Of Dreamworks’ various franchises throughout the decades, Kung Fu Panda has become one of their biggest hits. After 2016’s Kung Fu Panda 3, the series has primarily lived on through various CG spinoff shows and specials. (The most recent of which, The Dragon Knight, premiered last month on Netflix.) But not content with just releasing TV spinoffs of their film franchises, Dreamworks has gone and announced that the franchise is making its return to theaters in two years.
Kung Fu Panda 4 is indeed in production, and currently slated for a March 8, 2024. The CG martial arts franchise focuses on Jack Black’s Po, an excitable panda who becomes a martial arts master and reunites with his long-lost family. Across the first three films, the trilogy has earned $1.8 billion at the box office. Over the years, Dreamworks has been cagey in the past on if the franchise would continue with more films. In 2010, before the release of 2011’s Kung Fu Panda 2, then-CEO of Dreamworks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg said the franchise had been mapped for two trilogies: a “Student” trilogy, and a “Master” trilogy.
But in 2016, Panda 3 directors Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni both said the approach for the films was to take them one at a time. “We don’t want the films to feel open-ended,” said Carloni. “We want it to feel like a complete journey.” When asked again in 2018 by Metro, Nelson reiterated that she viewed the series as a single trilogy. but hoped that if future films did exist, Po would remain the focus. “The pull is Po,” she said. “Po is the world. So I am sure something will happen at some point, but it’s just that I don’t know what.”
While no other information on the film was given, such as a director or cast, that a new film is coming out relatively soon is reason enough to get excited.
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