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[UPDATE] Mads Mikkelsen Leaves ‘Kung fu Panda 3’ Voice Cast + More New Details!

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Kung Fu Panda 3 director Jennifer Yuh attended the Beijing International Film Festival this past week and, in an interview with the Chinese website, i.ifeng, she discussed some new artistic elements and production details about the film. We recently discovered that the film has been rescheduled for a January 2016 release and now we’ve learned some new details including that Mads Mikkelsen has left the project.

Cast Replacement

The first bit of information that Yuh revealed in the interview is that Mads Mikkelsen, who was originally set to play the film’s villain, has left the project due to scheduling issues. Who will replace Mikkelsen has not yet been officially announced by DreamWorks, but it pretty much looks like J.K Simmons, who previously unofficially joined the voice cast in an unknown role, is taking over as this film’s bad guy. Then again, he could Simmons could play another character entirely.

(See official update from DreamWorks regarding this Mikkelsen’s replacement below).

Oriental DreamWorks

She continues the interview talking about the collaboration with Oriental DreamWorks, the DreamWorks department in China, to make this movie as appealing as possible for Chinese audiences. Yuh reveals that one of the things that they’re going to do is reanimate all the lip syncing for the Chinese dub of the movie, so the lip syncing matches the Chinese voices. The two versions of the movie are supposed to be as similar as possible, but Yuh did say that they are going to try to rewrite some of the jokes in the Chinese dub for Chinese audiences.


Yuh also revealed details about the collaboration between the artists at DreamWorks Animation and Oriental DreamWorks, specifically how they incorporated Chinese culture into the film. She talks about how the Western artists thought at some point that they should have cookies in a particular scene in the movie, but the Chinese artists thought it shouldn’t be cookies, but traditional Chinese food instead. They recommended some traditional Chinese food that they could use, so in the movie more Chinese elements will be reflected this way. According to Yuh, these changes will certainly not affect the development of the story, but make the movie more interesting and cultural accurate.

New Synopsis

This past week, DreamWorks also revealed a first official synopsis for the movie at CinemaCon. This new synopsis reveals some new details about the story that the previous synopsis didn’t discuss. The only major change in this synopsis is that the film’s villain, who was previously referred to as The Collector, is now simply called Kai. You can read the new synopsis below.

”In 2016, one of the most successful animated franchises in the world returns with its biggest comedy adventure yet, KUNG FU PANDA 3. When Po’s long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters.  But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible—learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas!”

Kung Fu Panda 3 comes to theaters on January 29, 2016.

Are you excited for Kung Fu Panda 3? What do you think of all this news and the updated synopsis?

Thanks to Kung Fu Panda Wiki for translating the interview with Jennifer Yuh.

[UPDATE 4/28/15 11:48 PM PST] 

DreamWorks contacted us with some clarification on the story of Mads Mikkelsen leaving the Kung Fu Panda 3 voice cast. The studio confirmed that Mads Mikkelsen is indeed no longer on the project, but because his character has been rewritten.

Edited by: Kajsa Rain Forden

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About Max

Max is an animation addict from The Netherlands. His favorite animated movies are Beauty and the Beast and Ratatouille, and he is a big fan of everything Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks related. He loves reading and collecting art books and one day he hopes to work for a major animation studio. Follow his art blog: http://maxdenhartog.tumblr.com