Kung Fu Bosses Preview Nicky's 'Deeply Personal' Battle in Season 3 — Plus, Scoop on Zhilan and Pei-Ling's Returns
By Keisha Hatchett / October 3 2022, 4:11 PM PDT

Courtesy of The CW

Sometimes you must put on a brave face, and that’s how we find Nicky Shen at the top of Kung Fu‘s third season (premiering this Wednesday at 9/8c on The CW).

Things are going well for her: She’s got a new job at the community center and is still protecting her city from the bad guys. But when it comes to her breakup with Henry, co-showrunner Robert Berens says she is hurting more than she lets on.

“Four months have passed,” Berens tells TVLine, “and she’s really moved on in a lot of ways. She’s teaching classes at the community center; she’s come into her own as a shifu; and she’s continued to work as the unofficial sheriff of Chinatown. She’s in a pretty good place, but across the [Season 3 premiere], we’ll come to understand that Henry’s departure actually did hurt her very deeply [and] emotionally.”

Series creator and co-showrunner Christina M. Kim notes that while Nicky starts the season in a good place, “things will get disrupted pretty early on.”

Read on for more intel on Season 3 of The CW’s Kung Fu.

A new Bo-ginning

In Henry’s absence, Nicky will encounter a new character named Bo (played by Legacies’ Ben Levin) which raises the question of whether she’s in the right place to pursue another love interest.

“Nicky will cross [paths] with Bo when she gets into a hairy situation taking down some thieves,” Berens explains. “He happened to be in the area and jumped right in and revealed himself to be an equally skilled fighter, and they find chemistry in the act of taking down these bad guys. It is kind of a fight-cute between Nicky and Bo.”

Bo is new to the city but is very aware of who Nicky is, and will occasionally jump in to help her. However, he has “no idea about the magical side of Nicky’s life — the warrior bloodline, the magic of it all. It’s an interesting relationship, [and] they start to size each other up at the top of the season.”

Things get personal for Nicky

We’ve seen Nicky the Warrior, fighting in these larger-than-life battles against the likes of Zhilan and Russell Tan. In Season 3, however, the conflict hits closer to home.

“The battle she’ll be waging is over something deeply, deeply personal to her,” Berens teases. “We’re going to be in a much more intimate epic because Nicky has a lot of skin in this game for the larger story we’re telling this season.”

Zhilan's mysterious return

Zhilan may have sacrificed herself in the Season 2 finale, but she’s sticking around full-time this season. According to Berens, we’ll find her in a new environment and in a “new context.”

Zhilan is “surviving in a very desolate environment,” he shares. She also gets to play the hero in her story despite the many horrific things she’s done in the past. She’ll get to “be kind of the Nicky of the story for a little while.” But then, of course, her past will catch up with her, and “there will eventually be a collision with this form of Zhilan.”

Whether Zhilan is alive or dead remains to be seen, but “our characters will cross paths soon enough.”

Pei-Ling's back… or is she?

Season 2 ended with Nicky’s deceased shifu Pei-Ling emerging from the woods outside of San Francisco. But is that really her? That question will loom over Season 3.

“We always joke with our actors that [when] you die on Kung Fu, death isn’t always death,” Kim says. “There is perhaps a way back, whether it’s flashbacks or other ways. This is one of those other ways.”

Berens adds that the mystery of Pei-Ling’s return is something that Nicky will be pursuing throughout the top half of the season. “It’ll be a very emotional, very dramatic mystery because for Nicky, the story all began really with the death of her shifu. We’re really excited to tell the story of the return of Pei-Ling with a question mark,” he teases.

Family matters

Season 3 finds Althea picking up the pieces after a huge career setback. She and Dennis have had to move in with her parents, which creates “opportunity for lots of fun family drama and comedy,” per Kim.

Meanwhile, things are going strong for Ryan and Sebastian, who’ve finally moved in together.

“We’re playing a lot of contrast amongst the siblings in their various romantic lives,” Berens says. “You’ve got Althea and Dennis, who’ve always been the golden couple on our show. Lots of money, lots of nice clothes, very nice apartment, and now they’re pinched into the Shens’ home. Nicky is still single and dealing with the heartbreak of Henry’s departure in the finale. And Ryan and Seb, we get to see them start the season in a really amazing place.”

This season, we’ll see Ryan and Sebastian enjoying each other’s company and in scenes that are more intimate. Plus, fans will also get a glimpse at Ryan’s apartment. “Last season, we only ever really gotten to see them at Harmony Dumplings, so we get to see the domestic side of Ryan and Seb’s romance,” Berens notes.
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