Kung Fu Panda is like my happy place – Po and the gang are like family quot;: Jack Black

For the first time in almost a decade, comedy icon JACK BLACK returns to his role as Po, the world’s most unlikely kung fu master, with a hilarious, butt- kicking new chapter in DreamWorks Animation’s beloved action-comedy franchise: Kung Fu Panda 4.

The Kung Fu Panda franchise, which has spanned almost 16 years and has amassed a staggering nearly $2 billion in global box-office success, continues to captivate audiences worldwide. At its core, the saga revolves around the endearing panda, Po (Jack Black), who embodies and imparts profound lessons of self-
discovery, overcoming fear and the power of teamwork. As the franchise launches into a new era with Kung Fu Panda 4, the narrative takes a compelling turn, guiding Po on an internal journey of growth and change. Joining the ensemble as new characters Oscar® winner VIOLA DAVIS as The Chameleon who’s a wicked, powerful sorceress and Golden Globe winner AWKWAFINA as Zhen a crafty, quick-witted thief.

After three fantastic adventures as the legendary Dragon Warrior, destiny calls for Po to take the next step and fill Oogway’s shoes as the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace. Talking about reprising the role of Po, Black says, “Returning to play Po feels like reconnecting with an old friend who’s still as awesome and goofy as ever. Po’s journey this time around as the Spiritual Leader adds a whole new layer to his personality. He has a new depth to him, like this whole ‘wise and all-knowing’ thing, but, at the same time, part of him wonders, ‘Can I really do this? Am I wise enough to step into these shoes? Can you be the wisest dude in the room and still crack a joke?’ Po thinks so. And he’s out there trying, and that’s what makes Po so awesome. The most rewarding part is seeing Po evolve emotionally, going from a noodle-slurping warrior to a spiritual leader with a heart as big as his appetite.”

Black further elaborates, “When Po steps into the shoes of Spiritual Leader, you get to see his whole internal struggle. He has the Staff of Wisdom, but he’s scratching his head wondering if he knows anything about wisdom at all. This chapter is like Po’s mid-kung fu-life crisis. More wisdom, fewer dumplings, but the same lovable Po.”

These films, and Po’s evolution, Black says, have had a profound effect on him. He says, “Kung Fu Panda is like my happy place—Po and the gang are like family. It’s the humor, the heart, the whole package that brings me back. My perspective on Po has grown, too. He started as this bumbling panda with dreams of being a kung fu master, and now he’s becoming the Spiritual Leader. And just knowing that Po’s adventures have resonated with audiences worldwide and being part of that legacy…it’s an honor, man.”

The film features the voice talent of returning stars Academy Award® winner DUSTIN HOFFMAN as kung fu master, Shifu; JAMES HONG (Everything Everywhere All at Once) as Po’s adoptive father, Mr. Ping; Academy Award® nominee BRYAN CRANSTON as Po’s birth father, Li, and Emmy Award nominee IAN McSHANE as Tai Lung, Shifu’s former student and arch-nemesis. Oscar® winner KE HUY QUAN (Everything Everywhere All at Once) joins the ensemble as a new character, Han, the leader of the Den of Thieves. A DreamWorks Animation,  Kung Fu Panda 4, directed by Mike Mitchell and Stephanie Ma Stine is distributed by Universal Pictures (Warner Bros. Discovery) and will be released in India on March 15 in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.