The Legends set to the Wicked soundtrack, or why Zhaoyao is Elphaba

“Are people born wicked? Or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?”

A photographic essay on why Lu Zhaoyao (played by Bai Lu)  from The Legends 招摇 is Elphaba.

update: this is only true up to when she explodes the first time. After that, the series goes into original content and all consistent characterization and plot also explode.


Like Elphaba, Zhaoyao began as an idealist. She embarks on a journey go see her mentor and the head of land, thinking he’ll support her decisions and declare her good.

The Wizard and I

Do you think the Wizard is dumb?
Or, like Munchkins, so small-minded?
No! He’ll say to me, “I see who you truly are
A girl on whom I can rely!”
And that’s how we’ll begin
The Wizard and I.

“I’m not wrong. I’m not wicked. I left the mountain of demons and have done nothing that I regret. You’re wrong. You killed innocents. You lost your way. ” – Zhaoyao




Captured by her mentor, Zhaoyao realizes that he was the baddie all along.

Defying Gravity

Elphaba: It’s the wizard who should be afraid, of me.

Glinda: Elphie, listen to me, just say you’re sorry!
You can still be with the wizard
What you’ve worked and waited for
You can have all you ever wanted

Elphaba: But I don’t want it
No, I can’t want it anymore
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same …
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

Zhaoyao spends the next five years living up to her name of being wicked.

Defying Gravity

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky
As someone told me lately
“Ev’ryone deserves the chance to fly”
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who’d ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I’m flying high
Defying gravity
And soon I’ll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down

She becomes synonymous with wickedness throughout the land.

Thank Goodness

Ev’ry day, more wicked
Ev’ry day, the terror grows
All of Oz is ever on alert
That’s the way with Wicked
Spreading fear where e’er she goes
Seeking out new victims she can hurt

Soon, Zhaoyao is killed in an ambush by the good people of the land. She’s buried in an unmarked grave.

No One Mourns the Wicked

Let us be glad
Let us be grateful
Let us rejoicify that goodness could subdue
The wicked workings of you-know-who
Isn’t it nice to know?
That good will conquer evil?
The truth we all believe’ll by and by
Outlive a lie
For you and —

No one mourns the Wicked!
No one cries: “They won’t return!”
No one lays a lily on their grave
The good man scorns the Wicked!

“You are the new low in my life”


When Zhaoyao first meets Zhiyan, she thinks her useless and silly. Zhiyan is thinks Zhaoyao is evil.

What’s this feeling

What is this feeling so sudden and new?
I felt the moment I laid eyes on you.
My pulse is rushing, my head is reeling…
Loathing, unadulterated loathing
For your face, your voice, your clothing
Let’s just say we loathe it all




As roommates, Zhaoyao teaches Zhiyan magic, fighting, and how to stand up for herself. Zhiyan teaches Zhaoyao that she deserves to love and be loved.

Whenever I see someone less fortunate than I
And let’s face it, who isn’t less fortunate than I?
My tender heart tends to start to bleed
And when someone needs a makeover I simply have to take over
I know, I know exactly what they need
And even in your case
Though it’s the toughest case I’ve yet to face
Don’t worry, I’m determined to succeed, follow my lead


At one point, Zhaoyao mistakenly thinks that her true love is in love with her best friend.

I’m Not That Girl

Blithe smile, lithe limb
She who’s winsome, she wins him
Gold hair with a gentle curl
That’s the girl he chose
And Heaven knows
I’m not that girl

Don’t wish, don’t start
Wishing only wounds the heart
I wasn’t born for the rose and the pearl
There’s a girl I know
He loves her so
I’m not that girl

She finally gets together with the guy who supported her dreams from the beginning!

As Long as You’re Mine

Just for this moment
As long as you’re mine
Come be how you want to
And see how bright we shine
Borrow the moonlight
Until it is through
And know I’ll be here
Holding you
As long as you’re mine

“You’re my friend, of course I have to make your wedding gown for you.” – Zhiyan to Zhaoyao

At the end of book and hopefully the series, her bff runs the sect using things learned from her, continuing her dreams after she and her hubby gets married.

For Good

So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you

4 thoughts on “The Legends set to the Wicked soundtrack, or why Zhaoyao is Elphaba

  1. GAH I love the first pic of ZhaoYao. Honestly the novel is so good and the plot is clean and put together and fairly well-woven and complex. And The show did a fairly good realization of that…until like after the first kaboom. I haven’t watched since like ep 39 now. I’m officially 2 weeks behind after following this freaking drama rigorously for over a month.

    Super fan of wicked-ZhaoYao but sad she didn’t show up that much.

    • Same. I’ve only been “watching” it through their Weibo snippets for the past two weeks and those already makes me angry enough. Such a shame after a great first half.

      The first pic kind of reminds me of Kathy Chow’s Zhou Zhiruo.

  2. LOL!!! Why are you making me pull up the Wicked soundtrack to read this article? Now I can’t re-watch Zhao Yao without thinking of Elphaba.

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