After Bruce Lee’s death back in 1973, the Hong Kong film industry tried to find a new actor who could fill the void left by the martial arts legend. During that time, Jackie Chan was one of the many actors identified as a suitable candidate to become the next Bruce Lee. However, the actor refused to use his iconic fighting style while making any Kung Fu movies in the 1970s. Here’s what he had to say, starting off with honoring the greats.

In order for Jackie to be transformed into a Bruce Lee replacement, it would have had to take more than just acting like the legendary fighter in his movies. He was also forced to act, talk, and fight like the late actor. Something that he mentions in his autobiography “Never Grow Up”, where Chan mentioned that he’d been instructed by filmmakers to emulate copy the same style as Lee through both his movements and expressions. However, not only did Jackie believe that Lee was someone no person could ever surpass, but he also knew that as a whole Lee’s fighting style wouldn’t work out for him. In one such example in the book, he explains that Lee tended to do more high kicks whereas he preferred sweeps and kicking low to the ground.

However, there are still some similarities between the two martial artist legends. Although Jackie and Lee both filmed completely different films, with Jackie focusing more on comedy action, while Lee’s films shifted more towards drama. The two still had a few things in common when it came to their martial arts backgrounds. Both martial arts had grown up learning Wing Chun, a style of Kung Fu that’s been designed for counter-attacking. However, Jackie’s foundation in Wing Chun primarily came from his history of training in northern and southern Shaolin Kung Fu and much likely, he too would eventually employ a much more diverse approach to fighting which would encompass multiple different martial arts styles.

Both actors were known for their use of Kung Fu but also were often willing to include some stances and move sets inspired by Western Boxing, Hapkido, and more. But there are still some differences between the two other than their film genres. Despite there being some similarities, their fighting styles in movies made it clear just how different the two were as martial artists. While Lee focused primarily on speed, power, and execution, Jackie, on the other hand, was much more acrobatic in his approach. Thanks to his Kung Fu training and natural talents, he turned into an incredibly agile fighter which would ultimately translate to his performance on the big screen as well. With both of their respective skills adding to their images as martial arts stars. In his own words, Jackie claimed that Lee came across as a superhuman in all of his films and would defeat all of his opponents in quick succession. Chan instead chose to engage in longer fights, often relying on acrobatics and improvised moves in order to win.

Let’s take a look at why Jackie could never have been a replacement for Bruce Lee. While still being groomed to become the next little dragon, Jackie starred in multiple movies under different directors, including new Fist of Fury, a sequel to the original Fist of Fury by Lee, Shaolin Wooden Men, and more. As acknowledged in his book, every one of those films would go on to be box office bombs as viewers weren’t impressed by his performance.

Later on, after being given a chance to direct a film in his own style with Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, Jackie Chan’s career took a turn for the best. The film industry discovered that when they allowed the actor to make films filled with comedy and his own brand of fighting, audiences responded much better. Who would have guessed letting people do what they do best would work out so well, huh? On the other hand, this wasn’t the only time Jackie and Lee would be brought up in a conversation together. The legendary Kung Fu Master’s untimely death at the young age of just 32 set off a nuclear bomb of conspiracy theories over the years since, prompting Jackie to speak out about the truth behind the unfortunate incident.

The 68 year old martial artist turned actor aimed to disprove all the theories that Lee who would have turned 82 this month had died from several improbable causes such as through an ancient Chinese curse or maybe even poison. Much more, Jackie even went on to explain Lee’s death. Ever since his passing in 1973, the martial artist’s Legacy has withstood the test of time forever immortalized by pop culture references, multiple fighting game characters, and even several parodies.

However, one of the darker bits of this Legacy is the many conspiracy theories surrounding his untimely death. Aiming to shed some light on the mystery, the fellow stunt actor spoke up waving aside the wild Theory surrounding Lee’s Legacy over the years on the sways Universe podcast. According to him, his boss had gone to pick him up and after finding him on the floor had him sent to the hospital. Everything that had happened was made public and the reports could be found anywhere online. In his own words, he went on to describe it as just a normal dying in somebody’s house. That’s all.

Lee’s death came just a month before the release of his iconic martial arts film Enter the Dragon which would secure his place as an international icon. During the dubbing sessions for the translation of the film, Lee reportedly underwent a sudden collapse much to the shock of the production team. Afterward, the actor was then rushed to the Hong Kong Baptist Hospital where he was diagnosed with a cerebral edema, a condition where fluids begin to build up around the brain. Later that year, while visiting the apartment of Betty Ting Pei, a Taiwanese actress who had claimed to be having an affair with the late actor, Lee breathed his last breath. According to the official report, after complaining about a persisting headache, Lee was given a painkiller known as equagesic as treatment but unfortunately, he had an allergic reaction to the drug and collapsed shortly after, never waking up. Not to mention, things got much worse soon after. The wild rumors that surrounded Lee’s death would only increase once his producer Raymond Chow explained to the Hong Kong press that the star had died at home with his wife Linda. This effort to cover up Lee’s affair would eventually lead to an even greater Scandal once it was discovered, with the Chinese media twisting in stories ranging from ancient family curses to even an assassination attempt by several Chinese crime Lords.

Jackie Chan evidently believes otherwise. But at this point, who knows who’s right? Adding to that, Jackie and Lee had both appeared in the same movie at one time as well. The legendary martial arts pair would soon come to define multiple generations of Kung Fu flicks and even had a bit of history as performers together. After all, Jackie had gotten some of his early breaks as a stuntman from acting as a nameless henchman in some of Lee’s films, leading to a pretty unique encounter back in 1972 during the recording of Lee’s second film Fist of Fury. While filming a scene where Jackie and a bunch of other stuntmen attacked Lee’s character, Jackie ended up getting hit across the face for real on accident during one of the shots.

Getting hit by Bruce Lee, now that’s a story to tell generations. As soon as the camera stopped rolling, Lee apparently ran over to the young stunt actor and apologized for what had happened, a moment that Jackie would wholesomely, we might add, took advantage of. In an interview with CBC television, he explained that once the cameras were cut, Lee ran up to him and lifted him up, apologizing the entire time. However, Jackie wasn’t in pain anymore. He was a pretty tough guy as a youngling. But instead of admitting that he was fine, Jackie decided to pretend that it was a very painful experience so that Lee would hold him for as long as he could. Can’t really blame the guy, to be honest. And finally, Lee’s legacy lives on.

Bruce Lee has been an inspiration for action movie directors even now decades after his tragic passing, from his style of clothing such as his black and orange jumpsuit worn by Uma Thurman in Kill Bill to even his style of fighting which was emulated in the Kung Fu download files in The Matrix films. Bruce Lee has also made several appearances in films following his death. Well, not exactly, of course, but actors made to look like him such as the goalkeeper in Shaolin Soccer, and the stunt actor and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Actors have even appeared as the legendary martial artist himself such as in the historical fiction Ip Man films which portrayed Bruce Lee as a student of the titular Wing Chun Master.

That’s a wrap for this video. Do you believe that Jackie Chan would have made a good replacement for Bruce Lee? Let us know in the comments below. Make sure to give this video a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel for more videos like this. See you in the next one.