MBC released on April 11 the production stills and description of the main characters of its upcoming historical drama series Ruler: Master of the Mask which stars Yoo Seung-ho (Remember: War of the Sons) and Kim So-hyun (Let’s Fight Ghost). The stills were taken during the drama’s filming on January 10, 2017 at Yangju, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.
The drama tells the story of Joseon Crown Prince Lee Sun who fights against an organization called Pyunsoo-hwe that has gained power and wealth through the privatization of water supply all over Joseon. He brings hope for the people who has suffered from all the injustices brought upon them.
Lee Sun is played by Yoo Seung-ho. He is born to a family that rules all of Joseon, but he gives up the throne for the sake of his people and the woman he loves. He is forced to wear a mask for a purpose unknown to him. When he asks about this to the King, he gets the same reply over and over again, “Do not ask me anything, I’ll let you know when the time comes.” As a result, he begins finding out the reason on his own by searching through the palace records. He then discovers that he once suffered from an unknown illness and a mysterious man named Woo-bo was called to his aid instead of the royal physician. Convinced that this man holds the key to the mask’s secret, the crown prince leaves the palace to find him.
The prince’s love interest, Han Ga-eun, is played by Kim So-hyun. Ga-eun is said to be unladylike as she grew up in a family of warriors. Despite her mother’s early death and her family’s financial problems, she becomes a woman who has a gentle personality behind her strong and independent facade. She also has a connection to Woo-bo, whom she considers her teacher and sees a few days a week to study and talk about freedom. In her teacher’s place, she will meet her first love Chun-soo, but their relationship is short-lived due to the death of her father.
With the absence of Lee Sun in the palace, someone has to replace him from time to time. A peasant young man, played by Kim Myung-soo (also known by his stage name L), swaps places with the crown prince and also wears a mask. Even if he is uneducated, he is born with intellect. He falls in love with Han Ga-eun who teaches him to read, gives him a name, and treats him well as a human being. His father who is a butcher was killed for stealing water, forcing him to make his revenge until he meets Lee Sun.
Yoon So-hee (Memory) plays the role of Kim Hwa-gun, the granddaughter of the leader of Pyeonsoo-hwe. She used to have a low opinion of the crown prince who lives behind a mask but she then discovers after meeting him that he is not what the rumor says. She eventually develops a dangerous unrequited love that leads to her betraying her family and becoming the head of the organization.
A drama wouldn’t be complete without the antagonist. Dae Mok, played by Heo Joon-ho (Beautiful Mind) is the villain of the series. His facade is warm and kind, but he has a sharp mind that he uses to take advantage of other people. His goal to become the real power behind the throne is fueled by his beloved wife’s death that involves the previous King.
The last main character of the drama is Woo-Bo, played by veteran actor Park Chul-min (Moonlight Drawn By Clouds). He was once a star scholar and official at Sungkyunkwan, but an incident involving the crown prince’s unknown illness leads to the death of his brother who was the royal physician at that time and his own exile from the palace. He is now living a solitary life outside the palace and sells his family’s possessions to help others. He receives offers to return as a government official but constantly rejects them. He is a yangban (nobleman) by birth but he rejects aristocratic norms.
Ruler: Master of the Mask will take over the time slot currently occupied by Radiant Office on May 10, 2017.