Everything you need to know about Netflix’s Wu Assassins

The new original series, featuring a strong cast of Asian actors, debuts this week on Netflix.

A chef, a monk, and a Triad leader walk into a restaurant.

This isn’t a setup to a joke, but rather, the premise of Netflix’s new superhero series, Wu Assassins — and more importantly, the streaming platform’s first Asian-American original series

What’s the story about?

Set in San Francisco’s modern day Chinatown, martial artist Iko Uwais stars as Kai Jin, a young chef turned assassin who inherited ancient mystical-monk powers and is forced to stop the Chinese Triads from gaining control of the deadly powers – “Wu Xing.” 

According to the Netflix synopsis, “this unassuming chef becomes the latest in a long line of assassins chosen to keep the mystical Wu powers out of the wrong hands” and bring balance back to the city. 

Season 1 of the new series is slated to have 10 episodes, although only two have been named on IMDB before its premiere on August 8. 

Chatting with Celia Au and Lawrence Kao

Who is in it?

Wu Assassins is led by Indonesian action star Uwais — most known for his role in The Raid: Redemption as Rama, the lead member of the highly trained S.W.A.T. team. He also stars in Stuber, which is currently in theatres featuring Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani.

Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, Uwais’ grandfather was a master of silat — an Indonesian traditional martial art, in which Uwais began practising since the age of 10.

Supporting roles in the series include:

Byron Mann as Uncle Six

  • The Hong Kong-born actor is best known for his roles in Skyscraper, Altered Carbon, The Big Short, and Ryu on Street Fighter.

Li Jun Li as Jenny Wah 

  • Li was born in Shanghai but spent many years living in Bogota, Colombia, and has appeared in Chicago P.D., Quantico, and The Exorcist.

Lawrence Kao as Tommy Wah

  • The American actor developed his love for acting by starting out with Shakespeare, and participated on America’s Best Dance Crew with The Kinjaz.

JuJu Chan as Zan

  • The Chinese-American actor is best known for her role as Silver Dart Shi in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, and is an accomplished martial artist (Taekwon-Do Hong Kong National medalist and Thai Boxing Champion). 

Lewis Tan as Lu Xin Lee

  • A British-born Chinese actor, Tan has appeared on AMC’s Into the Badlands, Deadpool 2, and Netflix’s Iron Fist.

Celia Au as Ying Ying

  • The New York actor, whose credits include In A New York Minute and Lodge 49, grew up with a huge imagination and many childhood aspirations, including Kung Fu master!

If you can’t wait for August 8 to roll around, check out Netflix’s Asian-led original Designated Survivor: 60 days, or Descendants of the Sun.

Interesting tidbits

Wu Assassins was filmed in Vancouver, B.C., likely using Vancouver’s bustling Chinatown as a stand-in for San Francisco’s Chinatown, similar to Ali Wong’s movie – Always Be My Maybe (also on Netflix).

Making Asian American media

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People chatting at the Making It documentary screening.

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