DreamWorks and Universl Pictures announced today that they’re moving forward with a fourth cinematic installment of its ever-more expansive Kung Fu Panda franchise. Currently aiming at a 2024 release date, Kung Fu Panda 4 will arrive in theaters a full eight years after the conclusion of the original KFP Trilogy—although the Po-hounds in the audience will know that said fallow period has been helpfully spanned by multiple TV shows, most recently Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight, which arrived on Netflix earlier this year.
The fourth film will presumably focus, per usual, on Jack Black’s Po, who’s spent the last 14 years of KFP history slowly rising from a lazy neophyte into a hardened martial arts warrior and confident leader through a process of extensive training, as depicted in the films, the TV shows, and in spin-off arcade game Kung Fu Panda: Dojo Mojo, a.k.a. the most efficient way we know of to score large amounts of tickets at our local Dave And Buster’s. (Warning: Dojo Mojo only really pays out if you can beat the bonus round, which is timed so that you’ll lose if you grab even a single black spiky ball instead of one of Master Shifu’s delicious dumplings; The A.V. Club assumes no responsibility for the machine’s overall ticket payout, especially if the upper left punch pad is busted, which it often seems to be.)
We don’t know yet how much of Dojo Mojo will tie into KFP 4, or if the filmmakers will, instead, focus on portions of the franchise’s lore that do not involve breaking targets that have been arrayed in six locations around Po’s body, accumulating increasingly large ticket amounts, with increasingly punishing timers, as he goes. We can infer Black’s involvement, at least, in so far as he’s been an enthusiastic participant in the franchise for more than a decade at this point. His co-stars in past films include Dustin Hoffman, Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, and many others; no word yet on which, if any of them will reprise their roles for the latest extension of the KFP legacy.
KFP 4 is slated for a March 8, 2024 release date; KFP Dojo Mojo remains available at the Dave And Buster’s near our house—it was near the front, last time we checked, not far from the air hockey tables—and, presumably, other places, as well.