Warrior Star Chen Tang On Where Hong’s Journey Takes Him In Season 3

Bruce Lee originally conceived the Old West martial arts series Warrior in the early ’70s before his untimely passing, with the show eventually being realized by his daughter Shannon and producers Justin Lin and Jonathan Tropper. Though Cinemax ended original programming after season 2 of Warrior, the show was fortunately able to migrate to Max. After a nearly three-year wait, Warrior season 3 officially hit Max on June 29, bringing its Old West grit and martial arts greatness back for more fun.

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In Warrior, the San Francisco of the 1870s is a hotbed for the Tong Wars and brewing conflicts between local Chinese and Irish immigrants. Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) works as a Tong enforcer alongside his allies Young Jun (Jason Tobin) and Hong (Cheng Tang), and Warrior season 2 ended with a riotous street battle in San Francisco between rival Tongs. Warrior season 3 picks up with the Tong Wars and the Chinese-Irish tensions continuing, with Ah Sahm facing both his old enemies Long Yi (Joe Taslim) and local cop “Big Bill” O’Hara (Kieran Brew), along with other Tong players like Zing (Dustin Nguyen) and Kong Pak (Mark Dacascos).

RELATED: Why Warrior Season 3 Should Use Bruce Lee’s Game of Death Concept

We speak to Chen Tang about the making of Warrior season 3 and where Hong’s story takes him after his debut in season 2.

Chen Tang on Warrior Season 3

chen tang & jason tobin in warrior season 3

Screen Rant: What can you share about where Hong is going into Warrior season 3?

Chen Tang: You know, we actually talked a lot about this before we started shooting the season, because obviously, it’s been a while. And also, just to really dial in where each of us stands, because after season 2, there was obviously this cataclysmic event, and basically, s–t hits the fan with the Chinatown riot. Now, one of the big things that we sort of dialed in on, at least for Hong, was all of a sudden, everything was new, and I had come into Chinatown sort of as a wide-eyed optimist.

It’s a completely foreign land, and I think that Hong was always seeing things from the bright side, seeing things from an optimistic side. But then, after this happens, one of the things for my character and pretty much all of us was this is a new world, and you actually get to see the ugly sides of America, too. So, basically, in a nutshell, what I had come down to was now I’m starting to see what’s beneath the surface of America, and I’m understanding what the Chinese people who had grown up here are feeling. I’m really starting to realize and understand more about the dark sides of America and how do I navigate that.

That is where I wanted to start from, and seeing what do I do with this new world and wanting to fight against that instinctively with my natural desire to hope. I always felt like Hong was sort of the hoper of the whole show, and what happens when that hope is challenged or if that hope is wrong? So, that’s where I wanted to start from.

There has also been a fairly sizable gap from Warrior season 2 to season 3 because of the show moving from Cinemax to the streaming platform Max. With Warrior having more of an extended break, how did that make returning to the show different from other projects?

Chen Tang: You know, obviously, the world had this two-year period of not really a pause button, but it’s like ‘Okay, this is a different world’. Obviously, the pandemic sucked, but the world also got more somber, and in a weird way, I incorporated a lot of that. In some ways, it actually helped the creative process to sort of get back into it. I guess the disadvantage is we’re older now, literally! So, it was a little more painful to train to get back into fighting shape, as it were.

With Warrior being based on Bruce Lee’s concept and full of all kinds of martial arts action, what can you share about re-entering the fight scenes of the show, and what were some of your favorite fight scenes to do in Warrior season 3?

Chen Tang: You know, I can’t talk about that, because that would be a spoiler! But there is quite an explosive and emotional fight, and I felt like the fights this season were full of emotion, more so than the last two. It wasn’t just fighting to get things done, it wasn’t fighting to defeat somebody else, and without getting too much into it, there’s going to be a lot of heart-wrenching fights.

Chen Tang in Warrior pic

And with Warrior having so many great martial artists in its ensemble, like Andrew Koji, Joe Taslim, and Dustin Nguyen, the show also has Mark Dacascos of Drive and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum coming aboard in season 3. What was the experience like of working with Mark Dacascos in Warrior season 3?

Chen Tang: Man, Mark is my favorite. I want to be Mark Dacascos when I grow up! I loved working with him, and he’s so Zen. Besides just working with him, it was fun just hanging out with him, and in between takes, I would just sit there and listen to the way he lived his life. He’s older, but he can still do splits. The guy has not aged, he’s like eternal!

I was thinking ‘Wow, how can I live my life more like Mark?’, and he’s just such a joy to be around. He has such a fun, youthful energy, and he’s so warm and soulful, I can’t speak highly enough of Mark. Watching him work, watching him prepare, and watching really how much work and effort it takes for him to keep his body in shape, keep his mind in shape, and how much he cares about the project. I really learned a lot both as an actor and as a human being just talking to Mark and being around him.

When it comes to Hong’s role in Warrior season 3, what do you think are some of the elements of his story that will resonate with viewers the most after his introduction in season 2?

Chen Tang: What’s underneath the mask. Hong’s happiness, it’s not like I’m faking it, but if you’ve come from a really hard life, some people really fight with the light. They find humor in things, but there’s still a real darkness underneath and intensity and pain. I’m really excited for people to see some of that peak through with Hong.

About Warrior Season 3

Andrew Koji as Ah Sahm fighting in Warrior season 3

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’s first three episodes debuted on Max on June 29.

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