Skadoosh! Jack Black is back and ready to bring the animated Po the Panda back to life once again in the upcoming series, Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight. And today, we’re getting our first look at how the Netflix and DreamWorks Animation project is shaping up. After 14 years on and off in the role of Po, Black has seen the butt-kicking panda through three different films, but Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight will mark the first time the actor will lend his voice to the character on the smaller screen.
Along with Jack Black, viewers will hear the voices of actors including Rita Ora, James Hong, Chris Geere, Della Saba, Rahnuma Panthaky, Ed Weeks, and Amy Hill. The best news? Fans of the Kung Fu Panda franchise won’t have long to wait as the colorful new series will hit Netflix in less than a month, on July 14.
The trailer reveals the comeback of the roughest and tough, yet cuddly panda on the face of the Earth. As Po announces his return, and fluffs himself up, commenting on his “bodacious skills,” side characters stand in awe at the sight of the martial arts master. But, just as always, the clumsy Po ends up doing more harm than good, accidentally knocking down part of the village he swore to protect. It’s around this time that we meet Ora’s character, a knight by the name of Wandering Blade. She’s come to gather Po on a journey of epic proportions – if she can whip him back into shape. Along with the new character’s introduction, we also catch the film’s main plot and baddies, a pair of weasels set on world domination. Seeing this opportunity as a well-timed way to regain his status, Jack Black’s Po agrees to travel with Wandering Blade to put an end to the weasels’ disastrous mission. Together, the two set out on their quest where they’ll encounter some big obstacles in their way and learn to come back to themselves.
First kicking onto screens in 2008, the Kung Fu Panda franchise has been a hit since its early days. The first and subsequent films follow Po the panda on his travels of becoming and holding down the title of Dragon Warrior and master of kung fu. Along with the first three films, in which all-star Jack Black as the titular panda, there have been three television spinoff series: Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, The Paws of Destiny, and the newly announced The Dragon Knight. A growing franchise, the tale of Po also spawned four short films: Secrets of the Furious Five, Secrets of the Masters, Secrets of the Scroll, and Secrets of the Panda Paws. And just like any great juggernaut of a story, Kung Fu Panda also received its own holiday special back in 2010.
As for Jack Black, his next big-screen project will be the upcoming Mario-based film that has yet to announce an official title. The Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic-directed video-game-based feature will host an all-star lineup that includes Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogan, Fred Armisen, Kevin Michael Richardson, Sebastian Maniscalco, and Charles Martinet. As of right now, the film is eying a release date in April 2023. You can check out the trailer for Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight above.