Earlier this week, the producers of Ip Man 3 announced that they were planning to free Bruce Lee from the cold grasp of death by using science to turn him into a cartoon. As /Film explained it, they wanted young Bruce Lee to be a character in the movie (the guy the Ip Man movies are about taught martial arts to Lee), but they couldn’t find anyone awesome enough to capture his essence. With computers being pretty hot these days, the producers called up Robert Lee—Bruce’s brother—who agreed to let them just make a CGI Bruce Lee instead. After all, mixing human actors with computer-generated creatures worked so well in all of those Star Wars prequels, so why not here?
Well, as it turns out, Bruce Lee’s estate says that Robert Lee doesn’t actually have the right to authorize any use of his brother’s likeness. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that power rests on the shoulders of an organization called Bruce Lee Enterprises, which claims to have “undisputed ownership of all intellectual property rights related to Bruce Lee and is the sole owner of all worldwide rights relating to Bruce Lee’s name, image, likeness,” and about nine other things that all have similar meanings. In a statement given to THR, Ip Man 3’s production company says “the matter is now being handled by lawyers,” which means one of two things: Either that cartoon Bruce Lee just got a lot more expensive, or Ip Man 3 will feature a young martial arts student named Cruze Flee who is totally different from any actual martial arts icons.
In other (more legal) Bruce Lee news, his family recently announced that it is developing a biopic based on his life. As far as we know, this one is officially approved, but it’s unclear whether or not this production will be able to find an actual actor to play the lead. If not, the CGI Bruce Lee up above from the EA Sports UFC video game doesn’t look too bad.