After waiting what seems like an eternity, Kung Fu Panda 3 is finally heading our way next month! Some of you have probably been waiting for this moment for a while, while others may not have known that such a wondrous occurrence was heading your way. No matter which camp you’re in, we here at Cinema Blend are here to help – as we’ve got a guide chock full of the information that tells you everything you need to know about Po’s latest journey.

While it’s only a little over a month from its January 26th release date, Kung Fu Panda 3 almost looked like it would never happen. First scheduled to hit in a March 2016 release window, the film moved to December of 2015... only to move back to its March date, so as to avoid any competition with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. From that point, it moved to its final date of January 26th, so as to avoid any sort of trouncing Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice would have delivered.

As if shifting release dates weren't bad enough, the film lost two cast members – Mads Mikkelsen and Rebel Wilson – due to the production schedule for the film preventing them from being present. Both roles were recast, with Wilson's being the more urgent replacement, as she dropped out of the film as recently as September. Yet through all of this, Kung Fu Panda 3 has never derailed. Check out a preview of the film with the trailer below:
Now, without further ado, let's get to breaking down the upcoming animated blockbuster!

The Directors
Directing Kung Fu Panda 3 are Dreamworks Animation stalwarts Alessandro Carloni & Jennifer Yuh. Carloni previously worked as a director on Me And My Shadow, with supervising positions throughout the Kung Fu Panda films, as well as the holiday special. Outside of Po’s world, Carloni has also worked on the How To Train Your Dragon films, Over The Hedge, and The Croods. Yuh co-directed Kung Fu Panda 2& was the head of story for Kung Fu Panda; as well as a story artist on Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Madagascar.Both Carloni and Yuh are experienced in the ways of Dreamworks Animation, as well as the Kung Fu Panda series – making them clear picks for the honors of ushering in a third installment.

The Story
After two films worth of personal growth and kung-fu mastery, Kung Fu Panda 3 finds Po’s story picking up where the last film left off. With Po’s father, Li Shan, sensing he’s still alive after the end of the second film’s events, a reunion is in order. Not only is Li Shan trying to bring his son home to a village of pandas who are in need of training in the ways of kung fu, he’s also trying to set him up with his arranged wife, Mei Mei. As if things couldn’t possibly get more complicated, Kai – an ancient spirit of evil intent – is robbing kung fu masters of their powers. Po’s life is about to get a little more difficult, but with a bowl of noodles and a heart as warm as broth, he just might pull it off.

The protagonist of the Kung Fu Panda series, Po was orphaned by the evil Lord Shen, during his campaign to exterminate the panda race. Shen was motivated to do so by a prophecy that called for a special panda that would one day defeat him, which eventually came true thanks to Po being rescued and raised by Mr. Ping – a noodle merchant who found him in a radish crate as a baby. Throughout both previous installments, Po has grown as a kung fu master under the tutelage of Master Shifu and his Furious Five, which has lead to him being instrumental in defeating the evil Lord Shen, as well as Shifu’s previous student, Tai Lung. Po is voiced by Jack Black, who originated the character in the 2008 origin story.

The closest thing to a love interest that Po has ever had in the Kung Fu Panda series, is that of Tigress. While the two were originally adversaries, considering she wanted the vaunted position of Dragon Warrior that was given to Po by Grand Master Oogway, their quarrel was dispelled after the defeat of Tai Lung. While the two haven't exactly shared that many "tender" moments, her concern for Po is warm, and could be tested once he leaves the Furious Five to become a kung fu mentor to the survivors of his village. Reprising the role of Tigress is Angelina Jolie, who most recently was seen starring in, writing, and directing By The Sea; though she's no stranger to voice acting as she previously voiced a character in Dreamworks’ Shark Tale.

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