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Kung Fu's Jon Prasida on comparisons to original and Ryan's future

David Opie, Susannah Alexander
·3 min read
Photo credit: Bettina Strauss/2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. - The CW
Photo credit: Bettina Strauss/2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. - The CW

Kung Fu spoilers follow.

Kung Fu is back in a brand new, modern incarnation and star Jon Prasida has lifted the lid on the differences between the new show and its original version.

Martial arts action-adventure series Kung Fu made its debut on The CW earlier this week, introducing us to martial arts expert Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang), a Harvard Law School dropout who decides to use her martial arts prowess to stop crime in her community.

The new show is actually a reimagining of David Carradine's Kung Fu series, which ran from 1972 until 1975, but the new version of the show features a wider range of voices and improved representation, with the majority of the cast being Asian American.

Photo credit: Bettina Strauss/2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. - The CW
Photo credit: Bettina Strauss/2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. - The CW

Related: Kung Fu star Jon Prasida on Ryan's coming out story and queer Asian American representation

Actor Prasida plays Ryan Shen in the show, Nicky's estranged medical student brother who tries to help her as they repair their relationship.

The actor recently spoke exclusively to Digital Spy about the differences between the two incarnations of Kung Fu, revealing that the new show is "this generation's version".

"I don't want to disrespect it (the original show) because I know a lot of people hold that show dear to their hearts, but what makes it different is the fact that it's relevant to now," he said.

"The original show served its purpose back then – I know it served a massive purpose for Asian actors, and was a platform for us to be on. There were different martial artists of different disciplines they were able to showcase. So shout-out to them for supplying that for us.

Photo credit: Kailey Schwerman/2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Photo credit: Kailey Schwerman/2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Related: Legacies star Olivia Liang feels "empowered" by Kung Fu

"But for what makes it different, it's just this generation's version. We can touch on a lot of different social issues, and we also have a lot of fun doing it, too."

The actor also teased what we can expect to see from Ryan, who is openly gay, following the show's first episode.

"Well, as far as the first episode goes, it teases the idea of how his first coming-out to his parents was, and how that went," he said. "There's a bit of exploration there. And with that said, he may explore a relationship, or he may explore that idea, and what that's like. It's very exciting. I'm so excited for people to see that arc."

Following the show's first episode, viewers can expect to see Nicky decide to stay in her hometown of San Francisco to help bring peace to the city – all while also reconnecting with her family and trying to track down the assassin who murdered her Shaolin mentor Pei-Ling Zhang (Vanessa Kai).

Kung Fu airs weekly every Wednesday on The CW in the US. A UK release date has not yet been announced.

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