So now that OCTB has officially aired its finale, here are some "final numbers" in terms of internet viewership ratings as well as some info about the series and its sequel(s) straight from the mouths of the series' producers (Jones Soong and Danny Chan) and screenwriter.
As anticipated, viewership ratings in Mainland China (via streaming platform Youku) reached 1.3 billion for the finale (quite impressive if you ask me!). In HK, viewership ratings via Youtube clocked in at 28 million (also impressive considering the production company is relatively unknown and there were duplicate versions of the series uploaded to other channels on Youtube). During the celebratory dinner, Jones Soong announced that they there will definitely be season 2 (which starts filming early 2018), but to many people's surprise, he also said that they are planning season 3 as well (I actually wasn't surprised, as I had read an interview that Danny Chan did earlier where he said that the script for seasons 1 through 3 had already been written awhile back ago).
As I'm sure those who've been following this series know, there has been much speculation amongst fans on who will be participating in OCTB's sequel(s). One of the strengths of the series was in its veteran cast and their top-notch acting, which garnered a lot of praise from netizens and general audiences who were tired of the overall crappy performances from TVB's younger generation. [***SPOILER ALERT***] Those who watched OCTB from beginning to end know that almost all of the veterans in the series either died or went to jail (except for Michael Chan, who remains the head of triad group Wo Hing Sing…for now)….so it makes sense that they will need to recruit another group of veterans for the sequel(s).
On the day the finale aired, the production team held a celebratory banquet attended by the series' cast and crew. At the dinner, reporters asked the series director / executive producer Jones Soong what the plans were for seasons 2 and 3 as well as whether the rumors about certain artists participating in the sequels have any merit (for the record, the rumored "names" so far that fans are most concerned about are: Ekin Cheng, Michael Tse, Anthony Wong, Roy Cheung – all from Young and Dangerous franchise). Here is Jones Soong's response (excerpted and translated directly from the above HK01 article): "All I can say is that for season 2, there will definitely be a few 'heavyweights' participating…who those artists are though, I cannot reveal right now. We actually have plans to do season 3 as well, so we can't use up all the artists in one shot – we need to add them in slowly. One thing I can tell you is that the list of rumored artists currently circulating on the internet, majority of them you will likely see [in upcoming seasons]. The purpose of our series is actually to pay tribute to the triad films of the 1990s, so it's natural to incorporate classic characters from the Y&D franchise. Audiences will need to wait and see!"
Screenwriter Paul Chung (鍾盛遠) revealed that in season 2, 'Dai Sir's' room will be occupied by a "heavyweight" character. [**SPOILER** Remember that in the first season, Dai Sir was played by Philip Chan, who was killed in a bomb blast after being kidnapped by Justin Cheung's character]. He also revealed that in Season 2, one member of the B1-1 police team will "defect to the other side" – who that person is and why, of course we will have to wait until season 2 to find out.
A few other tidbits (some of these are spoilers for those who didn't watch the finale, so read at your own risk)….
- OCTB's production team gave us a few "Easter eggs" at the end of the series. One of them was the revelation by Wo Hing Sing's leader Sun Ye (Michael Chan) that he has a son named 'Michael' who will be returning to HK to take over the group. This is obviously significant given a lot of the stuff that happened in the series was the direct result of the various triad guys fighting over the top leadership spot. There has been speculation on who 'Michael' will be. Based on the scene where Sun Ye 'calls' Michael and tells him it's time to come back and we see the back of a guy sitting at a desk picking up the phone, there is much speculation that 'Michael' will be Danny Chan's character turned bad (the backside of the person in the scene actually does look like Danny)….this speculation was further strengthened through the second "Easter egg" where Danny's character meets up with Jordan's character to say goodbye and tells him that, after everything that's happened, he is not sure about his plans for the future and for now just wants a break from everything. So is Danny actually going to be 'Michael'? I guess we will have to wait until season 2 to find out.
- Regarding the speculation about Michael Tse possibly participating in the sequel….supposedly, reporters had asked Michael whether he will be joining the cast and he had said no he won't. The reporters asked Jones Soong at the celebration dinner, telling him that Michael said he won't be participating in the series. Jones replied: "He will be in it. Actually, from the beginning [season 1], we had invited him to participate, but it wasn't able to happen. You will see it happen in season 2.." The reporter then asked further whether that means Michael Tse will for sure be part of the season 2 cast, to which Jones then said: "Let's wait for the official announcement, since I'm not supposed to say anything right now. We are planning to start filming season 2 in January 2018 and the entire cast will be announced prior to that, so keep an eye out for that. Since it will be in December, consider it our Christmas present to you!"
- It's pretty obvious from the finale (the third "Easter Egg") that Justin Cheung will continue to be in season 2 and his villain character Jiu Jik (I probably butchered the spelling) will return to wreak havoc on Wo Hing Sing. He was essentially the ultimate villain in season 1, but what will his role be in season 2? From what has come out so far, it sounds like there will be another battle for the Wo Hing Sing top spot in season 2, though to what capacity we don't know.
- Rumor has it that Jordan Chan might not return as a lead in season 2.. The production team said that they are working with him, but it depends on his schedule next year. If they are able to work out his schedule, then he will reprise his role in the same capacity. If not, then he will still participate in the series, but in a smaller role where he will only show up every once in a while – as often as his schedule allows (in the reduced role, his character will get promoted to Superintendent of Police and will be in scenes as necessary, similar to Gregory Rivers in the first season). If Jordan won't be able to participate, then that leaves Danny as the main lead going into season 2 – if the rumors of Danny's character defecting are true, then they are going to need another lead to take Jordan's place on the police side…makes it more likely that the person might be Michael Tse or Ekin Cheng (or someone else altogether of course, but it would need to be someone around same level / age). As I said earlier, I'm pretty sure Anthony Wong will be in season 2 (no confirmation, just a gut feeling on my part), but highly doubt he will take Jordan's spot, as he is too old for that role – most likely he will either be Dai Sir (if he is on the police side) or one of the big shot gangster guys (if he is on the triad side). Could also be someone else entirely who has not been mentioned yet of course….I guess we will find out in December.
- Within 24 hours of the final episode's broadcast, the entire series was removed from Youtube. There was actually warning of this on the production team's Facebook page, but they didn't make the announcement until the day of – obviously they got some heat from audiences on this, since it wasn't enough notice for people who hadn't caught up yet to finish watching the series (there was speculation that the production team took down the series because of marketing concerns and they would have to start charging to watch the series or repackage as DVD). For those of you who haven't finished watching the series yet and are freaking out right now – DON'T WORRY….at the dinner, Jones Soong explained the reason for removing the series (to enhance the series and correct any mistakes that were in there) and confirmed that they will be putting back up a 2.0 version that will also be free for audiences to watch. He said they are not sure when the date will be but to watch for the official announcement on their website.