The first Kung Fu Panda 3 trailer released today, which included a character teased at the end of Kung Fu Panda 2, Po’s father Li Shan, voiced by Bryan Cranston in the upcoming sequel. It’s been four years since we last saw our kung fu animal friends take on an evil peacock voiced by Gary Oldman; and it’s been an astonishing seven years since the original film debuted back in 2008. Is there still gas in the tank for this once beloved franchise?
Although there isn’t much in the way of story revealed within the Kung Fu Panda 3 trailer, Li’s first encounter with his son offers a great humorous beat that speaks to Po’s personality. Cranston, who has worked on Family Guy, Archer, and The Cleveland Show, was born to do voice work. His delivery and timing is executed brilliantly. J.K. Simmons has also joined the cast as the main antagonist, Kai, a bull with glowing green eyes.
The Kung Fu Panda series has always had such beautifully choreographed fight sequences, and the action at the beginning of the trailer leaves no doubts for this next installment. It will be interesting to see what kind of fighting style Kai will have.
Here’s the official plot synopsis for Kung Fu Panda 3 courtesy of DreamWorks Animation:
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!
Despite what a handful of critics felt about the sequel, I’m still positive toward the series and have been looking forward to the third chapter of this story. Kung Fu Panda was part of my resurgence into animated feature films, and I’m hoping Kung Fu Panda 3 continues to keep the franchise strong.
(Click on the thumbnails below to begin the screenshot gallery)
Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni, Kung Fu Panda 3 stars the voices of Jack Black as Po, Bryan Cranston as Li Shan, 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, Rebel Wilson as Mei Mei, James Hong as Mr. Ping, and J.K. Simmons as Kai.