It is a very good time to be a fan of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the hit 2000 movie from director Ang Lee that was a crossover hit for its wuxia action and earned 10 Academy Award nominations. Per Deadline, Sony Pictures Television just announced an overall deal with producer Jason Ning which includes a TV series adaptation of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the other four novels in the Crane-Iron Series by author Wang Dulu. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the fourth of those novels, and Ang Lee's film incorporated elements from the others in his film adaptation as well.
This news comes in the midst of what may well be a modern renaissance for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Last week, Sony Pictures Classics announced that it was bringing the film back to theaters on February 17 in a 4K restoration that will no doubt enhance Ang Lee's already dazzling visuals. The original film was a sensation when it premiered, grossing $128 million domestic, good for the 12th highest-grossing film of the year 2000. Hollywood responded enthusiastically, to the tune of 10 Oscar nominations and four wins, including Best Foreign Language Film.
In a full-circle moment, Michelle Yeoh, who starred as Yu Shu Lien yet was frustratingly iced out of the Best Actress race that year, is now poised to receive her first ever Oscar nomination this year for Everything Everywhere All At Once. There's a decent chance she ends up winning the award — as of Tuesday night, she'd just picked up a Golden Globe. Which makes a Crouching Tiger theatrical run as much of a Michelle Yeoh Oscar showcase as it is a chance to revisit (or see for the first time) a classic film on screen.
In 2016, Netflix premiered a sequel film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny. That film did not have Ang Lee's direct involvement, though it did star Yeoh, alongside Donnie Yen and Harry Shum Jr. The film was unfortunately a disappointment, getting poor critical reviews and failing to make much of an impact upon its American debut.
Jason Ning as producer of this newly proposed Crouching Tiger series brings with him his expertise as a writer and producer on such shows as Lucifer and The Expanse. He's also recently worked on the upcoming Peacock series Mrs. Davis, under Damon Lindelof, and Netflix's The Brother's Sun, under Brad Falchuk.
Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.