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Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior
Wendy Wu
Directed by John Laing
Produced by Don Schain
Brenda Song
Janine Dickins
Written by John Logan
Vince Cheung
Ben Montanio
Lydia Look B
Mark Seabrooks
Starring Brenda Song
Shin Koyamada
Music Composer(s) Jeff Vincent
Cinematography Mark Lonsdale
Editing by Seth Flaum
Distributed by Disney Channel
Release date(s) June 16, 2006
Running time 120 minutes
Country Flag of the United States.svg
Language English
Budget $5 million
Official website
IMDb profile

Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior is a Disney Channel Original Movie starring Brenda Song[1] from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and Shin Koyamada from The Last Samurai. Koyamada plays a Chinese monk who visits the title character, an American teenager played by Song, claiming Wu is the reincarnation of a powerful female warrior and the only person who can prevent an ancient evil spirit from destroying the world.

This movie had over 5.7 million viewers on the night of its premiere[2] making Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior the fifth highest viewed Disney Channel Original Movie and also received the highest rating in the history of Disney Channel Japan.[3] The film also broke records in the United Kingdom and Europe making Disney Channel the highest rated kids channel in Europe.[4]

The film was shot almost entirely in Auckland, New Zealand. Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior is the second Disney Channel Original Movie to be added in iTunes. Disney released several products based on the movie to promote the film. A sequel was scheduled to begin filming in early 2008, but was eventually cancelled.


The plot was described by the author and numerous critics as a teen installment to a Jackie Chan plot with a Disney twist. Gary Marsh called the film "Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon".[5]

Wendy Wu (Brenda Song) is an average, popular American teenager whose life is turned upside down by a visit from a young Chinese monk Shen (Shin Koyamada). Shen claims Wendy is the reincarnation of a powerful female warrior and the only person who can prevent an ancient evil spirit from destroying the world.

According to Shen, Wendy is a reincarnated Yin Warrior, the only person who can defeat Yan-Lo, an evil spirit who attempts to conquer the world every 90 years. Shen begs Wendy to don a powerful amulet that will protect her from evil until he can train her in martial arts. Appalled by his obvious lack of fashion sense, Wendy is too busy campaigning for Homecoming Queen against her school archrival, Jessica Dawson, to be bothered with rescuing civilization. Wendy's traditional grandmother knows that Shen is speaking the truth; her mother was the previous Yin Warrior who 90 years earlier defeated Yan-Lo in China. However, Wendy, her brother Peter and their parents have lost touch with their Chinese heritage. Faced with the choice between fighting evil and going shopping, Wendy is off to the mall in a heartbeat with her best friends Tory and Lisa.

Yan-Lo soon materializes and sets out to destroy Wendy before she can attain her full warrior abilities. In quick succession, the dark spirit possesses Wendy's brother, her principal, her dog, her boyfriend, her teachers and even (as if she weren't evil enough already) Jessica Dawson. Wendy breaks up with her boyfriend, Austin after noticing how much of a jerk he is and starts to bond more with Shen. With Shen's help, and her teachers who have been transformed with the souls of the Five Animals, the martial arts training unleashes Wendy's inner heroine for a final showdown with Yan-Lo during Homecoming.

In the last scene, Jessica thanks Wendy for lending her the Homecoming crown and the Queen status, opposing her usual hostile approach towards Wendy.


  • Wendy Wu (Brenda Song) is a popular teen whose goal is to be homecoming queen, and the protagonist of the story.
  • Shen (Shin Koyamada) is a Buddhist Monk who trains Wendy to battle the evil Yan Lo. Shen is able to make Chinese moon cakes, likes watching Jackie Chan movies, and he also likes American snacks (Chocolate Cupcakes, Cappichinos etc.), and is also the Dragon of the Five Animals of martial arts.
  • Jessica Dawson (Ellen Woglom) is the antagonist of Wendy Wu and her competition for homecoming queen. Jessica is popular at school, and is often favored by the other teachers and students, much to Wendy's distaste.
  • Tory (Sally Martin) is Wendy's best friend who seems to be interested in the homecoming queen winner; she is a loyal friend and she hates Jessica Dawson too. Tory is one of the most popular girls in the school.
  • Austin (Andy Fischer-Price) is Wendy's boyfriend who only seems to care about popularity and images.
  • Grandma Wu (Tsai Chin) is Wendy's Chinese grandmother who seems to have not settled into American culture, unlike her children. Her mother was the last Yin Warrior. She helps Shen by putting the necklace on Wendy to protect her from evil. She has four black belts which is noted in the film and knows everything about Chinese and American culture. She was a former broadcaster at Fair Springs TV channel and also was a highschool cheerleader.
  • Peter Wu (Justin Chon) is Wendy's brother. He missed a week at school to go surfing. Peter is athletic and popular like Wendy, and is fond of his Chinese Heritage.
  • Kenny Wu (Michael David Cheng) is Wendy's father who seems to miss his Chinese heritage when Shen visits and makes mooncakes for the family dinner.
  • Nina Wu (Susan Chuang) is Wendy's mother. She works at Fair Springs National History museum as a researcher. When it came to researching about her ancestors, Nina did not know much about her background but ends up learning a lot from Shen and becoming more interested in Chinese history.
  • Principal Frank Nunan (Paul Willis) is Wendy's principal.
  • Mr. Medina (James Gaylyn) is Wendy's history teacher, but is later transformed into the Tiger of the Five Animals of Chinese martial arts to help train Wendy.
  • Coach Gibbs (Sally Stockwell) is Wendy's soccer coach but is later transformed to the Snake of the Five Animals.
  • Mr. Tobias (Timothy Raby) is also a teacher who becomes the Crane of the Five Animals.
  • Mr. Garibay (Michael Saccente) is another teacher who becomes the Leopard.
  • Lisa (Anna Hutchison) is one of Wendy's best friends and is in Wendy's popular possy. She broke up with her boyfriend in the first scene and seems very uncomfortable but Wendy comforts her by telling that he was a jerk and that she deserves better.

Other characters include a pizza delivery guy (Heff DelFino), and a security guard (Geoff Dolan) at the museum. The latter was the first person to be possessed by Yan Lo.


The premiere of Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior aired at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on June 16, 2006, and included a telecast hosted by Brenda Song and the movie's cast. The movie premiered on Toon Disney on May 12, 2008. The film aired on ABC Family on June 20, 2006 and was the first DCOM to air on that channel.

On Saturday, August 18, Disney Channel aired "Wendy Wu: Homecoming Chat", in which the stars of the movie answered questions posed by fans.

Advertising used the taglines "She's pretty... she's pretty tough"; "Part Teenager. Part Warrior. All Hero."; and "Homecoming Warrior: Queen."

Disney Channel On Demand debuted the movie in January 2007.

The "Kick'in" version of the film first aired on February 19, 2007 in United States and on April 14, 2008 in Canada, in which the cast had a chat and a did you know section. The version also included 5 never before seen scenes and extended endings.

The "Remixed" version aired on September 8, 2007, in which the entire cast answered questions and taught the viewers easy kung-fu moves.

The "Pop-Up" version of the film aired on November 23, 2007, in which random movie trivia appeared throughout the film in boxes at the bottom of the screen.

The "What's What" version of the film aired on March 7, 2008 at Disney Channel Asia, in which random movie trivia appeared throughout the film in boxes at the bottom of the screen, like the Pop-Up version.


Wendy Wu had over 5.7 million viewers on the night of its premiere, making it currently the fifth highest viewed DCOM. The movie was originally set to air on June 2, 2006 but got bumped by Disney Channel because they had trouble putting up the movie's official web site. It crushed the basic cable competition, ranking a dominant No. 1 in the time period with Kids 6-11 (2.1 million/9.5 rating) and Adolescents 9-14 (2.1 million/8.6 rating). The movie also grew by 1.2 million viewers start-to-finish, with 6.0 million Total Viewers tuning in for the movie's final quarter-hour (4.8 million to 6.0 million).

Wendy Wu jumped over year-ago time period numbers, delivering massive triple-digit gains in Total Viewers (178%, 5,649,000 vs. 2,050,000), Kids 6-11 (132%, 8.8/2,129,000 vs. 3.8/933,000) and Tweens 9-14 (187%, 8.6/2,120,000 vs. 3.0/731,000).[6]


UltimateDisney.com said that the movie relies on stereotypes, but Song shined as the title character.[7] The San Francisco Asian American Film Festival considered the character a strong protagonist and good role model.[8] In an interview with Asiance magazine, Song described how she identified with the character struggling to keep her heritage.[9][10] A BellaOnline review commended Disney for taking on the project.[11]


Filming locations[]

The movie was filmed in Auckland, New Zealand to accommodate action unit director Koichi Sakamoto who also choreographs Power Rangers in Auckland,[12] though some scenes were filmed in Disney Studios, USA. It took 24 days to shoot the movie in New Zealand according to Brenda Song. The cast then promoted the movie and the trailer to Disney Channel fans. The sequel is set to be shot in New Zealand. Disney promoted the movie in various countries including Malaysia, Japan and Australia. Although the movie was set in California it was shot on location in New Zealand with parts of it shot at an Auckland High School Long Bay College. Many drama students from Long Bay College were used as extras, and can be seen chiefly in the school scenes.


The film was shot on a budget of $5 million. Koyamada and his crew pitched the project which was attached with Song and the story of the movie to Disney executives in 2004. Song had several stunt doubles in some scenes which were highly difficult for a female to cope with. Song was originally considered for another Disney Channel Original Movie, though the other project was put on hold. Disney exucutives decided to give Song another lead in an "Untitled Martial Arts Project" since Song was a taekwondo practitioner. Song trained for over 2 weeks, 16 hours each day. Both Anna Hutchinson and Sally Martin from this movie also have taken part in the Power Rangers series (Martin portrayed the Blue ranger in the 2003 series Ninja Storm and Hutchinson would portray the Yellow Ranger in the 2008 series Jungle Fury).

Several actors from this movie had been in the Power Rangers series including James Gaylyn (Ninja Storm, Dino Thunder, S.P.D, and Operation Overdrive), Geoff Dolan (Mystic Force), Sally Stockwell (Mystic Force), Sally Martin (Ninja Storm) and Anna Hutchison (Jungle Fury) and Shin Koyamada (Wild Force). Power Ranger's executive producer Koichi Sakamoto serves as action director in this movie.

This film contains so many martial-arts sequences that Disney had to rate it TV-PG. Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior is the sixth DCOM to receive a TV-PG rating; before it were Tiger Cruise, Don't Look Under the Bed, Halloweentown, Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge, and Twitches.

Brenda Song commuted during film breaks to film the second season of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.


The movie takes place in the fictional city of Fair Springs, California. According to a local weather report that Wendy sees on TV, Fair Springs is located around the actual city of Modesto, California. The evil spirit Yan Lo is named after Yamarāja, the lord of death in Buddhist and Hindu philosophy. The name Yan Lo is a shortened Chinese transliteration of Yamarāja's name.

In one scene a mural, with the letters "LBC" on it, can be seen in the background. This is an Acronym for "Long Bay College". The Five Animals of Kung Fu are also referenced.


Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior was released on DVD on October 24, 2006. Entitled Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior:Kickin Edition which features a

  • Never-Before-Seen Extended Ending
  • Homecoming Warrior In Training -- An Inside Look At The Making Of Wendy Wu,
  • Cast Connections With Brenda Song -- Brenda Talks About Her Disney Family Tree
  • Bonus Episode Of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody featuring Brenda Song

It is, the third DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie) on DVD to be certified Platinum in DVD sales; the first is The Cheetah Girls. The Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior has sold over 13,933 in DVD on amazon.com making the DVD the #14 most popular Kids DVD ever sold on Amazon.com. Despite being filmed in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the original and Kickin Edition DVD releases featured a 1.33:1 "full screen" version (though not pan and scan as the camera stays directly in the center of the image), the format of the film as shown on the Disney Channel.


  • Brenda Song recorded a song for Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior called "I'm Not That Girl" written by Eddie Galan.[13] The song aired on Radio Disney. The track was released in 2007 under Walt Disney Records label and peaked at number 2 in the American Pop Airplay. The song was not released separately on Itunes instead Disney released the track with Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior. The song "I'm Not That Girl" was a bonus track on the album, Radio Disney Jams, Vol. 10.
  • Go (Jump! Mix)" Performed by Jupiter Rising
  • "Will it Go 'Round in Circles? Performed by Orlando Brown
  • "Dance Alone" Performed by Sweet James
  • "Keepin It" Performed by Drew Seeley

Cancelled sequel[]

According to Variety, Brenda Song and Shin Koyamada will again star in a sequel to Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior.[14] Filming would have been shot in early 2008, but the sequel was eventually cut from the schedule, and no further announcements have been made. The sequel to Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior has since been cancelled.


Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior won the "Best TV Movie" award at the Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards 2006. It also won the Golden Icon Award for "Outstanding Cast Ensemble", the award was presented by The Travolta Family Entertainment. The movie also won the "Best Asian American Cast Ensemble" at the "San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival".[15] The movie was voted number 1 by Asiance magazine for favourite teen movie of the year.


Clothing and dolls[]

In 2006, Claire's and Disney released necklaces and hairbrushes on the face of Wendy Wu and Shen. They later released a full line of accessories. Postcards and colouring books were also released. Brenda Song and Shin Koyamada got the opportunity to design some items in the line. A calendar for the movie was released in 2006 and 2007.

Asian toy distributors teamed with Disney to release a line of Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior dolls exclusively released only in Malaysia, Japan and South America.

Most of the merchandise lines are mainly available in Asian retailers in Asia though some postcards and coloring booklets are available in the USA and in Europe. The merchindise depended on the film's popularity in states. A video game was also released in various countries.

In Japan, Bandai (The movie's sponsor in Japan) made Wendu Wu: Homecoming Warrior toys, with a Gashapon series released on the day of the DCOM's release.

Books and video games[]

In June 2006, Disney Press published Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior: the Junior Novel, the novelization of the successful film. This novel hit number one on the New York Times best-selling list and remained on the list for several weeks weeks. As of August 2007, the novel has sold more than 3 million copies, with 1 million copies of the novel's follow-up, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior 2: the Junior Novel,[16] being shipped to American retailers.

  • Novels
    • Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior: the Junior Novel (June 30, 2006)
    • Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior 2: the Junior Novel (December 2008)
  • Series
    • Poetry in Motion by Alice Alfonsi (May 12, 2007)
    • Wendy to Shen by Helen Perelman (November 17, 2007)
    • Yan Low is Back by Catherine Hapka (February 26, 2008)
    • Homecoming Dance by Alice Alfonsi (April 28, 2008)
  • Comics
    • Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior Covert Ops Muses (Xiao Xiao Stick Comic Series)
  • Activity books
    • Disney's Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior Challenge (January 2007)
    • Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior Poster Book (June 2007)
    • Wendy Wu: Homecoming Princess Colouring Booklet (June 2007)
    • Disney Channel's Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior by Cynthia Stier
    • Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior Party Planner (August 2007)

Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior Kick'in Challenge is a video game in which Wendy Wu travels across America in a competition hoping to win the "Homecoming Queen" title with the help of Shen and the others. The release date was originally set for September 14, 2007 for the Nintendo DS, Wii, and Playstation 2. The release date was later delayed to November 17, 2007.

In popular culture[]

In Malaysia, TV3 created a small parody of the movie, the plot was the same though the channel joked about the monsters and villains in the movie.

Mad TV had a small parody about Wendy Wu and Shen losing their virginity and having to lose their supernatural powers and Yan Low attends to reappear in the scene battling Wendy and Shen.

Also TV One in New Zealand launched a reality show for the Next Homecoming Queen which has some references to the movie and to the cast. In a Halloween-themed episode of The View, Barbara Walters referenced to Yan Low and Wendy Wu.

In Costa Rica, Disney created a search for Wendy Wu and Shen for a small stage production airing on Disney Channel. The production did not include stunt doubles or moves since the actors were not trained that professionally.

Song and Koyamada attended the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade in Disneyland as Wendy Wu and Shen doing a small sketch and battle scene. Song was one of the co-hosts in the parade before her appearance. The April 13, 2008 comic of comic series, Marvin featured Brenda Song in kid form promoting a fictional Dizney Preshcool Karate.[17]


  • The traffic tends to reverse direction between various scenes; people are driving on opposite sides of the roads.
  • In the scene where Wendy is training in the park, the top of the Auckland sky tower can be seen over the top of the trees.

Release dates[]

Country Channel Date
United States Disney Channel June 16, 2006
ABC Family June 20, 2006
Australia Disney Channel Australia September 5, 2006
Asia Disney Channel Asia December 10, 2006
China Disney Channel China January 5, 2007
United Kingdom Disney Channel UK January 10, 2007
BBC One and BBC HD March 21, 2007
Mexico Disney Channel North America December 3, 2007
South Africa Disney Channel South Africa March 23, 2007
France Disney Channel France January 17, 2007
Germany Disney Channel Germany February 21, 2007
Hungary TV2 February 14, 2007
Austria Disney Channel Austria February 25, 2007
Middle East Disney Channel Middle East February 4, 2007
Brazil HBO Family January 5, 2007
Malaysia Disney Channel Asia February 7, 2007
Japan Disney Channel Japan February 8, 2007
Philippines Disney Channel Philippines February 10, 2007
Costa Rica Disney Channel Costa Rica February 12, 2007
Spain Disney Channel España January 16, 2007'
Australia Disney Channel Australia February 2, 2007
New Zealand] Disney Channel New Zealand February 7, 2007
(Denmark, Sweden, Norway)
Disney Channel Scandinavia June 8, 2007
Russia Disney Channel Russia June 18, 2007
Canada Family June 20, 2007
Poland Disney Channel Poland June 26, 2007
Argentina Disney Channel South America February 14, 2007
Portugal SIC November 16, 2008


  1. Stacy Jenel Smith. Rising Star: Brenda Song Shows Off Chops in 'Wendy Wu' Netscape Celebrity. Accessed 2007-09-08.
  2. R. Thomas Umstead (January 22, 2007). "Disney Movie Skips to Another Record". Retrieved on 2007-09-22.
  3. Jacques Steinberg (June 15, 2006). "Brenda Song Turns Warrior in Disney's 'Wendy Wu'". New York Times. Retrieved on 2007-05-09.
  4. Live-Action Fare Gives Disney Channel U.K. a Boost
  5. Marissa Guthrie (June 16, 2006). I was a teenage 'warrior'. New York Daily News. Accessed 2008-11-11.
  6. Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior Airing is a Hit
  7. Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior UltimateDisney.com. Accessed 2007-08-25
  8. Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior - Free Screening AsianAmericanFilmFestival.org. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
  9. Brenda Song is Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior AsianceMagazine.com. Retrieved 2007-08-08
  10. Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior Review. RevolutionSF.com. Accessed 2007-08-08.
  11. Caroline Chen-Whatley. Brenda Song hits the big screen -- Wendy Wu Homecoming Warrior. BellaOnline.com Accessed 2007-08-08.
  12. Brenda Song Turns Warrior in Disney's 'Wendy Wu' nytimes.com. Accessed 2008-09-07
  13. Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior Soundtrack. IMDB.com. Accessed 2008-01-16.
  14. Shin Koyamada Joins the Cast of Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior 2 Retrieved on Sunday, October 14, 2007 Source:Variety
  15. San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival Retrieved on Sunday, March 14, 2008
  16. Wendy Wu 2 Novel
  17. "Marvin 4/13/2008 Comic". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2008-04-20.

External links[]

Sister project Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior
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