Kung Fu Panda 3 won’t be out in theaters until next Spring, but this hasn’t stopped the franchise’s creative handlers at DreamWorks Animation from crafting the next few chapters in Po’s story.
Melissa Cobb, the producer on all three Kung Fu Panda films to date, recently sat down for an interview with Empire magazine to discuss Kung Fu Panda 3 and what the future holds for the franchise.
When asked about the next three films (six chapters are envisioned for the franchise), Cobb told Empire that the “architects” of the franchise still remain committed to the six-film structure:
I think I can speak on behalf of Jeffery, the writers, and everyone else involved when I say that Po’s story doesn’t end with the third chapter. I won’t spoil too much here, but I can tell you that a lot of plot elements that ran throughout the first two films will be resolved in the third film. We will also see some brand new storylines and conflicts that will play a larger part in the next three installments.
She also elaborated on the tone of these new films, which is when things got interesting. Apparently, the aftermath of the the events in Kung Fu Panda 3 will cause quite a tone shift going into the next trilogy:
Starting with Kung Fu Panda 4, we’re definitely going to have a gradual shift to a tone that is a lot darker and more epic. That’s not to say that we are getting rid of the humor that the films have always had, but we’re definitely doing it as a gradual progression of the overall journey that Po takes throughout these films. The introduction of Mads Mikkelsen’s character in Kung Fu Panda 3 also gives us a good window to explore the supernatural element of the world in these films as well, so we’re pretty excited about that.
When asked if there are any potential spinoffs films in the works Cobb stayed relatively mum, neither confirming nor denying it. She did, however, say that spinoffs are definitely a possibility down the road:
Right now we are only focused on telling Po’s story, but I would love to branch out and develop that world sometime in the future. It would certainly give us an opportunity to explore other genres that were also touched on by the films that inspired this franchise. For example, I would love to do a heist film set in this world. The fact that it’s a fantasy universe and not a modern day setting would give us plenty of opportunities to turn that genre on its head. So yes, things like that are exciting to think about and if we get to do it, that’s great. But, for now, our main goal is to tell Po’s story.
There are a lot of interesting things happening here. While this probably goes without saying, six films is still pretty ambitious. That being said, we don’t get too many animated franchises aiming this high.
The entire interview can be found on Empire‘s website.
What do you think? Is this the direction that the Kung Fu Panda franchise should take?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes