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‘Kung Fu’ Co-Showrunner Robert Berens Spills Some Details For Season Two [Part 2]

Kung Fu -- "Transformation" -- Image Number: KF113fg_0003r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Tzi Ma as Jin Shen, Jon Prasida as Ryan Shen, Shannon Dang as Althea Shen and Kheng Hua Tan as Mei-Li Shen -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

With the first season of The CW’s Kung Fu now over, many fans have been wondering what’s next for our beloved Shen family. The season finale had Nicky and Zhilan come head-to-head at Pei-Ling’s monastery battling for control of the biàn gé power, with Nicky defeating Zhilan and releasing biàn gé back into nature where it came from.

Zhilan is arrested for her many crimes and Nicky is reunited with her family in San Francisco. Althea is now happily married to Dennis and reveals the family secret to him. And, while Nicky and Henry are happily enjoying each others’ company with boba, we find out from Mr. Tan, telling an unconscious Kerwin, that Nicky has a cousin, the daughter of Mei-Xui, who is half Guardian and half Warrior.

Although the series ended on a happy note for our beloved Shen gang, the ominous reveal left us with more questions. Who is Nicky’s cousin? Can we trust Dennis with the family secret? What’s going to happen to Henry and Nicky now that they don’t have a case to work on together? Will Evan come back and win Nicky’s heart? Why did the biàn gé flower suddenly appear?

Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Fortunately, co-showrunner and executive producer Robert “Bob” Berens knows all the details for next season and told us a bit during an interview with The Nerds of Color prior to the season finale. Berens revealed last week that Nicky’s cousin/Mei-Xui’s daughter has not been cast yet, but will play a pivotal role next season. He also shot down any theories that Nadia (Marissa Cuevas) was Nicky’s cousin, who worked for the District Attorney’s office to have access to all the important files.

“I love [that] as a fascinating theory,” laughs Berens. “I almost don’t want to comment in case we decide to go that route but — no. They’re two distinct characters, for sure.” 

Berens is ready for all the theories that fans may have for next season. Fans won’t have to wait that long either for the writers’ room to return. Berens will reunite with the writers this week to go over the details for season 2. The cast isn’t scheduled to return to Canada until next month. That means, season two will not return this fall. According to co-showrunner and executive producer Christina M. Kim, during an influencer screening, she revealed the series may return February 2022. But, fear not! We have some fun and juicy details that will hopefully tide you over for a little bit until we get some official Kung Fu content.

Check out Part 2 of our Robert Berens interview below:

The Nerds of Color: Of course, I know you guys are in the writer’s room going over the next season. What can you hint that will be discussed — we already know about Althea’s case against her former boss and Mei-Xui’s daughter, but it seems like everything else is hunky-dory with the rest of the family?

Robert Berens: We wanted to tell a story of Nicky’s homecoming. Our mission going into season two is to honor the fact that Nicky has repaired her relationship with her family. So I think what you’ll be seeing when we come back at the top of next season is a family that is healed, that is love, that is loving, and is actually getting a chance to have some fun. But, let’s just say that their fun can’t last forever and new conflicts will emerge. New threats will appear on the horizon. Mr. Tan hints [this] at the end of the finale. This story is not over. The story of the dangers of the world posed by this [“biàn gé”] energy is not over.

You see at the end in San Francisco with ‘biàn gé’ flower is definitely a tease that this threat is going to be more local in season two. Our story of villainy and our mythic quest is not going to happen across the continent. It’ll be occurring inside San Francisco. And, as far as a teaser goes, our intention moving into season two is to dig a little bit into the history of San Francisco Chinatown and [how] it will be connected to the mythology as well. We’re very excited because I think we had a season one that had a bifurcation between our mystery and our family story that allowed us to build out these characters so you can really fall in love with them. But now we have an opportunity to integrate the family story in the mystery a little more, and it’s opening up a lot of new possibilities for us.

Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Obviously, Nicky is with Henry, which a lot of the viewers love. But, I know you guys are going hard on making Evan this sweet, lovable guy we all want to cheer for. But, there would be no drama like a CW drama without adding the love triangle back into the picture. Will there be any attempts to break up Hicky and add some fuel to the Nevan fire or are Hicky endgame? 

I think there’s gonna be some interesting dynamics between Henry, Evan, and Nicky in season two. I’ll say that certainly at the top of the season, Nicky and Henry will be together. Everything was so hurdling in the last three episodes and this story was really ramping up and sort of consuming all their focus. At least at the beginning of this season, we’ll see what their relationship is actually like. They’ve had this project together that consumed them so completely. What is the normal life of Nicky and Henry as young lovers? What does that look like? What sort of understandings and misunderstandings are they having at the beginning of this relationship? So, we’re excited to dig into that at the top of it. As far as Evan is concerned, Nicky and him will always have a very special deep connection, but I don’t think [they] will be going back to that love triangle. There will be romantic complications and unexpected romantic complications on the horizon for all of our characters, but that’s all I can say for now.

We hear so much about the past from our characters. We’ve seen flashbacks of Jin and Mei-Li and Zhilan and Pei-Ling. With Dennis being a mathlete, Nicky and Evan being childhood sweethearts, and Ryan dealing with his sexuality growing up, are more flashbacks planned for our characters?

It was always in the mix in our conversations in the [writers] room. There was always a plan to actually hit that missing chapter when Nikki decided to go to China when she agreed to take Mei-Li’s advice [to visit China] to really tease out all of those dynamics. The truth is the story kind of took on a life of its own and we didn’t end up doing that. It’s something that we are still interested in doing, but I will say a lot of what we set out to do in the finale was to really re-anchor the show in the present tense.

So, where the first season really deals with a lot of the fallout of events that preceded the pilot, our intention in season two is to really build present tense drama inside Nicky’s life as we know it and as the audience has experienced it over the course of the first season. That’s why fresh conflicts will emerge between her and her family but we really wanted to resolve at least those core conflicts and really [build] Mei-Li and Jin’s relationship; Mei-Li’s Relationship with Nicky; Nicky’s relationship with her siblings; and, her guilt over having left [Evan] in the lurch for those three years.We really wanted to bring that to a head and sort of create a fresh new start for the family at the start of season two.

Kung Fu — “Transformation” — Image Number: KF113b_0110r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Tony Chung as Dennis Soong and Shannon Dang as Althea Shen — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

I want to talk about Dennis (Tony Chung) because there has to be something wrong with him. He’s too perfect. He learned Mandarin!? He is so understanding and perfect. There has to be a reason why Dennis noted Althea’s app idea and I’m wondering if it’s because he’s going to steal it. Are we going to get some Dennis drama next season?

Will Dennis be having more drama next season? Absolutely. In our first season, Althea had such an intense story and journey and there were early conversations about Dennis. Dennis could have a dark side. Although I think we have some exciting layers to reveal to his character next season, I do think he falls, at least presently, under the umbrella of the Shens. He’s a new member of the Shen family. There’s something about the core decency of all of [the] family, even with their problems and secrets and flaws. I think that does extend to Dennis who really is as dreamy and perfect as he seems.

One of the reasons why we’re excited about letting him in on the Scooby gang dynamic of the Shen siblings is so that we can integrate him into stories a little bit more. So. he is not just off on his own island as much as he was in the first season. I think you’ll be seeing some new shades and dimensions to him.

Any chance for a Zhilan/Nicky thing between the two? 

I will deflect that by saying that, though I think Nicky has maybe gotten a little glimpse of Zhilan’s humanity, but Zhilan still murdered [Nicky’s] sifu. So I don’t see her viewing Zhilan in romantic terms anytime in the near future. We love Olivia and Yvonne together. They’re fantastic performers and really a lot of the joy for us and breaking the finale was finally getting to set them [up] where they could face off with each other. We could see those sparks and really set up the duality between them, especially that dreamscape plan. It was just a pure pleasure.

Shannon [Dang] brought up that if she could have her own episode, she’d have a musical episode. Would that ever be a conversation to be had?

No comment. Maybe. No comment on that one. I was there when [writer] Robbie Thompson did his musical episode of Supernatural. I’m a big fan of the Buffy musical. I think those are cases where there’s an element of the supernatural to account for why everyone is singing. We don’t have a pitch for that yet, but I know it would terrify some of our cast and delight some of our cast. It just depends on who we want to reward or punish when we decide if we’re going to ever pull the trigger on that. Everyone is so talented. One thing I can tease is that there will be a little dancing happening in season two. I think that’s as far as we’ll go. But, Christina [does] talk about wanting to see the kids cut loose a little bit and actually enjoy their 20s. So, it is our intention to have a little fun night out — a little dancing — happening on the show. When we’ve got Shannon Dang in your cast, she’s a former professional dancer, so there’s definitely opportunities to do some fun stuff with them.

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