This spring, for the first time in almost a decade, comedy icon Jack Black returns to his role as Po, the world’s most unlikely kung fu master, with a hilarious, butt-kicking new chapter in DreamWorks Animation’s beloved action-comedy franchise: Kung Fu Panda 4.
After three death-defying adventures defeating world-class villains with his unmatched courage and mad martial arts skills, Po, the Dragon Warrior (Golden Globe nominee Jack Black), is called upon by destiny to … give it a rest. More specifically, he’s tapped to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace.
That poses a couple of obvious problems. First, Po knows as much about spiritual leadership as he does about the paleo diet, and second, he needs to quickly find and train a new Dragon Warrior before he can assume his new lofty position.
Even worse, there’s been a recent sighting of a wicked, powerful sorceress, Chameleon (Oscar® winner Viola Davis), a tiny lizard who can shapeshift into any creature, large or small. And Chameleon has her greedy, beady little eyes on Po’s Staff of Wisdom, which would give her the power to re-summon all the master villains whom Po has vanquished to the spirit realm.
So, Po’s going to need some help. He finds it (kinda?) in the form of crafty, quick-witted thief Zhen (Golden Globe winner Awkwafina), a corsac fox who really gets under Po’s fur but whose skills will prove invaluable. In their quest to protect the Valley of Peace from Chameleon’s reptilian claws, this comedic odd-couple duo will have to work together. In the process, Po will discover that heroes can be found in the most unexpected places.
The filmfeatures the voice talent of returning stars Academy Award® winner Dustin Hoffman as Kung Fu master, Shifu; James Hong (Everything Everywhere All at Once) as Po’s adoptive father, Mr. Ping; Academy Award® nominee Bryan Cranston as Po’s birth father, Li, and Emmy Award nominee Ian McShane as Tai Lung, Shifu’s former student and arch-nemesis. Oscar® winner Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once) joins the ensemble as a new character, Han, the leader of the Den of Thieves.
Check out the full trailer below:
Now, for those wondering… Yes, the Furious Five – Tigress, Mantis, Viper, Monkey, and Crane, will appear in this fourth installment. In an interview with Collider, Mike Mitchell confirmed their appearance, but teased that they won’t be playing a huge role.
“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…”
Both Mitchell and Rebecca Huntley also confirmed that Tai Lung wouldn’t be the only villain resurfacing…
“Every single character that you remember comes back, and a few villains that I don’t want to spoil. But really, we wanted to introduce a whole slew of new characters which we did.”
Could Lord Shen be joining the fight? Wouldn’t that be something special? For now, we’ll have to wait and see, but Po certainly has his work cut out for him, that much is clear.
Universal Pictures will be bringing this action-packed installment to the UK in March, 2024. Are you excited to see the return of the Dragon Warrior and his formidable foes? Let us know in the comments.