Great news for fans of the much-loved Dreamworks animated series! Kung Fu Panda 4 is in the works and set to hit theaters in March 2024. Although there aren’t any specific plot details available yet, fans can now officially get excited about the return of their favorite characters to the big screen.
Po has come a long way since he was first introduced in the movie Kung Fu Panda in 2008. Even though he was unexpectedly chosen as the Dragon Warrior, the subsequent films, shorts, and TV shows have shown how Po earned his title. In Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3, Po established himself as the Dragon Warrior and a Kung Fu Master at the Jade Palace. He developed his abilities as a teacher and protector of the Valley of Peace.
After the release of two follow-up movies in 2011 and 2016, Po’s backstory and his journey as the Dragon Warrior were further explored. The success of the films led to the creation of several shorter films and three spin-off TV shows: Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness on Nickelodeon, Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny on Amazon Prime Video, and Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight on Netflix.
The first “Kung Fu Panda” movie was DreamWorks’ most successful original animated film, earning $631 million worldwide. The entire film series made a total of $1.8 billion and created a franchise that includes TV specials and three TV series, including “The Dragon Knight,” which premiered its first season on Netflix recently. Apart from their financial success, all three “Kung Fu Panda” movies received mostly positive reviews from critics. In a review for Variety, film critic Justin Chang described the third film as a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, praising its themes of perseverance and self-discovery.
Confusion at DreamWorks Causes Delays
In 2010, former DreamWorks Animation Chief Jeffrey Katzenberg mentioned in an interview with Empire that there would be a total of six “Kung Fu Panda” films. However, after DreamWorks Animation was acquired by NBCUniversal in 2016 for nearly $4 billion, Katzenberg stepped down as CEO and took on the role of Chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which included AwesomenessTV and Nova. Eventually, he completely left his position at DreamWorks for reasons that are not publicly known.
In 2018, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, the director of “Kung Fu Panda 3,” expressed uncertainty about the possibility of a follow-up to the film. She mentioned in an interview with Metro that she had always seen it as a trilogy with a specific storyline. She acknowledged that while she didn’t know the exact plans, the character of Po and his world had great appeal, suggesting that something might happen in the future, though she was uncertain about the details. It remains unclear whether the change in ownership or other factors contributed to the delay in the development of “Kung Fu Panda 4.”
Kung Fu Panda 4 Story: What Will It Be About?
The plot details for “Kung Fu Panda 4” are currently unknown. However, based on the previous films, “Kung Fu Panda 2” delved into Po’s personal history and how it affected him, hindering his inner peace. In “Kung Fu Panda 3,” Po learned to harness and utilize the power of chi, signifying his growth as an individual and a Kung Fu Master. It is likely that “Kung Fu Panda 4” will continue to explore Po’s journey as a Kung Fu Master and the Dragon Warrior. This installment holds particular interest as the TV shows did not progress Po’s story significantly.
The Cast: Who Will Return?
There isn’t much information available about “Kung Fu Panda 4” at the moment, apart from its release date. However, it is expected that Jack Black will reprise his role as the voice of Po, as he has done in the previous films, most of the franchise’s short films, the 2010 holiday special, and Netflix’s “Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight” in 2022.It is expected that the characters of the Furious Five, including Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Crane (David Cross), Viper (Lucy Liu), Monkey (Jackie Chan), and Mantis (Seth Rogen), will also return for “Kung Fu Panda 4” as they played significant roles alongside Po in the previous three films. Additionally, the presence of Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and Po’s father, Mr. Ping (James Hong), is essential to complete the cast. There is a possibility that Po’s biological father, Li Shan, will make an appearance, although it is unclear at this stage whether he will be voiced by Fred Tatasciore or Bryan Cranston.
As of now, the directors for the upcoming animated feature “Kung Fu Panda 4” have not been announced.
Kung Fu Panda 4 Cast Release Date
Universal has confirmed that “Kung Fu Panda 4” will be released in theaters on March 8, 2024. Fans of the franchise have been eagerly anticipating this sequel since the release of “Kung Fu Panda 3” in 2016.
Kung Fu Panda 4 Production is Just Beginning
As of now, “Kung Fu Panda 4” is in its early development stages, which explains why it is scheduled for release in 2024. The production process for animated movies involves voice acting, drawing, animation, and production, which takes time. At this stage, no directors or producers have been announced for the film. Fans can expect Po the panda, with his love for kung fu and dumplings, to embark on new adventures and explore more of ancient China in “Kung Fu Panda 4.”
While specific details about the cast of “Kung Fu Panda 4” are not yet known, it is expected that Jack Black will return to voice the character of Po. Other potential returning cast members include Angelina Jolie as Master Tigress, Lucy Liu as Master Viper, Jackie Chan as Master Monkey, Seth Rogen as Master Mantis, David Cross as Master Crane, and James Hong as Mr. Ping. These actors have previously portrayed these characters in the franchise. In the meantime, fans can enjoy the existing movies and television expansions, such as “Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight,” which premiered on Netflix in July 2022.