Into the Badlands
Daniel Wu as Sunny in "Into the Badlands." (Patti Perret/AMC)

Bigger ‘Into the Badlands’ to return in 2017

AMC finally has announced a 10-episode second season for its hit martial arts drama “Into the Badlands,” news star Daniel Wu told me months ago.

I’m not sure what took the network so long to make the announcement. During our Season 1 interview last fall, Wu said the second season would be 10 episodes and would include 20 major fight scenes. That’s up from six episodes and 12 big fights in the first season—“enough to get the audience’s appetite whetted for it and hopefully to like it,” Wu said.

Mission accomplished. The premiere of “Into the Badlands” became the third highest-rated debut season in U.S. cable TV history.

According to an AMC press release, the show’s first season averaged 5.6 million viewers per episode in Nielsen live+7 ratings, including 3.5 million adults 25-54 and 3.4 million adults 18-49.

The season ended Dec. 20 with a massive battle and big cliffhanger.

Wu, who is also a producer for the show, plays Sunny, a veteran warrior who decided to leave the feudal lands split among barons in the post-apocalyptic world without guns. He wanted to save his girlfriend Veil (Madeleine Mantock) and a powerful young boy named M.K. (Aramis Knight) from the clutches of battling barons Quinn (Marton Csokas) and The Widow (Emily Beecham).

No spoilers here, just in case you haven’t seen the first season.

Wu battled in 11 of the 12 scenes that he, fight director Stephen Fung and fight choreographer Ku Huen Chiu created for the first season. He told me 12 fights were a lot to be filmed over a four-month period. Action films, he said, usually have three or four fights that are filmed over six months.

Related: Daniel Wu’s training for ‘Into the Badlands’

The number of fights might explain why AMC is just now announcing a new season after such a successful first. The network, AMC Studios and creators Miles Millar and Al Gough may have had to work out scheduling issues for filming the new season. It won’t premiere until sometime in 2017.

“We can’t imagine any other network bold enough to embrace a show like this,” Gough and Millar said in an AMC press release. “We are incredibly grateful to … the entire AMC team for taking this leap of faith with us and we look forward to continuing the journey into the Badlands!”

“With its deep dive into authentic martial arts, the visually stunning ‘Into the Badlands’ proved to be unlike anything else on television,” the release quoted Charlie Collier as saying. He is president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios.

“We’re eager to return to the world of barons and blades and spend even more time with these compelling and evolving characters across an expanded second season,” Collier said.

AMC also announced that AMC Global will premiere Season 2 of “Into the Badlands” within minutes of its U.S. broadcast.

From AMC Studios, “Into the Badlands” was created by showrunners/executive producers/writers Gough and Millar and executive produced by Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg, director David Dobkin, Fung and Wu.

“Into the Badlands” also stars Oliver Stark as Ryder; Orla Brady as Lydia; Sarah Bolger as Jade, and Ally Ioannides as Tilda.