Why Warrior Season 3 Almost Didn’t Happen

After several years away, Warrior returns with season 3. We sit down with the cast and creators to reflect on their hardships and why this show means so much.

Andrew Koji in Warrior Season 3
Photo: David Bloomer | Max

“To hell with circumstances. I create opportunities.” Bruce Lee

Max’s Warrior began as an eight-page TV treatment by Bruce Lee which was completely rejected by the networks. Nearly a half-century later, Shannon Lee revitalized her father’s idea for development by Cinemax and enlisted noted director Justin Lin and screenwriter Jonathan Tropper to create the pilot. In 2019 Cinemax picked up Warrior for one season and its freshman outing won many accolades for its inclusivity and representation, coupled with kick ass action. Warrior was hailed as a rare homegrown tentpole series for Cinemax and got renewed for a second season.

But then in early 2020, Cinemax announced it would no longer commission original shows due to the switch to new streaming platform, HBO Max. Season two was already in the can so it was televised in late 2020. But when Director Justin Lin asked about the possibility of a third season, HBO Max said that Warrior “didn’t fit the brand.” 

“Long story short, Cinemax went away,” says Josh Stoddard, executive producer, writer, and co-showrunner for Warrior. “We thought we were gone – no way forward.” After the show got put on HBO Max, it found an even larger audience despite the inevitable cancellation. 


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