The Parallel Universe Project—a fan-driven endeavor to relaunch IZ*ONE—recently announced that multiple members’ agencies had agreed to the idea of re-debuting the group. Now, IZ*ONE’s original group agency, CJ ENM, has responded to these reports with positive news.
Alongside gathering a staggering total of ₩3.18 billion KRW (about $2.80 million USD) in funds from fans in less than two months, the Parallel Universe Project team has been working hard to negotiate with an unnamed entertainment agency representative to negotiate with the IZ*ONE members’ current agencies. Yesterday, the team was able to reveal that almost all of the nine individual agencies representing the members “agree with the idea of IZ*ONE’s relaunch and… are working favorably with the negotiating agency.”
Naturally, fans were still skeptical about getting their hopes up, but now there’s confirmation from the presumed negotiating agency itself. Sports Khan reported yesterday that CJ ENM is the company that’s been in contact with the members’ agencies about relaunching the group. Now, CJ ENM has responded to this report, confirming that discussions are indeed in place—though nothing has been fully agreed on yet.
It is true that the agencies are currently talking about the potential relaunch, but nothing is set in stone yet.
— CJ ENM
CJ ENM went on to verify that it’s are “well aware of the fans’ crowdfunding” efforts, but that it does not intend to use any of the $2.8 million USD raised to fund the group. “The costs for relaunching and album production,” stated CJ ENM, “will come from CJ ENM’s investment if decided to proceed.”
It may sound strange that CJ ENM (which owns Mnet and originally managed the group’s contract) would be the company facilitating IZ*ONE’s return after agreeing to disband the group just months ago. However, Sports Khan proposes that CJ ENM may be considering the relaunch due to the decline of its other businesses in the idol sector.
While Mnet is due to launch its new survival show Girls Planet 999 later this year, public opinion has not forgotten the voting controversies associated with the Produce and Idol School series. Sports Khan also reports that an anonymous Parallel Universe Project associate expressed that a relaunch could help CJ ENM rebuild its reputation after the scandals.
It would help CJ ENM to re-build its reputation if CJ ENM takes full responsibility for breaking up an otherwise successful girl group for the production team’s exclusive decision to manipulate the show and funds the group’s relaunch.
— Anonymous Parallel Universe Project associate, Sports Khan
That aside, some fans have also been concerned that the IZ*ONE members may be being pressured to put their new careers on hold to rejoin the group, but this is reportedly not the case. Sports Khan revealed that some members’ agencies are said to have stated, “IZ*ONE members feel strongly toward promoting together again and their agencies also understand the necessity.”
While it’s important to note that discussions are in their early stages and no contracts have been confirmed yet, this could well be the first step in the return of IZ*ONE as a group. In the meantime, the Parallel Universe Project has extended crowdfunding on WADIZ until August 2021.