tarnished his image, and rumors of censorship by mainland authorities have thwarted plans for the same casting in the drama’s anticipated sequel.
Fans Resistant to Proposed CP
With the production team forced to seek a new male actor to replace Deng Lun, swirling rumors online point to William Chan (陳偉霆) as a possible candidate for the upcoming Ashes of Love 2. In addition to the actor’s high popularity and wholesome image, he has delivered consistent performances in The Mystic Nine <老九門>, Only Side by Side with You <南方有喬木> and most recently Novoland: Pearl Eclipse <斛珠夫人>.
Fans of the drama have responded by voicing their objections to the casting rumors, as they felt that Ashes of Love 2 without Deng Lun as main lead Xu Feng would be equivalent to the sequel losing its soul. Netizens also pointed out that the reason for the popularity of Deng Lun and Yang Zi’s pairing was also partly due to their good chemistry as friends, and that Yang Zi had in fact been the one to recommend Deng Lun for the role. Yet others felt that William Chan and Yang Zi lacked onscreen compatibility and resisted the proposed pairing in the return of the drama.