In this age and day, if a series has been greenlit by its respective streamer, but fails to begin production within a few months or doesn’t provide any positive updates in its absence, it is, for all means and purposes, considered doomed. That was the story of the Korean horror thriller Hellbound before its luck finally shooed away the black clouds, but while it has taken its first breath above the water, it has left two other Netflix projects to sink for the same reason it was delayed in the first place.
After its stellar debut on Netflix, Hellbound season one quickly became one of the most-watched series on the streamer of all time, joining the likes of Bridgerton, Strangers Things, etc. By September 2022, season two was greenlit. But instead of appeasing fans with plans of production, interviews of casts, and information about what the upcoming season might include, the series was instead lost trying to deal with the allegations leveled against its lead star, Yoo Ah-in.
Earlier this year, Ah-in was found guilty of flouting the Narcotics Control Act as he reportedly tested positive for cocaine, ketamine, marijuana, and propofol. In the wake of the investigation results, Netflix parted ways with the popular actor, and Kim Sung-Cheol (remember the soul-chilling antagonist in the horror series Sweet Home?) was roped in to take over his role as the cult leader, Jeong Jin-soo, in the series.
But while Hellbound has shrugged off its Ah-in-caused after-effects for the time being — no guarantee that viewers will forgive Sung-Cheol for replacing Ah-in and not give it The Witcher treatment — there are two other Netflix projects that have been impacted by the accusations against the actor. And unlike the series which has recently started filming its second season after months of radio silence, they have been rather unlucky.
The upcoming dystopian science fiction series, Goodbye Earth, also stars Yoo Ah-In as its lead character amid a chaotic world that is on the brink of an inevitable apocalypse. But by the time the allegations against the actor materialized and eventually confirmed, the series had wrapped up its production, with a tentative release date of Q4 2023.
But now, the date has been pushed to sometime in 2024 and attempts have been made to minimize Ah-In’s presence as much as possible in the series. A similar fate befell the Korean biopic (set to release on Netflix) The Match, which will see Ah-in playing the real-life personality, Lee Chang-ho, a renowned Go (oldest board game) champion opposite Lee Byung-Hoon as the mentor, Cho Hun-hyun.
While Goodbye Earth at least has the tentative confirmation of a 2024 release, The Match — initially set to debut in 2023 — has been delayed indefinitely and put on hold, despite debuting at the Busan International Film Festival in 2021 and having completed its production a long time ago.