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EXOPlanet vs SM Culture Universe: EXO-Ls furious over 'disrespect' for K-pop band in KWANGYA concept

KWANGYA, a new shared SM culture universe, seems pretty similar to EXO's concept EXOPlanet. 'Suddenly everyone in SM is supposed to have superpowers,' said one irate fan
EXO at 6 Underground World Premiere (Woohae Cho/Getty Images)
EXO at 6 Underground World Premiere (Woohae Cho/Getty Images)

SM Entertainment has been in the K-pop industry for a long time. So, they are well aware that to stay ahead of the game, they need to keep coming up with new ideas. When they first introduced the idea of AI counterparts for girl group Aespa, it was shocking yet innovative. Even the ever-expanding NCT is something fans can get behind if the warm welcome seen for the newest members, Sungchan and Shotaro, is any indication. However, some ideas do tend to backfire. When Aespa debuted, SM released cryptic information about the word “KWANGYA.” People were confused when it again showed up in NCT and then EXO’s music videos. Turns out SM has taken a page from the Marvel universe and decided to create a similar 'SM Culture Universe' for all the SM groups called KWANGYA. But EXO-Ls are not happy with this development. 

For quite a while, EXO-Ls have been unhappy with how SM has been managing EXO. In fact, many even joked and asked EXO to pull a “GOT7” whereby the members stay active together but leave the company. Looks like KWANGYA was the last straw for them. On June 29th, when SM introduced their future plans through SM Congress 2021, fans noticed something odd. In the 1-hour video presentation, EXO barely got any screentime despite the company acknowledging the group’s influence. Things got worse when SM announced the concept behind KWANGYA and how similar it sounded to EXO’s concept, EXOPlanet.


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EXO's Don't Fight The Feeling  (EXO Instagram)

EXOPlanet Vs SM Culture Universe

While older SM groups have used supernatural concepts now and again, it was different with EXO. When EXO debuted, SM stuck to just one concept — the superpower concept. It was hinted that these powers would be explored further as they continued to make new music. Each member had a superpower and their 'origins' were linked to EXOPlanet. Though SM later scrapped the idea, there were still hints about EXOPlanet throughout EXO’s title songs. The 'superpowers' concept came back with renewed emphasis in Obsession and Don’t Fight The Feeling. Therefore, EXO has always had a fixed storyline since their very first music video and fans believe that absorbing the EXOPlanet storyverse into KWANGYA will ruin it.

Fans took to Twitter and trended #FREE_EXO to showcase their displeasure, “They literally pay your bills SM #FREE_EXO.” Another fan tweeted, “#EXO only belongs to EXOPLANET!!!! SM RESPECTS EXO'S CONCEPT.” Another EXO-L explicitly called out SM for assimilating EXOPlanet through KWANGYA, “SM RESPECTS EXO'S CONCEPT No more Kwangya EXO FROM EXO PLANET.” While no one was gatekeeping the supernatural concept, fans were unhappy that SM was expanding the idea instead of working on EXO’s concept that has been neglected for years, “Suddenly everyone in SM is supposed to have superpowers SM RESPECTS EXO'S CONCEPT.” Another fan spoke aloud what was in everyone’s mind, “exo have their own storyline but SM decided to messed them up with this whole k word.”

Many also saw the irony of EXO barely getting any screentime in the conference while their concept was being taken away from them, “Those 2 seconds was the only time exo got so if y’all are asking, check knocknock’s 2 Sec stretched video.” One daring fan went as far as to state that SM might be doing this for duplicitous reasons, “The fact that SM is changing everything. Like the theories, and including other groups all because they are clearly scared... Like it's obvious now that they aren't renewing the contract so sm just want to spread their concept with everyone to keep the excitement.”








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