Warrior is a gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 19th century, and based on the writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee.
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Season 3 picks up in the wake of the race riots that upended Chinatown in Season 2, Mai Ling (Dianne Doan) uses her government connections to consolidate power. At the same time, Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) and the Hop Wei must find new ways to survive.
Warrior also stars Olivia Cheng, Jason Tobin, Kieran Bew, Dean Jagger, Tom Weston-Jones, Hoon Lee, Perry Yung, Langley Kirkwood, Miranda Raison, Chen Tang, Chelsea Muirhead, Mark Dacascos and Joe Taslim.
Co-showrunner and executive producer Josh Stoddard teases where the show picks up following the events of the Season 2 finale.
“The riot at the end of last season drastically changed the playing field in Chinatown, and when the new season begins, the tongs are fighting each other for scraps,” Stoddard told Deadline via e-mail. “With the cops enforcing a slew of cruel new ordinances meant to punish the Chinese, our characters are desperate, looking for new ways forward. That means new risks, uneasy alliances, and huge betrayals that will force every single one of our characters to confront some ugly truths and lead Ah Sahm to explore the tension between the gangster he is, and the hero his people need him to be.”
Being a hero is a tough gig but Ah Sahm is preparing for greatness, even if he is struggling with recognizing that while finding his way.
“Since coming off the boat and entering the world of San Francisco, Chinatown, Ah Sahm has been a great fighter, but not a true martial artist or Warrior. He’s like an early draft version of the icon of Bruce Lee— always too rough around the edges and immature to become the man he should be for the people that need him. This part of the story sees him step further into his true self,” Koji said.
His search for finding a balance between his familial responsibilities and his following his passions also continues. Koji teases, “A huge choice and a decision that is thrust upon him— that has been coming to him for a long time and an important reason that shows him the way.”
One thing fans can certainly expect is more action and adventure in Season 3, Ah Sahm looks stronger than ever and ready to slay all day. Koji revealed he’s been doing a lot of training, “A few months almost every day with some great coaches” including trainers JJ Park, Ashley Robinson, Xin and Jiseok in Korea and South Africa with a focus on kicking, technical, physique and weapons.
“I wanted to remind myself again of real fight training outside all the choreography and film fighting, so lots of sparring and getting my ass kicked!” he exclaimed.
Co-showrunner and EP Evan Endicott shared more on what’s ahead this season.
“After beating back the Irish during the climactic riot in Season 2, Ah Sahm has become something of a local legend, with a massive portrait hanging above the streets of Chinatown. Neighborhood kids and local merchants know him by name, but Ah Sahm finds himself uncomfortable with all the attention— and the notion that he’s some kind of hero,” Endicott said.
“But as the police crackdown on Chinatown, brutalizing and deporting its residents, Ah Sahm must decide: is he a warrior, fighting to protect his fellow Chinese? Or is he a gangster, wielding violence to ensure the Hop Wei stays in power? As the season’s conflicts escalate, Ah Sahm will face battles on every front, and will finally choose the path he’s going to walk— with devastating consequences.”
Endicott also revealed a little nod to devoted fans in the teaser who have patiently waited for more Warrior following the drama’s move from Cinemax to HBO Max and the pandemic.
“Ah Toy saying ‘Miss me?’ in the teaser is a nod to our fans. They’ve been incredibly patient as the show changed networks and faced delays due to COVID, and we wanted to acknowledge their enthusiasm and support. We can’t wait to share Season 3 with them,” he said.
One more treat will arrive by way of a special guest star mid-season as a tribute to Bruce Lee—whose daughter Shannon Lee serves as an EP on Warrior—in honor of the 50th anniversary of his passing on July 20. Creator Jonathan Tropper teased the guest star, who has yet to be revealed, “pays tribute to Bruce Lee in a unique and moving way.”
True to its roots, the series will continue to tackle racism against the AAPI community a reality the community continues to face today.
“Warrior has always been a heightened post-modern take on our American history and it is extremely important to us that our show channels what the AAPI community is dealing with presently into the narrative,” said executive producer Justin Lin.
The series is produced for Max by Perfect Storm Entertainment, Tropper Ink Productions and Bruce Lee Entertainment. Warrior is showrun and executive produced by Evan Endicott, Josh Stoddard; Jonathan Tropper (creator); Justin Lin, Danielle Woodrow and Andrew Schneider on behalf of Perfect Storm Entertainment; Shannon Lee for Bruce Lee Entertainment; Brad Kane; Richard Sharkey. Co-executive produced by Lillian Yu and Francisca X Hu.
Watch the teaser trailer in full above.
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