Despite being set in the late 1870s, Warrior could not be more timely, given the parallels between vicious anti-Asian bias in our past and violence against the Asian-American community that we unfortunately see now. Was what’s happening these days part of those conversations among you, Shannon, Jonathan and Casey?
For sure. I mean, internally on the Warrior side, it’s something we obviously care a great deal about. Ever since we started the show, it is something that we’ve always discussed. I needed to have the conversation with Casey, and we went into what we’re trying to accomplish.
You know, a lot of times people seek out content because they want to get a sense of another experience. What we’re trying to do with Warrior had a special layer on top of that, in that people might not be engaging with the show purely on an identity level. People might be coming to it maybe more for the martial arts or genre reasons, but we built in [historical realities about Asian-American communities] and in that scenario, I feel like the reach of the show [had an impact]. Just from conversations I’ve had with people who reached out, and with fans, it did feel like we were able to accomplish that discourse [not only with] the people who were seeking it out in the first place.
That’s good to hear. As we talked about before, it’s not like most people were taught much about this slice of history in school.
Yeah. This week we’ve been doing all this Fast 9 press and I was like, “Wow, I’ve been making movies for 20 years!” When I was starting off, people weren’t having these conversations. And so to be able to have the conversation with Casey, and for him to really think that through and for us to arrive to where we are now, it does mean a lot.
Do you know which members of the cast are coming back?
Everybody wants to come back. I think in the cast, everyone’s coming back, pretty much. All of us have a lot on our plates right now, but I’m excited because I’ve been talking to Jonathan about Season 3 for a bit. Now that we have a goal — we’re definitely going to go into production — it’s actually even more exciting.
Do you want to talk about what kind of stories you want to tell in the new season?
We’ve definitely been talking about that for a bit and there are two sets [of ideas]. There are the ones where, as you’re making a show, you’re seeing what works and what we haven’t really explored. So that’s been an ongoing discussion since Season 1. A lot of what we talked about was always pushing into the future. Now it’s going to become a reality, so I’m excited for that. But then there were also ideas and arcs we talked about when we were developing the pilot — a lot of those elements haven’t even been touched upon yet. I think it’s going to be very rich, and we have a lot of stories to tell.
And with what’s happening today, I had a very specific conversation with Jonathan about that and we definitely want to acknowledge — we’re living in it now. You know, three weeks ago, I had to talk to my 11 year old son and tell him, “Hey, when we go out, you just have to be a little bit more conscious.” It blew my mind. I grew up in the ’80s in Orange County, and I never thought it would be worse. And it is. So that’s something that I feel will influence our work, but I also think it’s very important that we don’t become too reactive. We have to let the essence and spirit of the show drive us.
I know you won’t have time, so you’re going to say no, but will you ever direct an episode of Warrior?
You know, I love it so much. Look, if I have a little window and I can do it, I’m definitely doing it. I can tell you that.