Into the Badlands’ Daniel Wu on Sunny’s new journey this season

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With the recent release of Into the Badlands: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray+Digital HD and DVD, we can finally prepare for this spring’s second season where we’ll find out just what happened to our heroes and villains. Filming the series in Dublin, Ireland, executive producer and star of the series Daniel Wu took a break to chat about Sunny’s journey from the first season, what to expect from season two, possible guest stars, Nick Frost, and how they plan on upping the martial arts.

Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the first season.

Into the Badlands tells the story of clipper/assassin Sunny (Wu) and his life living in the Badlands with his tyrannical baron, Quinn. With news of his lover’s pregnancy and meeting MK, a mysterious teenager with powers, Sunny becomes conflicted and stops at nothing to leave the Badlands and finally find peace from his past.

“Now that we’re doing Season Two. I look at season one as a backstory that sets up the whole premise of what the Badlands is and where they are,” Wu tells us. “In season two, we start to answer more questions that are raised in season one. It’s almost like a background story – extended pilot, where it sets up what the world is. Season two will really get delved into the character’s story. In season one, we get a good idea what rules are and the barons. What Quinn is and the ruler of the area is – the relationship between the characters. In season two, we go much deeper into that and their motivations.”

When talking to Wu about the upcoming season, he couldn’t seem to hold back his excitement. He tells us, “I think season two’s writing is amazing. I’m really happy with it. We’re here in Dublin, Ireland, filming this season as opposed to New Orleans. It will have this much more epic feel to it than we did last season. There is actually a journey element this season where we’re actually traveling through the land. Through the outlying territories back into the Badlands, you’ll see a whole different kind of landscape than what we saw last season. The characters are much deeper and much more interesting. The storylines are separated, but I think it kind of helps the show in a very interesting way. There are many subplots and many storylines that all converge at the end of the season.”

At the end of season one, MK is taken by the monks in yellow robes, Widow and her Butterflies escaped, and Sunny finally had the courage and strength to kill Quinn, the man who raised him.

“The reason why Sunny was so tentative throughout the season to really act against Quinn is because he was brainwashed into thinking that he couldn’t and that he owes his loyalty to him,” Wu explained. “For him, there was a whole struggle the first season because once he found Veil pregnant, it opened up this whole side of him that he never knew he had, because he finally created a life instead of taking a life. That caused a big change in him and that made everything that he was about. Then here comes along MK with this idea of Azra that both of them may be from and questions everything he knew that was a reality. That was all fake. Quinn set up the rules. Quinn set up everything. He thought he was following the right path, but when he realized Veil is pregnant and meeting MK, he realized maybe the world he’s in wasn’t the world that he wanted to be in. The big struggle throughout the whole season was can he do it? Can he make it out? Can he extricate himself out from the Badlands? From this system? It’s kind of like the Mafia. Once you get in, it’s really hard to get out. There are relationships that you build over time that are really hard to break. So his tentativeness to actually off Quinn was because of that. There are moments way before that that he could have done it, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He’s pushed to the final end when Quinn has basically turned on everyone. His paranoia has gotten to a point where it’s dangerous for everybody that Sunny may not survive this – that his family may not survive this. He had to take action. I think the real point of it all didn’t hit him until the end when he’s sitting on the River King’s boat chained up to the thing. I think that primal scream he lets out in the end – that frustration of ‘Why didn’t I act sooner?'”

With the death of Quinn and Sunny being taken prisoner by the River King, you can be sure our hero will rise to the challenge. Wu assures us that Sunny will be back, but will have experienced life outside of the Badlands. But the world in the Badlands is no longer the same. There will be war. There will be bloodshed. There will also be more barons from this world.

Wu revealed, “With Quinn’s apparent death, it’s caused a big uproar [in the Badlands]. Widow is coming to power. All the other barons are vying to get control of what Quinn has and off the Widow at the same time. The Widow has come to power by way of means not the normal process of baronship. Her path and struggles continue on. Sunny’s struggle is trying to get back into the Badlands – trying to find MK. He has no idea where MK went. Trying to find Veil.”

We last left MK being taken by mysterious monks, led by martial artist Cung Lee. Wu confirmed the return of Le, “You will see him much more. MK ends up with those people in the monastery there. He undergoes this whole training process. So Cung is a very important part of that. I think you’ll see more fights from him as well.”

But will we see any other possible cameos? There were previous rumors of a fellow martial artist and close friend of Wu, Jackie Chan joining the team. Wu immediately shut those rumors down. “The question that was posed to me was, ‘Would you like to have Jackie Chan?’ I said, ‘Of course, I’d love to have him do a cameo on the show, but he’s extremely busy at the moment.’ So we’ll see,” Wu shared. “He did say, when he did a promo viral video for us helping to promote the show, ‘I’m happy for you, but I’m not happy that I’m not involved.’ So, at some point, I will ask him if he wants to get involved.”

Wu did share about their newest cast member Nick Frost joining the team, “We got the introduction of a new character played by Nick Frost who plays Bajie. Sunny meets [him] in the first episode who unfortunately is stuck with him for the rest of the season. So you see their relationship build and this partnership between the two of them and how they’re helping each other.”

Frost plays Bajie, a schemer with questionable morals who finds himself allied with Sunny. Wu tells us, “With his character and the relationship between the two of us, there is more levity in the show. I think it was very grave and dark last season so it’s nice to have him involved and bring that element into the show. We are kind of a genre mashup anyways, so it’s nice to liven it up a little bit more with Nick’s character and what he is.”

But don’t expect the series to turn into a comedy. Wu promises that the dark elements will still be there. “The range will still be dark, but in those moments of darkness, you could have moments of levity as well. So it doesn’t feel so heavy on the viewer as well. I also like the chemistry between me and Nick Frost and how you are able to see a different side of Sunny. Instead of the stoic side of Sunny, you get to see him actually express himself.”

As for the martial arts, which was highly praised by critics and fans last season, we should expect the action choreography team to step up their game even higher. Huan-Chiu Ku (or as Wu refers to as Master Didi) returns as choreographer and action director for a few episodes with Stephen Fung taking on the role of director for two episodes. Martial arts choreographer Andy Chang, who has worked with Sammo Hung, signed on this season as action director for some episodes. So, expect some new stuff to be shown this season.

“There is going to be a lot more different elements this season,” said Wu. “We have an homage to Jackie Chan style fighting where there is a little bit of comedy involved, which you’ll see with the Nick Frost character. We have some cool stuff. We brought in a couple of parkour people. Parkour is really popular in England, France, and all over Europe here. So we brought in a bunch of martial artists who know parkour skills, so we will see a different style in terms of being able to do crazy acrobatic moves without any wirework. We just keep broadening the spectrum of how all things work. Also, Sunny’s journey now – in episode one, in almost every fight, he won, but in this season, his fighting as a sort of adversely to it. So it’s not so easy for him to take on twenty or forty guys like last season. He will seem more vulnerable, but equally badass.”

To relive the first season, Into the Badlands Blu-ray and DVD is available now from Anchor Bay Entertainment. The Blu-ray and DVD contain awesome bonus features including a look inside the Badlands, the characters, the martial arts, and digital comic. You can also stream it live through Amazon Prime Video and iTunes. You can also catch all out our reviews here.

Into the Badlands returns Spring 2017 on AMC.

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Laura Sirikul
Laura Sirikul 1842 posts

Trekkie. Jedi. Whovian. Sherlockian. Hobbit. Sanrio. Comics. I am Spartacus. Warrior Princess. Superhero. Nerd. Follow me @lsirikul