K-Pop
BTS performed their 'Permission to Dance On Stage' concert series in Seoul, South Korea.

Here’s Your Detailed Guide To BTS’ Bangtan Universe

Inside BTS’ unique music video universe.

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Courtesy of BIGHIT MUSIC

Each BTS music video is a total masterpiece. From the intricate choreography to the complicated storylines, they showcase BTS’ attention to detail. Occasionally, the group even hides an easter egg or two in their videos. Often, these hidden references relate to the Bangtan Universe.

The Bangtan Universe, or “BU,” is a fictional story that exists across BTS’ content, including visuals, their Save Me webtoon, The Notes 1 book (both from 2019), as well as their BTS Universe Story mobile game. The story follows a group of seven young men whose fates are intertwined, and each character is based on a specific BTS member.

If you see certain scenes or symbols repeating in BTS' music videos, it might be because the story involves time travel and alternate timelines. Pretty cool, right?

While many of BTS’ music videos are part of the BU, some exist outside the universe. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to distinguish. According to fans, videos that belong to this fictional world will have the words "BU content certified by Big Hit Entertainment" at the bottom of the video's description; however, some videos that don't have the marker may still be connected to the BU.

So, without further ado, here is every BTS video that appears to be in the BU.

01
"I Need U"

Unlike the choreography-heavy visuals for their 2013 songs "No More Dream," and "N.O," as well as their 2014 song "Danger," the 2015 music video for BTS’ "I Need U" is believed to have kicked off the BU storyline. In the video, the guys’ characters appear to be in hopeless situations. Notably, the clip didn't provide closure for them, leaving their fates uncertain.

02
"I Need U" (Original Ver.)

Fans waited in anticipation for two weeks until BTS dropped an extended version of the "I Need U" video in May 2015. It's two minutes longer than the first video and includes most of the same scenes, with the addition of a mysterious intro and a violent clip involving V and what appears to be his character's father.

03
"HYYH On Stage: Prologue"

Continuing off the narrative in "I Need U," the 12-minute video for "HYYH On Stage: Prologue" begins with V’s character cleaning himself off after an altercation. The scene then changes to V and the other characters experiencing a much happier time together away from the drama seen in the previous clips. Warning: The video on YouTube has an age-restriction.

04
"Run"

BTS’ “Run” music video seems directly connected to their “I Need U” music video. The guys once again take on the roles of young men who seem to have dark secrets. Some notable moments in the video are when Jungkook and Suga’s characters fight and when V’s character falls into a pool of water. Both scenes come into play later on in the BU storyline.

05
"I Need U" (Japanese Ver.)

The music video for the Japanese version of “I Need U” mostly focuses on the song's choreo, but there are a few easter eggs throughout the clip that hint at its involvement in the BU. For example, if you watch all the "I Need U" MVs carefully, you'll notice Jimin’s character is often connected with bathtubs, while Jin’s character is connected with lily flowers.

06
"Run" (Japanese Ver.)

ARMY will recognize some elements of the music video for the Japanese version of “Run,” like the mirror and feathers that also appeared in the Korean version of the video.

07
"Epilogue: Young Forever"

The "Young Forever" MV includes scenes from both the "I Need U" and "Run" visuals, but with a twist. The scenes are covered in a vintage filter, making it seem like they were taken on an old-school camera or suggesting they happened in the past. This plays into a theory that Jin’s character is a time traveler since he’s often seen holding a camera in music videos.

08
"Begin"

The first installment of the Wings short film series, "Begin," starts with Jungkook experiencing a nightmare where he sees a piano on fire and hears a car crash. Although ARMY didn't know it then, these two images hinted at Jungkook's character's fate later on in the BU.

09
"Lie"

In Jimin's Wings short film, “Lie,” his character is in a hospital. Despite his situation, Jimin flashes a sly grin to the camera, which is recording his every move. What's interesting is that Jimin's room has two hospital beds, but no one appears to be with him. As Jimin belts out "Lie," fans see images of a bathtub again, as well as a bottle of pills and an apple.

10
"Stigma"

If you were wondering what led up to the fight between V's character and his father in the "I Need U" MV, the third Wings short film, “Stigma,” implies V and his sister did not have a good relationship with their dad. Similar to the "Run" MV, this music video also showed V getting in trouble with the police. V is, once again, detained by cops.

11
"First Love"

In "Begin," Jungkook heard a car crash. In the fourth Wings short film, "First Love," Suga’s character appeared to witness one happening before his eyes, implying their two characters' fates are connected. When Suga returned home in the video, he saw his piano in flames.

12
"Reflection"

When BTS revealed they had a song called "Reflection," the fifth Wings short film, ARMY believed the images of broken mirrors in their past videos were meant to tease the song was coming.

13
"Mama"

Similarly to how Suga and Jungkook's characters' fates appeared to be interlinked, the sixth Wings short film, “Mama,” hinted Jimin and J-Hope's characters were connected, too. Both of their solo videos took place in a hospital with the same painting in the background. Could the extra hospital bed in "Lie" be J-Hope's?

14
"Awake"

The seventh Wings short film, “Awake,” begins with Jin’s character sitting alone at a table ready to eat, although there is barely anything on top of the counter besides a candelabra, wine glasses, an apple (one also appeared in "Lie"), and a white lily flower.

15
"Blood Sweat & Tears"

Jin's "Awake" short film is seemingly connected to the concept in "Blood Sweat & Tears.” Both feature a scene with Jin’s character at a table with a candelabra and wine glasses on top of it; however, in the “Blood Sweat & Tears” MV he isn’t alone. Instead, he’s accompanied by the rest of BTS.

16
"Blood Sweat & Tears" (Japanese Ver.)

In the Japanese version of “Blood Sweat & Tears,” fans will instantly recognize the all-too-familiar piano from Suga's "First Love," as well as the bright red apple from Jimin's "Lie" and Jin's "Awake." In one scene, Suga’s character tries to help Jungkook’s character, who is sick, but Jungkook refuses and pushes him back. This may reference their fight in the "Run" short film; however, the most surprising scene of this video is the last few seconds where RM and Jin's characters meet at a gas station.

17
"Love Yourself Highlight Reel"

BTS' “Love Yourself” highlight reel deserves all the awards because, in just over 13 minutes, the guys take fans on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Interestingly, the fates of Jimin and J-Hope's characters were once again tied together because they interacted with the same person. The last few seconds hinted at the possible time travel in the BU as clips from several of BTS' MVs played in reverse.

18
"Euphoria: Theme of Love Yourself Wonder"

The intro for “Euphoria: Theme of Love Yourself Wonder” gives a brief recap about the events that took place in the previous BU videos before revealing some new info to fans: Suga's character was in a house fire, but Jungkook’s character saved him. The ending scene is reminiscent of the one at the end of the "HYYH On Stage: Prologue" video, except this time, V’s character isn’t jumping into the water. He’s with the rest of BTS on the dock.

19
"Fake Love" Teaser 1

The first teaser for the "Fake Love" MV showed the members exchanging a variety of items for something in return. Among the items were a broken piece of glass (which looked like it came from a mirror), the painting from Jimin and J-Hope's characters’ hospital rooms, and a chocolate bar seen in J-Hope's "Mama." In return, they received a lollipop, a hair tie, and a birthday cake, all of which fans previously saw in the “Love Yourself” highlight reel.

20
"Fake Love"

In the MV for “Fake Love,” Jin’s character tries to protect a white lily flower in a glass lantern, which is once again showing its importance within the BU.

21
"Fake Love" (Extended Ver.)

The "Fake Love" extended MV ends with an eerie scene showing the members donning masks and black capes.

22
"Epiphany"

Finally, "Epiphany" teased Jin's character's possible connection to time travel and alternate timelines by having him replaying the same day over and over again.

23
"Film Out"

BTS' "Film Out" MV doesn't have anything about the BU listed in its video description, but fans are convinced it's still part of the group's fictional world. Since the video makes many references toward their "Fake Love" MV, fans think "Film Out" takes place in an alternate universe, which could explain its connection to the rest of BTS' visuals without being directly involved in the BU.

24
BTS Universe Story Teaser

BTS’ Universe Story, which is a mobile game that dropped in September 2020, centers around the BU. The group gave fans a first look at their app by dropping a 10-minute video teaser for the game on YouTube that same month. The clip showed plenty of new scenes fans hadn’t seen before, like BTS in a classroom. It also brought back some pivotal moments from the group’s previous videos, like the aftermath of V’s characters’ fight with his father. Although the teaser obviously isn’t a MV, the video’s note on YouTube confirm it to be part of the BU.

BTS’ recent music videos haven’t been connected to the BU, but it’s possible their upcoming MV for their next single, “Yet to Come (The Most Beautiful Moment),” might. First of all, the title may be a nod to the group’s Most Beautiful Moment in Life era, which included the singles “I Need U” and “Run.” Second, their upcoming album, Proof, which drops on June 10, will be an anthology album. It’ll feature a collection of the group’s songs over the years, including several that tie into the Bangtan Universe like “Blood Sweat & Tears” and Fake Love.”

That’s not all. The group will expand the story of the BU in their upcoming Youth series. The show will depict how BTS’ fictional characters met. BTS won’t star in the series themselves. According to Soompi, viewers will see actors Seo Ji-hoon, Noh Jong-hyun, Ahn Ji-ho, Seo Young-joo, Kim Yoon-woo, Jung Woo-jin, and Jeon Jin-seo portray the seven characters instead.

Youth doesn’t have an official release date; however, Newsis reported the the show’s production company Chorokbaem Media announced the series finished filming in November 2021. This means it won’t be long until fans are able to learn more about the BU through the show, so stay tuned.

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