Netflix's Goodbye Earth Removed Yoo Ah-in Scenes Amid Actor Controversy

By Klein Felt Posted:
Netflix Goodbye Earth, Yoo Ah-in

Goodbye Earth star Yoo Ah-in had most of his scenes removed from the Netflix series, following controversy surrounding the Korean actor. 

The dystopian sci-fi drama hit the service on April 26, introducing audiences to a tale of Earth mere months before an asteroid ends all life on the planet. 

Yoo Ah-in plays one of the Korean series' lead characters, Yoon Sang-eun, the longtime lover of the main character, Jin Se-kyung (played by Ahn Eun-jin). 

Yoo Ah-in Cut From Goodbye Earth

Yoo Ah-in as Yoon Sang-eun in Goodbye Earth on Netflix

Goodbye Earth director Kim Jin-min addressed the partial removal of star Yoo Ah-in from the series following controversy surrounding the South Korean actor. 

Yoo was indicted on drug charges in October 2023, which is a major taboo in Korea. This essentially ended his career working in Korean TV and movies. 

Kim told the Korean news outlet Nate shortly after his Netflix series premiered that he "edited out the inconvenient parts" featuring the Yoon Sang-eun actor but could not remove him entirely for story reasons:

"I edited out the inconvenient parts, but I couldn't completely remove him because he was a big part of the story."

According to the Goodbye Earth director, he "never doubted that this series would [be released]" but knew Yoo's drug charges would significantly change the series (via Korea Herald):

"Although there was a significant amount of time for waiting, I never doubted that this series would not be revealed. It was fate to come out to the world and meet the audience."

Luckily, this came as Kim was already considering "edit[ing] the story all over:"

"When the issue broke out, I was actually in the middle of editing the third episode. Coincidentally, it was a time when I thought that I wanted to edit the story all over again, after understanding new, important parts in the later episodes. So I edited as a whole"

After going in front of the court in December 2023, Yoo faced a second trial in January, being accused of habitual drug use and illegally obtaining medical narcotics (including 1,100 sleeping pills under 44 other people's names), per Times of India

He has since lost his role as one of the leads in Season 2 of the South Korean drama Hellbound because of the controversy and was pulled from several ad campaigns that featured the actor. 

How Yoo Ah-in's Absence Effect's Goodbye Earth

While Yoo Ah-in may have filmed Netflix's Goodbye Earth as one of the series' biggest stars, that is no longer the case. 

Instead, as director Kim Jin-min revealed, he only appears at critical story points that could not be cut and remains absent for the rest of the series. 

This is hardly the first time a character's role has been significantly changed in post-production (i.e., Amber Heard in Aquaman 2). Still, it is a prominent example given Yoo's rising star status in Korean TV and movies. 

This is a young actor who has garnered much notoriety in recent years for his work in Korean titles like Hellbound, #Alive, and the international hit Burning

However, his image has been considerably sullied. Drug use in Korean culture is extremely frowned upon, and getting taken in on charges such as the ones Yoo was can be career-ending. 

Should Goodbye Earth be given a second season (which seems unlikely given the fiery ending of the first season), one can assume Yoo will not be involved in any way, with the show's creative opting to either recast or exclude the character. 

Goodbye Earth is streaming now on Netflix. 

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.