“My father had the main character Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) coming over from China, getting indoctrinated into the Tongs as a hatchet man, while he was really looking for his sister. It had Bill (Kieran Bew), the police officer, as a character. It had the Tong wars as a backdrop to the show and it had the Chinese Exclusion Act and the political immigration issues of the time as a backdrop to the show.”
With trending immigration issues under the present political regime, Warrior is uncannily topical.
“This has always been an immigrant story,” says Tropper, who started writing the show under the Obama administration and didn’t foresee how relevant it would become in 2020. “For me, it’s not that we were aiming at this topic. It’s just that this topic is never not there. It just happens that people are much more conscious of it right now because of this administration. But America is a country built by immigrants that has never developed a comfortable relationship with immigrants. So it’s a generational problem and it’s a cyclical problem, and it’s one that we have not solved. I feel like thematically, this show would be relevant no matter when it was coming out. Now it just happens to speak really loudly to what’s going on.”
Enter the Dragon – Rising Star Andrew Koji
Politics aside, Warrior has one of today’s hottest actors in the lead role, Andrew Koji. Beyond Warrior, Koji plays the pivotal role of Storm Shadow in the upcoming Snake Eyes: G.I.Joe Origins alongside Henry Goulding (Crazy Rich Asians), Ursula Corbero (Money Heist), Iko Uwais (The Raid), and Samara Weaving (Bill & Ted Face the Music). The film was slated for release this October but was pushed back to 2021 as another COVID-19 casualty.
“If it’s best for the film, for the audience, for people,” says Koji, “I don’t think many people want to go to the cinema right now.”