Without a doubt, Gavin O’Connor’s MMA drama Warrior is one of the best (and most underrated) sports movies in the last decade. The plot follows two estranged brothers and their frosty relationship with their recovering alcoholic father; eventually, they merge onto a collision course in a million-dollar MMA tournament.
Ultimately, Warrior bombed at the box office, failing to recoup the modest $25 million budget. However, it drew strong reviews from critics and landed Nick Nolte an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
O’Connor admitted he toyed with putting a sequel together; though, in an interview, the filmmaker confirmed he’s partnered with Lionsgate TV to deliver a spinoff series that isn’t connected to the film.
“With Lionsgate, I’m going to do Warrior as a TV series. It’s not the movie, so there’s no Conlan family, there’s none of the brothers or dad, there are no characters from the movie. But the show will be in the spirit of the movie. It will be dealing with social issues that are important to me, as there were social issues that were important to me back then that I was dramatizing.
There will be characters fighting for something bigger than themselves. We will get the audience to understand and feel deep feelings for the characters before they end up fighting each other, along with the emotional complexity of that. It’s the painful realities of contemporary America I want to deal with. I’m dealing with issues, whether it’s poverty, incarceration, mental health, or addiction; it’s social issues that are important to me that I want to explore in a series, but through different characters.”
Frank Grillo’s underrated show Kingdom proved that mixed martial arts is prime fodder for hard-hitting drama. Also, O’Connor revealed that retired UFC legend Daniel Cormier has already signed on to play a major role in the series, meaning, all hopes are on that a network or streaming service will take the plunge and provide a means to make it a reality.