The Korean drama ‘Joseon Exorcist’ has been cancelled after only two episodes were broadcast, but why was this series cancelled and could it return?

Last week, in the days and house leading up to the premiere, there was considerable hype and expectation surrounding the Korean television series ‘Joseon Exorcist’.

However, just one week and two episodes later, it appears that the series is dead-in-the-water, with reports that Joseon Exorcist has been officially axed.

So, why was this series cancelled and could Joseon Exorcist ever return to broadcast on another platform?

Why was Joseon Exorcist cancelled?

  • According to reports, Joseon Exorcist was cancelled after just two episodes because of backlash surrounding “historical distortions” of Korean rulers and “Chinese cultural influences”.

Despite having a positive premiere, Joseon Exorcist received intense criticism for “historical distortions” after showing historical figures from the Royal Lee Clan of Joseon (who ruled Korea for over 500 years) massacring their own people.

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The series also faced backlash for using “Chinese products such as century eggs and Chinese mooncakes” in their portrayal of Korean history. This at a time when there is an “ongoing controversy between China and South Korea” concerning the origin of certain cultural icons from Korea such as Kimchi, Hanbok and Pansori.

Not only did this result in over 184,000 people signing a petition that called the shows permanent removal from broadcasting, but also a statement from the descendants of the royal family themselves.

As reported by Pinkvilla, the Jeonju Lee Royal Family Association called on SBS to cancel Joseon Exorcist as it “distorted Korean history and culture and showed favoritism toward China’s Northeast History Project.” 

The controversy led to around 20 companies, who had pledged sponsorships to the series, to pull out from the advertisement campaign including “BLACKYAK, Bodyfriend, Ace Bed, Hite Jinro, and KT.”

On March 26th, SBS issued a statement on the matter: “SBS has decided to cancel the contract for the broadcasting rights of Joseon Exorcist and cancel the broadcast, after recognising the severity of the previous incidents.” – per CNALifestyle.

Could Joseon Exorcist release on Netflix?

At the time of writing, there appear to be no plans for SBS to revise the series and continue broadcasting Joseon Exorcist in the future.

However, this doesn’t mean that the series cannot return on a different platform; the most obvious one being Netflix.

The international streaming platform already has ongoing deals with major South Korean networks for the simulcast distribution of series.

Netflix also has several shows of similar themes as Joseon Exorcist, most notably ‘Kingdom’, and so maybe willing to purchase the broadcasting rights to the now-cancelled series.

This becomes a more probable outcome, considering that “SBS had already paid most of the fee for the broadcasting rights, and the production company had completed around 80% of the filming for the show.”

At the time of writing, there is no information to suggest that Joseon Exorcist will return for either national or international broadcast. This article will be updated as soon as more information is revealed.

By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]

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