Fans Not Happy with Adaptation of Battle Through the Heavens

Wu Lei Battle Through The Heavens Poster
Wu Lei, also known as the nation's little brother, hasn't been having the greatest year. With Asura flopping in the box office, he had two more dramas for the summer. His second drama Battle Through the Heavens 斗破苍穹 started airing on on Hunan TV last week, but feedback has not been good. 

Prior to Battle Through the Heavens Martial Universe starring Yang Yang is another drama based from another Tiancan Tudou's novel that was released early August. Being the more popular of the two Tiancan Tudou novels, expectations were higher for Battle Through the Heavens, so it's disappointing that both seem to be fall short. 

Wu Lei's ability to portray the main character Xiao Yan is said to be way off the mark from the depiction in the novel. It is not only Wu Lei's acting ability that is being scrutinized but there were complains that the clothes didn't fit the actors well, there were too many side characters and that the storyline deviated too much from the novel. Fans are aware that adaptations have a tendency to make changes, but many wondered about the need for such drastic differences when the original was good enough. It is also not fantasy-like for a fantasy drama.

Tiancan Tudou took to Weibo to praise Wu Lei's interpretation of Xiao Yan with a caption saying - Every reader will have his/her version of Xiao Yan. In his opinion, Wu Lei did a good job and he is looking forward to seeing more of Wu Lei's Xiao Yan.

Wu Lei Battle Through The Heavens
Wu Lei admits that the plot may have changed but the essence of the novel and its characters are still the same. I guess he should know since the actor is a fan of the novel himself.  While the then-17-year old Wu Lei is close in age with the character, he reveals that he was a bit anxious to play Xiao Yan and wondered what the fans of the novel would feel after watching the drama.

I think there is immense pressure on the part of the adaptation especially when there's a cult following, but it definitely is possible. What do you think of the adaptation? 

Source: 1, 2, 3


  1. It’s not his fault when there are changes. If the complaints are on his acting, then it’s acceptable. I also feel many are seeing him as the little brother. It will take time for him to get past the child actor image.

    1. I am okay with this drama I love to watch.. I did not sleep until it finished.

  2. He keeps picking really bad dramas. Acting wise, I havent seen him do anything good after Nirvana. I like him so I hope he picks better projects next time.

  3. If directors had a choice of casting, a drama will likely be better. But often, the decision are made by investor/sponsor, so it is always young idols are pick. I like Wu Lei but I feel he need to be in very good supporting roles along with a good actor for afew years before he lead a drama.

  4. I'm watching and highly enjoying this, maybe because I haven't read the novel. I don't know how Xiao Yan should've been portrayed like but I think in the show he is an easily likable and rootable main character, and WL did fine. He was a bit green in the first episodes but he got better. He has quite strong screen presence actually.

  5. I'm not watching the drama
    I went to visit Douban (not pleasant place) and the drama and Wu Lei are receiving hate. The comments are more or less like you posted here.
    Copy & Paste from Douban
    12,366 people rated
    Douban score 5.2
    5 stars 7.2%
    4 stars 20.6%
    3 stars 25.3%
    2 stars 19.6%
    1 star 27.3%

  6. for this kind of adaptation (martial cultivation immortal type), most of them i found it's dissapointing ... except may be in romance aspect, some are very good. i know it's still very hard to cover all aspect in the novel with real people, real movie set, even with cgi help. every time i'm excited with the series from this kind of novel but in the end always let me down. personally i think is bad to adapt novel with 1500+ chapters into series below 100 episode.

  7. I liked Wu Lei in Sand Sea! He played the teen who was forced into exploring the tombs and reluctantly eventually embracing the sport. He was very rootable there and was able to play the character well - Li Cu could easily have been annoying and difficult, but Wu Lei played it well with a boyish charm. I loved it!

  8. Just finished the season 1 and came here upon searching for information of season 2. I just don't understand when seeing everyone's complaints about the story and Wu Lei. To me the story goes on very well and very addicting, i didn't skip even a second of the story. I hope there will be a news of season 2 soon and the original casts still remain.

  9. I agree with JenA. Wu Lei was good in Sand Sea. I start watching Battle Through the Heavens first with the CGI Donghua version and really liked the CGI version. Didn't dare to watch the live adaptation after seeing majority not so good comments. I usually watched/listened to all the Chinese drama and donghua because there were no audiobook that I can find and a lot of great novels/fictions in China are adapted into drama series or animation. But I think in adaptation, its important the story must flow nicely. Otherwise people like me who also rely on them as audio story, will get confuse. I am much confuse in Martial Universe. The story change very abruptly to next scene here and there.......

  10. This drama is so amazing to thanks you... anyways When is the Season 2 release?

  11. In my own view, Wu Lei really played the role very well even though I'm yet to read the novel.. We're really enjoying the movie here..we're looking forward to the season 2..we really need to watch that 2nd season,cause right now, we're in full suspense.

  12. When will the season 2 be released? We are waiting anxiously and hoping with the original cast, please tell the possibilities

  13. i didn't read the novel either and saw the drama, it was good, i couldn't stop watching, now i'm waiting on season 2.

  14. people should not complain and compare the novel-animation-series. whats the purpose of making 3 versions if they will do the same..
    i actually like the series than the anime, anime expressions are bland and story was for the authors convinience only..
    hope season 2 comes, and guess what? no one knows what will happen..

  15. I Loved it people are so IGNORANT blaming the lead actor for the director changes a script smh. I'm rooting for you Leo!!! Love him.