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It is no secret that Disney and Pixar effectively control the animation business even now. Franchises and films have come close, but each time a Disney film, particularly one starring Pixar, reaches theatres, it is cause for celebration for both moviegoers and the company.
Everything in sight is annihilated, such is their allure, and I have a feeling ‘Toy Story 4’ will do the same.
However, even if Disney has its brand value, it is animation films that are popular and draw big crowds to theatres: the primary reason for this, I believe, is that they appeal to the whole family, regardless of topic or characters.
The only other notable animation properties that I believe have come close to challenging Disney are Universal and Illumination’s extremely profitable Minions and Dreamworks’ ‘Kung Fu Panda,’ ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, and ‘Shrek’ franchises, with the first losing a lot of its steam and character following ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’, which was also the franchise’s lowest-grossing film.
However, when seen together, the trilogy has been nothing short of a triumph, grossing more than $1.7 billion at the worldwide box office.
With that, there are presently no other animated Wuxia films, and given Jack Black’s proven success mantra, goofy charm, and enthusiasm as Po, the Panda Dragon Warrior, the producers nor I will say no to a fourth.
The last one was released in 2016, and while I’m sure there’s a lot of thought going on behind the scenes, the studio and creators have been remarkably silent on the subject, with little to no news on the development of a sequel, except for Jeffrey Katzenberg, Dreamworks Animation’s C.E.O., stating that the series could have three more sequels. The following is what we presently know about the rumored sequel.
“After Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation C.E.O. Jeffrey Katzenberg said, “the series is expected to see three more sequels, bringing the total to six films.
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Kung Fu Panda 4 is anticipated to be released shortly. However, the makers have not specified the exact year or month of its release. For now, all we know is that Kung Fu Panda 4 will be broken into six sections. That is the extent of our resources.
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We do, however, have some preliminary estimates for the film’s premiere date. Kung Fu Panda 4’s precise release date has not been determined, although it is slated to hit theatres in 2022 or the not-too-distant future. Kung Fu Panda 4’s release date has not yet been revealed.
While the second film in the franchise, which is also my favorite, subtly teased the events of the third, with his father still alive and living in a hidden Panda village, and while the third film does not tease anything regarding the future and quite literally gets Po’s story complete circle as a soldier and a teacher, there is a lot to look forward to in the next one, making a fourth one all the more necessary.
The third film concluded rather well, with Po returning to the valley after defeating Kai and mastering the ability to harness and use Chi and the magical yin-yang staff bestowed to him by teacher Oogway from the spirit world.
From here, one can expect the stories of the dragon warrior, the Furious Five, the panda village, and the valley to be seamlessly merged into one with a shared path and destiny.
Still, I also expect it to follow the franchise’s fairly standard route of introducing a single, all-powerful villain from China’s rich cultural (and fictional) past and pitting him against Po while also revealing more about the obscured origins of Po.
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All this is to be delivered with a healthy dose of the flicks’ trademark comedy and magnificent, vibrant animation. At the moment, it’s quite impossible to predict how that will play out over three films.
A significant indication of where the fourth one is headed may be found in the presently aired television series ‘Kung Fu Panda: Paws of Destiny,’ which can be seen on Amazon Prime.
Dreamworks took the Marvel Cinematic Universe/’Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ route with this one, picking up directly where the third film left off, with Po mentoring a group of four panda children from the village who stumble upon a mystical cave beneath the village and end up accidentally absorbing the chis of four powerful and ancient Kung Fu warriors known as the Four Constellations, namely the Blue Dragon, Black Tortoise, White Tiger, and Red Phoenix.
Additionally, the story has an overarching danger that the savior children must now overcome, leaving Po with the task of teaching them how to use their talents.
If and when the fourth one occurs, as the third did, there is no greater method to express Po’s desire to become a teacher. However, given the movie’s significantly greater popularity than the T.V. series, the filmmakers will need to devise a method to include the four warrior child pandas into the storyline.