DVD cover for "The Emperor and the Assassin"
The Emperor and the Assassin
Synopsis of Missed Scenes

Part II focuses on the plot to assassinate King Ying Zheng (who will later become the First Emperor). From Sima Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian we know that the assassin is Jing Ke, though the movie provides details that deviate from the historical account; most notably, the historical Jing Ke was a scholar who was also a skilled swordsman, whereas the movie portrays him as a professional assassin who vows never to kill again after taking the life of a blind girl during the assassination of her family. Despite his vow, he inadvertently kills a restauranteur while saving a starving boy who stole some buns; having witnessed the event, Lady Zhao tells the Prince of Yan that he is the ideal man to carry out the assassination of King Ying Zheng. Although he repeatedly refuses to serve as their assassin, he will ultimately be convinced by Lady Zhao (after she becomes his lover) that the First Emperor has killed too many people and needs to be stopped.

In Part III we see the development of a subplot involving Lao Ai, the Marquis of Changxin, who faked his castration in order to become the lover of Ying Zheng’s mother, the Queen Dowager. Lao Ai and the Queen Dowager, who have been living in a palace outside the capital, have secretly had two sons and are plotting a coup d’etat against Ying Zheng. However, Ying Zheng realizes that something is amiss when one of the boys calls Lao Ai “daddy” during a visit with his mother, the Queen Dowager. Realizing that their plans have been uncovered, Lao Ai tries to recruit Lü Buwei, the former Primer Minister who lost his position at the beginning of the movie, promising to restore him as Prime Minister once the coup succeeds. However, Lü Buwei refuses because (as we soon find out) he is in fact the father of Ying Zheng: according to the Records of the Grand Historian, Ying Zheng’s mother was Lü Buwei’s concubine who was already pregnant with Lü’s child when Ying Zheng’s father asked to marry her (which would imply that the First Emperor had no Qin blood, royal or otherwise, since both of his parents were from Zhao). Given Lü Buwei’s refusal to join the plot, Lao Ai has no choice but to begin his coup immediately—but it’s too late, for King Ying Zheng has already realized that a coup is immanent and made the necessary preparations. Lao Ai is caught and both he and his sons (who are technically Ying Zheng’s brothers) are killed…but not before Lao Ai reveals to Ying Zheng the fact that Lü Buwei — and not the former King of Qin — is his true father.

We will pick up the movie immediately after the revelation about his father.