‘Full River Red’ Director Zhang Yimou to Produce ‘League of Legends’ Web Series

Iconic Director Zhang Yimou to Create ‘League of Legends’ Web Series

The 73-year-old award-winning film director has announced his plans to direct a new web series based on the hit online game ‘League of Legends.’ However, many Chinese netizens, especially gamers, are unsure of the director’s new venture

4 0
Hayley Zhao
5:29 AM HKT, Tue April 18, 2023 1 mins read

After the box office success of Full River Red earlier this year, the award-winning Chinese director Zhang Yimou (张艺谋) is venturing down a new creative route. During the M-Chart, an annual award ceremony organized by the state-owned China film channel, the director announced his plan to kick off a new web series based on the popular American online battle game League of Legends (LOL) this September.

According to Douban, an IMDb-like platform in China, the story follows the life of high schooler Bai Yang and star gamer Ma Da, the latter of whom is about to retire from League of Legends Pro League (LPL), the top LOL league in the Chinese mainland.

In the series, the two magically swap bodies following an accident and reap the benefits of each other’s lives: Bai gets to bask in the fame and recognition that comes with being a high-profile esports star, while Ma gets a fresh start and a chance to make up for past mistakes.

At the same time, they must also deal with the challenges the other person faces. The web series will consist of 40 episodes, each lasting 45 minutes.

zhang yimou, the great wall

Director Zhang Yimou at a press conference for his movie The Great Wall. Image via Depositphotos

Zhang is among the most influential Chinese directors and boasts considerable international name recognition. During his career, his emotionally powerful films, such as Raise the Red Lantern (大红灯笼高高挂) and To Live (活着), often examine different aspects of Chinese society and history.

With much of his body of works set in ancient China, many are surprised that Zhang picked esports as the focus of his next project. The director admitted that the series would be challenging for him to make but said he wants to do something different by making a hip, modern, and fast-paced show.

However, Chinese netizens are not as optimistic as Zhang. Many questioned whether the 73-year-old director is the right person to make a show about LOL.

“Has he ever played the game? If not, don’t make a show about it,” commented one user of Weibo, China’s top microblogging platform.

league of legends china

The Chinese national team winning the LOL championship at the 2018 Asian Games. Image via Depositphotos

Some netizens are also complaining about the upcoming series’ alleged plotline, saying that it’s ridiculous to have a world-class gamer attending high school daily while a teenager trains and competes with esports pros. (Although we’d argue that the series’ depiction of a teenager competing alongside esports pros is not all that far-fetched, as most gaming pros are in their teens and early 20s, and many pros retire in their mid-20s.)

League of Legends is an extremely popular game in China, with an estimated 70 million players. Regardless of how the show turns out, there will undoubtedly be plenty of media and public discussion.

Cover image via Depositphotos

Join the Conversation
Write comment

Pour yourself a stiff one, we'll be with you in a minute