- Kung Fu Panda 3’s tonal changes created confusion about Tai Lung’s fate, leaving fans wondering if he was really killed or sent to the spirit realm.
- Kung Fu Panda 4 will introduce a new villain, The Chameleon, which gives the franchise a chance to finally answer the question about Tai Lung’s fate.
- The upcoming installment offers hope for resolving the lingering plot hole and providing a satisfying conclusion to the franchise.
With Kung Fu Panda 4 confirmed to be in the works, the franchise is positioned to shed light on the fate of one of Po’s greatest enemies. The Kung Fu Panda franchise has been plagued by tonal oscillation since the release of the first film in 2008. The original outing strikes a surprisingly dark tone, despite the enduring silliness of Jack Black’s food-loving panda protagonist. Several deaths occur throughout the film, with the film’s antagonist, Tai Lung, even seeming to meet a grisly end.
Yet the franchise soon backtracked its tonal decision; after parental complaints over the darkness of Kung Fu Panda 2, the third installment pivoted to a goofier sensibility. However, one attempt to backpedal the violence of the preceding movies created a baffling plothole that has plagued the franchise in the seven long years since Kung Fu Panda 3’s release. The franchise now has a chance to set things right with the upcoming Kung Fu Panda 4, with the latest story updates offering the strongest encouragement yet.
Kung Fu Panda 3 Created More Questions About Tai Lung’s Fate
Tai Lung’s fate in the original Kung Fu Panda seems fairly straightforward. At the climax of Po and Tai Lung’s epic showdown, the titular panda reveals that he has mastered the legendary Wuxi finger hold, striking fear into the unshakable Tai Lung. The move releases an atom bomb-like shockwave and leaves no trace of Tai Lung whatsoever. The film never elaborates on the snow leopard’s fate, leaving a clear implication that Tai Lung was obliterated by the finger hold.
However, following the tonal oscillations of the Kung Fu Panda franchise, the decidedly lighter Kung Fu Panda 3 seems to retcon this implied kill with the revelation that the Wuxi finger hold sends its victims to the spirit realm. However, when Kung Fu Panda 3’s General Kai travels to the spirit realm and actively seeks out the plane’s greatest Kung Fu warriors, Tai Lung is nowhere to be found. Surprisingly, in a bid to explain what happened to Tai Lung, Kung Fu Panda 3 only raises more questions by neglecting to show him.
Kung Fu Panda 4’s Villain Will Help Confirm If Tai Lung Died
Kung Fu Panda 3 left many questions to be answered by Kung Fu Panda 4, but the fate of Tai Lung is one of the most pressing since it pokes a hole in the otherwise satisfying continuity of the franchise. Nevertheless, the sequel is already positioned to address the question with its new villain. According to Jack Black, Kung Fu Panda 4’s story will see Po face off against The Chameleon, a villain who can bring back enemies from the hero’s past. The premise is a prime opportunity for Kung Fu Panda 4 to resolve the question surrounding Tai Lung after the third movie’s changes to the lore.
Kung Fu Panda 4
- Release Date:
- Mike Mitchell, Stephanie Stine
- Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Dustin Hoffman
- Not Yet Rated
- Action, Adventure, Animation, Martial Arts
- DreamWorks Animation
- Universal Pictures
- Kung Fu Panda 3, Kung Fu Panda 2, Kung Fu Panda
- Kung Fu Panda
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