Here's How to Understand The Chinese Paladin C-Drama Adaptations

Chinese Paladin drama adaptation

The Chinese costume xianxia series, Chinese Paladin, is based on the popular fantasy video game series, The Legend of Sword and Fairy, thus, the drama adaptations are also known as Sword and Fairy.

The Legend of Sword and Fairy, also known as Sword and Fairy or Chinese Paladin, is a Chinese language fantasy video game series/media franchise centered on a series of nine Chinese mythology/xianxia-themed adventure RPG or role-playing computer games created by Yao Zhuangxian and developed by Taiwanese game company Softstar Entertainment. 

A role-playing video game, commonly referred to as a role-playing game (RPG) or computer role-playing game (CRPG), is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character (or several party members) immersed in some well-defined world, usually involving some form of character development by way of recording statistics.

The story is set in a world of Chinese heroism and fantasy come to life. Thus, the drama adaptations were called Chinese Paladin (paladin means heroism or chivalry).

When The Legend of Sword and Fairy was first adapted into a live-action television drama in 2005, the production marketed it as "Chinese Paladin" for international viewers (but in China it remained to be known as Sword and Fairy), to promote the values of Chinese heroism

Chinese Paladin drama adaptation
The most popular Chinese Paladin, Hu Ge. As Li Xiao Yao in 2005 and Jing Tian in 2009 editions 

Chinese Paladin means "Chinese chivalry"  or a "Chinese warrior". Paladin is a medieval French word that means "warrior", later its meaning grew into any chivalrous or heroic person, someone who fights for a cause, which is the main thought of the Legend of Sword and Fairy's storyline. 

Chinese Paladin drama adaptation
The new generation of Chinese Paladins: Chen Zheyuan (season 4), Han Dongjun (season 5), and Xu Kai (season 6)

But don't be confused with different drama adaptations. Each season is a stand-alone story and not a continuation of the previous series. 

Each season happens in a different timeline and has a different set of characters, so you can watch each adaptation without checking the previous series.

Chinese Paladin drama adaptation
Main female leads in Chinese Paladin series. Liu Yifei (season 1), Yang Mi (season 3), Gulinazha (season 5), Ju Jingyi (season 4), and Esther Yu (season 6)

Chinese Paladin 1 and 3 were ultra popular in China during its broadcast, these two adaptations have a common main male lead - Hu Ge. He was at the height of his remarkable acting career when he did these dramas and he was known at that time as China's best leading actor in the costume genre. 

Hu Ge received several awards for his roles as Li Xiaoyao and Jing Tian. Thus, succeeding main male leads of the drama adaptations pale in comparison. Hu Ge is in a different level of popularity which is still hard to match by the current generation of C-Drama actors. 

Here are the five drama adaptations of this video game.

1. Chinese Paladin 1 (2005)

Main cast: Hu Ge and Liu Yifei, Ady An, and Eddie Peng. 

The story takes place in a fantasy medieval China and follows Li Xiao Yao, (Hu Ge) an adventurous young man who is known as a troublemaker. He journeys to a place called "Dream Island" to find a cure for his sick aunt. 

Chinese Paladin drama adaptations
Hu Ge and Liu Yifei starred in the first Chinese Paladin adaptation

There, he meets the beautiful Zhao Ling’er (Liu Yi Fei), falls in love with her, and marries her. Xiao Yao promises to return for Ling’er and sets off to return home with the cure for his aunt. But a dangerous group of assassins known as the Lunar Sect Cult wipes out Xiao Yao’s memory. 

Despite not remembering his marriage, Xiao Yao takes Ling’er back home with him. Ling’er tries to win Xiao Yao’s heart all over again, but she has competition with Xiao Yao’s friend, Lin Yue Ru (Ady An), who does whatever she can to try to impress Xiao Yao. 

But Yue Ru’s cousin, Liu Jin Yuan (Bryan Wang), has always had special feelings for her. When Ling’er suddenly disappears, Xiao Yao and his friends set out to find her and face many dangers on their journey. 

Take note: There was no Chinese Paladin 2 drama because the producer thought part 3 would be more adaptable for a live-action drama than the Sword and Fairy 2.

2. Chinese Paladin 3 (2009) Prequel of Chinese Paladin 1

Main cast: Hu Ge, Yang Mi, Liu Shishi, Wallace Huo, and Tiffany Tang. The story is set 50 years before the events that happened in Chinese Paladin 1 (2005). 

Chinese Paladin drama adaptations
Chinese Paladin 3 poster

The story follows the mischievous and happy-go-lucky young man, Jing Tian (Hu Ge), who has an appetite for money.

Chinese Paladin drama adaptations
Liu Shishi and Hu Ge in Chinese Paladin 3 

He obtains a magical jade which directs him to meet a Tang, Xue Jian (Yang Mi), a spoiled but sassy young woman. Together they encounter Xu Chang Qing (Wallace Huo), the senior disciple of the Mt. Shu Sect. 

Chinese Paladin drama adaptations
Hu Ge and Yang Mi in Chinese Paladin 3 

All three must overcome numerous obstacles, including confronting their pasts, by way of an epic fantasy adventure.

3. Chinese Paladin 4 (not yet aired but already done filming) Update: Already premiered on January 17 on iQiyi. The title is Sword and Fairy 4.

Main cast: Chen Zheyuan, Ju Jingyi, Mao Zijun, Mao Xiao Hui, and Wang Duo. 

This is a prequel to Chinese Paladin 3, but a different set of characters. The story took place before the events in Chinese Paladin 3 (2009). 

Chinese Paladin drama adaptations
Chinese Paladin 4

It follows Yun Tian He (Chen Zheyuan), a young man who had been living alone on a mountain peak, he was on a regular boar hunting trip when he came across the young woman Han Ling Sha (Ju Jingyi), from a clan of short-lived tomb raiders, attempting to break into his parents' tomb, culminating in the destruction of the tomb, and setting him on a journey alongside Ling Sha to the outside world to uncover his parents' past. 

Ju Jingyi and Chen Zheyuan 

Along their journey, they encountered and befriended the adopted daughter of the magistrate of Shouyang, Liu Meng Li (Mao Xiao Hui), who seemed to have connections to Tian He's father, and a skilled and kind sword master, Murong Ziying (Mao Zijun), who trained at Mt. Kunlun's Qionghua School since a young age.

4. Chinese Paladin 5 (2016): Cloud of the World

Main cast: Han Dongjun, Gulinazha, Joe Cheng, Jin Chen, and Yang Cai Qi. It's not a sequel to any previously aired Chinese Paladin series. This is a stand-alone adaptation, but still from the same source - Legend of Sword and Fairy video game.

Chinese Paladin drama adaptations
Chinese Paladin 5

The story is about the prince of the demon kingdom, Jiang Yun Fan (Han Dongjun). He is the adopted son of a stockade chief. One day, he realizes that he has superhuman powers whenever he is confronted by demon animals. 

Han Dongjun and Gulinazha 

The source of his mystical powers comes to light when Yun Fan discovers that he is the biological son of Jiang Shi Li (Geng Le), the king of the demons who was locked up 20 years ago in the Blood Jade of Nvwa by the people of Mount Shu and the Four Families. 

Yun Fan’s fate intersects both tribes when he is mentored by Long You (Joe Cheng), a disciple of Mount Shu, and then saves the life of Tang Yu Rou (G├╝linazha), a benevolent healer of the Four Families with whom he falls in love. But Yun Fan faces the decision to either save his father from the Blood Jade or save the life of Tang Yu Rou.

5. Chinese Paladin 6 (not yet aired but already done filming). Update: Premiered on January 18 on Tencent)WeTV and the title is simply Sword and Fairy. 

Main cast: Xu Kai, Esther Yu. Support: Fu Xinbo, Wan Peng, Bai Bingke, and Zhou Zhan. This is a sequel to Chinese Paladin 5 but has a different set of characters. It is a stand-alone storyline, and not a continuation.

Chinese Paladin drama adaptations
Xu Kai and Esther Yu

Plot Summary: The two amnesiac youths, Yue Jin Zhao (Xu Kai) and Yue Qi (Esther Yu) have been wandering the land in search of their identities and pasts, only for Yue Qi to lose all of her money to a member of the Risen Soul Cult. 

In the process of trying to recover the lost money, they meet up with Luo Zhou Yan (Wan Peng), the head of the "Evanescent" Luo family, who is spearheading efforts in her region to destroy the cult and expose its crimes. 

As the Yue siblings and Luo Zhao Yan join forces with each other and members of the True Martial Alliance: Ju Shi Fang (Zhou Zhan), Ming Xin (Bai Bingke), and her uncle Xian Qing (Fu Xinbo), to root out the leaders of the cult while overcoming their personal demons and finding out about the mysterious organizations operating in the shadows.

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