• Kung Fu Panda 4
    director Mike Mitchell says Po’s new mentorship role sets up a fresh storyline for the franchise.
  • Zhen, Po’s apprentice, can add a new level of humor to the story because of how much she still has to learn.
  • Mitchell says that, with so much potential for the world of
    Kung Fu Panda
    to evolve, there’s plenty of options for where the story could go next.

Kung Fu Panda 4 director Mike Mitchell has explained how Po’s new mentorship role is going to set up a new storyline for the franchise as the movie series continues to evolve. One key element of the latest action comedy was Po becoming the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace, now forced to find someone to train as the next Dragon Warrior. By the end of King Fu Panda 4, he’s chosen Zhen, a corsac fox and former thief who he becomes close friends with during their shared journey.

Speaking with Screen Rant, Mitchell revealed how Po’s new role as a mentor for Zhen sets up a new storyline after Kung Fu Panda 4. The director explained how the main character’s new role could add plenty of humor to the story, while also focusing on how his pupil evolves over time. Check out what Mitchell had to say about future stories in the franchise below:

I think Zhen is fantastic, but there’s still a lot for her to learn. She’s not even close to being at the level that Po is at. I think there’s a lot of story to be told there, but also I think there’s a lot of humor to be told because I’m not convinced Po is as capable of being a teacher as Oogway is. I don’t know. I’d be willing to test Poe’s patience and see where it goes. Or even to watch him have him watch someone else fight and he’s not a part of it.

That was something we just in a taste of in our third act of where he handed over the reins to Zhen. But I’m wondering: how does that evolve in the future? So it could be really fun. I think there’s a lot, again, a lot of story to tell. This is a giant world filled with every kind of animal you can think of. So I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I have no idea.

What Po’s New Role Might Mean For Kung Fu Panda 5

Po and Zhen from Kung Fu Panda movies
Custom image by Yeider Chacon

Kung Fu Panda 4’s credits reveal that Zhen is now training with both Po and the Furious Five, honing her abilities so she can become the next Dragon Warrior. While she’s able to show off some capability thanks to her past experience as a thief, she still has a long way to go before she’s ready to take on such a mighty mantle. The main hero of the franchise is going to have a key part to play in her training, something that can help both of them evolve as characters as the series continues.

Given the box office success of the newest installment, it’s very likely that Kung Fu Panda 5 will be announced at some point in the near future. The movie will no doubt continue focusing on Po teaching Zhen, possibly pulling from his techniques training pandas in Kung Fu Panda 3 to make her a more suitable martial arts master. However, since every movie thus far has had a major villain threatening kung fu itself, whoever the pair face next will likely be vital to Zhen becoming more worthy as the Dragon Warrior.

Since Mitchell is open to expanding the franchise’s world after Kung Fu Panda 4, there could be a variety of animal characters introduced later on – both friend and foe. A blend of old and new faces could help Po continue maturing as a leader, both for the Valley of Peace and for Zhen to learn from. Since he’ll no doubt continue being the face of the franchise even when Zhen becomes the Dragon Warrior, there’s plenty of adventures the pair could go on as their future working together unfolds.

Kung Fu Panda 4
is available to purchase digitally. The movie will be available on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray on May 28.

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