Cinemax Orders Pilot for Show Inspired by Martial Arts Legend Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee’s notes motivate new series pilot at Cinemax

It’s been over forty years since his passing, and martial arts icon Bruce Lee still affects popular culture. The premium cable heavyweight Cinemax announced their order of a pilot episode for Warrior, labeled as a crime drama set in late-19th century San Francisco. The series is inspired by conceptual notes by Bruce Lee, which were found after his death in 1973. Lee’s daughter Shannon, who handles her late father’s estate and marketing interests, worked with hotshot director Justin Lin to bring the concept to Cinemax. Lin is best known for Fast and the Furious 6, True Detective, and his work with the CBS network hit, Scorpion.

Martial Arts in 19th century America

The story centers around a young martial arts prodigy who settles in San Francisco after leaving China. Soon after arriving, he finds himself embroiled in the Tong Wars of Chinatown – turf wars over prostitution, gambling and drugs.

Jonathan Tropper, co-creator of Cinemax’s signature hit Banshee has come onboard to write Warrior with Lin set to direct. Lin’s experience with gritty dramas and intense action films, should set the bar fairly high for Warrior.


Fans of martial arts movies are sure to find some interest in Warrior, particularly since Bruce Lee’s extensive notes factor in heavily to the concept. Viewers that enjoy dramas such as Ripper Street, Turn or Copper might find the historical premise intriguing.

No showrunner or casting choices have been made, but decisions are expected soon.

With a premise created by the legendary Bruce Lee, and a superstar foundation in Justin Lin and John Tropper, the anticipation for this series is sure to grow.

Lin and Cropper also have the added pressure of the Bruce Lee legacy to handle, but given their track record of success, there is every reason to think that Warrior will be a big hit.

Dan Hex
Dan Hex
Relic from the bronze-age. Student of all things nerdish. Except math.