Warrior: Gavin O'Connor Turning MMA Movie Into TV Series

The fan-favorite fighting drama Warrior is headed to television. On Thursday, it was announced that Gavin O'Connor will be turning his 2011 film into a 10-episode ongoing series, which is being developed by Lionsgate Television for Paramount+. Retired two-time UFC champion Daniel Cormier is in talks to star in the series, as well as Jane the Virgin alum Gina Rodriguez. The series will be co-created and co-showrun by O'Connor, who plans to direct all ten episodes, alongside Adair Cole. While O'Connor had reportedly planned to keep the 2011 film, which starred Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, a one-off story, his mind was changed after hearing Cole's pitch.

"Over the years, I'd been approached by Lionsgate to do Warrior as a TV series and I honestly was never interested," O'Connor told Deadline when announcing the series. "Over the pandemic, I was in a different frame of mind and they said, "Someone came in with an interesting take, Adair Cole," and I listened to it and liked it. There was some really interesting stuff in there. I started sketching out characters, expounding what he had and gene splicing things and I called him after the holidays and said, 'I'm in. I think I want to do this.' We started figuring out the characters. The thing I said to Adair and Lionsgate which wasn't in the pitch, is that this is about the life fight.

"I didn't want to make something on fighting in a cage," O'Connor added. "That wasn't the movie I made, it's about a life fight. We will have two women and two men, we're going to follow them through 10 episodes and hook the audience into their journeys and they're eventually going to face each other. Like in my movie, I tried to challenge the audience: Where are your loyalties? Where do your sympathies lie? Who are you rooting for? If I hook the audience into the stakes of each character's life outside of the cage, what I call the life fight, then people are going to be invested in the stakes. That's the heart and soul of the show."

Connor also teased what viewers could expect from the hypothetical series, as well as the roles of some of its cast of characters.

"It's really ambitious, part family drama, sports saga, definitely social commentary, in each character's life fight," O'Connor revealed. "We're dealing with mental health, grief, poverty, drugs and gambling. If we get it right, we'll be celebrating each character's journey to redemption against astronomical odds they have to overcome, inside the cage and outside it. It's a big swing, emotionally and physically, but deeply intimate with the characters.

"Gina Rodriguez will play a girl named Jessica Flores," O'Connor added. "She's married to a Muay Thai fighter, her father is a very well known boxing referee, and she's been training as a fighter and grew up in combat sports. I didn't have the role for her written when she said, 'I'm in. Acting and fighting are my two favorite things. I'm in.' Her journey is about self-worth, a girl who doesn't think she is worthy of anything good happening. To get her hand raised in the ring represents her feeling worthy."

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