• Jun Ji Hyun said the special episode will answer questions in the minds of "Kingdom" fans
  • The prequel will tell the origin of the plague
  • Unlike in the first two seasons of the series, "Kingdom: Ashin of the North" is set in the northern regions of Joseon

South Korean actress Jun Ji Hyun is thrilled to bits.  The prequel to her hit Netflix series, “Kingdom” is all set to release Friday.

"Kingdom: Ashin of the North" will tell viewers the origin of the “resurrection plant” or the “saengsacho," the cause of the plague that turned people into zombies in Korea’s Joseon Dynasty.

“When I first read the screenplay, I anticipated that this special episode will expand the universe of 'Kingdom' indefinitely. I was thrilled at the thought that I could start the big story,” the star of the 2013 hit TV series "My Love from the Star" was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as she spoke in an online press conference.

The actress’ character, “Ashin” appeared in the final moments of the second season of the hit series as a mysterious female warrior who survived the loss of loved ones owing to the plague.

While the first two seasons of the popular zombie series were set inside the kingdom of the Joseon Dynasty, the upcoming 92-minute special episode is set in the frigid regions of northern Joseon to establish the story of how the plague came about, Soompi said.

“I started by thinking about where the resurrection plant came from. I hoped to satiate people’s curiosity about who Ashin was and what had happened up in the northern regions. I thought a lot about the resurrection plant and I investigated a lot of material. The plant has very cold properties, so I became interested in the northern regions, and what would happen if the plant bloomed in a place like that,” Screenwriter Kim Eun Hee said in the conference as cited by Soompi.

The global hit “Kingdom” was the first Korean original drama series produced by Netflix in 2019 with a follow-up season in 2020. The drama is an amalgamation of zombie gore with traditional Korean sword fights and costumes.

Jun Ji Hyun said she was excited to begin filming “Ashin of the North” as it is a clear attempt to explain so many mysteries in the series.

“After I appeared at the end of season 2, I got a lot of questions like, ‘Why were you there?’ When I read the script for ‘Ashin of the North,’ I thought that the world of ‘Kingdom’ could undergo infinite expansion. I was really excited to be the start of that,” she said in the Soompi article.

gettyimages-1134395349-1024x1024 Jun Ji-hyun, South Korean actress Photo: Getty Images