Dreamworks had some fun things to tease at CinemaCon this year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, while the upcoming installment for Trolls got some help from Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, Jack Black took to the stage to give big news about the upcoming Kung Fu Panda 4. The movie is set to release on March 8th, 2024.
Black gives a dramatic monologue, detailing the upcoming movie in which “Po faces his biggest challenge ever. Will he survive?” Considering Po’s track record of saving China, that’s a tall order!
According to Black, Kung Fu Panda 4 introduces Po as he’s gearing up to become the new spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace. But in order to take on this new title, he needs to find a successor to take on the role of the chosen Dragon Warrior. Po takes on an apprentice of his very own. But along the way, a new villain approaches! This new enemy is the Chameleon, who has the power to summon baddies from the past. Po has to fight his way through all of these baddies in order to save the day.
The Dragon Warrior Rises Again
When you think of Dreamworks and their biggest franchises, Kung Fu Panda is close to the top of the list. The first movie premiered in 2008 and was a big success with both critics, audiences, and at the box office! The movie was praised for its slapstick humor and heartfelt message, one may even call it the perfect zen movie. Naturally, Dreamworks followed it up with Kung Fu Panda 2 in 2011. Like its predecessor, the movie was a smash hit at the box office. Critics praised the film for being just as funny as the first, but also upping the emotional and darker elements. Kung Fu Panda 3 made its way into theaters in 2016, this time going a lighter route but furthering Po’s journey like before. The third installment was also a major success at the box office, further proving that the series was a strong contender in the Dreamworks library. When Collider asked about the possibility of more adventures with Po, director Jennifer Yuh Nelson says that quality is top priority before rushing into another installment.
We always try to make the very best movie that we’re working on. It’s one at a time. We want to make this a perfect jewel, and then we’ll see what happens after that. Right now, we’re really focused on making this the best film possible. We want to be proud of our work and make sure it’s worth the talent of the animators, who spent four years of their love, sweat and tears on it.
Co-Director Alessandro Carloni chimed in to agree.
With the sequels, we don’t want to try to have them feel open-ended. We want it to feel like a completed journey, and we feel this movie does. And then, if a fantastic story presents itself, great.
While Dreamworks has been working on the perfect story, like Mr. Ping’s famous recipes, Po has been having adventures of a different kind. In the Netflix original series, Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight, Po teams up with an unlikely ally in the form of Luthera, a knight from England. The two set off on a quest to find four elemental weapons of great power. Season 1 premiered in July 2022 and Season 2 premiered January 2023. While Kung Fu Panda fans have been waiting a long time to see Po’s return to the big screen, the countdown is officially on!