Even if “Kung Fu Panda 4” doesn’t have the most prominent roles for all of its returning cast, that doesn’t mean the film will be devoid of likable personalities. Tagging along with Po on his newest adventure will be a new array of characters that will shake up the typical “Kung Fu Panda” format.
Perhaps the most significant new addition is Zhen voiced by Awkwafina, a fox and thief who joins Po’s journey. Director Mike Mitchell believes that her involvement gives a unique twist to past relationships within the franchise, as he explains to NBC. “It’s usually Shifu who is being frustrated by Po,” he stated. “And it’s kind of interesting to have Po frustrated by someone who doesn’t play by the rules.”
Along with Zhen is the film’s shape-shifting antagonist, and the franchise’s first female villain, Chameleon. While not the most physically imposing “Kung Fu Panda” adversary out there, Mitchell teases that the Viola Davis-voiced character’s calculating wit will be more than a match for the Dragon Warrior. Other new characters include Han, a Pangolin who leads a band of criminals voiced by Ke Huy Quan, and Granny Boar, a fighter who removes her tusks to do battle.
With these new additions, the team hopes that “Kung Fu Panda 4” will make room for follow-ups and spin-off stories focused on these new personalities. However, Mitchell admits that it won’t be an easy feat, telling NBC, “I feel sorry for the next filmmaker team that has to do this because we have done everything we possibly can. It is going to be hard to top this one.”