Into the Badlands is a genre-bending martial arts series very loosely based on the classic Chinese tale Journey to the West. In a land controlled by feudal barons, Into the Badlands tells the story of a great warrior and a young boy who embark on a journey across a dangerous land to find enlightenment.
Tai Chi 0 helmer Stephen Fung’s recent departure from the upcoming remake of Kickboxer should provide plenty of time with fellow cohort Daniel Wu to executive produce their latest series endeavor tentatively titled Badlands for AMC. The two are joined by Oscar-nominated Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg, and series creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar who were all announced for the project back in July, which while loosely based on late author Wu Cheng’en’s often film-translated late 16th century tale, “Journey To The West”, centers on a story of a great warrior and a young boy who trek across a dangerous land to find enlightenment.
That said, the series has now nabbed a director in the form of David Dobkin, best known for his work on the 2003 Jackie Chan headliner, Shanghai Knights, and this year’s buzzworthy court drama, The Judge. The series also has its first few young picks lining up the cast which so far includes 28 Weeks Later co-star Emily Beecham as “The Widow”, The Tudors co-star Sarah Bolger as “Jade”, and The Adventurer: The Curse Of The Midas Box co-star Oliver Stark as the warrior’s son, “Ryer”, all of which will be recurring roles for a series that is shaping up to present a spectacular story with a coming-of-age feel to it.
Sure, it’s early and we’re likely to learn there’s more in store for the series, but it is fun to speculate what the sub-plots will be under its references to classic Chinese folk lore. Other than that, Dobkin seems pretty stoked. “I am thrilled to be directing Badlands,” he said. “Aside from the amazing group of people I get to work with – everyone at AMC, plus Stacy and Michael, and Al and Miles for the second time – it’s a brilliant, visionary project that finally gives the fan-boy in me something to dig my teeth into.”
AMC Studios is producing the series with Entertainment One distributing the show globally.