Trivia / Kung Fu Panda

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Lucy Liu's previous role before Viper? O-Ren Ishii, also known by the name of "Cottonmouth" (Liu had also been associated with Jackie Chan and James Sie previously when she voiced the adult Jade Chan in a late Season 4 episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, which actually had another Kill Bill alumni, David Carradine, in an earlier episode, as well as fellow actor James Hong).
    • Monkey's VA is Jackie Chan. His son played Monkey's voice in Secrets of the Furious Five, and Monkey's VA for the TV series is the same man who played Jackie Chan himself in Jackie Chan Adventures (he also played that series' Big Bad, Shendu)!
    • At one point, Master Croc does a full split.
    • Many of Black's phrases get snuck into the film, such as "Skadoosh!" That one in particular was the Pre-Mortem One-Liner against Tai Lung.
  • All-Star Cast/Celebrity Voice Actor: Jack Black, Lucy Liu, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, David Cross and Michael Clarke Duncan are either primary focus characters or have significant roles in the film.
  • Creator's Favorite: Jack Black has commented on his voice work as Po being his favorite role out of everything he's done.
  • Doing It for the Art: The first reaction of the producers at hearing from the animators that they didn't know how to do the rope bridge fight was encouragement; that meant that nobody had done it before and from that challenge, one of animation's wildest action sequences was created.
  • Dueling Movies: The third installment dueled the ill-fated Norm of the North at the box office in 2016 thanks to that film having a similar story. Panda blew that one away. It will move on to face the real challenger, Disney's Zootopia (but not at the box office); that film uses anthropomorphic characters and a character voiced by J.K. Simmons as well.
    • The second film managed to beat Cars2 in the box office race when it was critically acclaimed and viewed by some as an Even Better Sequel while Cars managed to break Pixar's critical winning streak by falling victim to Sequelitis and earning a Rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes (it's still the only Pixar movie to be critically panned).
  • Growing the Beard: Served as this for the Dreamworks Animation Studio. Following it's release and success, Dreamworks backed away from trying to duplicating the Shrek formula. Even the Shrek's next sequel and spinoff took more of a page from Kung Fu Panda's book.
  • Life Imitates Art: Dustin Hoffman (Shifu) tutored Jack Black (Po) on acting during production.
  • One of Us: Both Jack Black and Angelina Jolie have commented on shipping Po and Tigress together, with Jolie even going as far as to say she'd be all for "panda-tiger babies"!
  • The Other Darrin / Poor Man's Substitute: In the TV series the voices of Po, Master Shifu and the Furious Five are replaced by their video game counterparts.
    • In the second film, Po's biological father Li was voiced by Fred Tatasciore. In the third film, he's voiced by Bryan Cranston.
  • Playing Against Type: Lucy Liu as sweet-natured, kindly Viper.
  • Real-Life Relative: The bunny during the dream opening of the first film who calls Po attractive is voiced by Jack Black's wife, Tanya Haden.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: In 2011, a man named Jayme Gordon attempted to sue DWA for stealing his ideas for a panda kung fu character. After two years of litigation in which Gordon tried to get a multi-million dollar settlement (DreamWorks rejected all attempts at it), DWA, their lawyers, and Jeffrey Katzenberg finally discovered a Lion King coloring book by Disney that had very suspiciously similar artwork outlines to what Gordon had presented as evidence (his presentations were dated to have been created when Katzenberg was still chairman of the Walt Disney Studios; the Disney coloring book was published in 1996, two years after Katzenberg had left Disney). Gordon immediately dropped his lawsuit and earned his own dose of legal problems from prosecutors when they charged him with wire fraud, perjury, and destroying critical documents in his ill-fated attempt to rip off DreamWorks Animation two years later for taking the Disney drawings and trying to pass them off as his own; this can net him up to 25 years in prison (20 years for the fabricating and ripping off of Disney as well as DreamWorks, part of which saw him destroy evidence he was legally obliged to produce, and 5 for lying under oath) as well as possibly incur a countersuit from DWA to recover the money they spent on legal bills (the idea of Disney filing their own lawsuit against Gordon for plagiarizing one of their books for extortion purposes may not be far off, either).
  • What Could Have Been: In an early version of the original movie's script, Po was intended to be something of a Parody Sue, expecting the Furious Five to love him and adore him as much as he liked them. Apparently, Jack Black intervened because he realized how unlikeable this made the character, and urged the writers to change Po to being insecure and well aware of his own flaws.
    • The creators were going to make Mantis The Mole until character designer Nico Marlet gave him more of a playful look that played with the stereotype of a creepy praying mantis.
      • For the second movie, there was time in the plot where a female mantis was going to eat him.
    • One of Viper's weapons was supposed to be a Parasol of Pain.
    • The original script didn't have Tai Lung destroying the village in a rampage after being denied the scroll, but Word of God said test audiences found Tai Lung too likeable and relatable, so they added that in order to make him seem more villainous.
    • Before Kung Fu Panda 2 was released, there was information that pointed out a different backstory for Lord Shen then from what was shown: Shen's parents were said to be ashamed of his albino coloring and poor health, so they left him in the care of their advisor, the Soothsayer, who raised him like her own. Traces of this can be seen as Shen is never outright cruel to the Soothsayer, such as how he releases her before the launch of his armada, meaning that he still respects her for showing him love. This is the backstory used in the novelization.
    • The Wolf Boss was originally going to be a crow, but the creators thought that would make him too similar to Shen.
    • This gallery of early concept art reveals that Fung's name in the initial planning stages was "Dirk."
    • The Wu Sisters were originally going to be minions of Tai Lung in the first movie, but were taken out to make Tai Lung seem like more of a badass. Their original designs also differ greatly from their current ones, including them looking completely identical and having a rather obnoxious Verbal Tic. See for yourself.
      • Kai was also originally part of Tai Lung's gang and was designed as a "Four-Armed Yak Demon God on Fire" as seen here. But he was later redesigned to have two arms and became the Big Bad of Kung Fu Panda 3.
    • Mr. Ping was going to be Po's stern boss (which ironically would have fit voice James Hong's three previous roles as a Mean Character) before one of the storyboard artists thought it would be funnier if he was Po's doting father instead.

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