On Monday night (April 13, April 14 in South Korea), the team’s company SM Entertainment announced that NCT Dream’s new album will be the last with the current lineup as Dream will shift away from its current, age-based rotational system. Reload will feature the current lineup of members Jeno, Jaemin, Chenle, Renjun, Jisung, and Haechan, but after its release they will move away from the age-determined format that Dream is based around. To put it simply, the teen-aged unit of the larger NCT boy band is growing up.
Previously, NCT Dream was operating with a graduation-based system, so that when members reached the age of adulthood in South Korea, 19 internationally, they would move on from it. This led to Mark, who also is part of other NCT groups as well as SuperM, age out at the end of 2018. But this year will see the age-based system come to a halt, and Mark return to NCT Dream, bringing it back to its seven-member original lineup, known to fans and the band as “7Dream.” Following the release of Reload at the end of this month, NCT Dream will become a fluid-style team that SM Entertainment says is similar to what’s associated with another NCT unit, NCT U, and members will be able to participate in both their own projects as well as partake in releases under the NCT Dream name.
According to a post shared on the fan-board Lysn, the NCT Dream members who are not currently active in other NCT groups — Renjun, Jaemin, Jisung, Chenle, and Jeno — will become members of new NCT teams in the future.
NCT Dream put out their first single “Chewing Gum” in 2016. They most recently released their third EP We Boom in July, but put out their last song as a seven-member team in 2018, with the Christmastime “Candle Light” serving as Mark’s not-quite-farewell track.