Kung Fu Panda first burst onto our screens back in 2008, with a successful sequel released in 2011. The public took the wannabe kung fu panda, Po, into their hearts, enjoying his bumbling antics and his many failed attempts to become a master of the martial arts. Now the first trailer for the third instalment in the franchise, Kung Fu Panda 3, has now arrived online. It might be in Chinese, but it definitely gives a good idea of what to expect from the follow-up, including a brief glimpse at the new villain.
The plotline for Kung Fu Panda 3 was teased at the end of Kung Fu Panda 2, as this new installment sees Po reunited with his long-lost father and the pair travelling to a secret panda paradise to meet new characters. However, supernatural villain Kai is slowly sweeping across the county defeating all the kung fu masters. It falls to Po to train his new-found panda friends in the martial art form, turning them into the ultimate army of kung fu pandas.
Kung Fu Panda 2's Jennifer Yuh returned to co-direct Kung Fu Panda 3 alongside veteran animator Alessandro Carloni. The majority of the original voice artists are back for this sequel, including Jack Black as Po, Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu, Jackie Chan as Monkey, Seth Rogen as Mantis, Lucy Liu as Viper, David Cross as Crane, and James Hong as Mr. Ping. Bryan Cranston joins the cast as Po’s father, Li, and Rebel Wilson also comes on board as a results-orientated panda who is used to getting her own way. Her character’s name is Mei-Mei, and Black describes her as being “super into ribbon dancing.”
The film is due in theaters next January, so we can expect a domestic trailer pretty soon. Regardless, this first glimpse does give us a good idea of what to expect from Kung Fu Panda 3 - even though the humour is missing for those of us who can’t speak the language.
The animation looks to have improved yet again (something DreamWorks has really strived to make better over the course of its films), and overall the quality seems much stronger. Kai seems to be just the right side of menacing, but not so intimidating as to frighten a younger audience. He also looks to be in possession of some pretty awesome powers, which will definitely be worth seeing in action against Po and his band of ramshackle fighters.
Despite the fact that there will have been a five year gap between sequels, Kung Fu Panda 3 should still do well at the box office since the films and the characters within them are well liked by younger kids and families. Expect merchandise galore (as well as food and clothing deals); meaning, you won’t be able to escape Po and his anthropomorphic friends at all - as if anyone would ever want to.
Kung Fu Panda 3 will be released in theaters on January 29, 2016.