It’s commonplace for novels to be adapted into dramas and I am sure some of you are curious why popular novels get renamed. Trying to guess the reasons for some upcoming dramas can be quite interesting.
The novel Emperor’s Conquest 帝王业 was renamed to Empress’ Conquest (literal translation Emperor Phoenix Conquest 帝凰业). The change for a more feminine title was said to be done on behalf of Zhang Ziyi. The new name didn’t seem to stick as a poster was recently released with the title Monarch Industry 江山故人.
The Rise of Phoenixes has undergone the same thing. Based from a novel of the same name, the Chinese title Feng Quan 凰权 emphasizes the phoenix’s rise to power and focuses on the heroine. Due to Chen Kun being the leading man, the title became Feng Quan Yi Tian Xia 凰权·弈天下 to include Yi from Chen Kun’s character named Ning Yi.
Recent reports indicate another name change to Tian Sheng Chang Ge 天盛长歌 that may have been due to censorship as Quan (means power) may have been too dominant. This drama was also modified from 50 episodes to 70 episodes which I don’t think the fans mind. The English title seems quite unaffected.
The novel The Chronicles of the Six Dynasties 六朝纪事 was changed to Empress of the Ming 大明皇妃·孙若微传 to highlight the position of lead actress Tang Wei.
This drama is the only one on the list that is not based on a novel, but it still underwent a few name changes. It was originally called Female Tycoon of Great Qin 大秦女首富, but may have been too generic and literal in its meaning that it was changed to Win the World 赢天下. This may not have gone well with censorship as it comes off really strong, so it was again changed to Legend of Ba Qing 巴清传.
The novel Empress Fuyao 扶摇皇后 was changed to a simpler Fuyao 扶摇. The English title is Legend of Fuyao.
Zhao Liying’s new costume drama is based from the novel Do You Know? It Ought To Be a Red Flower Amongst The Leaves 知否？知否？应是绿肥红瘦 which was later published as Legend of Concubine’s Daughter Minglan 庶女·明兰传. The drama stuck with the poetic Chinese title while choosing The Story of Minglan for its English title.
The novel Poison Genius Consort 天才小毒妃 was changed to Legend of Yun Xi 芸汐传. It seems like the show runners decided to go mainstream with this one to add to the many Legend of Somethings.