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Kung Fu's Robert Berens Reveals What Makes Season 2 Different From Season 1 - Exclusive

In its first season, The CW's "Kung Fu" introduced Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang), who, on the one hand was working to unravel the mystery behind her mentor's murder, and on the other hand was trying to reconnect with the family she'd left behind in San Francisco three years earlier to train in Kung Fu at a Shaolin monastery. Needless to say, Nicky had her work cut out for her on both fronts. Yet, by the end of the season, she had defeated her mentor's killer and her family was stronger than ever — and fully aware of the fight she was involved in.

As the first episodes of Season 2 of "Kung Fu" have now shown, however, things may not be as settled as Nicky believed in the Season 1 finale. The show's protagonist Russell Tan (Kee Chan) has moved to San Francisco and started making mysterious moves that only deepen the show's already complex mythology. Plus, Tan's plans are all the more worrisome given that they seem to involve Nicky's recently discovered cousin Mia (Vanessa Yao). According to "Kung Fu" co-showrunner Robert Berens, this is all part of a plan to make the second season more serialized than the first, and in an exclusive discussion with Looper, he explained how the foundation the show built in Season 1 enabled "Kung Fu" to change its pace and priorities in Season 2.

Bringing the threads of the story together in Season 2

Robert Berens noted that there was a lot to establish in the first season of "Kung Fu," and that meant the episodes had to balance multiple stories. "In the first season, we had so much character drama to work through because Nicky was coming back after three years," Berens pointed out, "But she also had so much history to catch up with on her family and what they'd been through in her absence at the beginning of the first season. She's realizing that her family has changed in her absence and she has to catch up with them. It was more of a slow burn with the mythology."

Now that both the Shen family and the larger mythology of "Kung Fu" have been firmly established, Berens said the opportunity was open to take a somewhat different approach in Season 2. "It was always our intention that Season 2 would be a much more integrated season," Berens observed, "Where the villain and the threat is occurring in San Francisco, right in Nicky's backyard, and also, through the Mia character, that there's this connection between the larger myth plot and the danger of Russell Tan and Nicky's family. Mia straddled the two worlds of our show, and [it] allowed us to tell a story that's much more integrated than last season, and also faster moving."

One more difference between the first and second seasons? Bigger and better fights. "The first season was shot during the first wave of production after COVID, and we didn't really have the resources to do more than one fight per episode, in most cases, outside of a few exceptions," Berens revealed. "[In Season 2, stunt coordinator] Andrew Chin and everyone involved in the cast and crew and production, we really pushed ourselves. ... Episode by episode, the tonnage of action is up and that was really exciting and really with no sacrifice in quality. ... I think we're raising the bar all around this year."

The second season of "Kung Fu" airs on The CW on Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET. New episodes are available on the CW website and app the following day.