This time ten years ago, the historical-fantasy drama Moon Embracing the Sun started airing in MBC. The said series then became one of the highest-rated series of 2012 with a peak rating of over 40%. Its actors received nominations from various award-giving bodies while the series was named the Best Drama at the 48th Baeksang Arts Award.
Let’s lookback to the most successful drama of 2012, Moon Embracing the Sun!
Moon Embracing the Sun: A Look Back
The series is based on the novel written by Jung Eun-gwol, the same writer of novels that Sungkyungkwan Scandal and Lovers of the Red Sky were based from. It is a love story between a fictional Joseon King and a female shaman amidst palace politics and conspiracies.
Where are they Now?
Han Ga-in as Heo Yeon-woo / Shaman Wol
Han Ga-in played the role of Heo Yeon-woo, the destined Queen of Joseon who met an untimely “death” due to the treachery of some people in the palace. She then lost her memory and returned as Shaman Wol. After this series, Han Ga-in starred in the box-office hit Architecture 101. In 2018, she returned to the small screen through OCN’s mystery thriller Mistress OCN.
Kim Soo-hyun as Lee Hwon
Kim Soo-hyun became a household name after playing the role of Lee Hwon. In the series, his character, a fictional king of Joseon, investigates the death of his first love. The role earned him the Best Actor trophy in the 48th Baeksang Arts Awards. The young actor then went on to lead other hit dramas like My Love from Another Star, The Producers, and It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. He also widened his filmography by starring in films The Thieves, Secretly Greatly, and Real. Kim Soo-hyun recently starred in One Ordinary Day with Cha Seung-won.
Jung Il-woo as Prince Yangmyung
Jung Il-woo swayed the heart of the drama’s fans as he played the role of Prince Yangmyung, Lee Hwon’s half-brother. His character struggled to reconcile his love for Yeon-woo and his love for his brother. Jung Il-woo eventually led his own TV dramas such as Golden Rainbow, Diary of a Night Watchman, and Cinderella and the Four Knights before he enlisted in 2016. He made his TV comeback in 2018 through the series High-End Crush. His recent drama is the hit sageuk Bossam: Steal the Fate.
Kim Min-seo as Lady Yoon Bo-kyung / Queen Yoon
Bringing tension to the series is Kim Min-seo’s character Lady Yoon Bo-kyung. She is used by Queen Dowager and her father to maintain their clan’s power and eventually became Lee Hwon’s Crown Princess. After starring in this series, Kim Min-seo did several projects like Good Doctor, Mrs. Cop 2, and Witch at Court. The actress got married to her non-celebrity partner in 2018 and is now living a private life in the US.
Song Jae-rim as Kim Jae-woon
Song Jae-rim is also part of the series and played the role of quiet Royal Guard Kim Jae-woon. The model-turned-actor proceeded with projects like Surplus Princess, Clean with Passion for Now, and Not Yet 30. He also appeared in the fourth season of We Got Married with actress Kim So-eun. He is set to star in two new projects: a romance drama with Nam Gyu-ri and Kim Min-seok, which is set to premiere in the first half of 2022, and he is also confirmed to film an action-comedy movie with Yoon So-hee.
Song Jae-hee as Lord Heo-yeom
Song Jae-hee played the role of Lord Heo-yeom, Yeon-woo’s older brother and Hwon’s tutor. This series is Song Jae-hees’s third project and has been active ever since. He became part of series like Still You, My Horrible Boss, The Last Empress, Lie after Lie, and Mouse. In 2017, he married actress Ji So-yeon.
Nam Bo-ra as Princess Min-hwa
Nam Bo-ra played the role of Princess Min-hwa, Lee Hwon’s younger sister. She falls in love with Yeom and is determined to marry him at all costs. After this series, she became part of other projects like A Little Love Never Hurts, Only Love, and Lovers in Bloom. She is currently a regular cast of JTBC’s variety show, Different Class.
The Younger Cast
This “nation’s drama” also boasts an amazing cast of then-young stars who became lead stars of their generation.
Kim You-jung as young Heo Yeon-woo
The prominent child actress went on to star in her own series and now has two hit sageuk in her filmo: Love in the Moonlight and Lovers of the Red Sky. She also recently made a cameo in the Kim Soo-hyun-starrer One Ordinary Day.
Yeo Jin-goo as young Lee Hwon
The child actor continued his rise to main lead roles after this series. In 2016, he bagged his first leading role in Orange Marmalade. He also starred in the hit series Hotel Del Luna and most recently in the critically acclaimed Beyond Evil.
Kim So-hyun as young Yoon Bo-kyung
In 2015, Kim So-hyun bagged her first lead role in the KBS’ youth series, Who Are You: School 2015. She then continued to star in other projects such as Let’s Fight Ghost, Radio Romance, and The Tale of Nokdu. She also top billed two seasons of Netflix’s Original Series Love Alarm. Last year, she starred in her own period drama, River Where the Moon Rises.
Lee Tae-ri as young Prince Yangmyung
After this series, Lee Tae-ri became a constant face in TV, taking on various roles in shows like Rooftop Prince, The Prime Minister and I, The Beauty Inside, Extraordinary You, and Tale of the Nine-Tailed.
Im Si-wan as young master Heo Yeom
The idol-turned actor made his acting debut through this series. He then garnered more acting experience by playing younger versions of lead characters in series like Man from the Equator and Pure Love. In 2014, he bagged his breakthrough role in the tvN series Misaeng. He then starred in the sageuk drama The King Loves before starting his military series in 2017. This year, he will soon star in the upcoming series Tracer.
Lee Won-keun as young Kim Jae-woon
Similar to Im Si-wan, this series is also Lee Won-keun’s acting debut. His follow-up projects include Pure Love, 12 Years Promise, and Hyde Jekyll, Me. In 2015, he got his first lead role in the KBS youth drama Cheer Up!. After his military service, he made his TV comeback in 2021 through the SBS hit series One the Woman. He will soon star alongside Jin Goo and Ha Do-kwon in the OCN series A Superior Day, slated to air in the first half of 2022.
Jin Ji-hee as young princess Min-hwa
One of the youngest cast members of the series, Jin Jin-hee played the younger version of Princess Min-hwa. Since the series ended, the child actress became active with various roles in projects like Jung Yi: Goddess of Fire, and Schoolgirl Detectives. She recently starred in the three-season drama Penthouse and played the role of Yoon Je-ni.