Why “Arthdal Chronicles” Had To End With Such A Disappointing Cliffhanger


Fans still can’t get over “Arthdal Chronicles” ending and for a very good reason!

It’s been a week since “Arthdal Chronicles” aired it finale and fans still can’t stop talking about it and how disappointed they were with the ending which can only be described as incomplete.

I have been keeping up with “Arthdal Chronicles” news since its inception and I think I know why it had to end on such a bad cliffhanger. Today, I’d like to discuss why it made sense that “Arthdal Chronicles” ended that way.

If we want to grasp the situation, we have to go back to one of the initial announcements; there are a couple of clues we need to tie in together for everything to make sense.

Three Parts

tvN revealed that “Arthdal Chronicles” will be split into three parts, part one and two aired back to back while part three aired after the conclusion of the popular series “Hotel Del Luna.”

Despite the fact that this one statement isn’t really a giveaway, if you take a look at how the series was written and how it was carried out, it makes sense that tvN had bigger plans.

The Cost

“Arthdal Chronicles” is considered one of the most expensive kdramas of all time, with a budget of $43.9 million, expectations were extremely high and so were the stakes.

The drama had to be a success, not your average success, but extreme success since each episode roughly cost $2.4 million (if we were to assume the budget for each episode was roughly the same), they need to break even and to generate enough profit to make more seasons.

If I were an investor, I wouldn’t give up my money easily, people in charge would have to convince me that it’ll be a huge success enough for me to get a good ROI (return on investment), only then I would agree to invest millions. Now, if I found out that the drama didn’t generate enough profit, I’d be hesitant to pour more money into it for obvious reasons.

Since they’ve invested so much, it not unlikely to presume that they had expected to generate enough profit to ask for this budget and that they expected to earn so much profit considering the script direction, which we’ll talk about next.

The script direction

The script and layout of “Arthdal Chronicles” gave away the possibility for multiple seasons; we just never paid enough attention. Let me explain!

If you recall, since the beginning, we saw that the writers really focused on establishing the background of the characters, each sub-plot was explored fully and sometimes, we fans thought that the series might be wasting time going over so many details.

However, if you think about it, it wouldn’t make sense for someone to spend well over $43 million exploring characters and taking fans through the painstaking process of each character’s growth to the tiniest details.

Why would they try so hard and spend so much money on sub-plots just for the sake of one season? No one would do that, there is always a reason, and the reason was… it was originally supposed to be a couple of seasons.

Towards the latter half of part three, fans grew more worried because they realized how difficult it’ll be for the writers to wrap up the series at that pace. Many even voiced their concerns with the plot direction.

tvN promising but a worrisome response

Shortly after “Arthdal Chronicles” wrapped up, tvN addressed fans concerns of a second season, tvN stated that “Arthdal Chronicles” was originally planned out like a drama with many seasons, they told news outlets,

“The staff would love to move forward with a second season. The end clips in episode 18 reflect that.”

However, the source also stated that a second season is not only possible with the desire of the staff and that there must be support from the viewers, but they also ended their statement with promising to look for ways to make a final decision soon,

“We will do our best so that we can carry on with a second season.”

Filming for the three parts took about eight months to complete and the post-production work also took a lot of time, such a drama is only possible if the public is interested in it heavily, interested enough that tvN would make enough money to carry out a second season.

The main issue was with the reception. From the get-go “Arthdal Chronicles” ratings weren’t up to par. 7% is not bad, its actually really good for cable dramas but given the scale of it, the ratings should have been a lot better, 7% or 8% is not enough.

For the sake of rough comparison, let’s talk about tvN “Mr. Sunshine,” another great blockbuster drama that cost around $33.2 million. “Mr. Sunshine” is not only one of the highest-rated tvN series of all time but also one of the highest-rated cable TV dramas of all time. It was able to score 18% with its finale which is a huge accomplishment.

Filming for that drama also took a while and the cast was also equally famous and experienced, the results were noteworthy. I certainly believe tvN had high hopes for “Arthdal Chronicles” when they saw the huge success “Mr. Sunshine” had.

Despite Song Joong Ki’s highly anticipated return and pairing him with Kim Ji Won, the drama screwed up here and there, it was by no means perfect but it took chances and offered something that no kdrama was ever able to offer.

If you want to read about where I believe “Arthdal Chronicles” screwed up and missed its chance, here is the link.

Fans are trying to keep their hopes up high because of their admiration for “Arthdal Chronicles,” many netizens also share the same sentiment and would love for the drama to return with another season. However, the cast goodbye messages for “Arthdal Chronicles” were worrisome, to say the least, since all of them released statements that almost make it sound as if they’re saying goodbye forever.

According to Soompi, Song Joong Ki stated,

“It’s hard to believe that ‘Arthdal Chronicles’ is over. It was an honor to participate in a great work with good people, and I had a great time.”

Kim Ji Won also said,

“It feels surreal [that the drama has come to an end] when I remember the many hours that we spent filming with ups and downs for more than eight months….”

You can read Soompi’s translation of their goodbye messages here.

So while tvN is working hard on getting that second season, they have to also consider the main actor’s schedules, the actors are all extremely popular and in high demand. It’ll prove to be quite the task for the team behind “Arthdal Chronicles.”

While I am personally interested to see if “Arthdal Chronicles” returns for a second season, I also am a bit skeptic about that possibility. For now, let’s stay positive and hope for the best!

Do you think “Arthdal Chronicles” will return for another season? Let me know what you think in the comment section below.


  1. We never know, maybe if they will continue this, they will get the desired rating already. Lots of people are anticipated to see the next episode. Hoping they would continue this. *fingers crossed*

  2. Pleaseeeeee…this movie is wonderful and should be continued. I believe reason for its low rating is the fact that not many people know about the series yet but this movie is wonderful and I definitely want to keep watching it.

  3. I really hope they will make a new season. Great, great actors, and many plots to continue the story. If they will end the series like this, it will be the worse ending ever.

  4. I have been waiting anxiously and watching for a season 2. The last episode (18) can’t be the end, the story isn’t complete. I can’t believe the ratings were so low. I keep checking to see when season 2 will start, because I enjoyed season 1 so much.

    I know if Arthdal Chronicles comes back it will be well received. The actors and story line are intriguing.


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