AMC’s ‘Into the Badlands’ promises more action and expansion of the Badlands

Into the Badlands

AMC’s hit martial arts drama Into the Badlands returns for its third season next month.

The network finally released the anticipated trailer for Into the Badlands at this year’s WonderCon and it did not disappoint. In it, we see war is upon the Badlands and introduces the audiences to a new Warlord, Pilgrim (Babou Ceesay) and his priestess, Cressida (Lorraine Toussaint). Pilgrim and his warriors, who seem to have the dark powers of the monastery, begin their world domination of the barons. Sunny (Daniel Wu) just wants to get him and his newborn son, Henry, out of the Badlands. This is not his war, but unfortunately, he still gets dragged into it.

“From a physical standpoint, [Sunny] is at a lull,” Wu tells Nerd Reactor of his character in Into the Badlands. “He’s much more rugged, ripped up, and beat up. Before he was depressed and kind of an alcoholic – he’s been drinking – and so he starts off at that point. He’s trying to get his world back together. Henry is really the driving force behind everything for him until he starts to meet Pilgrim, and that spins that world into this crazy chaos that he was trying to control but can’t control. So it’s this idea of, ‘Can you really control your fate?'”

Just who are Pilgrim and Cressida? What do they have planned for the Badlands?

Into the Badlands co-creator and executive producer Al Gough revealed, “We are in a middle of a war. Baron Chau and the Widow are in a war, which definitely ups the stakes and we see the frontlines of the war. Also, we introduce to Pilgrim and Cressida into this world, we’re bringing an entirely different flavor than you’ve seen before. That allowed us to delve deeper into the Azra mythology and sort of people with the dark eyes, which allowed us to have a variety in the fighting.”

Best known for her work on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, Toussaint was excited to be on a show where she could get her hands dirty. “I really wanted to play dress up and wield swords and do swordplay and fight and fly – all the extraordinary things I do in this season,” said Toussaint. “I was thrilled to come on board. I didn’t have to do fight camp. I probably came within the first week and I had to do a fight. I realized I really loved it and it’s not as hard as it looked but it’s also really as much hard as it looks. It’s like being in the sandbox with these guys.”

Gough praised Toussaint’s performance in the series, “Lorraine is amazing in the season. I think what’s great about her and Babou and Nick, when he came too, you gotta come into this world and be ready to play. I remember when Lorraine shot her first scenes with Babau and I felt like she snapped into this world because she came to play. We tried to write a character with a real agency so that she was strong but strong in a different way than you’ve seen in the Widow. We didn’t want to bring another version of the Widow or another version of Chau. What can she bring into this world? We developed this whole Azraian language that she learned. I think that’s the thing. When everyone comes to do this show they really are all in. I think that’s the appeal of the show. If we didn’t do something interesting, we wouldn’t get actors of this caliber. We are really grateful that they are on the show and help us to keep expanding the story.”

As for the others in the Into the Badland series, we last left the Widow at odds with many of her soldiers, including Tilda and Waldo. The Widow is now facing a full out war against Baron Chau. The Widow must now find new recruits to fight alongside her.

Gough divulged some more information about the Widow this season, “In season three when we begin, the Widow has alienated everyone. She had the big throwdown with Tilda – ladybird with the chandelier dropping on you; Waldo has become disillusioned and left her. So she has to go out and recruit a new regent and she goes out and finds Moon, who was a former Clipper, and you find out that he used to be her husband’s regent, that’s why she goes out and recruits him. One of the thing that she does is build him a mimic hand that is an homage to martial arts films and we wanted it to have a little steampunk vibe to it. So that it’s a little tricked out – it has a sword, it has darts, and weapons he could use.”

If you remembered, Moon was the ex-Clipper who wanted to find a worthy opponent to fight to the death and found that person in Sunny. Unfortunately, Sunny defeated Moon but spared his life because Sunny was done with killing. But, Moon was not done with Sunny.

As for M.K., we last left him without his powers, facing off against the Widow. Fortunately, we know he is going to get away and somehow interact with Pilgrim’s crew. Wu told us that M.K. will be on his own this season to deal with his stuff.

“Let’s say, M.K. is a teenager and teenagers veer off a really nasty path and it happens. Sunny doesn’t know how to deal with that,” said Wu. “I think the relationship with M.K. changes over the season completely. He deals with the dark chi element and he gets pulled into a different fold so then we kind of separate. My focus is on Henry, of course. It’s the number one priority.”

During the Into the Badlands press conference, the cast and creative told the crowd that the action scenes will be epic and will change some things up this season.

“The first conversation that Daniel and I had this season is how are we going to mix up the fights and what haven’t we done yet?” said Gough. “So, you see a lot of Daniel’s first fight in episode one of the season is very brutal, hand-to-hand no wires. The first fight of the season with the Widow and Moon is very in the same vein of Crouching Tiger and House of Flying Daggers. We also have a lot of comedy this year. I think we are expanding the world, we are able to span the palettes of the fights as well.”

Frost, who plays Sunny’s sidekick Bajie, seemed especially excited over his fight scenes in Into the Badlands. He told the audience to expect to see Bajie using a dead octopus as nunchucks.

“I think it’s a Hong Kong thing too… is that there is comedy in the fighting and I loved that aspect of it and trying to find those little beats,” joked Frost. “So you can have a fight. So if someone hits you with a chicken, at some point, you’re going to take a bite out of that chicken. I like those Hong Kong fight rules when it comes to comedy during a fight.”

“There are little spaces within the fight to have a bit of drama to happen – whether it’s comedy or whatever it is. It allows it to breathe. That fight has its own character on its own,” added Wu.

This season of Into the Badlands also promises to get to the point when it comes to the character interactions. Last season, many of the characters were grouped into their own individual story that led up to one giant meeting between all of them. Gough revealed that the stories will crash into each other sooner and will see more characters interacting that have never interacted with each other before.

“You have Sonny as a single samurai father who is fighting for his son,” said Gough. “You have the Widow and Tilda who are going to have to find a different version of their relationship. When we meet them again at the beginning of the season, they were very much at odds but I think it’s a lot of young women and their mothers. You get to see how that evolves. How Tilda used to have this absolute love and devotion for the Widow and the Widow, though she could control Tilda and tell her anything she wanted to hear to keep her in line.

Now Tilda sees her mother in a different way and they have to come back to each other in a much more adult relationship than what they had before. I think Tilda, even though she lived in the Badlands, saw things in a black and white way and she has to realize some of the choices that she makes are morally grey. Lydia helps her in that. Lydia is someone who has been in the Badlands forever. She’s been on the top, the bottom, and a survivor and she knows how the game is played. I think that is something that will play.

So you have Tilda who has these two – the mother she hates at the moment and the cool aunt she turns to for advice. You have Sunny who is trying to be a single dad and Veil’s last words were ‘teach him how to be good’, but how do you do that in this world and with all these tattoos on his back? Then we have Pilgrim who is this fanatical and religious figure, but he is preaching a different kind of way on how the world should be. And the idea that he’s the shepherd and this is his flock. He and Cressida are sort of inviting people in to get away from the barons. Come to us and we’ll build something new together that deals more in faith.

We also see how M.K. get seduced by that. M.K., who is always looking for some father figure and has been abandoned and lied to at various points in the show and how he gets drawn into that world.

Then you have Lewis Tan, who plays Gaius Chau, who is Baron Chau’s black sheep abolitionist brother, who she kept in a cage for many years. [We see] how he escape and his relationship with his family – when they have that in their history. I think Tilda even says it, ‘if we want to change the world, we have to stop the cycle of violence that we’re in and not repeat the mistakes of the older generation.”

Into the Badlands returns on April 22, 2018 on AMC.

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Laura Sirikul
Laura Sirikul 1849 posts

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

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