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WolfPack

Shen's wolf army are the supporting antagonists in Kung Fu Panda 2. As their name suggests, they are a pack of wolves that serve in Lord Shen's army, and are led by Boss Wolf, the pack's military strategist and loyal servant of Shen.

History

Formation

These wolves once served as the royal guard of Gongmen City. But the only member of the royal family ever to befriend the wolves was Shen, the heir to Gongmen City's throne. Shen fed them, played with them, and treated them like family. The pack and their leader eventually swore their allegiance to Shen.[1]

Before Kung Fu Panda 2

Shen ordered his newly-formed army to attack the Panda Village to avert the prophecy that "a warrior of black and white" would someday defeat him. When Shen was banished by his parents for the heinous crime, the pack and their leader were banished along with him.

In Kung Fu Panda 2

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Boss Wolf with some of his pack

Over twenty years passed, during which the wolves labored within a mountain lair to complete Shen's work. They eventually ran out of metal, and Shen ordered Boss Wolf to take his army and raid the farthest villages to find more. One of these villages was the Artisan Village within the Valley of Peace, where the wolves encountered the Furious Five and Po, a surviving panda and the Dragon Warrior. After a long battle, Boss Wolf and the wolves managed to flee with several metal bundles.

Meanwhile, the wolves which had not partaken in the raids had completed Shen's first cannon, and they joined him in returning to Gongmen City. After a fight which ended with Thundering Rhino being killed by the cannon, the wolves imprisoned Masters Storming Ox and Croc and took over the city, harassing the citizens whenever they pleased.

WolvesGongmen

Wolves harassing the citizens

When Po and the Furious Five arrived in Gongmen City after learning what happened to Thundering Rhino, they continued to have minor battles with the wolf soldiers, the most prominent being the infiltration of the city, the skirmish in the Tower of the Sacred Flame, and the battle of the Fireworks Factory. They managed to capture the kung fu warriors twice during these events; the first time after Boss Wolf lead the warriors into an ambush, the second time in the factory, recapturing the Five after Po was apparently blasted out the building to his death.

When Shen and his soldiers began to set out with their armada to conquer China with the captured Five in tow, Po returned alive and fought the wolves once again. The Five were eventually freed, and a tremendous battle ensued, in which Storming Ox and Croc joined the fight along with Master Shifu.

In the climax of the battle, Boss Wolf had been stricken with Shen's when he turned against his order to fire the cannon upon his own warriors. It is possible that a large majority of the wolves were killed when Shen fired the cannon himself, and when Shen's vessel exploded from being hit by his own cannonball.

In Kung Fu Panda 3

Shen's wolves do not actually make a live appearance in the movie, but they are briefly seen near the end of a flashback told by Li of how he lost Po and his wife.

Personality

Wolves-Po-Gongmen

A couple of the wolves in Gongmen City

The wolves of Shen's army are loyal, savage, and both fear and respect their master. Though at times they act clueless and clumsy, they are also bullies that have no qualms when picking on the citizens of Gongmen City. They are additionally ruthless, as they willingly slaughtered an innocent farming village of pandas on Shen's orders.

Fighting Style

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One of the wolves battling Po

The wolf army makes up the majority of Shen's military force. Supervising animator Rodolphe Guenoden noted how they use a non-academic fighting style, possessing the build to appear "hunched over and vicious-looking, and . . . attack more like brawlers, moving as a pack."[2] All this being, they primarily use weapons to fight their battles. Many of them wield swords similar to Shen's lance or a different kind with flame-like edges, and they have a faction of archers.

The wolves' skills in battle extend beyond just weapons and fighting stance. The wolves are also notable for being deceptive, strong, savage, and using numbers to overwhelm their foes. They use howling as a means of communication and signals, allowing them to organize and remain coordinated amongst a large pack. Some or all of the wolves also seem to serve as the "stealth force" of Shen's army, as they are swift, agile, and capable of leaping great heights and running across rooftops.

Arsenal

WolfWeapons

Concept artwork of the wolves' weapons by Tang Heng, Bill Kaufmann, and Facundo Rabaudi

The wolves are known to wield a wide variety of weapons, of such consist of mainly swords, spears, and bows equipped with flaming arrows.They also use maces, battle axes, and throwing axes while Boss Wolf uses a gold studded war hammer. Art director Tang Kheng Heng noted how "the [weapon] designs were inspired by weapons we saw in Ping Yao, where the first bank in China was created and therefore needed solid protection."[3]

The wolves' entire armory is best notable for keeping with the film's flame motif, the curves and points of the metal reflecting the movements of fire. This was meant to serve as a constant visual reminder that the wolves were Shen's fiery force.[3]

Relationships

Boss Wolf

BossWolfJail

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Though at times they seemed incompetent in doing so, the wolves followed Boss Wolf's orders. It is assumed that he had a strong sense of loyalty to his fellow wolves, as he refused to harm any of them on his master's orders, resulting in him being struck down with a knife by the peacock.

Lord Shen

The wolves both respected and feared Lord Shen, and obeyed his every command, willing to carry out any task he gave them. This included slaughtering a village of pandas, stealing metal from other villages, and working for over twenty years to help make their master's invention a reality so he could conquer all of China. Despite this, Shen had no second thoughts about harming his wolf minions, as he repeatedly ordered for Boss Wolf to fire a cannon during battle that could take out the wolves as well as their enemies.

Clothing

WolfArmyConceptArt

Concept illustrations of the wolves' outfits and masks by Nicolas Marlet

All of the wolves keep a basic, consistent look in their protective wardrobe, with only some unique features on a few wolves. The basic look consists of leather wraps along their whole upper body, variously-styled leather elbow and shoulder pads, and from the waist down wear a kilt made out of leather and/or scaled armor. Molded onto some of this armor is Shen's fiery-red "peacock eye", symbolizing the wolves' allegiance to the evil prince.

Some wolves were given a few extra layers of clothing; among one of them were metallic masks, worn to protect their face but also add to their threatening and menacing appearance. Character designer Nicolas Marlet found it "fun to play up the threat factor with all kinds of one-eyed, mohawked, masked versions of the wolves," but was found challenging to the animators. This was because "[the masks] are crafted out of metal yet required rigging to allow expression to some extent," explained character technical direction supervisor Martin Costello. In the end, the animators were less rigid about implementing individual facial expressions because they wanted to maintain the "packness" of the army.[4]

Other unique additions made to the wolves' armor were strands of rope, which some had tied around their waist and/or arms presumably to help secure their armor.

Trivia

  • Wolves first came into the Kung Fu Panda universe when character designer Nicolas Marlet "amped up the intimidation element." According to production designer Raymond Zibach, this concept was placed into the wolves by "[taking] what exists in nature and [exaggerating them] to support the story, such as making [their] jaws protrude like a bear trap, or giving their fur an extra spiky, aggressive silhouette."[2]
  • The wolves were a scrapped idea for the first film, in which concepts had been made for them to be part of a criminal gang for Tai Lung.[5]
  • The wolves are noted to have been such legendary and fearsome creatures of the kung fu world, as well as his repressed memory of his past at the Panda Village, that Po had incorporated them into his dream in the beginning sequences of Kung Fu Panda.[2]
  • Because Po is the good guy, it was decided that he wouldn’t actually kill any of the wolves he fights. The wolves get injured, but are still breathing and if you look closely, you will notice a wolf, assumed to be dead, raising a paw.[6]


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References

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