Drama

10 Most Popular Chinese Actors on MDL and Their Upcoming Projects

INTRODUCTION

Finally, this is it, everyone! The end of the series about the 30 most popular Chinese actors on MDL and their upcoming projects. It has been an exhausting journey of writing and counting hearts, but it was also exciting as well since I got to know what Chinese dramas and movies to check out in 2022! 

This article is different from Part 1 and Part 2. Here I changed the layout with lists of their upcoming dramas/movies, plus additional information on the ones I want to watch.

I also changed the title to 10 Most Popular Chinese Actors, as this was my original plan way back then when I started this 10 Most Popular Actors series with Thai, Japanese, and Taiwanese actors. While receiving feedback from the previous articles, I realized there are more actors from those countries whom readers wanted to see but they didn’t make the top 10 list. So, I expanded into 30 for Chinese actors. I know there are more actors whom readers deemed better than these 30 and thus should be added to the list. Well, the [MDL] tribe has spoken by giving likes/hearts, so below are the top 10 most popular ones:

Disclaimer

The ranks, likes/hearts, and drama information are from data taken on January 27, 2022. Any discrepancy happened due to changes after the article was submitted for editing.

Let’s begin with the star countdown!


#10 – Hu Yi Tian 胡一天  

♡ 2,492+
Finished filming:

A Storm of Wind and Cloud 
(September 2021)

See You Again 
(October 2021)

Checkmate (January 2022)

Announced:

Broken Clouds 2 (March 2021)

Men in Love (January 2022)

The drama I hope to be aired this year is the thriller mystery Checkmate that just wrapped on 23 January 2022. It reunited Hu Yi Tian with Leon Zhang, his co-star in the 2020 My Roommate Is a Detective (MRIAD). Checkmate is similar to MRIAD since Hu Yi Tian’s character is private detective Si Tu Yan. Together with Leon Zhang’s character Luo Shao Chuan and Zhou Mo Wan (Zhang Xin Yu), they investigate criminal cases. This drama is not a sequel to MRIAD but it’s an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Poirot books.

Another Hu Yi Tian drama worth checking out is the fantasy romance See You Again, in which his character Xiang Qin Yu is an actor from the Republican era who gets shot and time travels to the modern era and meets rookie screenwriter Jin A Yin (Chen Yu Qi). Together, they investigate the mystery behind his shooting incident. You can watch the teaser trailer below. Hu Yi Tian always looks good in Republican era costume!

Source: iQiyi


#9 – Lu Han 鹿晗 

♡ 2,575+
Although it’s still considered top 10 most popular Chinese actors on MDL, Lu Han hasn’t been active in dramas or movies last year. In 2021, he only took part in TV variety shows. Although his name is on the cast list for Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Zhu Ye, this actually is still unofficial (source: Sohu). So what is Lu Han doing? According to his page, on November 2021, it was announced that in 2022 (rumored in February, source here) Lu Han is getting married to actress Guan Xiao Tong who he met when they were filming Sweet Combat in 2017 (pictured in the drama). Then we can assume he freed his 2022 schedule from filming a drama/movie as he’s busy preparing his wedding. Congratulation to both actors!

Image source: qq.com


#8 – Luo Yun Xi (Leo Luo) 罗云熙

♡ 2,640+
Ready for release:

Light Chaser Rescue
Medical Examiner Dr. Qin: Corpse Whisperer (finished filming in 2016, in Douban the tentative airing is on 2022) 
Filming:

Till The End of The Moon (started on Nov, 2021)

Uncertain release:

Immortality (finished on Sept 2020)

Update unknown:

Talk To Your Heart 
Step by Step Lotus 
The Ten Years I Liked You 
Luo Yun Xi’s upcoming drama ready for release is the action romance Light Chaser Rescue that has obtained its distribution license in December 2021. He plays lawyer Luo Ben, who reunites with childhood enemy Zhan Yan (Janice Wu/Wu Qian) while looking for his missing brother in an earthquake disaster area.

Since his wuxia drama Immortality with Chen Fei Yu faces airing uncertainty due to the current harsh situation on BL dramas in China, maybe we should look forward to the xianxia Till The End of The Moon. However, probably it won’t be aired until the end of year. In the latter drama, Luo Yun Xi reunited with Bai Lu, his co-star from Love Is Sweet (2020). His character is the demon lord Tan Tai Jin, who is married to Bai Lu’s character Li Su Su who is supposed to kill him. Also, if last year you watched Miss the Dragon, you will see the exquisite Deng Wei (who played as the Second Male Lead) again in this drama.

Below is what the demon lord Tan Tai Jin looks like:

Source: Youku


#7 – Song Wei Long 宋威龙

♡ 2,755+

Ready for release:

Just For Meeting You (Aug 4, 2022)

Bionic (on Douban the tentative airing is 2022) 

Uncertain release:

A League of Nobleman (finished filming in December 2020)

If you’re a fan of Song Wei Long, the earliest you can watch him is probably in the upcoming youth romance movie Just For Meeting You that is scheduled to be aired this summer.

For drama buff, the actor has an upcoming thriller scifi drama, Bionic, that is part of the Light On Series. The story is about the not-too-distant future, when humans are relying on bionics for emotional support that triggers a series of cascading crises. The filming was really secretive. I only saw glimpses of a leaked filming scene taken on August 2021 with the two main leads, Song Wei Long and Vicky Chen. However, Douban put the tentative airing as this year.

And of course, the historical mystery A League of Nobleman is actually what a lot of people are waiting for, as it’s a BL adaptation as stated in MDL’s tag “Censored Adaptation Of Same-sex Original Work”. Song Wei Long played the poor scholar Zhang Ping, opposite Jing Bo Ran as Minister of Rites Lan Jue. Is it a BL adaptation, really? According to the manhua author Da Feng Gua Guo, in which the drama is based on her novel “The Mystery of Zhang Guo”, it’s a thriller mystery without romance at all (source). However, the author has distanced herself from the drama production as she disagrees with Song Wei Long playing Zhang Ping. The actor acted in Untouchable Lovers (2018), a drama alleged to have been plagiarized from her other work. According to the author, the drama is different from her novel. So it’s possible that the production team made it as a BL drama to ride with The Untamed (2019) and Word of Honor (2021) popularity. However, it’s now backfired because of NRTA’s call for a boycott against BL shows in September 2021. 

To rub salt into our wounds, below is A League of Nobleman trailer:

Source: WeTV Taiwan


#6 – Gong Jun (Simon Gong) 龚俊

♡ 3,063+

Finished filming:

Legend of Anle (November 2021)

Filming:

Rising With The Wind (scheduled to end on April 2022)

Update unknown:

Si Ming (unconfirmed)

Destined Wink 

The most anticipated Gong Jun drama by a lot of Chinese historical drama fans is Legend of Anle. Similar to The Long Ballad, the heroine Ren An Le (played by the same actress, Dilraba Dilmurat) seeks revenge after her entire family was falsely accused of treason and beheaded under the emperor’s edict, by infiltrating into the palace and meets the Crown Prince Han Ye (Gong Jun). Acting in the drama is also Liu Yu Ning as the second Male Lead. So, we can also expect to hear yet another beautiful OST sang by the singer-actor. The drama was just wrapped a few months ago, and if the review goes smoothly, expect to enjoy it in summer! As for now, watch the trailer below:

Source: Youku


#5 – Deng Lun (Allen Deng) 邓伦 

♡ 3,273+
Finished filming:

Night Wanderer  (November 2021)

Update unknown:

Ball Lightning 

Liang Jing Shi Wu Ri
 

Under the Mask: Season Two 

Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Wang Quan 

The Interpreter 

Uncertain release:

Long Ye Qu 

With several unconfirmed dramas and a movie that may be shelved for good, Deng Lun’s fans may not really have luck to see him this year. His movie Long Ye Qu is a sequel to the box office movie The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity (2020). Although the sequel was filmed at the same time as the prequel, however, because of the scandal of plagiarism issues committed by the movie director, we may never see him and Mark Chao duo.

Luckily, Deng Lun has one upcoming drama that finished filming a few months ago. If everything goes smoothly, we will enjoy the gorgeous couple Deng Lun and his co star Ni Ni in time travel romance Night Wanderer this summer. Ni Ni as Zong Ying bumps into Deng Lun’s character, Sheng Qing Rang, who is an attorney from 1937. As they go back and forth between two different eras, they gradually go from strangers to lovers.

Source: iQiyi


#4 – Xu Kai 许凯

♡ 3,811+
Ready for release:

She and Her Perfect Husband 

Finished filming:

Snow Eagle Lord
(February 2022)

Lost in the Kunlun Mountains 
(September 2021)

Announced:

Le You Yuan (January 2022)

Uncertain release:

Zhao Ge (finished 2016)

Xu Kai has two romance dramas ready to be released. The first is the contemporary romance She and Her Perfect Husband with Yang Mi, and the second one is historical romance Imperial Cuisine with Wu Jin Yan. The latter drama has undergone two NRTA reviews. If you’re wondering why it’s tight, that’s because it’s planned to be aired on HunanTV, which is a state-owned TV network.
For the non-romance drama fans, Xu Kai has two upcoming dramas. One is the mystery adventure drama Lost in Kunlun Mountains with a Republican era setting. The actor played as Ding Yun Qi, who accidentally discovers the secrets of Kunlun Ruins while investigating his brother’s disappearance. Although in tattered costume, fake wounds and bandages, Xu Kai still looked handsome at the wrapping ceremony.

Another drama I’m waiting for is the wuxia Snow Eagle Lord. The actor played as Dong Bo Xue Ying aka Snow Eagle, who embarks on a journey to save his parents, who were arrested by an enemy tribe. Below you can see that Dong Bo Xue Ying is not someone you want to mess with!

Source: KaGe Channel


#3 – Wang Yi Bo 王一博

♡ 5,171+
Ready for release:

Being a Hero (underwent seven reviews)

Formed Police Unit 

Finished filming:

Wu Ming (December 2021) 

Uncertain release:

Private ShuShan College (filmed in 2017)

Announced:

The Chinese Test Pilot

After undergoing seven NRTA reviews, finally mystery crime drama Being a Hero is ready for release. It’s a tough censorship process, since the drama is planned to be aired on state-owned network HunanTV. Wang Yi Bo played as narcotic policeman Chen Yu, opposite Chen Xiao as Wu Zheng Feng, Chen Yu’s best friend who becomes a murder suspect. You can watch the action-filled trailer below.
Wang Yi Bo acted in non-romantic dramas/movies this year, with mostly heroic characters, as seen from left to right: a narcotic police officer in Being a Hero, a peacekeeping officer in action thriller movie Formed Police Unit, and a Republican era soldier in highly anticipated war movie Wu Ming. Also, in his upcoming movie The Chinese Test Pilot he will act as a special mission pilot opposite Zhou Dong Yu.

Sources: MDL, wakwb.com, and sohu.com

Source: Youku


#2 – Xiao Zhan (Sean Xiao) 肖战

♡ 6,668+
Ready for release:

The Oath of Love 

The Longest Promise 

Confirmed:

Where Dreams Begin 

Xiao Zhan is my bias, I will watch him in anything. The first one is the long awaited romance drama The Oath of Love. Can you guess why it takes so long? It will be aired on the state-owned HunanTV also! Therefore, we can safely guess that his newer drama, the wuxia romance The Longest Promise, may air earlier in summer!
Xiao Zhan is also confirmed to act in youth romance drama Where Dreams Begin, about the growth of a group of young people in Beijing in the 70s. He will reunite with Li Qin from The Wolf (2020), who will be his romantic interest Tong Xiao Mei in this drama. And guess what… it will be aired on CCTV, so we can safely guess that it may take a long time to be aired!

Therefore, while waiting, let’s enjoy his 110 heart beats per minute in this trailer:

Source: Tencent Video


#1 – Yang Yang 杨洋

♡ 7,606+
Ready to release:

China Special Forces 
(projected first quarter of 2022)

Who Rules The World
(projected for April 2022)

Update unknown:

My Fireworks on Earth 

The King’s Avatar 2 

There are two of Yang Yang’s dramas that are expected to be released this year. First is the most anticipated wuxia romance Who Rules the World. Yang Yang played as Hei Feng Xi opposites Zhao Lu Si as Bai Feng Xi. They are opposites, like black and white, and unrivaled in skill. You can catch a glimpse of some of their martial arts action in the trailer below. Caught in the warfare and chaos of the martial arts world, they fall for each other amidst the ten-year feud.

Another Yang Yang drama that will come soon is the action military China Special Forces. Although not as popular as the drama above, if you’re the actor’s fan, it’s worth checking out. Yang Yang played as Yan Po Yue, a loner and a misfit in the military team. Since he cannot win the favor of his superior, he’s sent to become part of the kitchen crew, which turns out to be a place full of people with hidden talents.

Source: Tencent Video


CONCLUSION

That’s all, everyone, my countdown of the 30 most popular Chinese actors and their upcoming dramas/movies. I’m sure that upon going through the countdown, you may have Chinese favorite actors who don’t make the top thirty most popular list. As usual, my tradition on writing the most popular actor lists is to give you tips on what to do to make MDLers more aware of your favorite actors. Here are my from-hard-to-easy tips:

  • Most challenging: Write an Ultra Fan Guide for the actor to dig out his life story and career.
  • A little bit hard: Write recap articles on his dramas to convince us to watch him.
  • Middle ground: Write glowing reviews on his dramas/movies.
  • Almost easy: Send him flowers so his picture shows up on the Stars Leaderboard.
  • Too easy, it’s a given: Flood the Feed or Discussion section with his best pictures! ;D

Let us know who they are and why they are worthy checking out!

Who is your favorite Chinese actor in this list?

Which C-drama on the list will you watch?


AcknowledgementThank you to the editors who edited this article. Credits: The pictures are linked to their sources when they are not on MDL. All GIFs are self-made from official trailers linked to their sources. Feature image: a collage of actors’ character posters found on MDL, with exceptions: Gong Jun/Legend of Anle (from sohu.com), and Lu Han (from kpopstarz.com).
Edited by: devitto (1st editor)
yang yang
lu han
xu kai
song wei long
wang yi bo
luo yun xi
chinese actors
xiao zhan
deng lun
gong jun
hu yi tian

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