The latest fight in AMC’s Into the Badlands represents more than a physical obstacle for Sunny, says star Daniel Wu. It’s a battle of beliefs—and against doubt.
In “Red Sun, Silver Moon,” the third episode of Season 2, Wu’s Sunny and his traveling companion, Bajie (Nick Frost), encounter another former Clipper with more kills than Sunny.
Nathaniel Moon (Sherman Augustus) is a rogue regent who took off into the outlying territories. He, like Sunny, wanted to escape his Clipper life and live peacefully with his family.
“Moon is almost a mirror image of Sunny, but maybe 20 years on,” Wu told me during a phone interview. “Sunny has this hope that he can learn something from Moon, that Moon could be a mentor.”
Instead, Moon scoffs at Sunny’s mission to find Veil and their child and leave the Badlands for good. The jaded fighter explains to Sunny that his desire to escape the Clipper life resulted in the deaths of his wife and child. He tells Sunny his quest is a pipe dream.
“It is a huge bummer for Sunny to hear that,” Wu said. “And then Moon wants to fight him. So it’s a really big challenge to his determination to do what he plans.”
Their fantastic fight ends—spoilers! In the Q&A below, Wu talks more about Sunny’s desire to leave his past behind him and how it’s just not possible yet. He also explains the importance of the fight with Moon, and how his battles in Season 2 affect Sunny more deeply that ever before.
“Into the Badlands” airs at 10/9c Sundays on AMC.
Sunny wants to leave the killing behind, but fate isn’t allowing that again this season.
It’s the whole idea of fate and the track that you’ve been put on. Is it possible to even get off that track? His tattoos are a metaphor for that, and that weight is bearing down on him. Will he ever be able to escape that? I think that is the theme that we challenge him with all season long. He keeps saying, “Yes I can change, I can change.” But the people he meets along the way are constantly telling him, “No, once you are a killer you are always a killer. You can’t ever change that.”
He’s making a constant effort to not kill people, as he has tried in the past … I think that’s his main struggle for the entire second season; to find the strength to turn away from his original fate. But I don’t want to give you a spoiler about what happens in the end.
Does he have doubts that he can do it?
Yeah, completely. First of all he has been thrown out into the wild and he has no idea where he is; he has never been there before. He has never seen these people before outside of the Badlands. So he has no idea what they are like, or what’s going on. He has to rely on this Bajie character to get him through it. So he is doubting himself.
He also doubts Bajie. “I trust this guy, but I have no choice here I am stuck,” [Sunny thinks.] “I need to get back to the Badlands and this is my only option.” He questions whether he can make this journey at all, but he also is determined to do it. So you see both sides of him. So you see his vulnerability but you also see his strengths.
How does Moon represent Sunny’s problem that he can’t escape his past?
Their fight is more of a metaphorical fight than any other fight you see in the past when Sunny is trying to get out of bad situation. Sunny is taking on this guy because it’s a battle of beliefs here. It’s about, “I think I can do this,” and Moon thinks, “No, I don’t think you can.”
That’s what I love about that fight, its kind of goes back to the old school of martial arts films where the fight is something other than just a fight.
The fight tells a story …
Yeah, and then Sunny’s changed because of that. It shows the difference between this season and last season. In fights this season, you are going to see Sunny change—whether it is physically, emotionally or whatever. These fights affect him because he no longer wants to do that.