6 Up-And-Coming Actors Whose Stars Are Rising In 2023

With the slew of new platforms on which to watch dramas and more dramas being produced now than ever, there are a ton of capable young actors getting their chance to shine. There are several actors who have been steadily building their resume over the past few years and are ready to fully explode on the scene. Some are at the start of their rise, others are near the middle, and yet others are starting up again. But what all of them have in common is that they’ve had a very good couple of months, and it’s their time to shine!

Kim Young Dae

More like King Young Dae, whew.

This actor broke out with “Extraordinary You” and followed up with a pivotal role in “I’ll Go to You When the Weather is Nice.” He’s had back-to-back success since then with “The Penthouse,” and he scored his first-ever leading role in “Sh**ting Stars” in 2022. And it looks like his star is only going to keep rising. He just wrapped up “The Forbidden Marriage,” and if rumor has it right, he is already being eyed for another sageuk role already! And it’s easy to see why. He’s shed the green acting of his earlier years and blossomed into an actor who can hold his own in playing roles with weight and gravitas as “The Forbidden Marriage” demonstrated. As a 96-liner, he still has a few more years before he’ll have to depart for military service, so here’s hoping we get loads more time with this stunning man onscreen!

Start watching Kim Young Dae in “The Forbidden Marriage” below:

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Kim Woo Seok

Kim Young Dae’s on-screen BFF in “The Forbidden Marriage” has had just as busy a year. Debuting with the “Voice” drama series, he hit his big break in “Military Prosecutor Doberman” as the unhinged Noh Tae Man, who undergoes what might be the best character arc in the entire drama. After that, he pivoted a full 180 as the sweet, stoic second lead in “The Forbidden Marriage,” which rightfully earned him a legion of fans. He’s also set to make a cameo in the new sageuk “Our Blooming Youth,” so anyone looking for more Shin Won (Kim Woo Seok) can find him there! Alas, as a 94-liner, we may not have too much time left with him before he heads off to the army, but this talented young man likely won’t go long without roles!

Watch “Military Prosecutor Doberman” below:

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Kim Min Kyu

This handsome actor actually first headlined a drama as a male lead all the way back in 2019 with “Queen: Love and War.” But his breakout role was as the delicious Cha Sung Hoon in “A Business Proposal,” whose love line with Seol In Ah was a fan favorite part of the drama. Like Kim Woo Seok, he’s a 94-liner, and he recently announced that he will be enlisting prior to the airing of his upcoming drama “The Heavenly Idol.” But that just means we get him back on our screens that much faster! Kim Min Kyu’s momentum may potentially slow upon enlistment, yet there’s no doubt that he’ll have legions of fans eager to see what he does next when he returns!

Watch “Queen: Love and War” below:

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Kwak Dong Yeon

Forever the most iconic picture of him

Despite breaking out as the Prince’s stoic (and seriously handsome) bodyguard Kim Byung Yeon in “Love in the Moonlight,” Kwak Dong Yeon seemed to disappear off the radar for a bit. His roles were largely bit parts or side characters, at least until “Vincenzo.” After an incredible performance as Jang Han Seo, which garnered fan acclaim, he landed a lead role in the recently-ended “Gaus Electronics.” As a 97-liner, he still has a few years before heading off to the military, so here’s hoping that he only continues to rise!

Watch “Gaus Electronics” below:

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Woo Do Hwan

By all rights, Woo Do Hwan isn’t exactly an up-and-coming actor. He’s had a string of successful dramas with “Save Me,” “The King: Eternal Monarch,” and “My Country,” but the consistent factor across these dramas is that he was the second male lead. Having headed to and been discharged from the army in January of 2022, he’s been hard at work since, filming not one but two dramas that are both due to release soon. The first is “Bloodhounds,” wherein he returns to playing a very different kind of bodyguard than he did in “The King: Eternal Monarch.” Early stills promise a gritty, suspenseful show that’s scheduled to air this year! And if that isn’t enough, he’s also set to star in “Joseon Attorney” as a charming lawyer who gets his revenge on those who killed his parents. The drama is set to premiere in March, so make sure you keep an eye out for this talented actor’s return to the small screen!

Chae Jong Hyeop

Chae Jong Hyeop has racked up an impressive list of dramas over the past few years, beginning with 2020’s smash hit “Stove League,” wherein he was first known to the public as an aspiring baseball player. He followed that up with a supporting role in “Sisyphus: The Myth” and broke onto the scene as the second lead in “Nevertheless.” Since then, he has taken the lead in last year’s “Love All Play” and the recently wrapped-up “Unlock My Boss.” But this talented actor has more in the works with an upcoming drama with the lovely Kim So Hyun as well as being in talks to star in screenwriter Park Hye Ryun’s newest drama with the one and only Park Eun Bin herself! Looks like it’s only going up from here for this talented actor!

Watch Chae Jong Hyeop in “Unlock My Boss” below:

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Hey, Soompiers! Which of these up-and-coming actors do you stan? And which of their shows have you seen? Let us know in the comments! 

Shalini_A is a long time Asian-drama addict. When not watching dramas, she works as a lawyer, fangirls over Ji Sung, and attempts to write the greatest fantasy romance of all time. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and feel free to ask her anything!

Currently Watching:  “Agency,” “Payback,” and “Decoy: part 1.”
Looking Forward to: “The Heavenly Idol,” “Gyeongseong Creature,” “Ask The Stars,” “The Girl Downstairs,” “The Worst Evil,” “Black Knight,” “Queen of Tears,” “Vigilante,” “Demon,” “Dr. Romantic 3,” “Daily Dose of Sunshine,” and Ji Sung’s next drama.

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