Diretor Ang Lee's multi-Oscar-winning martial arts drama Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is based on the fourth of five installments in the "Crane Iron Pentalogy" written by Chinese author Wang Dulu. The finale novel in Dulu's saga, titled "Iron Knight, Silver Vase," will partly serve as the basis for the upcoming movie sequel, which has been fitted with a not-so-poetic alternative title - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - The Green Destiny - in order to make sure that your average moviegoer understands the two films are connected (... essentially).
Complaints about the Weinstein Company's lack of faith in the intelligence of U.S. moviegoers aside, the Crouching Tiger sequel's cast will include Michelle Yeoh, who is reprising her role as the hardened and quietly-suffering warrior Yu Shu Lien. The latest update on the project reveal that Ziyi Zhang - who portrayed the upstart Jen Yu in Lee's movie - may also be returning for the next installment; that is, despite Crouching Tiger concluding on a note that is open for interpretation (with regard to the final destination for the Jen character).
Dulu's "Iron Knight, Silver Vase" follows the adventures of Jen and Lo/Dark Cloud's (Chen Chang in Lee's movie) son (the Iron Knight character), who is switched as a child with a baby girl (the Silver Vase character) and undertakes a quest to reclaim his true heritage - symbolically and literally, when he sets out to track down his parents. This is where things get complicated, as Lee's movie concluded the Lo and Jen storyline on a lyrical and melancholic, yet still ambiguous final note (leaving the door open for theories about what lies ahead in their future).
EW is reporting that Zhang - assuming the negotiation process results in a deal - will appear in the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel through flashback scenes, which are going to explain what happened to her character after Lee's movie. That will probably be just one of several liberties that the screenplay from John Fusco - whose resume include the scripts for Young Guns, Hidalgo and The Forbidden Kingdom - ends up taking with Dulu's "Iron Knight, Silver Vase" source material... partly because Lee's movie also deviates from its respective source literature.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - The Green Destiny is being directed by Woo-ping Yuen, who coordinated the martial arts fight sequences and action scenes in Lee's original Crouching Tiger movie; not to mention, several other Asian martial arts features and such Hollywood productions as The Matrix trilogy and Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2. It's easy to have a knee-jerk reaction and assume that Yuen's Crouching Tiger sequel will sacrifice quality storytelling for high-flying kicks and swordplay (or, rather, feel like your average stuntman-turned director's debut), but that also requires one to ignore the fact that Yuen has actually been directing movies since 1978.
Having that said, it's near-impossible to shake the feeling that the Crouching Tiger sequel will have an extremely hard time standing up against Lee's movie - much less, managing to not infringe on its predecessor's integrity. Then again, there is strong talent working on both sides of the camera here, in order to ensure that this project feels like an organic continuation of the first installment. Who knows, at the end of the day this film may wind up being The Godfather: Part II of martial arts movie sequels (... but don't count on that just yet).
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - The Green Destiny begins filming in March 2014, which means this could be yet another sequel that opens in theaters in 2015 (joining Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: Episode VII, etc.). As always, we shall keep you updated.