Kung Fu: Olivia Liang Talks the Show's Family Core

In The CW's newest series Kung Fu, a young Chinese-American woman, Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang) returns home after dropping out of college to go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monasterin China, but upon hre return to San Francisco finds it to be overrun with crime and corruption, with her own family at its mercy. Of course, Nicky is also chasing down an assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor and between the two challenges there is a lot of action for viewers to enjoy, but the new Kung Fu isn't just a martial arts driven adventure. It's also a show about family, something that series star Liang recently spoke with ComicBook.com about.

"The core of the show is the family and the writers have done such an amazing job of making this a multi-generational storyline," Liang said. "We get to see what Jin and Mei-Li go through. They're not just there to discipline us, or say a couple of lines. We get to know them and their history, and we get to know Ryan and Althea very intimately as well. And I think for Nicky, she has to re-meet her family, because she left them for three years. She's a different woman now. They're different people now."

She went a bit further with how the family is different, relating it to the real life experience of seeing the generation before us as human.

"I think she's going through what a lot of us go through once we get into adulthood," Liang said. "It's like we start to see our family as people, and not just as mom, dad, brother, sister. We start to really relate to th em and humanize them in our heads, right? Because mom is not invincible. There's a breaking point for her and Nicky getting to witness that and then have to be there for mom or dad or brother or sister in that way really fuels her reason and her purpose. And when we see her go through these things throughout the series, we know what she's fighting for, which I think is so important."

Another thing that Liang found to be important about Kung Fu was that she show has strong Asian female representation.

"I'm so excited. We have all kinds of powerful women being represented on screen," Liang said. "We've got Kheng's [Hua Tran] character of Mei-Li who was the matriarch of the family and who is strong, who uses her voice, who's unapologetic and takes up space. And she's raised these two daughters to be the same way. Althea (Shannon Dang), you'll see her character goes through her own journey to speaking up and finding her voice as well. And then, of course, there's Nicky and then there's Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai), who is Nicky's other maternal figure, who really taught Nicky so, so much."


Liang continued, "I get asked the question of, 'Who did you look up to on TV that looks like you?' And my answer is no one, right? I didn't have a lot growing up who looked like me and I'm so excited that there are young boys and girls out there who are going to see a whole variety, an entire spectrum of people who look like them, who they can look up to. If they don't relate to Nicky, they'll relate to Althea, or Mei-Li, or Ryan, or someone else. So that's really, really exciting for me."

Kung Fu airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.