Swordman <笑傲江湖>, Yu Zheng’s (于正) 40-episode adaptation of the Jin Yong (金庸) wuxia novel The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, will air is finale episode next week on Hunan TV. The serial has been receiving mixed critical reception from the audience, with both praises and criticisms. Fans of the original novel bashed the serial for its nonsensical story line and unfaithful adaptation. Other fans lauded the serial for its addictive storytelling fashion, also gushing at the Linghu Chong (Wallace Huo 霍建華) and Dongfang Bubai (Joe Chen 陳喬恩) pairing.
Yesterday, Chinese media sources spoiled that the ending of Swordman will dramatically differ from the novel’s ending. Dongfang, who initially plots to kill Linghu’s lover, Ren Yingying, in order to keep Linghu to herself, ultimately decides to save Ren’s life by giving her heart. This finale strongly resembles the ending to Wuershan’s (乌尔善) Painted Skin: The Resurrection <画皮II>, in which the demon Xiaowei sacrifices herself to return the heart of Princess Jing, out of love for the protector, Huo Xin.
Yu Zheng denied the plagiarism allegations, claiming that Swordman had already ended production when Painted Skin: The Resurrection first opened in cinemas. Dongfang’s heart sacrifice arc was instead inspired by an Iranian novel Yu Zheng read a few years back.
In a press interview with actress Joe Chen, she expressed that she was expecting her character to generate mixed reception when she first took on the role. “I need a strong heart in order to face the viewers’ criticisms,” Joe joked. “I really like Dongfang’s character. I portrayed Dongfang Bubai in the way I perceived the role, and I want to thank those who support my portrayal of him.”
Yu Zheng’s decision to cast an actress to portray Dongfang Bubai was most likely inspired by the 1992 Hong Kong film, Swordsman II <笑傲江湖之東方不敗>, in which Dongfang was famously and classically portrayed by Taiwanese actress, Brigitte Lin (林青霞).
Many romantic elements were added in Yu Zheng’s Swordman. Among the most heatedly discussed topic was the triangle relationship involving Linghu, Dongfang and Ren Yingying (Yuan Shanshan 袁姗姗). As Dongfang’s presence dramatically outnumbered Ren’s screentime, many more fans of the drama were beginning to support Linghu to choose Dongfang as his lover instead of Ren.
When fans asked if Yu Zheng would change the ending so Linghu would end up together with Dongfang, Yu Zheng said that Dongfang and Linghu were already “endgame” to begin with. The producer explained that the ambiguity of the ending will be able to satisfy the fans of both “Chongdong” and “Chongying.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.