Warrior EPs Jonathan Trooper & Shannon Lee On Raising The Stakes For Season 3

Warrior follows prodigy martial artist Ah Sahm during the San Francisco Tong Wars in the 1870s. Traveling to America in the hopes of finding his sister, he is pulled into the Tong conflict after being sold to one of Chinatown’s most powerful Tongs. Season 3 follows the aftermath of the race riots, with tensions between the Irish and Chinese communities continuing to rise. Ah Sahm grapples with his secrets coming to life, his place in the Tong, and Chinatown viewing him as a local legend.

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Jonathan Trooper created Warrior based on an idea originally conceived by the legendary Bruce Lee. His daughter Shannon Lee serves as an executive producer along with Evan Endicott, Josh Stoddard, and Justin Lin. Warrior stars Andrew Koji, Olivia Cheng, Jason Tobin, Dianne Doan, Kieran Bew, Dean Jagger, Hoon Lee, and Joanna Vanderham.

Related: What To Expect From Warrior Season 3

Screen Rant spoke with executive producers Jonathan Trooper and Shannon Lee about Warrior season 3. Trooper discusses returning after more than two years for season 3 and the relationship between Ah Toy and Nellie. Lee breaks down the intense fight scene in Warrior season 2 and Richard Lee’s character in season 3.

Jonathan Trooper & Shannon Lee On Warrior Season 3

Andrew Koji as Ah Sahm fighting in Warrior season 3

Screen Rant: First of all, guys, this is the best show on television. This show is phenomenal, and season 2 ended incredibly. Episode 9 was the episode where we got the, spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it, but it ended with where it started with the execution of Jacob and that really was the catalyst to get us into where we’re at with Season 3. What are you most excited for fans to see with some of these journeys that were going on with these characters in Season 3? That’s for either one of you.

Jonathan Trooper: I think, first of all, we’ve come back after a really long layoff. So, we fought hard to get back. And in coming back, I think once we did get that green light two and a half years later, we felt a tremendous desire to retroactively earned that spot. And we’ve come back with a lot more ambition, I think, than we had in the first two seasons. So, you’re going to see more elaborate fight sequences. You’re going to see more complex storylines. You’re going to journeys to some new places you’ve never seen before.

It is probably the most intricately wrought season in terms of story. It is emotionally, I think it’s got the biggest punch and I think some of the best fighting. I think it’s got some of the best fighting we’ve ever done, which means, which by definition means it’s the best fighting on television because we’re already that. So.

Yeah, I don’t even know how you up the anti for the fight stuff on this show, but you know what’s cool about this show though is that if the fights aren’t overshadowed by the writing. I feel like anything, it’s an extension of the writing. Can you talk to me a little bit like, Season 2 is a perfect example of this with Ah Sahm versus Leary. Can you talk to me about the intensity of some of these fight scenes? Because I was just told that that was one of the most intense fight scenes that Andrew was done.

Shannon Lee: Yeah, I remember I was on set actually when they were filming that fight scene, and it was shot at night. But I got to tell you, first of all, Andrew and Dean, they are just such phenomenal, committed, amazing actors, and they do their own fighting and the sort of camaraderie and the energy that gets going between them in particular in that scene that you’re talking about, and then all the extras standing around. It was like everybody was just there for it into the wee hours of the night.

And I think that they’re also phenomenal actors so they can bring that emotion and that character through all of those fight sequences, which is something we really try to do throughout the show is to have the action be an extension of the characters, an extension of the story and the circumstance that they’re in. So any time there’s action happening on the set, there’s this extra energy that starts to build around it. And even though it’s exhausting and it takes time to film, there’s also sort of this inherent joy that’s sort of running under all of it as well.

Amazing. Now I want to talk about some of these character journeys, if we can touch on them just a little bit. Believe me, I have a ton and I know I’m not going to get through them all, but I’m going to try. So first one I want to talk about is for you guys write women on this show brilliantly. They’re all strong characters, and I want to talk about Ah Toy and Nellie for a second, because I feel that when we see Ah Toy, when she meets Nellie I feel like she finally feels like she can put Chinatown behind her and lay down the sword. Can you talk to me about those two characters journeys throughout Season 2 or Season 3?

Jonathan Trooper:Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think what we’re trying to convey there is something, obviously there’s a two women who are kindred spirits in some ways and who found something deeply important in each other. And at the same time, what we were trying to convey there is the sense that, this is aside from, obviously it’s the same sex relationship, but it’s also an interracial relationship during a really fraught time racially. And there are things that will still divide them and that even within this relationships, there are assumptions and there are ideas that they will have that will be in conflict with each other.

And we wanted to make it really clear, this isn’t a sort of lovey, doubly happily ever, oh, we found love, so nothing else matters. These are two people who are still, even with the best of intentions, caught up in something where they have certain preconceived notions and certain behaviors that are going to alienate the other. And so I think they have a very difficult journey in Season 3, which is that they love each other, but they have a very different way of dealing with what’s happening around them.

Talking about love and dealing with all that stuff as well, is Richard Lee. I want to talk about that character for a second because I feel like he’s had the biggest shift from Season 1 to Season 3. Shannon, can you talk a little bit about Richard Lee’s character and the journey of an odd pairing with him in Chao in Season 3? Without giving anything away, obviously.

Shannon Lee: Jonathan’s going to be better at talking about characters and not giving anything away. But no, I think there are a lot of brilliant pairings in Season 3, and this is one of them. These two people who are struggling with their worlds in very different ways, but find themselves in the same boat in a way, at some point, and in a way, having to become unlikely allies. And I think that their journeys are, we finally get to see sort of a more vulnerable side of Chao.

I think we’ve seen glimpses of it here and there, but we get to see even more and we get to learn sort of what’s at the heart, something we’ve always sensed, but what’s at the heart of Richard Lee as a character and what love is it really means to him. And I don’t know Jonathan, if you have anything to add to that.

Jonathan Trooper: Yeah, no, I thought that was great. I mean that, the fun thing is Lee is maybe our only non-racist white character, really. That doesn’t mean he’s going to like every Chinese guy he meets, and him and Chao have not gotten along till now. And even when they’re forced to work together, there’s a really great friction between them that I think in both cases as Ah Sahm and Leary and Lee and Chao, you’re talking about offscreen very good friends. And so I think they bring a great friendship off camera that leads to a great friction on camera.

It’s incredible. Well, look, I can’t wait for people to see this show on June 29th. I hope there’s a Season 4. I actually hope this show goes on forever. Please tell me there’s going to be a Season 4 is all I want.

Jonathan Trooper:We will hopefully know after it airs, but we don’t know yet. I’m ready.

About Warrior Season 3

Warrior Season 3 Trailer

In the aftermath of the race riots the tension between the Irish and Chinese communities continues to rise as well as new laws targeting the Chinese community. Ah Sahm is now seen as a local legend with a massive portrait in Chinatown. However, he continues to struggle with the hero his people want to be and the gangster he is.

Check out our other Warrior season 3 interviews here:

Warrior season 3 debuts on Max June 29.

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