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Kung Fu Panda 3 is the upcoming third film in the Kung Fu Panda franchise. It is being produced by DreamWorks Animation and Oriental DreamWorks, and will be distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is being directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, with serving as co-director. It is written by , produced by , and executive produced by Guillermo del Toro. Starring in the film are the franchise's original cast members, as well as three new cast members: Bryan Cranston, Rebel Wilson, and J.K. Simmons.
The film ... follows Po, the chosen one, as he continues on his journey mastering the art of kung fu... and noodle slurping. Continuing on his now legendary adventures of awesomeness, Po must face two hugely epic, but very different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to home.
In 2016, one of the most successful animated franchises in the world returns with its biggest comedy adventure yet, KUNG FU PANDA 3. When Po's long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters. But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible—learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas!
Po continues his now legendary adventures of awesomeness and must face two hugely epic, but very different threats. Po has saved the world countless times, but none of that [h]as prepared him for his greatest challenge yet—pleasing 2 fathers. Po reunites with his biological father (Bryan Cranston) and returns to his birthplace, yet soon reali[z]es he doesn't fit in. There he meets the overly eager Mei Mei (Rebel Wilson), who has been promised in an arranged marriage to Po. Po must also battle an evil spirit called The Collector (Mads Mikkelsen), who is able to steal the powers of every Kung Fu Master he defeats—and his sights are set on Po.
In the Chinese trailer of the film, various sequences were shown. These included scenes of Po where he resembles his dream self, and a scene where he is traveling in a boat with Oogway presumably talking to him. The villain Kai was also featured, wielding several weapons and walking amongst strange statues with glowing green eyes.
Shifu and the Furious Five also appeared consulting a scroll, and in another scene were shown fighting statue-like warriors on the rooftops of a village. Crane and Mantis appeared to have jade statues made in their likeness. Additionally, Shifu was seen witnessing Kai hurl a statue of Oogway into the Jade Palace with a set of chains.noodle shop discovering another panda. The panda introduces himself as Li Shan and reveals that he's looking for his son, to which everyone but Po gasps. Po remarks that he lost his father, and Li sympathetically says he's sorry. Eventually, they wish each other luck in finding their lost father and son and depart, while the crowd watching sighs at their failure to grasp the obvious.
These characters have been confirmed for the film's voice cast:
- Jack Black as Po, a giant panda and the film's main protagonist
- Dustin Hoffman as Shifu, a red panda and mentor to Po
- Randall Duk Kim as Oogway, a Galápagos tortoise and Shifu's old mentor
- Angelina Jolie as Tigress, a member of the Furious Five
- Lucy Liu as Viper, a member of the Furious Five
- Jackie Chan as Monkey, a member of the Furious Five
- David Cross as Crane, a member of the Furious Five
- Seth Rogen as Mantis, a member of the Furious Five
- James Hong as Mr. Ping, a goose and Po's adoptive father
- Bryan Cranston as Li Shan, a giant panda and Po's biological father
- J.K. Simmons as Kai, a supernatural villain who will serve as the film's main antagonist
- Rebel Wilson as Mei Mei, a ribbon-dancing female panda who lives in the secret panda village
-  as Bao, a young panda who lives in the secret panda village
|“||Having the wonderful Jennifer Yuh Nelson return as director is incredibly exciting for the studio. Under her guidance I have no doubt that our returning cast and our outstanding new voice talent will take the franchise's story to the next level.||”|
|—Former DreamWorks Animation Bill Damaschke|
On April 26, 2012, Jack Black first spoke to the press about the possible development of another Kung Fu Panda sequel: "I think they're writing it, writing hard as we speak," he shared. "I'd love to [return]. Yeah, it's a blast." The sequel was then officially confirmed on July 12, 2012 at the San Diego Comic-Con by Bill Damaschke, chief creative officer and co-president of production at DreamWorks Animation. A fan at the convention had asked him about the tease right before the credits in Kung Fu Panda 2, and if it might possibly lead to a sequel. Damaschke paused and then answered, "Yes, there will be a Kung Fu Panda 3."
The film is being majorly produced and distributed by DreamWorks' new Shanghai-based company called Oriental DreamWorks (ODW). According to Li Huaiyu, chief investment officer of China Media Capital (one of the founders of Oriental DreamWorks), Kung Fu Panda 3 "has been given priority on the agenda of ODW, which is set to begin operations later this year." Li also shared that "it's likely for ODW to participate in the distribution of Kung Fu Panda 3." Approximately one-third of the film is being produced at ODW, and the remainder at the main DreamWorks Animation headquarters in Glendale, California.
On November 12, 2012, executive producer Guillermo del Toro commented on the film's development:
We basically talked about where we would go in the third one in the second one. We really finished [Kung Fu Panda 2] with the real father of Po saying 'My son is alive,' so that allows us to continue that arc of Po as a character. All I can say is the bad guy in the third one is possibly the most formidable villain in the series. ... We finished an outline, we presented a character design, we presented a couple of sequences in storyboard, and we're very hard at work on a screenplay.
On April 9, 2013, DreamWorks announced the addition of three new cast members (Bryan Cranston, Mads Mikkelsen, and Rebel Wilson), as well as the film's new release date of December 23, 2015. In addition, some of the film's plot elements were also revealed.
On June 17, 2013, one of the film's Shanghai-based partners (Peter Li) announced and confirmed that production on the film would officially commence in August.
On July 10, 2013, del Toro shared a brief update on the film in an interview, mentioning that it's "going great. [It's] very different from the second one. We came up with a really good idea [for a character]. It sort of links with the ending of the second one." Two days later, on July 12, ODW vice president Shuai Min disclosed another brief update. "The script has been finished and production will soon start. What the work demonstrates is not just 'Chinese elements,' but profound Chinese culture and rich local flavor."
In October 2013, the film's production team spent a week in Shanghai with their production partners at Oriental DreamWorks. While there, they were treated to some authentic Chinese experiences by the ODW team to help them incorporate ideas for the film; these included "a tea ceremony, incense ceremony, high kicking Kung Fu action, as well as wedding ceremonies from the Tang, Song, and Qing dynasties."
On May 21, 2014, DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg spoke to the press briefly about the film. Addressing the comedic value of his company's films, he stated that "'Kung Fu Panda 3' ... is actually more broadly comedic. It's actually closer to the first movie than the second movie; the second was dealing with Po's past and had dark elements to it."
On February 24, 2015, it was reported that Jennifer Yuh Nelson as a co-director. According to the report, Carloni (an animation supervisor on the first film and a story artist on the second) joined Yuh following her request to strengthen "the director's bench" to ensure that the film is completed in a timely manner.had joined
On April 14, 2015, it was announced that the film will be moved up two months from its original release date of March 18, 2016, to its new and current release date on January 29, 2016.
During the 2015 Beijing International Film Festival, Nelson and Katzenberg made separate appearances at their two respective panels. During Nelson's panel, she discussed how Kung Fu Panda 3 has gained a greater level of authenticity thanks to their co-production with Oriental DreamWorks. "The weight of accuracy had been difficult for us. Previously [we] had to do things through research and extrapolate. Now we have Chinese people as creators. We have some 200 artists working with us currently. They are not just executing, they are designers." She also revealed that the film will be fully animated to be lip-synched in two versions: one for Chinese, and one for English. During Katzenberg's panel, he revealed that the film has reached a new degree of detail thanks to the latest animating technology. It will currently take "over 60 million hours of rendering, a figure that compares with 20 million for the first film and 50 million for the second."
- See Marketing.
On June 10, 2015, USA Today released the first three official images from the film: a picture of Po with the pandas from the secret panda village, a picture of Po with his biological father Li, and a picture of new character Mei Mei ribbon dancing. In addition, the article shared some behind-the-scenes comments from cast and crew members. The next day, on June 11, DreamWorks Animation announced via social media that the first film teaser trailer will be released in one week, on June 18. However, on June 13, Oriental DreamWorks held a press conference in China for the film where they screened the Chinese teaser trailer, which then leaked onto the Internet. On June 18, DreamWorks Animation released the English teaser trailer on their .
On July 27, 2015, Entertainment Weekly released the film's first set of concept art, revealing various scenes of the secret panda village. They also interviewed a few of the filmmakers (directors Jennifer Yuh Nelson and , and production designer ), where they shared some behind-the-scenes information on designing the village.
On August 23, 2015, DreamWorks uploaded the film's second teaser trailer to YouTube, which features a short clip of Li talking to Po in the style of Star Wars character Darth Vader. He also uses the character's most famous quote: "I am your father."
Kung Fu Panda 3 was originally scheduled to release on March 18, 2016. The date was later confirmed for an earlier release date of December 23, 2015. However, to avoid direct competition with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the film was later announced to be moving back to its original March release date. The film then made another release date change by moving up two months to its new and current release date of January 29, 2016.
- Kung Fu Panda 3 is the first major Hollywood animated feature film to be co-produced with a Chinese firm.
- Mads Mikkelsen was originally one of the film's new cast members as The Collector, but due to unknown scheduling conflicts, he had to drop his role from the film.