Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny is an animated television series based on the Kung Fu Panda franchise, and the second one after Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. It is set after the events of Kung Fu Panda 3.
When four young pandas accidentally absorb the chi of the legendary kung fu warriors known as the Four Constellations, Po must teach them how to wield their new powers and fulfill their destiny of saving the world. Unlike the first spinoff which didn't allow for many story arcs and had to work within the confines of the first trilogy, The Paws of Destiny was notably able to avert that and concentrate on more serialized storytelling and season-long arcs, with an overarching Myth Arc of Po going From Hero to Mentor and training a new generation of heroes.
Mick Wingert reprises his role as Po from Legends of Awesomeness, alongside franchise regular James Hong as Mister Ping. The rest of the cast includes Haley Tju as Nu Hai, Laya DeLeon Hayes as Jing, Gunnar Sizemore as Bao, Makana Say as Fan Tong, and Chrissy Metz as Mei Mei.
The show is developed by All Hail King Julien crew member Elliot Owen.
The first season of the series premiered on Amazon's Prime Video service on November 16, 2018. Here is the trailer. The second season premiered on July 5, 2019. The series is often promoted as one whole season.
Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny provides examples of:
- Animal Gender-Bender: While female water deer do have Cute Little Fangs, the huge overbite versions possessed by Jade Tusk and followers are only seen on bucks.
- Art Evolution: The first TV show was obviously made on a TV show budget, while the animation here is almost on par with the movies, likely because it's an Amazon show.
- Art Shift: While most character models are much the same as previous works in the franchise, the model for rabbits has gone from a flat face and round cheeks (similar to Bugs Bunny) to a long wedge-shaped face with bulging eyes.
- Ascended Extra: Bao was a minor character in the third movie, but now he's one of the main characters for the series.
- Badass Decay: In-universe example. Sun Wukong himself justifies his poor performance against The White Bone Demon, a foe he was once capable of vanquishing, by saying that he hasn't been to a gym in over five hundred years and that he's not as spry as he used to be.
- Big Bad: The main antagonist of the first season is Jindiao, the first Dragon Master. The second season's main villain in Shi Long's mysterious benefactor, the White Bone Demon.
- Break the Cutie: To secure her hold on Xiao and have her abdicate the throne, Shi Long orders some terracotta warriors to murder the citizens of the village they're attacking, forcing Xiao to watch and warning her not to go back on her word.
- Continuity Nod: Bunnidharma mentions that he hasn't seen Oogway since he banished the demon Ke-Pa. This is a reference to the Legends of Awesomeness episode "Enter the Dragon".
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to Legends of Awesomeness, Paws of Destiny has much higher stakes involved, especially with longer and more serialized story arcs, multiple villains that Would Hurt a Child, and the two main Big Bads, Jindiao and The White Bone Demon, are basically demons.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Bao makes several attempts to be praised for his actions only to be overlooked in favor of Fan Tong. To be fair, it's always a result of him stroking his own ego.
- Throughout the series, Rooster tries to play himself up as a serious threat but is too incompetent and annoying to be considered a legitimate villain.
- The End... Or Is It?: In the very final episode after the White Bone Demon is defeated... a bat, seemingly the main villain in her real form, appears out of the fallen armor and flies off, showing the White Bone Demon still survived and can presumably still be a threat down the line.
- The Four Gods: As described in the summary they're adapted as four legendary kung fu masters.
- From Hero to Mentor: This was the focus of the series where Po graduated from Dragon Warrior to Dragon Master and became the teacher to four young pandas, Bao, Nu Hai, Jing, and Fan Tong, helping all of them become a new generation of kung fu heroes as the Four Constellations.
- Gender-Equal Ensemble: The main kids consist of two girls (Nu Hai and Jing) and two boys (Bao and Fan Tong).
- Handshake Substitute: Po frequently shares fist-bumps with his students.
- Hero's Evil Predecessor: The Big Bad is the first Dragon Master.
- Loose Canon: Shares this distinction with Legends of Awesomeness. On one hand, Lu Kang, the water buffalo who became Emperor in LoA is seemingly retconned away, with a lynx now being established as China's Emperor for the longest time. On the other hand, Ke-Pa, a LoA exclusive villain is mentioned in passing. All in all, it's quite unclear how much continuity Paws of Destiny truly shares with Legends of Awesomeness.
- Magi Babble: Due to the series' emphasis on chi techniques, some of the exposition can feel like this.
- According to Po, there's hero chi, which can be earned by way of masters doing a tremendous feat; in his case, he earned his by way of dying in the Spirit Realm and coming back to life, Oogway's through the Sacred Peach Tree, and the kids obtained the Hero Chi of the Four Constellations within the cave under the village. This is entirely separate from good and evil chi.
- The Notable Numeral: The Four Constellations.
- Old Hero, New Pals: So far, Po, Bao, Li, Mr. Ping, Grandma and Oogway are the only characters from the original trilogy who appear in the series, and now Po goes on his adventures with his students and other new characters.
- Power Stereotype Flip: The whole point of the students' Super-Empowering (see that trope here and on the character sheet).
- Purple Is the New Black: The Black Turtle's chi is represented by a purple aura.
- Put on a Bus: Shifu and the rest of the Furious Five do not appear at all.
- Sequel Hook:
- Season one ends with a mysterious komodo dragon (later revealed to be the Emperor's advisor/adopted daughter Shi Long) placing a glowing red rock into an automaton of a guardian lion and activating it.
- Season two features The White Bone Demon escaping from her mechanical body to fight another day.
- Series Continuity Error:
- As season 2 begins, the Emperor of China is a lynx, and a later flashback implies he was on the throne for at least 20 years. The Legends of Awesomeness episodes in which the water buffalo Lu Kang became Emperor should apparently be ignored.
- To be fair, the canonicity of LoA as a whole is pretty questionable at this point. So for all we known it could very well be non-canon. Though the fact that Ke-Pa is brought up could mean that only some events from the series are canon while some others aren't.
- Spirit Advisor: Oogway to Po, as always.
- Super-Empowering: The panda children are imbued with the chi powers of four legendary kung fu masters. Just not what they'd normally get.
- Together We Are X: Subverted in "A Fistful of Herbs". Nu Hai tries doing this when the pandas start chasing Jade Tusk through the forest.Nu Hai: Let's give this dude a little taste of the Four Constellations! [raises fist] Blue—
Po: Love the teamwork, kids, but she’s already getting away!
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Bao has grown to be more narcissistic and constantly claims he's the most powerful member of the Four Constellations.
- Truer to the Text: Behind the scenes articles describe this series as having a look, spirit, and style closer to that of the movies compared to Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.
- You Remind Me of X: To encourage Nu Hai when she's unable to think of a plan in "House of Flying Pandas", Po tells her that she's like Tigress once was and that she'll figure out what to do. This not only excites Nu Hai (since Tigress is her idol), it works and inspiration strikes.