‘The Untamed’ one year later: Why it isn’t too late to start watching
The Untamed is a wildly popular period drama that came out of China in 2019. It’s the story of Lan Wangji (Wang Yibo) & Wei Wuxian (Xiao Zhan) as they meander through a life of inter-clan rivalry. Set in ancient China, the show garnered worldwide attention for several reasons.
Firstly, the relationship that exists between the two male leads is nothing short of beautiful. Clearly in love with each other, the creators of the show had to get crafty with the depiction of this relationship due to the strict censorship laws that exist in China regarding homosexuality on television. Even with the existence of these harsh censorship constraints, this relationship is the number one reason so many flocked to this show.
Secondly, the well-crafted characters that exist around Lan Wangji & Wei Wuxian provide so many additional complex storylines. There is a lot going on in The Untamed and it’s impossible to catch it all on the first watch through. It’s unlikely that you’ll find anyone that watched it just once. The Untamed is a bingewatch worthy show that folks are spinning on a loop, learning new things, and putting new pieces together each time they watch.
Thirdly, everyone in this show is simply stunning (both in character and out). If you can tear your eyes away from Lan Wangji & Wei Wuxian long enough to notice those around them, you’ll see that everyone in The Untamed is drool-worthy and otherworldly beautiful.
The first anniversary of its release occurred in June 2020. In just one year, these small time actors from China shot to international stardom as people from countries big and small jumped on The Untamed bandwagon. It’s a year on, and while the show has already been streamed upwards of eight billion times, new viewers continue to find the show all the time.
There is no chance of a second season, that much is clear. So if it’s finished, why should you keep watching this show? There are many reasons to stay tapped into The Untamed and its fanbase. Here are just a few of them.
The show that just keeps giving
Ask anyone that has delved into the world of The Untamed and they will tell you that their favorite thing about this world, other than the actual show itself, is all the behind-the-scenes footage that exists of the actors horseplaying between filming. A quick Youtube search will yield hours of material to wade through.
The most interesting part of the behind-the-scenes footage is definitely the relationship that developed between Xiao Zhan & Wang Yibo. Highly entertaining for viewers, but also those that were working around the actors, the friendship that blossomed between the two was nothing short of lovely. Go down the rabbit hole of footage on Youtube; we guarantee you won’t regret it.
Further to this point, recently many of the nondisclosure agreements that crew members had to sign about releasing footage of The Untamed cast members on set were rumored to have expired. Lately, there has been an influx of new behind-the-scenes footage that leaked onto social media platforms. It is believed that this is why. One year on and fans are still getting new BTS content.
On the first anniversary of its release in June 2020, Tencent released a behind-the-scenes video that was over 100 minutes long. It included some interviews & moments that viewers had seen before, but it also included extended scenes of those moments that had previously not been released. The fandom lost their collective minds. This is available to watch through the WeTV app.
The special edition
On Christmas day of 2019, Tencent began releasing a twenty episode long The Untamed: Special Edition. The special edition showcases episodes that we re-edited to focus primarily on the WangXian relationship.
The special edition was not released in China, and therefore was not subjected to the strict censorship that the original fifty episodes were. While new scenes per se were not shot for the special edition, scenes that were edited out or cut short to comply with censorship laws did make it into the special edition.
As if this wasn’t enough to cause fans to scream and vomit their feelings of elation all over social media, the special edition contained an alternative ending to The Untamed that had the fandom reduced to tears.
The Untamed Boys
At the end of 2019, it was announced that six of the supporting cast members would be embarking on a The Untamed world tour. Apart from being stellar actors, the boys are also known for their singing and dancing skills.
Apart from the actual announcement that occurred, little information was released about this thereafter, as COVID-19 hit China soon after and the country went into lockdown. As no more information has emerged regarding this tour, we expect it to be put on the backburner until the world becomes a safe place to venture through again.
Was it cancelled altogether? We’re not sure. We hope not! Dates included New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and several other cities throughout Asia.
The creators of The Untamed seem well aware of the fact that the fandom is desperate for more content. They were quick to ride out of the spin-off gate as soon as filming of the original show wrapped.
Two spin-off films already exist in this fantasy world. Fatal Journey is the supporting character Nie Huaisang’s (Ji Li) turn to shine. The film develops his character in more depth than The Untamed was able to. Additionally, the film delves into the relationship that exists between Nie Huaisang and Nie Mingjue (Wang Yizhou), also something which The Untamed skirted over. Fatal Journey is currently subbed in English and available on Viki.
The other spin-off set in this fantasy world is called The Living Dead. It follows two of The Untamed’s most treasured supporting characters: Wen Ning (Yu Bin) & Lan Sizhui (Zheng FanXing). Wen Ning & Lan Sizhui run into each other in the small town of Fu Feng. Something supernatural is amiss in Fu Feng, and Wen Ning & Lan Sizhui decide to work together to solve the mystery. This is also subbed and available to watch on Viki.
There have been rumblings that another spin-off is totally possible. Which direction and the characters it would feature remain to be seen. What is clear, though, is that Tencent might not be done with The Untamed just yet.
Finally, in a recent livestream, announcements about future projects for The Untamed were announced. A global release for the soundtrack is in the works! This is something international fans have been waiting for. The album will feature all the music from the show and original artwork by Xiao Qingyang – an award-winning album designer in China.
During this livestream it was also announced that another The Untamed concert is in the works. Almost no details about the concert were released, just that one is allegedly in the planning stages. The announcement did say that A-List actors would be included on the ticket. We can only hope they were talking about Xiao Zhan & Wang Yibo.
The possible location of the concert has also become a hot topic on social media. Will it be held in China, or will they throw a bone to the international fans and host it outside of China? No one knows. However, considering that a lot of the world is still suffering through COVID-19 restrictions, any kind of travel for something like this soon seems unlikely. All we can say is, watch this space.
The source material
For those that might be unaware, The Untamed is actually based on a web-novel called The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation (or Mo Dao Zu Shi) by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. The novel is a whopping 113 chapters long, while also featuring fourteen additional “extra” chapters.
Mo Dao Zu Shi was not subjected to censorship, like The Untamed was. This means that the novel is full of all the smut and sex scenes that the show was forced to leave out. Therefore, while the story is essentially the same, readers get to see a different side of both Wei Wuxian & Lan Wangji.
If you’re confused at all about anything that might feel rushed or explained poorly by the show, this is a great place to get your answers. It’s long, though, and kind of like a bucket of pringles. Once you pop, you won’t be able to stop, so ensure you’re ready for the commitment.
In addition to the novel & the show, there is also an anime available for viewing on Youtube. It’s been subbed in English and is wildly popular among the fandom. The anime includes depictions of the relationship that were left out of the show (boo censorship) and some fans feel the anime is truer to the original story.
There is also an audio reading of the novel available on YouTube as well. It’s read in Chinese but it has been subbed with English subtitles for anyone who needs it. Unless you speak Chinese though, this is also something you would have to sit in front of a screen to consume as it wasn’t ever actually dubbed in English. Also wildly popular, fans report that this one is an emotional rollercoaster and beautifully done.
As you can see, The Untamed universe is much larger than just the fifty episodes that exist. Moreover, it really does seem to be the gift that just keeps on giving. If the actual storyline and complex characters isn’t enough to suck you in, all the additional things that exist on the show’s periphery should be. So if you haven’t already, dive into The Untamed. We promise you won’t regret it.