Female-Led ‘Kung Fu’ Remake In Development At The CW From Berlanti Productions & ‘Blindspot’ Team
The CW has put into development a female-led remake of 70’s martial arts/western series ‘Kung Fu’ from Berlanti Productions and the team behind ‘Blindspot’… If this story sounds somewhat familiar, that is probably because Berlanti previously had a female-led ‘Kung Fu’ remake in production at Fox.
If you are unfamiliar with ‘Kung Fu’, the original series starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin monk who treks around 1880s old west America in search of his half-brother, armed only with his skill in martial arts and Taoist wisdom.
This latest version follows a young Chinese-American woman who drops out of college and go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. When she returns to find her hometown overrun with crime and corruption, she uses her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community and bring criminals to justice, along with searching for the assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor and is now targeting her.
The new iteration of ‘Kung Fu’ is written by Christina M. Kim, who was writer/exec producer on ‘Blindspot’. She will also EP the potential series alongside ‘Blindspot’ creator Martin Gero, with ‘Arrowverse’s Greg Berlanti & Sarah Schechter from Berlanti Productions.
As we mentioned at the top of the article, this is not the first time US TV has tried to revive ‘Kung Fu’. The original series ran from 1972 to 1975, with a movie following in 1986. There was then an attempt to reboot the franchise in 1987 with Brandon Lee (son of Bruce Lee) playing the great-grandson of Kwai Chang Caine in ‘Kung Fu: The Next Generation’, but it failed to make it past a pilot. That was followed in 1993 with ‘Kung Fu: The Legend Continues’, which saw Carradine return, but playing the grandson of the original Caine, which ran for 4 seasons.
In 2017, Berlanti Productions tried a female-led remake at Fox penned by longtime ‘Arrow’ writer Wendy Mericle. That version was set in the 1950s and follow Lucy Chang, a Buddhist monk and kung fu master who travels America searching for the man who stole her child years before, but it failed to make it to a pilot.
On an interesting side note, Bruce Lee was considered for the role of Caine in the original series but lost out to Carradine. There were accusations in the memoirs of Lee’s widow, Linda Lee Cadwell, that he had actually come up with the idea for the show the year before, but it was stolen by WB. This was never actually proven, and something Ed Spielman, creator of ‘Kung Fu’ strenuously refuted. He was actually preparing a lawsuit against Universal after the allegations surfaced again in 1993 movie ‘The Bruce Lee Story’. But after the death of Bruce, and then his son Brandon dying in a tragic on-set accident, Spielman decided not to pursue it further as he felt Linda had “lost enough” and he didn’t want to add to her pain.
This ‘Kung Fu’ remake is still in early development, but we’ll let you know if it moves forward.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.