Home Jack Black revives Po with a twist in “Kung Fu Panda 4”

Jack Black revives Po with a twist in “Kung Fu Panda 4”

Jack Black Kung Fu Panda

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – The dumpling-devouring protagonist of the “Kung Fu Panda” series, Po, voiced by Jack Black, makes a grand return to the silver screen after an eight-year break. 

This latest chapter in the animated saga, “Kung Fu Panda 4,” promises fans a blend of nostalgia and new adventures, with Black drawing inspiration from an unexpected source: the 1970s television series “The Six Million Dollar Man.”

In a recent interview with Reuters, Black shared insights into how he reconnected with the character of Po. “I mean, I do have to prepare… remembering what it was like when I was a kid and the things that I loved. What do I love as much as Po loves Kung Fu?” Black mused. 

His answer was his childhood favorite show, “The Six Million Dollar Man,” alongside “The Hulk.” 

This recollection of his youthful enthusiasm helped him channel Po’s character anew: “You can hear it creeping into my voice already, and it’s as simple as that, just remember your childhood exuberance.”

“Kung Fu Panda 4” introduces audiences to a fresh narrative arc where Po is on a mission to find the next dragon warrior. 

This quest leads him to Zhen, a cunning fox voiced by Awkwafina, who joins forces with Po to combat the ambitions of the villainous Chameleon, brought to life by the talented Viola Davis. 

Awkwafina, in her discussions with Black, expressed how Zhen’s character closely mirrors her own personality, marking a significant connection to her role in this animated endeavor.

According to director Mike Mitchell, the dynamic between Black and Awkwafina off-screen played a pivotal role in bringing their on-screen chemistry to life. 

Aware of their playful, contentious rapport, Mitchell encouraged them to let their imaginations run wild during voice recording sessions. 

“I knew they had this contentious chemistry with each other, joking with each other all the time. So I’m like, let’s just make them into cartoon characters and do that so when they’re behind the mic, I really just stay out of the way,” Mitchell explained.

As “Kung Fu Panda 4” gears up for its U.S. cinematic release today, March 8,  fans old and new can look forward to diving into Po’s world once again, where the themes of friendship, perseverance, and the pursuit of one’s passion continue to resonate. 

Jack Black’s return as Po, infused with his childhood love for “The Six Million Dollar Man,” promises a comeback filled with both lesson and humor.

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