Talks regarding Kung Fu Panda 4 have been around since Kung Fu Panda 3’s release in 2016, but now a release date has been announced — here’s everything known so far about DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda 4. While the franchise following Po (Jack Black) and his fellow Kung Fu Masters and friends has expanded in the years since Kung Fu Panda 3’s release thanks to multiple TV series, a new Kung Fu Panda movie had yet to be properly announced. Although some details are still hazy, Kung Fu Panda 4 now has a release date, and its release will mark the first feature film of the prolific franchise to be distributed by Universal since Universal’s acquisition of DreamWorks in 2016.
Po has come a long way since 2008’s Kung Fu Panda. Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3 cemented Po as the Dragon Warrior, letting him develop his abilities as a teacher and as a protector of the Valley of Peace. The Kung Fu Panda franchise was deeply enriched by various TV spinoffs that showcased Po’s adventures with the Furious Five, sometimes moving the spotlight entirely on them. While the Kung Fu Panda TV shows and shorts were especially invaluable for the world-building they provided, the feature films tended to focus on the betterment of Po’s abilities and his own story, making a new Kung Fu Panda movie particularly interesting when thinking about Po’s path. Here’s everything that’s known about Kung Fu Panda 4 so far.
The Latest Kung Fu Panda 4 News
In August 2022 Dreamworks announced Kung Fu Panda 4 was confirmed, and along with the news came the release date of March 08, 2024. Po’s next adventure will arrive a full eight years after Kung Fu Panda 3, but there hasn’t been any hard news since the August 2022 confirmation. If the IMDB listing is to be believed, Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman will be back to reprise their roles as Po and Master Shifu, as will the original Furious Five cast and James Hong as Po’s adoptive father — the noodle-cooking goose Mr. Ping.
There’s no Kung Fu Panda 4 trailer yet, and Dreamworks hasn’t indicated when one can be expected. Since Kung Fu Panda 4 is set to release in early 2024, it’s likely that the first promotional footage will arrive at some point in 2023. More story details will probably become clear once Dreamworks begins marketing the new Kung Fu Panda movie, and Kung Fu Panda 4 casting news is also guaranteed to arrive in the interim.
Kung Fu Panda 4 Is Confirmed
Dreamworks confirmed that Po and the Furious Five were returning back in August 2022 (via Deadline). The confirmation was brief, but did also come with a release date. It was also somewhat of a surprise — despite various Kung Fu Panda shows releasing since Kung Fu Panda 3 in 2016, there’d been little to indicate another big-screen cinematic adventure was on the cards. Now that Kung Fu Panda 4 is confirmed, with a release date to boot, there’s no telling what the future may hold for Jack Black’s lovable CGI Dragon Warrior.
Kung Fu Panda 4 Release Date
Although the expansion of the Kung Fu Panda franchise has continued through TV shows, there was never an expectation of a fourth installment (hope for one was a different story), despite the Kung Fu Panda feature films earning more than $1.8 billion at the worldwide box office. However, everything changed with the confirmation that Kung Fu Panda 4 being in development by DreamWorks Animation. Universal even announced the Kung Fu Panda 4 release date, which is March 8, 2024.
Kung Fu Panda 4 Cast
While not a lot is known about Kung Fu Panda 4 besides when it will release, Jack Black will likely return to voice Po, as he did not only for all of the Kung Fu Panda feature films but also most franchise short films, the 2010 holiday special, and Netflix’s 2022 Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight. The Furious Five’s Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Crane (David Cross), Viper (Lucy Liu), Monkey (Jackie Chan), and Mantis (Seth Rogen) will also likely return, as they were almost as central as Jack Black’s Po in Kung Fu Panda 1 to 3.
Finally, the next Kung Fu Panda movie wouldn’t be complete without Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) or Po’s father, Mr. Ping (James Hong). Po’s biological father, Li Shan, might also make an appearance, although it’s unclear whether it would be Fred Tatasciore or Bryan Cranston to voice him at this stage. There’s also of course the question of who will voice the Kung Fu Panda 4 villain — and who the villain will be. After Ian McShane’s Tai Lung, Gary Oldman’s Shen, and JK Simmons’ Kai, whoever steps up as the Kung Fu Panda 4 bad guy has some big shoes to fill.
Kung Fu Panda 4 Story
While it’s a guarantee it’ll be about Po getting up to more animated Bruce Lee-like kung fu shenanigans, no details are known about Kung Fu Panda 4’s plot yet. Still, Kung Fu Panda 2 focused on Po’s history and how deeply that impacted him in a way that it didn’t let Po find his inner peace, and Kung Fu Panda 3 let Po master the knowledge and use of chi, making Po’s progress as an individual and a Kung Fu Master central. Kung Fu Panda 4 will probably further advance Po’s path as a Kung Fu Master and as the Dragon Warrior, making the next Kung Fu Panda movie especially interesting, as the TV shows advanced Po’s story a lot, but their canon status isn’t clear.
Kung Fu Panda 4 Trailer
While there’s excitement for the new Kung Fu Panda movie, there isn’t a Kung Fu Panda 4 trailer yet. The first trailers for 2016’s Kung Fu Panda 3 arrived in mid-to-late 2015, so the first Kung Fu Panda 4 trailer will likely arrive in summer 2023 at the earliest, although more realistically around fall or winter. It’s also possible Dreamworks could hold back pushing Kung Fu Panda 4 promotion hard until 2024 itself. The entertainment landscape is very different in 2023 than it was in 2015/2016. With the advent of streaming bringing more competition and shorter attention spans when it comes to movie promotion and viral marketing, opting to drop the first Kung Fu Panda 4 trailer on the year of release is also a viable strategy.
Kung Fu Panda Has Six Chapters Planned
The next Kung Fu Panda movie is set to be Kung Fu Panda 4, but the DreamWorks Animation franchise has a total of six installments planned. Many believed that Kung Fu Panda 3 was the film that would end the franchise, given there’s been very little news leading up to the new Kung Fu Panda movie. However, the storyline has apparently always been a part of a six-part plan, according to DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg. In an interview (via Empire), Katzenberg discussed his plans for major DreamWorks projects, such as Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, and Madagascar.
According to Katzenberg, all the films of their major franchises are planned out beforehand, and the story direction of each installment is no mystery to DreamWorks before the animation process is even started. As for Kung Fu Panda, the DreamWorks Animation chief had this to say, “Kung Fu Panda actually has 6 chapters to it, and we’ve mapped that out over the years.” What the next three new Kung Fu Panda movies will be about has yet to be seen, but at least audiences will be let into the major story beats once Kung Fu Panda 4 hits the big screen in 2024.