Kung Fu Panda is an American media franchise that originally started in 2008 with the release of the animated feature film of the same name, produced by DreamWorks Animation. Following the adventures of the titular Po Ping (primarily voiced by Jack Black and Mick Wingert), a giant panda who is improbably chosen as the prophesied Dragon Warrior and becomes a master of kung fu, the franchise is set in a fantasy wuxia genre version of ancient China populated by anthropomorphic animals. Although his status is initially doubted, Po proves himself worthy as he strives to fulfill his destiny.
|Kung Fu Panda|
|Created by||Ethan Reiff|
|Original work||Kung Fu Panda (2008)|
|Films and television|
|Television special(s)||Kung Fu Panda Holiday (2010)|
|Play(s)||Kung Fu Panda: Arena Spectacular|
The franchise consists mainly of three CGI-animated films: Kung Fu Panda (2008), Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), and Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) with a fourth film in development for release in 2024, and three television series: Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (2011–2016), The Paws of Destiny (2018–2019), and The Dragon Knight (2022–2023). The first two films were distributed by Paramount Pictures, the third film was distributed by 20th Century Fox and the fourth will be distributed by Universal Pictures, while the television series respectively aired on Nickelodeon and Nicktoons, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. Four short films, Secrets of the Furious Five (2008), Secrets of the Masters (2011), Secrets of the Scroll, and Panda Paws (both 2016), and a television special, Kung Fu Panda Holiday (2010), have also been produced.
The franchise's first two features were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature as well as numerous Annie Awards, and its first television series won 11 Emmy Awards. The first three films were critical and commercial successes while the second film was the biggest worldwide box office success for a film directed solely by a woman (Jennifer Yuh Nelson) until Wonder Woman (2017). The series is additionally popular in China as an outstanding Western interpretation of the wuxia film genre.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Story by||Producer(s)|
|Kung Fu Panda||June 6, 2008||John Stevenson and Mark Osborne||Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger||Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris||Melissa Cobb|
|Kung Fu Panda 2||May 26, 2011||Jennifer Yuh Nelson||Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger|
|Kung Fu Panda 3||January 29, 2016||Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni|
|Kung Fu Panda 4||March 8, 2024||Mike Mitchell
Stephanie Ma Stine
Kung Fu Panda (2008) Edit
Po, a clumsy panda, is a kung fu fanatic who lives in the Valley of Peace and works in his goose father Mr. Ping's noodle shop, unable to realize his dream of learning the art of kung fu. One day, a kung fu tournament is held for the elderly spiritual leader of the valley, Grand Master Oogway, to determine the identity of the Dragon Warrior, the one kung fu master capable of understanding the secret of the Dragon Scroll, which is said to contain the key to limitless power. Everyone in the valley expects the Dragon Warrior to be one of the Furious Five—Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper, and Crane—a quintet of kung fu warriors trained by Master Shifu to protect the valley. To everyone's surprise, Oogway chooses Po, who has accidentally stumbled into the tournament arena after arriving late via fireworks explosion.
Refusing to believe that Po can be the Dragon Warrior, Shifu subjects Po to torturous training exercises in order to discourage him into quitting. Determined to change himself into someone he can respect, Po perseveres in his training and befriends the Furious Five, who had previously mocked Po for his lack of skill in kung fu. Po soon learns that the valley is being approached by Tai Lung, an evil kung fu warrior who has escaped from prison to take revenge for being denied the Dragon Scroll, and despairs he will be unable to defeat him. However, Shifu discovers that Po is capable of martial arts when motivated by food, and successfully trains him to learn kung fu. After his training is complete, Po is given the Dragon Scroll, which he discovers to be blank. However, Po realizes that the key to limitless power lies within himself, allowing him to defeat Tai Lung and restore peace to the valley.
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) Edit
Po now lives his dream as a kung fu master and protects the Valley of Peace alongside the Furious Five. However, he is thrown into internal conflict when he begins having flashbacks of his mother and learns from Mr. Ping that he was adopted as an infant. Shortly after, Po and the Five are sent on a mission to stop the evil peacock Lord Shen from using a newly developed weapon, the cannon, to conquer all of China and destroy kung fu tradition. Po remains tormented by thoughts of being abandoned by his real parents until he is guided by a wise old soothsayer to embrace his past, and remembers that his parents risked their lives to save him from Shen, who had set out to exterminate all pandas after learning of a prophecy that he would be defeated by "a warrior of black-and-white". Po achieves inner peace, which allows him to destroy Shen's new weapon, defeat Shen, and accept Mr. Ping as his father. However, during the last scene of the movie, it shows Po's biological father realizing his son is alive.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) Edit
Shortly after the events of the second film, Shifu relinquishes his duties as master of the Jade Palace to Po, claiming that the next step of his own apprenticeship is to oversee the Furious Five's training. While struggling with this new responsibility, Po rejoices upon reuniting with his biological father, Li, though Mr. Ping is less enthusiastic. However, news arrives that the spirit warrior General Kai has returned to the mortal realm and is 'collecting' Kung Fu masters from all over China, both living and dead, to serve in his army of Jade Zombies. Po and the others discover from a scroll left by Oogway that Kai can only be defeated by the power of Chi, a technique known only by the panda colonies; thus, Po and Li set to the secret Panda Valley in order to have Po learn it. Po eventually discovers, to his horror, that Li had deceived him, because the pandas have long forgotten about how to manipulate the Chi, and he just wanted to protect his son from Kai. Once making amends with both his adoptive and biological fathers, Po joins forces with Ping, Tigress, and the pandas to make a stand against Kai, all mastering the power of Chi in the process and using its power to destroy him for good. After returning to the Valley of Peace, Po spends his days spreading the teachings of Kung fu and Chi.
Kung Fu Panda 4 (2024) Edit
In December 2010, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said that the Kung Fu Panda film series was planned to have six films, or "chapters" altogether, of a "Student" and "Master" trilogy, with three sequels to follow Kung Fu Panda 3. The filmmakers of Kung Fu Panda 3 were asked about the possibility of a fourth film in August 2016; co-director Jennifer Yuh Nelson said: "It's one at a time. We want to make this a perfect jewel, and then we'll see what happens after that", with co-director Alessandro Carloni responding: "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".
When asked about any updates on Kung Fu Panda 4, Nelson replied in August 2018 that she did not know as she had always seen the series as a trilogy, but that she was open to the idea of a fourth installment as long as it focused on Po.
In August 2022, DreamWorks Animation confirmed that Kung Fu Panda 4 was in production and is set to be released on March 8, 2024.
In April 2023, during CinemaCon, it was announced that The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part director Mike Mitchell will direct the film, with Stephanie Ma Stine as a co-director and Rebecca Huntley as a producer, while Jack Black revealed the story, which follows Po trying to find a new Dragon Warrior while facing a new villain, the Chameleon.
Television specials and series Edit
|First released||Last released||Network|
|Kung Fu Panda Holiday||Special||November 24, 2010||NBC|
|Legends of Awesomeness||1||26||September 19, 2011||April 5, 2012||Nickelodeon|
|2||26||April 6, 2012||June 21, 2013|
|3||28||18||June 24, 2013||June 22, 2014|
|10||February 15, 2016||June 29, 2016||Nicktoons|
|The Paws of Destiny||1||26||13||November 16, 2018||Amazon Prime Video|
|13||July 4, 2019|
|The Dragon Knight||1||11||July 14, 2022||Netflix|
|2||12||January 12, 2023|
|3||19||September 7, 2023|
Kung Fu Panda Holiday (2010) Edit
Kung Fu Panda Holiday (also known as Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special) is a 2010 television special that premiered on NBC on November 24. It tells a story of Po, who is assigned to host the annual Winter Feast by Master Shifu, despite his wishes to spend the holiday with Mr. Ping.
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (2011–2014; 2016) Edit
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness is an animated television series based on the Kung Fu Panda film series, set between the first two films. The show was originally intended to premiere in 2010, but was delayed and officially launched on Nickelodeon on November 7, 2011. Of the series's voice cast, only Lucy Liu, Randall Duk Kim, and James Hong reprise their roles from the films as Viper, Oogway, and Mr. Ping, respectively. The first season, consisting of 26 episodes, ended on April 5, 2012. The second season aired from April 6, 2012, to June 21, 2013, and also consisted of 26 episodes. A third season consisting of 28 episodes began airing June 24, 2013, going on an extended hiatus after June 22, 2014, before airing its last 10 episodes two years later, from February 15 to June 29, 2016, as a tie-in to the theatrical run of Kung Fu Panda 3.
Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny (2018–2019) Edit
Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny is the second Kung Fu Panda animated series, set after the events of Kung Fu Panda 3. Across 26 episodes produced by DreamWorks Animation Television with Amazon Studios and ordered, and aired by Amazon Prime Video, the series was released in its 13-episode first season on November 16, 2018, and its 13-episode second and final season on July 4, 2019. The series follows Po on a fresh adventure, mentoring four young pandas (Nu Hai, Jing, Bao and Fan Tong), who happen upon a mystical cave beneath the Panda Village - and accidentally absorb the chi of the ancient and powerful Kung Fu warriors known as the four constellations. The four friends realize that they now have a new destiny - to save the world from an impending evil with their new-found Kung Fu powers. They are aided along their journey by Po, who finds himself faced with his biggest challenge yet - teaching this ragtag band of kids how to wield their strange powers.
Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight (2022-2023) Edit
Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight is the third Kung Fu Panda animated series, which premiered on Netflix on July 14, 2022, with Jack Black reprising his role as Po. The series follows Po as he must leave his home behind and embark on a globe-trotting quest for redemption and justice that finds him partnered up with a no-nonsense English knight known as the Wandering Blade. Rita Ora joined the cast as Wandering Blade and James Hong reprised his role as Mr. Ping.
Short films Edit
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five (2008) Edit
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five, or simply Secrets of the Furious Five, is an animated short film that serves as a semi-sequel (or spin-off) to Kung Fu Panda and appears on a companion disc of the original film's deluxe DVD release. It was later broadcast on NBC on February 26, 2009, and is available as a separate DVD as of March 24 the same year. The film has a framing story of Po (in computer animation), telling the stories of his comrades in arms, the Furious Five, which are depicted in 2D cel animation.
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters (2011) Edit
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters is an animated short film released on December 13, 2011, as a special feature attached to the Kung Fu Panda 2 DVD and Blu-ray. It tells the backgrounds of the masters of Gongmen City: Thundering Rhino, Storming Ox, and Croc.
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll (2016) Edit
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll is an animated short film officially released as a bonus feature in the Kung Fu Panda: Ultimate Edition of Awesomeness Blu-ray pack in January 2016. Secrets of the Scroll details the forming of the Furious Five, and their first fight together against a common enemy. Unlike previous Kung Fu Panda short films, Secrets of the Scroll has yet to be released on its own DVD or Blu-ray.
Panda Paws (2016) Edit
Panda Paws, is a short film that was released with the home media of Kung Fu Panda 3. Panda Paws involves the character Mei Mei (voiced by Kate Hudson) competing with Bao at the "Spring Festival". A version of the short was previously released in theaters preceding the DreamWorks Animation film Home in 2015, with Rebel Wilson voicing Mei Mei, prior to her firing from Kung Fu Panda 3.
Cast and characters Edit
This section includes characters who will appear or have appeared in the franchise.
- An empty, dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's official presence has not yet been confirmed.
- C indicates a cameo role.
- Y indicates a younger version of the character.
|Characters||Films||Short films||Television special||Television series|
|Kung Fu Panda||Kung Fu Panda 2||Kung Fu Panda 3||Kung Fu Panda 4||Secrets of the Furious Five||Kung Fu Panda:
Secrets of the Masters
|Kung Fu Panda:
Secrets Of the Scroll
|Panda Paws||Kung Fu Panda Holiday||Kung Fu Panda:
Legends of Awesomeness
|Kung Fu Panda:
The Paws of Destiny
|Kung Fu Panda:|
The Dragon Knight
The Dragon Warrior
|Jack Black||Jack Black
|Jack Black||Jack Black||Mick Wingert||Jack Black|
|Master Shifu||Dustin Hoffman||Dustin Hoffman||Fred Tatasciore|
|Tigress||Angelina Jolie||Tara StrongY||Angelina Jolie||Kari Wahlgren
|Angelina Jolie||Kari Wahlgren|
|Mantis||Seth Rogen||Max Koch||Seth Rogen||Seth Rogen||Max Koch|
|Monkey||Jackie Chan||Jaycee ChanY||James Sie||Jackie Chan||James Sie|
|Viper||Lucy Liu||Jessica DiCiccoY||Lucy Liu||Lucy Liu|
|Crane||David Cross||David Cross||David Cross||Amir Talai|
|Mr. Ping||James Hong||James Hong||James Hong|
|Oogway||Randall Duk Kim||Silent cameo in DreamWorks logo||Randall Duk Kim||Randall Duk Kim||Piotr Michael|
|Tai Lung||Ian McShane
|Flashback||Silent cameo||Ian McShane||Ian McShane||André Sogliuzzo||Silent cameo|
|Zeng||Dan Fogler||Dan Fogler||Mick Wingert|
|Commander Vachir||Michael Clarke Duncan|
|Lord Shen||Gary Oldman||Flashback||Gary Oldman||Silent cameo|
|Wolf Boss||Danny McBride|
|Storming Ox||Dennis Haysbert||Dennis Haysbert|
|Croc||Jean-Claude Van Damme||Tony Leondis|
|Thundering Rhino||Victor Garber||Paul Scheer||Jonathan Groff|
|Li Shan||Fred TatascioreC||Bryan Cranston||Christopher Swindle|
|Kai||J. K. Simmons||Silent cameo|
|Mei Mei||Kate Hudson||Kate Hudson
|Steele Gangon||Steele Gangon||Gunnar Sizemore|
|Lei Lei||Liam Knight|
|Grandma Panda||Barbara Dirickson||Barbara Dirickson||Amy Hill|
|Wo Hop||Jack McBrayer|
|Bian Zao||Simon Helberg|
|Temutai||Kevin Michael Richardson|
|Jong Sung Jai Kai Chow||Wayne Knight|
|Laya Deleon Hayes|
|Jade Tusk||Cherise Boothe|
|Yaoguai Demon||Mitch Watson|
|Princess Xiao||Lacey Chabert|
|Shi Long||Sumalee Montano|
|White Bone Demon||Elisa Gabrielli|
|Sun Wukong||James Sie|
|Wandering Blade||Rita Ora|
Additional crew Edit
|Kung Fu Panda||Kung Fu Panda 2||Kung Fu Panda 3||Kung Fu Panda 4|
|Composer(s)||Hans Zimmer and John Powell||Hans Zimmer||TBA|
|Studio(s)||DreamWorks Animation||DreamWorks Animation
China Film Group Corporation
Zhong Ming You Ying Film
|Distributor||Paramount Pictures||20th Century Fox||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||1h 32mins||1h 30mins||1h 35mins||TBA|
Box office performance Edit
The films series grossed over $1.8 billion making the Kung Fu Panda franchise the tenth highest-grossing animated franchise and the third highest-grossing DreamWorks Animation's franchise behind Madagascar & Shrek.
|Film||Release date||Box office||Rank||Budget (millions)||Ref.|
|North America||Other territories||Worldwide||All time
|All time |
|Kung Fu Panda||June 6, 2008||$60,239,130||$215,771,591||$416,311,606||$632,083,197||#182||#149||$130|||
|Kung Fu Panda 2||May 26, 2011||$47,656,302||$165,249,063||$500,443,218||$665,692,281||#320||#135||$150|||
|Kung Fu Panda 3||January 29, 2016||$41,282,042||$143,528,619||$377,642,206||$521,170,825||#410||#207||$145|||
Critical and public reception Edit
Each Kung Fu Panda film has received highly positive reviews, with critics often praising the animation, voice acting, and character development.
|Kung Fu Panda||87% (190 reviews)||74 (36 reviews)||A−|
|Kung Fu Panda 2||81% (185 reviews)||67 (34 reviews)||A|
|Kung Fu Panda 3||87% (179 reviews)||66 (34 reviews)||A|
|Award||Category||Kung Fu Panda||Kung Fu Panda 2||Kung Fu Panda 3|
|Academy Awards||Best Animated Feature||Nominated||Nominated|
|Annie Awards||Best Animated Feature||Won||Nominated||Nominated|
Video games Edit
- Kung Fu Panda is a video game loosely based on the first film, released by Activision in June 2008 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360.
- Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors is a sequel to the video game Kung Fu Panda. It was published by Activision on November 5 and December 5, 2008, for the Nintendo DS and Wii, respectively.
- Kung Fu Panda World is a virtual world online game released on April 12, 2010.
- Kung Fu Panda 2 is a video game that takes place after the events of the second film. It was developed and published by THQ on May 23, 2011, for Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360.
- Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends is a fighting game developed by Vicious Cycle Software and published by Little Orbit. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U on December 1, 2015.
- A crossover event between Brawlhalla and Kung Fu Panda was released as downloadable content on March 24, 2021, adding Po, Tigress, and Tai Lung to the game as playable characters.
- A crossover between Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Kung Fu Panda was released as skins for Akai (Po), Ling (Lord Shen), and Thamuz (Kai) on August 20, 2022.
- Dreamworks All-Star Kart Racing is an upcoming racing video game that is being published by GameMill Entertainment, and will include Po, Tigress, Shifu, and Oogway as playable racers. The video game will release in Fall 2023 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Xbox One.
Arena show Edit
Directed by international entertainment director, Franco Dragone—best known for Le Rêve and House of Dancing Waters—Kung Fu Panda: Arena Spectacular is an in-progress live arena show, featuring characters from the Kung Fu Panda. Combining circus and Chinese acrobatics as well as arena show effects, the production was supposed to be released around the same time of Kung Fu Panda 2. After a multi city casting tour in 2010, the production went behind closed doors until late 2011 when a new set of audition dates were announced for the following year. However, shortly before the announced January 2012 auditions, both Franco Dragone and DreamWorks decided to postpone the live show's opening date, canceling all auditions. No further announcements have been made since.
A themed area Po's Kung Fu Garden was opened in 2012 at DreamWorks Experience, one of the themed lands at the Australian theme park Dreamworld. At opening Po's Kung Fu Garden consisted only of a small area featuring a Po photo opportunity. In late 2012, additional rides and attractions were added to the area. All of the rides were moved to Ocean Parade since DreamWorks Experience was rethemed as Kenny and Belinda's Dreamland in 2023.
Universal Studios Beijing also has a Kung Fu Panda themed area called Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness, which opened alongside the park in September 2021.
See also Edit
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- "The 81st Academy Awards (2009) Nominees and Winners". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. February 24, 2009. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
- Moody, Annemarie (January 22, 2009). "Oscar Nominations: Bolt, Kung Fu Panda and WALL-E Get Best Animated Feature Nods". Animation World Network. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
- Debruge, Peter (January 30, 2009). "'Kung Fu Panda' rules Annie Awards". Variety. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
- "The 84th Academy Awards (2012) Nominees and Winners". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. February 27, 2011. Archived from the original on February 26, 2013. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
- Pon, Steve (December 5, 2011). "'Kung Fu Panda 2′ Tops Annie Award Nominations". The Wrap. Archived from the original on December 9, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
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- on YouTube
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Given the immense innovation in development for "Kung Fu Panda Arena Spectacular", DreamWorks Theatricals and the Franco Dragone Entertainment Group have made the difficult decision to delay the production's launch date. It is the ambition of both companies to give the show the appropriate amount of time it needs to recognize its fullest creative potential. All auditions have been postponed indefinitely.
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