Kung Fu Panda is one of DreamWorks’ biggest franchises. The legend of the Dragon Warrior began in 2008 when the first film hit the big screen, and from there, the series expanded. It’s easy to see why the movies are so loved. The lovable panda, Po, having to go on a journey of self-discovery and prophecy makes him the perfect action protagonist. Toss in the insanely marketable Furious Five (not to be confused with Dom’s crew), and you have a recipe for success.
Kung Fu Panda 4 was announced at CinemaCon by Jack Black (Po, the Dragon Warrior) himself. The film is shaping the end of an era, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for Po and his comrades. Here’s Everything we know about Kung Fu Panda 4.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on February 12, 2024.
Tai Lung Isn’t the Only Villain Returning for ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’
The director and producer of ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ also talk about how anime influenced the new film, and how animation has evolved since the last one.
When Is ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ Coming Out?
Kung Fu Panda 4 is slated to hit theaters on March 8, 2024. The film will have tough competition as Denis Villeneuve‘s sci-fi epic, Dune: Part Two, will be released that same month.
Watch the Trailer for ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’
The first look at Kung Fu Panda 4 was released on December 13, 2023. The trailer offers insight into the film’s story as well as the new characters that Po will meet on his journey.
DreamWorks released a new teaser on Super Bowl Sunday.
Who Is in the Cast of ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’?
Jack Black is returning as Po and will be joined by several new characters, including Ke Huy Quan (Everything, Everywhere, All At Once), Viola Davis (The Woman King), and Awkwafina (Quiz Lady).
Po’s sensei, Master Shifu, is played by the legendary Dustin Hoffman and will return along with Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Seth Rogen (Mantis), Jackie Chan (Monkey), Lucy Liu (Viper), and David Cross (Crane). While Shifu and the Furious Five will appear in the film, they won’t play as large of a role this time, director Mike Mitchell revealed:
“They make an appearance, I’ll tell you that much. But to be fair, Po is leaving the Valley of Peace and he’s going on a huge adventure to this giant city.”
What Is ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ About?
Kung Fu Panda 4 will have Po leave the Valley of Peace to go to the big city, where he will face his most challenging threat yet. A new villain, The Chameleon, is looking to fight the Dragon Warrior and possesses incredible ability. The Chameleon will make Po face his previous villains, including the antagonists of the first two Kung Fu Panda films, Tai Lung (Ian McShane) and Lord Shen (Gary Oldman).
Director Mike Mitchell spoke with Collider’s Nate Richard about the new antagonist’s connection with Po, saying:
…If you remember, Po was completely underestimated. No one thought he could be the Dragon Warrior. “How is the portly panda gonna fight and use kung fu?” And then he does it! He does it in his own way. He doesn’t change who he is, he doesn’t change the shape of his body, he uses it in certain ways. So, similarly, this chameleon is very small in stature, no one believed that she could be so powerful, no one believed that she could do kung fu, and like Po, she rose to the top of her game. So Po has become the greatest hero and now she’s the greatest villain. That’s mostly what I’m willing to tell you about their connection right now.
While dealing with this threat is challenging, Po is also burdened with finding the next Dragon Warrior. The lovable Panda knows that he can’t be the one to keep the peace forever and must find someone capable of taking his place. It’ll be fascinating to see Po’s approach to finding a successor. After all, he was a very unconventional choice for the position in the first place.
The official synopsis:
After three death-defying adventures defeating world-class villains with his unmatched courage and mad martial arts skills, Po, the Dragon Warrior (Black), is called upon by destiny to … give it a rest already. More specifically, he’s tapped to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace.
Who Are The Creators Behind ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’?
Kung Fu Panda 4 is directed by Mike Mitchell (Trolls, Shrek Forever After) and Stephanie Ma Stine (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power) and produced by Rebecca Huntley (The Bad Guys).
In an interview with Collider, Mitchell talked about the lengthy creative process, saying:
We took a long time. And in fact, that’s why it took so long to make it.
We wanted to make sure that we had the best story moving forward
, and that took a while. We didn’t just want to make another one. We knew it was gonna be funny and action-packed, but we needed to make sure that we had the proper story to tell that would
allow our lead character to evolve and learn
, and we wanted to find the right theme. Then, probably as importantly, we wanted to find the perfect villain. We wanted to really lock in on a great villain. So, that’s why it took so long.
What Is the Background Behind the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Franchise?
Po might be the laziest, clumsiest panda in the Valley of Peace, but he secretly dreams of becoming a kung fu legend. When the villainous snow leopard Tai Lung threatens Po’s homeland, the hapless panda is chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy and defend the Valley from attack. Training under Master Shifu, Po embarks on an epic high-kicking adventure as he sets out to thwart Tai Lung’s evil plans. With the help of Shifu and the kung fu masters known as the Furious Five, Po discovers the power that resides inside himself, he’s able to bring about peace to the Valley and take his place as the legendary Dragon Warrior.
Kung Fu Panda is the perfect balance of what DreamWorks does best. It has the humor and parody-like feelings of the Shrek films and the heart and world-building of the How to Train Your Dragon saga. Throughout the franchise, Po and his comrades fight against new threats in a highly energetic and hilarious manner. Po’s journey has been long, but over the course of three (soon to be four) films, and multiple television programs, it feels like Kung Fu Panda 4 is setting up to be an emotional conclusion.
Where You Can Watch the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Spin-Offs Right Now
The Kung Fu Panda franchise might be bigger than you expected. Sure, there are three films, but the franchise also jumped to the small screen. Here’s what you need to know about the Kung Fu Panda extended universe and where you can stream the spin-offs.
Kung Fu Panda: Legend of Awesomeness (2011-2016) – Po (Mick Wingert) and the Furious Five protect the Valley of Peace from numerous threats. Legend of Awesomeness takes what was special about the films and expounds on them even further due to the nature of television. The show plays out a typical action series with new characters and storylines carrying across each season.
Watch on Paramount+
Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny (2018-2019) – Set after the events of Kung Fu Panda 3 and Legend of Awesomeness, Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny follows the adventures of four energetic panda kids: Nu Hai, Bao, Jing, and Fan Tong. When the friends stumble upon a mystical cave beneath Panda Village, they have no idea they’re about to absorb the chi, or energy, of ancient kung fu warriors known as the Four Constellations: Blue Dragon, Black Tortoise, White Tiger, and Red Phoenix – each of which somehow are with the panda; who has a trait opposite to that constellation’s prime quality. As the stronger warrior around, Po takes it upon himself to teach the young cubs what it means to be a hero.
Watch on Prime Video
Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight (2022) – Legendary warrior Po teams up with an elite English knight on a global quest to rescue magical weapons, restore his reputation — and save the world! Unlike the previous two shows, Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight sees the return of Jack Black in the role of Po (previously voiced by Mick Wingert in the spin-offs).
Watch on Netflix