The Heavenly Idol (2023)
Title: The Heavenly Idol
Hangul: 성스러운 아이돌
Writer: Lee Chun-geum
Director: Lee So-yoon
Network: TVNING, tvN
The Heavenly Idol Cast and Characters
The Heavenly Idol Plot
During a battle with the Evil One, a pontifex named Rembrary is transported into the body of Woo Yeon-woo, a member of the flop idol group Wild Animal.
The Heavenly Idol Ending Explained
Does The Heavenly Idol have a Happy Ending?
Yes, The Heavenly Idol ends with all of the good guys alive, the evil defeated, and couples together. The finale is a bit of a mess with much of the focus on the drama’s lackluster villains. But Rembrary, Dal, Gam-jae, and the members of Wild Animal all get their happy ending.
What Happened to Rembrary?
Rembrary wins Best Rookie at a drama award show, fulfilling the vow he made with Yeon-woo. Rembrary returns to his body in the other realm which has descended into chaos in his absence.
Rembrary finds out that Redrin is behind everything – the chaos on earth as well as the deaths of all his friends and family. Rembrary also learns that he was created by Redrin using a part of her soul.
After Redrin is defeated, Rembrary remains in the mortal world as a member of Wild Animal while also helping rid the world of the evil remnants of black magic that remain.
What Happened to Dal?
Dal is the hero of The Heavenly Idol and the one ultimately responsible for the defeat of Redrin.
Dal sells her soul writing a vow to destroy the holy relic which strips Redrin of her power. The destruction of the holy relic releases the souls trapped and Redrin loses her power source.
But in exchange, Dal loses her memories and everyone loses their memories of Dal.
Dal continues working in the entertainment industry where she encounters Rembrary and Wild Animal but they do not recognize one another.
At the end of The Heavenly Idol, Dal gets her memories back after being healed by Rembrary and the drama ends with her smiling happily at Rembrary.
What Happened to the Real Yeon-woo?
The real Yeon-woo returns to his world after Rembrary wins the acting award.
After being confronted by Rembrary at the Wild Animal dorm, Yeon-woo is revealed…to not exist.
“Yeon Woo” is a man named Ardor from Rembrary’s realm.
Ardor envied Rembrary for his good looks and powers and was approached by Redrin to become Rembrary’s earth alter-ego.
Ardor was told by Redrin to make people hate “Yeon-woo” (to weaken his powers) and in exchange, he’d become just like Rembrary.
RELATED: Business Proposal Ending Explained
What Happened to Gam-jae?
After Redrin is defeated, Grim Reaper Gam-jae becomes the manager of Wild Animal and has ditched his all-black outfits for a lighter wardrobe.
What Happened to the Evil One?
The Evil One is killed by Redrin who traps him in the ring she gave him to take his power.
What Happened to Redrin?
Redrin, the deity Rembrary worships, is revealed to be evil.
She killed many Pontifices and people over hundreds of years including Rembrary’s family and friends.
Redrin used the members of the religious cult and the holy relic on Earth to trap the souls she needs to feed her deity powers.
Redrin is also revealed to not be an actual deity but a…seaweed spirit.
She became a deity after saving a human and the human worshiping her as a deity.
People believing Redrin to be a deity gave her the powers of a deity.
To gain power, Redrin hurt all those who believed in her. She killed the members of her cult, The Evil One, and also tried to kill Rembrary.
As a result, she loses all her believers and her power.
At the end of The Heavenly Idol, Redrin is alive but is locked up in the Afterlife.
What Happened to Wild Animal?
Wild Animal win their first-ever award at the Korea Music Awards thanks to the dance practice videos posted by their leader, Jeong-seo.
Wild Animal become very successful as a group, winning awards and topping the charts.
Their schedules are packed and they are no longer fail idols.
Do Rembrary and Dal End Up Together?
Rembrary and Dal lose their memories of one another but get them back in the end after Rembrary heals Dal.
The Heavenly Idol ends with the two smiling at one another. Undoubtedly, they will resume their relationship now that their memories have returned.
Do Sun Ja and Woo Shil End Up Together?
The Wild Animal CEO and the veteran singer who dated in the past rekindle their romance.
RELATED: Still 17 Ending Explained
The Heavenly Idol Ending Review
From the very first episode of The Heavenly Idol, I was dreading Rembrary leaving and the return of Yeon-woo.
Dramas with body/soul swaps rarely have satisfying endings and I was honestly expecting the worst. The Heavenly Idol also didn’t put any effort into making Yeon-woo likable so I was dreading watching him return to reap the rewards of Rembrary’s hard work.
But I was pleasantly surprised at how The Heavenly Idol solved their two protagonists problem!
Compared to the Reborn Rich ending and Mr. Queen ending, I thought the ending of The Heavenly Idol did justice to their title character. The drama rightly recognized Rembrary as the male lead and wrote a twist that ensured he would get his happily-ever-after.
Not to mention, everyone’s reaction to the Real Yeon-woo was hilarious.
I haven’t laughed so hard watching a drama in a long time!
A funny and inspired twist and emotionally satisfying for everyone as well.
The Heavenly Idol Review
Is The Heavenly Idol Worth Watching?
The Heavenly Idol has a fun premise and talented cast but suffers from weak execution.
A drama about a priest from another realm swapping places with a kpop idol? The concept is pure fun and The Heavenly Idol is at its best when Rembrary is a fish out of water adjusting to idol life.
Sadly, The Heavenly Idol never manages to find a good balance between the idol and fantasy storylines resulting in disjointed worldbuilding, plotholes, and underdeveloped characters.
All in all, an unsatisfying watch despite the charming leads and fun set-up.
The Main Leads
Go Bo-gyeol as Kim Dal
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Kim Dal, the fangirl turned manager but she turned out to be the MVP of The Heavenly Idol for me.
She’s the more serious counterpart to Rembrary’s quirky and lighthearted character and often, this type of character can be a fun sponge and drag down the drama.
Thankfully, this wasn’t the case with Dal.
Yes, she does order Rembrary around and puts a stop to some of his fun but Bo Gyeol does so with charm and neatly avoids veering into killjoy territory.
Dal is a likable, smart, and determined female lead and a great partner to Kim Min-gue’s Rembrary.
She does everything in her power to help Rembrary succeed as an idol.
She protects and saves Rembrary from the Evil One and his minions all without the help of supernatural powers.
Even against the supernatural, she doesn’t hesitate to run into the fight even going to the other realm to get Rembrary back.
There’s a reason why Gam-jae gauges her interest in becoming a Grim Reaper!
Kim Dal also serves as the drama’s emotional center.
When Kim Dal was first introduced, I was very surprised at how dark her backstory was.
And I didn’t expect it to be so emotionally impactful.
The Heavenly Idol never goes into specifics on what Dal said or did that makes her believe Liz Ri’s suicide attempt is her fault.
Instead, the drama focuses on how it affected and continues to affect Dal’s life.
How deeply depressed she is from what happened and her struggles to work through the trauma.
The Heavenly Idol does a fine job of cutting to the heart of depression and suicidal thoughts with Dal.
Dal is smart and capable. She has purpose. But she still struggles.
It’s one of my favourite depictions of depression I’ve seen in a kdrama in a long time.
Kim Min-gue as Rembrary
Kim Min-gue really showed off his comedic timing as the loveable
Watching Rembrary navigate the strange new world he finds himself in and reacting to things that are unfamiliar to him had me in stitches.
I laughed every time Rembrary was on a sugar high. Or looked at someone with his patented holier-than-thou expression. Or pouted over his awful salad. Or spoke in his calm meditation app voice.
Kim Min-gue’s expressions, body language, and tone of voice made Rembrary so funny and endearing.
I also really loved how gentle and compassionate Rembrary is.
Rembrary’s raison d’être is healing others and I loved watching him realize the limitations of his power and adjust accordingly.
Yes, his magical abilities can’t heal Dal’s depression or Kasy’s anxiety.
But he can be there for them and comfort them and help them heal in that way. No magic required.
Rembrary’s genuine care towards Dal and his Wild Animal group members was heartwarming to watch.
Rembrary’s humour and heart make him a male lead that’s easy to love and root for.
Rembrary’s Lack of Character Development
As much as I love Rembrary, I was really disappointed by his lack of character development. Compared to Dal, he just doesn’t quite feel like a fully-realized character which is ridiculous because he’s the title character.
We learn relatively early that Rembrary lost all his friends and family before becoming a Pontifex but the drama waits until the last episode for the big reveal and betrayal.
Rembrary realizes the deity he worshipped was the one responsible for killing his family and friends.
Rembrary is not given much time to process and react. We don’t see the impact of this life-shattering revelation on Rembrary.
It should’ve been devastating but The Heavenly Idol quickly moves past it which is a huge disservice to Rembrary and Kim Min-gue.
Dal and Rembrary’s Love Story
I really loved the bond between Dal and Rembrary and how they grew to trust and rely on one another.
Dal was a great support system for Rembrary, helping him navigate a strange new world and protecting him. I loved watching her gradually soften and grow to trust Rembrary.
Rembrary was so sweet in how much he cared for Dal and comforted her. His compassion and tenderness towards her were incredibly touching.
The ingredients were there for a good romance.
But I just wasn’t convinced by their romantic chemistry.
I liked the writing and watching the progression of Rembrary and Dal’s relationship but the romance just didn’t hit the mark for me chemistry-wise.
Park Sung-nam as Sa Gam-jae
Gam-jae is possibly the most useless grim reaper I’ve ever seen in a kdrama.
But I say that with love.
Yes, the gorgeous and awkward grim reaper didn’t add much to the plot of The Heavenly Idol.
His powers were underused and largely undefined so I can’t even confidently say how powerful he actually was.
Frankly, Gam-jae really didn’t do much to actually help our leads.
But I loved him because his interactions with Rembrary and Dal added more fun and laughs to the drama.
I loved the intense staring contests with Rembrary.
I loved Gam-jae awkwardly trying to join Wild Animal’s group hug only to hug himself.
I loved Gam-jae trying to recruit Dal as a grim reaper.
Gam-jae was not an impactful character plot-wise but I enjoyed watching him and he added a bit more fun to the drama so I love him for that.
Rembrary finding himself in the body of an idol group member is part of the main premise but bafflingly, Wild Animal are largely treated as an afterthought in The Heavenly Idol.
Each member briefly gets a mini spotlight in which Rembrary learns a bit about each member’s sad past and bonds with them.
The Heavenly Idol did a fine job showing how hard the members of Wild Animal worked to pursue their dreams and the toll it takes on them when things don’t work out.
Each Wild Animal member has a distinct look and personality and the actors all do a good job with the brief screentime they get. The chemistry they all have with Rembrary is fantastic too.
They’re just not given enough to do.
We never got to see Wild Animal actually perform as a group. Not even a full dance practice.
We don’t even get to hear a Wild Animal song in full.
A drama about idols and we don’t get any memorable songs from the group?!
A weird choice made by The Heavenly Idol creative team!
The Heavenly Idol ends with Wild Animal finally achieving success as a group.
I was happy for the boys of Wild Animal but at the same time, I couldn’t fully enjoy it because honestly, it felt unearned and undeserved.
Are they even a good group? We didn’t see enough of them to tell!
Wild Animal’s CEO and Her Love Interest
Every minute spent on these characters and their storyline was a minute wasted.
RELATED: Still 17 Ending Explained
The Evil One & Redrin
The Heavenly Idol spent a lot of screentime on the villains to the detriment of the drama.
From The Evil One to the goblins to the ogres to Redrin, none of the villains are very interesting and the drama did a horrible job balancing their plotlines with the idol plotlines.
The Heavenly Idol villains would’ve worked better if they had been more neatly incorporated into the more interesting idol plot.
I love the idea of idols literally selling their souls for success and superstardom but sadly, the plot was poorly executed and quickly resolved.
This storyline had a lot of potential and was a missed opportunity for The Heavenly Idol.
Will there be a Season 2 of The Heavenly Idol?
No plans for season 2 of The Heavenly Idol have been announced by TVNING/tvN.
Should You Watch The Heavenly Idol?
The Heavenly Idol is neither a good fantasy drama nor a good idol drama.
Go Bo-gyeol and Kim Min-gue give strong individual performances and the relationship between Dal and Rembrary is sweet but they lack romantic chemistry.
Overall, the drama is poorly written and doesn’t live up to its fun premise.
Frankly, The Heavenly Idol is a drama best enjoyed through compilations and TikToks.
What did you think of The Heavenly Idol?