The AMC series broke ground by mesmerizing fans with martial arts and character drama in its first two seasons. Daniel Wu plays Sunny, who is a skilled warrior on a spiritual journey through the Badlands. During WonderCon, the attending Badlands talent spoke on the show’s inclusivity and diversity.
APA: The series is known for its martial arts. The second season topped the first season, but what can fans expect for this upcoming third season?
Gough: We were thinking, “What haven’t we done yet?” In the first fight between Sunny and the Widow and Moon is in the vein of House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger. At the same time, we were integrating comedy as we expand the world of the Badlands.
Frost: To add onto that, it’s very Hong Kong-like to have comedy in fights. For example, I love the aspect of when you’re in a fight, if someone hits you with a chicken, you’ll take a bite out of it.
Wu: Even then, there are spaces in the fight to mix in drama along with the comedy.
Gough: There’s a scene in the beginning where a character improvises and uses an octopus as a nunchuck. The scale of our fight is in a marketplace selling fish and that is integrated into the story.
APA: What’s the significance of bringing back some of the characters we thought were dead?
Gough: Widow alienated everyone around her, so she needs to recruit a new regent. One of the things that she does is build a mimic hand, which is an homage to martial arts films and we wanted to have a steampunk feel to it.
APA: The Widow has lost her way as the savior to the disenfranchised. Who is going to pick up that mantel?
Gough: She is trying to get it back. What Chau represents is the old world that no one wants, so Widow looks like a better alternative.
APA: Are there any martial art movies that you look towards?
Wu: I’m definitely more into the Asian stuff; I’m not really a Chuck Norris fan. What got my imagination going was the Shaw Chinese films, which has a heavier influence on our show rather than the American stuff.
APA: For Lorraine, coming from a show like Orange is the New Black, what’s your reaction to scripts that don’t have the same caliber of strong female characters?
Toussaint: I send them back to my agent. I’m not interested in those anymore, and I’m not interested in women who are archetypal and only represent one thing. I want complex and unpredictable women; I like the danger of it.