After years of unexplained delays, Chinese costume drama The Wolf (狼殿下, Láng Diànxià) was suddenly released to the general public recently.
Starring notable actors Wang Dalu, Li Qin, and Xiao Zhan, The Wolf tells the story of an adopted wolf-raised prince who falls in love with the daughter of a government official. The childhood sweethearts, reunited after eight years, overcome several tribulations of injustice, conspiracy, and revenge.
Though The Wolf completed filming in 2017, the TV series was pushed back indefinitely until its unexpected drop last week on online video platforms Youtube, Tencent, Youku, and iQiyi.
However, despite a lack of prior announcement, the drama immediately surged in popularity both locally and internationally, largely because of the fanbase of supporting lead actor Xiao Zhan, who plays Ji Chong in the series. The idol-turned-actor rose to national prominence last year following his lead role in The Untamed, which ranked first in a national popularity index that included 631 online dramas aired in 2019 and the first half of 2020.
Although Xiao himself did not play the main role in the series, his large and loyal fanbase, nicknamed 小飞侠 (literal: Peter Pans, xiǎo fēi xiá), was a big part of The Wolf’s current success. Chinese drama metric site Datawin listed The Wolf as first in a list of trending series just two days after the show’s release date, with Xiao having contributed 40% of trackable online activity.
The Wolf is #1 on Datawin Drama Index, and Xiao Zhan is the leading contributor at 40%. The report says this drama shows Xiao Zhan’s influence all over the web, and that it’s a rare sight to see an actor who isn’t first or second lead carry a drama. pic.twitter.com/tujpyPZXSr
— Xiao Zhan ✿ 赞 (@xzhan1005) November 21, 2020
Prior to this, Xiao had not released any new content since the April reveal of his digital single, “Spotlight,” which has since become the highest-selling digital single of all time, having sold 45 million copies as of this writing. The silence from Xiao’s side has mostly been due to backlash following a nationwide censoring controversy. As a result, the fandom has understandably expressed a large amount of enthusiasm with the sudden availability of The Wolf.
— Trending Weibo (@TrendingWeibo) November 19, 2020
— MeloPink (@MelodyGuia) November 19, 2020
it amazed me to see Ji Chong trends in United states 2 hours ago at no 27 pic.twitter.com/Z1mS9UeKGL
— xiaozhan_forever (@zhan_forever) November 19, 2020
For good reason, not only is the series popular in China but also on global social media sites such as Twitter. After all, with tens of episodes featuring classic Chinese historical dramatics and a healthy dose of Xiao Zhan, there is definitely no shortage of things for C-Drama watchers to enjoy and love.