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Chorh-Gom Prison


    Tai Lung
"Fly back there and tell them... the real Dragon Warrior is coming home."

Voiced by: Ian McShane, André Sogliuzzo (TV Series during Po's illusion), Michelle Ruff (as a baby)

The Big Bad of the first film. One of Master Shifu's earlier students and adopted son, Tai Lung is an arrogant Snow Leopard who turned evil and went on a rampage. For that, he was imprisoned for twenty years. It is the prophecy of his escape that sets the events of the series into motion, and his defeat at the hands of Po that affirms Po as the Dragon Warrior.

  • All for Nothing: He finally gets the Dragon Scroll only to find it entirely blank save for a gold reflective surface. He spent his entire life lusting for the power of the scroll, only to find it has no such power and he fails to understand its message.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Shifu told him throughout his childhood that he was destined for greatness and trained him accordingly. Over time he became convinced that he would be chosen as the Dragon Warrior.
  • Badass Boast: "So that is his name... Po. Finally, a worthy opponent. Our battle will be legendary!"
  • Badass Mustache: If he had normal feline whiskers, he wouldn't look nearly as intimidating.
  • Big Bad: Of the first film.
  • Blood Knight: Clearly relishes the idea of fighting the actual Dragon Warrior, as his Badass Boast on the bridge against the Furious Five demonstrates:
    Tai Lung: So that is his name... Po. Finally, a worthy opponent. Our battle will be legendary!
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to Tigress' Abel, with Tigress being the foster sister.
  • Cats Are Mean: Aside from being the Big Bad, he's also kind of a jerk in general. Look no further than his conversation with Tigress.
  • The Cameo: He returns in the third film as a jade amulet on Kai's waist, but he is never utilized as a jombie.
  • The Chosen Wannabe: When he was denied the chance to be the Dragon Warrior, he decided to simply take the scroll by force.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When he feels like it. Just like his father figure.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Whether or not it was intentional, Tai Lung is one for the traditional Kung-Fu Hero that is exiled or imprisoned by his enemies and returns to claim what is his. The movie also deconstructs in Tai Lung's character the idea of The Chosen One, Master of All, and Roaring Rampage of Revenge. While Tai Lung was imprisoned by his father figure, it was for a good reason as Tai Lung would do anything to get the Dragon Scroll and attacked his mentor/father figure without mercy and showed he would go to extreme lengths to get what he wants. Tai Lung believed he was the chosen one due to his father figure raising him into becoming the best student from the temple. While in most Kung-Fu stories, he would be the chosen one, the nature of the Dragon Scroll renders that belief meaningless and indeed, anathema to the purpose of Kung-Fu. Being raised to crave outside validation for accomplishments was detrimental to Tai Lung's personal growth, who instead needed to look to himself rather than others. While Tai Lung was very much The Ace and a prodigy, learning 1,000 scrolls worth of techniques, he only looked to the physical and technical aspects of Kung-Fu and never focused on spiritual enlightenment or peace within himself. Lastly, while Tai Lung was let down by Shifu by not supporting Tai Lung in the ways that mattered most, and for leaving him to rot in prison for 20 years without trying to reach out to his son or helping him in a way that could have given Tai Lung a chance at redemption, Tai Lung had become so bitter and selfish that even when Shifu admits his own faults and apologizes, Tai Lung still ignores him and not only attacks Shifu but is also harming innocent people. While Shifu was at fault for some of the wrong that resulted, Tai Lung became a cold and brutal beast willing to destroy anyone and anything to get what he wanted.
  • The Determinator: Nothing gets in his way. Not armies, not arrows, not ballista bolts, not five of the greatest Kung-Fu warriors, not his own master and father. He often encounters obstacles that should have permanently ended him, but he keeps finding off-the-cuff solutions to overcome them and roar back into the fight.
  • Doorstop Baby: He was abandoned at the Jade Temple door as an infant.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone fears him. Even Vachir, the prison warden, loses his cocky bravado once it becomes clear that Tai Lung has made it past all Chorh-Gom's defenses.
  • Evil Brit: A villain who has his voice actor's natural English accent.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: His arrogance prevents him from understanding the secret of the Dragon Scroll that the secret to limitless power lies within himself. Word Of God says this is the only thing that prevents him from making a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • To Po — Both are orphans whose life had something to do with Kung Fu and being the Dragon Warrior. Tai Lung was shown to be gifted at Kung Fu and groomed for the role of the Dragon Warrior, but was not chosen as the Dragon Warrior and became the Big Bad he is; Po had to work his way to being a Kung Fu master and was chosen as the Dragon Warrior. Also, while Po is a Humble Hero (bordering on Heroic Self-Deprecation), Tai Lung is an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy (which is his Fatal Flaw).
    • To Tigress — Both do not know their real parents (the latter was raised in an Orphanage of Love, the former was a Doorstop Baby), and just wanted their teacher's love. Like Tai Lung, Tigress believed that she would be chosen as the Dragon Warrior by Oogway, and resented Po for 'stealing her thunder'. Also, both are big felines who suffer from Pride and a bad temper. Unlike Tai Lung, Tigress remained honorable by choosing to become an even better and more worthy warrior. This decision, combined with her defeat at the Thread of Hope, kept her from following the same path as him.
  • Evil Former Friend: To Shifu, his master.
  • Evil Is Hammy: He isn't a subtle character.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: His overall assertive demeanor is matched by a firm, commanding voice.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In a flashback, he went from Shifu's beloved son and prize pupil to a destructive Fallen Hero that went on a rampage through the Valley and tried to kill his own mentor when he was deemed unworthy of the Dragon Scroll.
  • Fallen Hero: Used to be a great hero in the Valley. Then Oogway decided that he wasn't enough of a hero to deserve the Dragon Scroll and it all went downhill from there. At least, that's how it went down in his head. The truth is that his arrogance and refusal to look beyond combat and pursue self-enlightenment is the reason that Oogway denied him the Dragon Scroll.
  • Faux Affably Evil: After fighting his way out of the prison, Tai Lung picks up Zeng, strokes his head, and amicably tells the goose to deliver his message to the Valley of Peace before helpfully throwing him up to catch flight. All the while with explosions caused by the snow leopard occurring in the background. He also compliments the Furious Five for their performance against him before subduing them with his nerve attacks. And finally, he acts nearly respectfully upon first meeting his master for twenty years, but he drops the act upon Shifu's answer that they must fight.
    Tai Lung: I'm glad Shifu sent you. [brings his paw close to the shivering Zeng before stroking the goose's head] I was beginning to think I'd been forgotten. Fly back there and tell them... the real Dragon Warrior is coming home.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric - arrogant, destructive and Hot-Blooded.
  • Freudian Excuse: He turned evil because he was denied the Dragon Scroll by Oogway and Shifu did not challenge that decision despite the tremendous amount of support he gave Tai Lung before.
  • Freudian Trio: The Id to Shen's Superego and Kai's Ego. Tai Lung is the most aggressive and physically capable of the three and is also by far the most temperamental.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He went from a sweet orphan to The Dreaded.
  • Furry Reminder: He punctuates some of his dialogue with growls and snarls.
  • Genius Bruiser: Not only is Tai Lung The Juggernaut, but he's clever enough to pick up one of Zeng's loose feathers with his unrestrained tail and use it to pick the intricate lock of his chi-disrupting restraints.
  • The Gift: Though it's to his detriment. He has a severe ego problem that prevents him from being truly receptive of the Dragon Scroll's wisdom. This is why Oogway refused to make him the Dragon Warrior. His response to this was less than cordial.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: He only wears a belt and a pair of pants.
  • Hero's Evil Predecessor: Downplayed. Tai Lung is Master Shifu's former pupil and a talented Kung Fu fighter who trained since his early age, and Shifu thought he was certain to become the legendary Dragon Warrior. Master Oogway didn't agree, leading to Tai Lung rebelling against the masters and then getting imprisoned for his troubles. Twenty years later, our hero Po is made the Dragon Warrior and then he's informed that he's fated to defeat Tai Lung, the former candidate for the title.
  • Incendiary Exponent: He is so badass he can set his paws on fire and not even get burned!
  • Incompletely Trained: Shifu taught him to focus on the physical side of kung fu, not the spiritual one, preventing him from becoming enlightened and realizing the true wisdom of the Dragon Scroll.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Raised to believe he would be named the Dragon Warrior, Tai Lung became arrogant in his skill, entitled to his destiny, and convinced of his own heroism and perfection. However, when he yells at Shifu that "all I ever did, I did to make you proud!" it becomes obvious that Tai Lung believed he needed the validation of the Scroll to have any real worth and earn Shifu's love and pride. This is made poignantly clear when he first stares into the scroll seeing only his reflection and declares "It's nothing!", missing the entire lesson of the scroll.
  • Interspecies Adoption: He was a snow leopard that was adopted by Shifu, a red panda.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Oogway deemed him unfit to receive the Dragon Scroll, seeing a darkness in his heart. Tai Lung responded by destroying the entire Valley of Peace in a fit of rage.
  • Jerkass: Tai Lung used to be an adorable cub, but he grew up egotistical and smug before turning evil, partly thanks to Shifu neglecting to teach him humility. He looks down on everyone in his delusions of invincibility, refusing to accept blame for his undoings, and ultimately rejecting his mentor's heartfelt apology.
  • The Juggernaut: A thousand rhino warriors don't get a hit on him, the Furious Five can't stop him and even Master Shifu is solidly defeated by him. Master Oogway seems to be the only character who stands any sort of chance against him. However, Master Oogway is confident that Po is up to the challenge.
  • Ki Manipulation: His signature nerve strike causes the flow of ki in an opponent's body to become blocked causing paralysis.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The tone of the first film completely darkens whenever he's around.
  • Light Is Not Good: He is a pale snow leopard with golden glowing eyes and the Big Bad.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He's big and muscular while also incredibly agile.
  • Meaningful Name: His name (太龍, tàilóng) means "great dragon", which is everything but what he actually is (i.e., the Dragon Warrior). As Shifu gave him this name, it drives home the incredible expectations placed on him.
  • Never My Fault: He blames Shifu and Oogway for not being named the Dragon Warrior and his imprisonment. While there is some truth in regards to Shifu's accountability, Tai Lung had no right to lash out at everyone in arm's reach for not getting a title he wasn't fit for.
  • One-Man Army: No number of conventional soldiers is a match for him.
  • Panthera Awesome: Of the snow leopard variety.
  • The Paralyzer: His nerve strike which he learned from the restraining shell that held him imprisoned.
  • Prehensile Tail: Tai Lung uses his unrestrained tail to pick up Zeng's loose feather and use it to pick the lock of his restraint.
  • Purple Is Powerful: He wears purple trousers and not much else.
  • Redemption Rejection:
    • "I don't want your apology! I want my Scroll!" Made worse by the fact that for a moment, it looked like he was going to accept Shifu's unexpected apology, but then remembered why he was there.
    • Near the end of his battle with Po, as Tai Lung finally opens the Dragon Scroll. Po calmly comforts him and tries to explain to him what the scroll's message actually means. Tai Lung won't have any of it and tries to attack Po again who regretfully has to take the fight up a notch.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: His irises are red, and he's a murderous Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy.
  • Refused by the Call
  • The Resenter: Deeply resents Shifu, and to a lesser extent, Oogway, for denying him the Dragon Scroll.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: He was this when he was young, believe it or not.
  • Running on All Fours: Like Tigress, he seems to do this by default.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: A variant - he gives a deeply undignified startled-kitten squeak when Po tricks him into biting his own tail.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Chorh-Gom Prison exists for the sole purpose of keeping Tai Lung, and only Tai Lung, locked up. The one thing that keeps him immobilized is a turtle shell-shaped harness with acupuncture needles in his back... and the only thing he needed to escape from the prison carved out of a mountain that goes down for miles and is guarded by a thousand rhinoceri is a single feather.
  • Shadow Archetype:
    • He represents what Po could have been with a bad teacher. Notice one of his first lines (see Large Ham) is similar, if less funny, to Po's first line. Also both of them are incurable show-offs, even when the situation calls for dead seriousness. When Tai Lung appeared before Shifu out of nowhere before their confrontation, he was hiding at a distance for some time and waiting for Shifu to blink, so that his entrance could be appropriately dramatic (as explained in DVD commentary).
    • Also Tigress, due to their similar Inferiority Superiority Complex and The Resenter role for not being chosen as the Dragon Warrior. However while Tigress' honour code and loyalty to Shifu still offset that slight, Tai Lung's sense of entitlement made him turn on his masters.
  • Starter Villain: He's the first villain Po faces and it's not until he defeats him that he truly earns his title as the Dragon Warrior.
  • Start of Darkness: He Used to be a Sweet Cub, but his own talent and Shifu's high expectations of him caused him to believe that he was worthy of being the Dragon Warrior. But Master Oogway realized that he wasn't capable of actually understanding the secret of the Dragon Scroll, and refused him. Tai Lung refused to accept this, and tore apart the temple in his search for the scroll before Oogway paralyzed him and he was imprisoned in Chorh-Gom.
  • Super Strength: Having a giant boulder hanging on a chain from each paw was not enough to restrain him; he sends rhinos flying like rag dolls and tears a piece of stone bigger than himself from the temple's stairway to hurl it at Shifu; he distinguishes himself even in the world where unnatural strength automatically comes with Kung Fu mastery.
  • Tragic Villain: Tai Lung could have been a great hero if Shifu could have helped curb his growing monstrous ego and emotional insecurities, or if he had the strength of character to feel secure within his limits to do it himself.
  • The Unfavorite: Mentioned when Tai Lung returns to the Jade Palace:
    Tai Lung: I have come home, master.
    Shifu: This is no longer your home, and I am no longer your master!
    Tai Lung: Oh, yes. You have a new favorite. So where is this Po? [evil chuckle] Did I scare him off?
    • Subverted when Shifu mentions how he had become so proud of him that he failed to see what he had become.
    Tai Lung: Everything I did, I did to make you proud! Tell me how proud you are Shifu! Tell me! TELL ME! [Tai Lung knocks Shifu to the ground]
    Shifu [with a regretful sadness]: I have always been proud of you. From the first moment I've been... proud of you. And it was my pride that blinded me. I loved you too much to see what you were becoming. What I... was turning you into. I'm s... I'm sorry. [Tai Lung pauses, then grabs Shifu by the throat]
    Tai Lung: I don't want your apology! I want my scroll!
  • The Unfettered: He will stop at nothing to get the Dragon Scroll, even if it means trying to kill his adoptive father and mentor.
  • Villain Has a Point: His grievance with Shifu is not unwarranted; Tai Lung went through hell with his training, was raised with fatherly love from Shifu, and when Oogway denied him the scroll, Shifu did nothing to change his mind or explain why to Tai Lung. When Tai Lung went to prison: Shifu never visited him or tried to contact him, he never explained to Tai Lung why he wasn't the Dragon Warrior and the only answer he could give on the matter is summed up as "Because Oogway said so". From Tai Lung's perspective, Shifu abandoned him without a second thought because Oogway said he was a failure for not being the Dragon Warrior.
  • Villain Respect: His compliment to the Furious Five on how Shifu must have taught them everything they knew, and are right to be proud, only to show just how far the gap really was between them.
  • Vocal Dissonance: He is a ripped anthro snow leopard who has just finished tearing apart a prison... and then speaks in a smooth British accent, courtesy of Ian McShane.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Never wears a shirt, much to the delight of his fangirls.
  • Wall Crawl: He can use his claws for this purpose, as shown when he breaks out of Chorh-Gom.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: It’s implied based off his fight against Shifu that since childhood, he did everything he could to make Shifu proud. While he was initially taunting Shifu about wondering how proud Shifu was of him during their fight, some part of him still sought Shifu’s praise and approval.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: He seems to think he's The Hero of the story, which Word of God has said was intentional, and is why Tai Lung has golden eyes — the color gold represents glory and heroism. Tai Lung's scenes are framed as an archetypical action Hero's Journey: he is betrayed by his master and denied prestige he feels he deserves and is imprisoned for years before escaping, and he fights his way back to his homeland (including an encounter with a Quirky Miniboss Squad of his master's pupils) to confront his old master and his new favorite student and claim the destiny they denied him. Unfortunately for Tai Lung, he isn't The Hero of this story, Po is.

    Commander Vachir
"You doubt my prison's security?"

The head of security at Chorh-Gom Prison, where Tai Lung was held for twenty years.

  • Badass Bass: With Michael Clarke Duncan, a deep, imposing voice is a given.
  • Berserk Button: Having his prison and its guards insulted. Shifu's mild Freak Out about Oogway's vision causes him to send a message to Chorh-Gom Prison with an order to double the guards, which infuriates Vachir and prompts him to make a demonstration of how effective the prison is and inadvertently providing Tai Lung with the means of escape.
  • Big "WHAT?!": His very first line, indicating he's not very happy with Shifu's concerns.
  • Braids of Action: What hair he does have is in a long braid.
  • The Bully: He needlessly badgers Shifu's messenger and makes a point of tormenting Tai Lung to show how tough he is.
  • Drop the Hammer: His preferred weapon is a hammer.
  • Jerkass: He is rude, boastful, and stubborn.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Calling him a Hero is a stretch, but he knocks out Zeng's feather, and Tai Lung uses it as a lockpick to escape.
  • Nominal Hero: Technically on the side of the good guys as he is keeping a public enemy imprisoned, but he's such a Jerkass that it's hard to see.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: He's fairly confident that he can prevent Tai Lung from escaping, up until Tai lung climbs onto the ceiling stalactites and grabs the dynamite.
    Zeng: Can we panic now?!
    Vachir: (nervously whimpers) Yes.
  • Rhino Rampage: Inverted, he's not the rampager, Tai Lung is. His guards are supposed to prevent Tai Lung from rampaging.
  • Scary Black Man: Courtesy of Michael Clarke Duncan.
  • Smug Snake: He constantly brags how escape-proof Chorh-Gom prison is, not realizing that the restraining shell is the main, if not the only thing that keeps Tai Lung there... and indirectly provides Tai Lung means to escape.

Alternative Title(s): Kung Fu Panda First Movie Characters


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