Eddie Liu on Henry’s Daddy Issues and His Place in the ‘Kung Fu’ Shooby Gang

Eddie Liu suggested this season of Kung Fu should be called “Daddy Issues.”

It seems like everyone – except the Shen family — are dealing with dad problems. Mia’s (Vanessa Yao) father sold her out to Russell Tan (Kee Chan). Juliette (Annie Q) was straight up murdered by her dad — ollowed by Kerwin (Ludi Lin), whose father took over his body as a vessel.

As for Liu’s character, Henry’s estranged father Daniel (Terry Chen), who abandoned his family years ago, returned to make amends with his son, revealing the truth behind his absence. Daniel is part of the Wan Zei, an organization that protects the world from the supernatural, and wanted to keep Henry away from that life. But, like father, like son, Henry has become a part of that world and, together, they team up to fight Russell Tan’s plan for immortality. Unfortunately, Daniel is shot after saving Henry’s life, leaving the episode on a cliffhanger until next week’s episode. It’s a lot to process, especially for Henry who just welcomed his father back into his life and Liu agrees.

To have his dad come back into his life in such a literally hard hitting way, it definitely takes him for a loop,” Liu tells The Nerds of Color. “The crazy thing is, up until this point, I don’t think Henry has really had that much time to process where [or] how things are with his dad. This is really intense. These intense extremes of lows to highs that you’ve seen from [Henry] when Danny comes back into his life and where they’re at now. I don’t think Henry has had too much of a process [to think about it].” 

Kung Fu — “Reunion” — Image Number: KF205b_0138r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Olivia Liang as Nicky Shen and Eddie Liu as Henry Yan — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Still, Liu believes Henry is coming to understand his father’s journey and dedication to serving “the greater good.” Liu, himself, doesn’t buy the excuse for Daniel leaving the family, but he says Henry has a lot of compassion to forgive his father.

“The ironic thing is that all this time he thought all these negative things about his father being absent and dishonorable, like running away from the family, [but] Henry is so much more like his father than anyone ever could have expected,” says Liu.

Of course, the storyline isn’t just focused on Henry’s relationship with his father, but also Henry finally standing up for himself in his relationship with Nicky (Olivia Liang). After an intense argument between the fan-favorite couple, Henry tells her that they need to work together as partners in this relationship instead of Nicky making decisions, that affect both of them, without consulting him. Although Liu doesn’t agree with the timing of the confrontation (Ryan was in the hospital), he says what Henry said is valid. In order to work, Nicky and Henry have to work as a team. 

Liu revealed more details on Henry’s relationship with his father and Nicky, as well as figuring out his place in this supernatural world. Of course, we talk about ‘ships, with Liu revealing “shit [does] get weird” in the finale. Interesting.

Check out the conversation below:

Honestly, I’d like to see a series of Henry and Daniel as fighting duos. I love Terry Chen. With what happened to his dad, and if Daniel survives, do you feel like Henry would like to travel with his dad for a bit to get to know him and work together — with the promise of returning to Nicky, of course?

Henry would absolutely be game to repair his relationship with his father to learn about what his father has been up to all these years and what this mission that he’s been serving as a lifelong member of the Wan Zei. There’s this great moment in episode 7 when Henry is very much reluctant to team up with his dad, especially because his dad’s team just kidnapped him before that. But, there’s a great moment when they’re stealing the painting to give back to the original owners, and he sees his father show real honor in the heat of battle and that definitely earned some respect and some honor points in Henry’s book regarding Danny. So I do think that with time and seeing that his father isn’t this bad person. [Danny] didn’t know any better as far as how to be a better dad. I mean, Danny does kind of give a poor excuse as to why he chose to stay out his son’s life but I think Henry has enough compassion and patience to see there’s a possibility to explore that relationship. And yeah, I think that Nicky would be very supportive of something like that — for Henry trying to make amends with his dad in the long term.

Kung Fu — “Clementine” — Pictured (L-R): Eddie Liu as Henry Yan and Olivia Liang as Nicky Shen — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Let’s break it down here. Nicky and Henry had their first fight this season with Henry feeling like it’s always been about Nicky and now his feelings. I know they made up at the end of the episode, but things don’t usually get resolved like that in real life. How is Henry still feeling about that whole thing?

I feel like Henry has been taken for a real loop this season. He just needed to be heard. I know that we’re glad that they were able to resolve it in that episode. Personally, I wasn’t feeling so comfortable about Henry’s timing, regarding when he brought it up — given that Nicky’s brother was fighting for his life in the hospital. But there is a lot of validity where he’s coming from. This has to be a team effort. We’ve seen Henry and Nicky be great partners. Sometimes all the best bands and all the best duos in the world have to address some relationship issues.

It is hard being the boyfriend of a supernatural chosen one. There is something to be said about superheroines protecting their significant others and how some men can’t help but feel helpless. I know Henry is secure with himself, but I know there’s some hidden masculinity issues behind it. How does Henry feel about it?

I think Henry has zero issues with his masculinity [or] any insecurity as far as his girlfriend being the “chosen one” and being the sheer dominant superhero force — this generation’s warrior. He understands the lore. He understands her destiny. For any team to fire on all cylinders and succeed together, they just have to be willing to work together and just hear each other out. Other than that, Henry is just incredibly supportive and fully on board with his girl being the warrior.

Henry does have so many amazing skills – he’s a fighter, knowledgeable in history, a pickpocket/thief — does he feel like he could do more than just be in the Shooby Gang or is he complacent because the love of his life is there?

Henry is a real team player. He’s gonna find whatever role needs to be done. There is a role for everyone in this team and it goes beyond Henry. You see Althea (Shannon Dang) brings to the table — and Ryan (Jon Prasida), Evan (Gavin Stenhouse), and even Dennis (Tony Chung) as well. We love it when everybody contributes to the team like that and that’s just me speaking as a fan. We, the cast, love seeing the group together because we love to work together but you see that the strength of team good guys – Scooby gang – really lies in its cohesion and unity.

I do want to focus more on Henry than the Shooby gang, because yeah, we all love seeing the Shooby gang come together, but we know Henry can do so much more and be a hero of his own. Will we see that he feels like he could do more than just be in San Francisco with the group versus traveling the world and using his skills on a wider range?

Henry is super focused on the mission at hand. He isn’t really the kind of person to make it about himself. Hopefully, when we can take the bad guys [down], they’ll have a little time to take a sabbatical, write a book, take a painting [class] or something like that. I do think that Henry does have so many skills and there is a lot of potential to explore how much he could grow both as a fighter and makeshift spy. He’s gonna explore more. He’s gonna want to explore more ways to serve the greater good and to help those in need — whether that’s with his team or anyone else outside of that.

Kung Fu — “Jyu Sa” — Pictured (L-R): Gavin Stenhouse as Evan Hartley and Eddie Liu as Henry Yan — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Obviously, I’m going to talk about ships because it’s me. I do want to ask this because I’ve asked Olivia and Gavin this, because it still blows my mind that Nicky, Henry, and Evan have a wonderful and healthy relationship. Evan and Henry seem like best friends — despite the fact that Evan was Nicky’s former lover and not too long ago, investigated Henry’s past. So… what’s up with this friendship?

Sometimes things seem a little too good to be true. It takes something like a fictional TV show to put that in the minds of the audience that, ‘hey, we can all strive to be better.’ We can all be like that even if we don’t see it that much in real life. That doesn’t mean that we can’t work for it [or] that doesn’t mean it can’t ever exist. We’re really relieved that we don’t have to make Henry and Evan into these petty toxic bros fighting for Nicky’s attention. That storyline has been done in so many different ways and it’s cool to see that [these two characters[ can be above that. We definitely had our fun playing [with that] and some of those colors in season 1. But we do really love the point that they’ve arrived at. 

I spoke to Gavin about these relationships and asked if he believes there’s a chance for Nevan to happen again. We know there is a third season and he said you never know that there could be a catalyst to create a fight between the ships. What’s your take on what could potentially happen for season 3 regarding your character’s relationship with Nicky — because it’s a CW series, the potential love triangle?

All of that is still in play. We never know. We don’t even know what direction it could go in. As long as you’re staying true to what these characters stand for and who they are as people at their core. If a rivalry comes back [or] if there’s conflict in the ships, as long as you shoot these characters doing what feels real and honest, then we’re game to play that, for sure.

The episode ended on a cliffhanger and so many lives are on the line. I know you can’t tell us much, but what can you tell us about the season finale? 

Shit is gonna get weird. Yeah. If you don’t think it’s weird already, it will get even weirder. I will say that I really enjoy asking friends and family what their predictions are. It’s really fun not answering them and just listening and knowing that no one can predict what’s coming.

Are we going to see Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman) end up being Eddie’s mother? [Joke reference to a fan theory]

It is a fantasy show. All it takes is one witch and one spell gone real weird — and yeah. I hope that one day that if that does come true, a fan is ready to make some fanart like the Monster-In-Law poster, but instead of Jane Fonda, it’ll be Yvonne [Chapman] and then Nicky doing the “uh-oh” face.

Kung Fu’s season finale airs next week on Wednesday at 9pm on The CW.