The Wu-Tang Clan continues to be one of the most successful rap acts in the history of American music. “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” is a gritty dramatic television series appearing on the Disney-backed streaming platform, Hulu. Set in New York City in the 1990s, this series highlights the actual events surrounding the Wu-Tang Clan’s formation.
Created by original Wu-Tang founder-member Bobby Diggs, known professionally as RZA, in collaboration with “Watchmen” screenwriter Alex Tse, the series showcases the many hard knocks Diggs endured on his ascent to a better life through music. It was also nominated for an Emmy in 2020 for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.
This article will feature the most current information on the popular Hulu special while providing insights into characters and episodes.
Where Can You Watch “Wu-Tang: An American Saga?”
At present, there is no need to look for “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” on Amazon Prime Video or Netflix. As a Hulu Original Series, “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” is currently only available to stream on the Hulu platform, and Hulu has housed all of its seasons and episodes exclusively since its premiere in 2019.
Viewers should be careful not to confuse “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” with the 2007 documentary called “Wu: The Story of the Wu-Tang Clan,” which first aired on BET, or the other 2019 release about the group entitled “Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men,” which aired on Showtime.
What Is “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” About?
Set smack in the middle of the crack cocaine epidemic that ravaged the lives of many in urban New York during the 1990s, “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” focuses on the larger toll this tragedy took on young Black men. Without resources or an abundance of opportunity, The Wu-Tang Clan is the manifestation of a vision of Bobby Diggs, otherwise known as The RZA.
Season one focuses on the early family lives and struggles of future Wu-Tang stars RZA, Method Man, and Sha Raider. The second season chronicles the group’s inevitable rise to the top and all the unseen trials and tribulations that landed them their first record deal. Season two concludes just as the band signs that life-changing deal, only to discover that all their existing recorded work has been lost in a basement flood.
How Real Is “Wu-Tang: An American Saga?”
Unlike many other TV shows about musical stars like The Clan, “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” has the benefit of being overseen by the original members of the group. The historical accuracy of the events portrayed in this series is vetted by the young Black men who actually lived those events in real time. Having RZA and Method Man as executive producers, alongside industry legends like Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, and Alex Tse, has ensured a level of commitment to the true events surrounding the formation of the band on the drug-rule streets of 1990s Staten Island.
Naturally, some events had to be abbreviated or expounded upon in order to tell the story of the formation of The Clan in a holistic way. For this reason, incidents like the fight on the set of the “Protect Ya Neck” video has been slightly enhanced to stand in for a world of tension that was swirling on that shoot.
About the Main Cast Members of “Wu-Tang: An American Saga”
Many of the actors representing the Wu-Tang members in “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” are highly decorated in their field. All give performances true to the lived experiences of the people they are portraying. The following list provides further details on each actor, alongside their role in “Wu-Tang: An American Saga.”
- Bobby Diggs/RZA: Fans of “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” may be familiar with Ashton Sanders, the Carson, California native playing The RZA. He has been recognized for his previous work on the Oscar-winning “Moonlight,” as well as for his performances in “The Retrieval” and “Captive State.”
- Corey Woods/Sha Raider/Raekwon: Atlanta-born Shameik Moore is a multitalented actor who has also showcased his musical talents on the first film he ever booked, a Forest Whitaker production on which he recorded songs for the film’s soundtrack with Pharrell Williams. He has also appeared on “Incredible Crew” with Nick Cannon and “Joyful Noise” with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah.
- Dennis Coles/D-Lover/Ghostface Killah: Raised in the Muslim faith and still an avid practitioner, Siddiq Saunderson brings a soulful awareness to his portrayal of Wu-Tang MC Ghostface Killah. Saunderson’s previous screen credits include “It Felt Like Love,” “Messiah,” and “Boomerang.”
- Mitchell “Divine” Diggs: Julian Elijah Martinez is a graduate of the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale, a freelance photographer, and sits on the board of the Developing Artist Theater Company. He has largely performed on Broadway and off-Broadway theater productions throughout the country prior to taking on the role of Divine Diggs.
- Oliver “Power” Grant: Marcus Callender portrays the original executive producer of all the early Wu-Tang albums with grace. His previous work on “Power” and “The Breaks” established Callender as a serious actor with impressive theatrical chops.
- Linda Diggs: Erika Alexander has a resume studded with high-profile roles such as Pam Tucker on “The Cosby Show” and Maxine Shaw on “Living Single,” for which she took home two NAACP Image Awards. Alexander has also appeared in “The Long Walk Home,” “30 Years to Life,” and “Get Out.”
- Shurrie Diggs: Los Angeles native Zolee Griggs has been seen in “Bride Wars,” “Archenemy,” and “The Enforcer” prior to her role as Shurrie on “Wu-Tang: An American Saga.” She also hosts a fashion-based blog called The Outfitt.
- Clifford Smith/Shotgun/Method Man: David “Dave East” Brewster is a rapper in his own right. From East Harlem, he has garnered musical accolades and attention for his mixtape entitled “Black Rose,” which led to his being signed by Nas to Mass Appeal Records. East has worked with Chris Brown and Wiz Khalifa, and appeared on-screen in “The Breaks,” “Being Mary Jane,” and “Beats.”
- Russel Jones/Ason Unique/Ol’ Dirty Bastard: North Philadelphia’s own TJ Atoms, also a rapper in real life, brings humor and grace to his depiction of Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Fans may have seen him onscreen in “Orange Is The New Black,” “The 40-Year-Old Version,” and “Godfather Of Harlem.”
- Gary Grice/The Genius/GZA: Johnell Xavier Young has cut a path to playing GZA through previous screen credits that include “Making Moves,” “A Holiday Chance,” and “SWA-TECH.”
Recurring Characters of “Wu-Tang: An American Saga”
Beyond the main characters of “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” there are also several recurring characters that make the storyline richer. The following list provides information about the actors portraying recurrent characters on the show.
- Jason Hunter/Rebel/Inspectah Deck: Joey Bada$$ and Uyoata Udi have shared this role, with Bada$$ portraying Inspectah Deck throughout season one and Udi taking over for season two. Brooklyn-born Bada$$ is a founding member of hip-hop collective Pro Era and has been seen on screen before in “Mr. Robot.” Udi has worked with Alex Tse on DC Comic-based “Watchmen” and appeared on the acclaimed television series “This Is Us.”
- Lamont Jody Hawkins/Golden Arms/U-God: Young actor Damani Sease is originally from Brooklyn but grew up in Pennsylvania. While in college, he discovered his love of acting, and his role in “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” marks the first role of his acting career.
- Darryl “Chino” Hill/Capadonna: Caleb Castille comes from an Alabama University football dynasty that likely would have led him to the NFL had he not given up football to pursue his love of acting. Appearing in “Woodlawn” prior to this role, he has also appeared in commercial and print ads for Nike and Air Jordan.
Will There Be a Season 3 of “Wu-Tang: An American Saga?”
“Wu-Tang: An American Saga” had been renewed for its third and final season at Hulu as of Fall 2021. With an overall approval rating of 96% among viewers and a solid 74% among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, continuing the series about the Staten Island success stories was certainly a commercial given. As each previous season has included 10 episodes, viewers can likely expect the same for the forthcoming season three.
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