Talk About Appropriateness!
Angelina Jolie, who voiced the character 'Tigress' actually has a tiger tattooed on her back. Also, a thumbs-up is something Jackie Chan often does when he is enthusiastic about something, a habit that even the character of 'Monkey' has in the movie, which is voiced by Chan himself. Guess, these actors have given more than their voice to the characters!
Avid followers/fans/admirers of this movie series would nod in agreement when we say that each and every character in this movie―be it someone as crucial as our darling panda, Po, to someone as non-central as the little piglets and bunnies of the village―is absolutely adorable and lovable in some way or the other, even the antagonists for that matter! Seriously, who didn't adore the fiery Tai Lung when he was shown as a baby, or when he was defeated "bouncing-ly" by Po, or when he got childishly scared if our panda actually knew the Wuxi Finger Hold? Also, in the next installment of the series, Kung Fu Panda 2, when Lord Shen repeatedly asks the Soothsayer to not chew his robe made of fine silk, oh, his eyes and expressions were actually cute-ish, don't you think?
So, yes, each and every element that came together to form these remarkable characters was successful enough to sweep the audiences off their feet! Did you know that it took 448 different people, including voice actors, put in over 21,442 man-weeks into the film? That is equivalent to107,210 man-days or 857,680 man-hours! Now that's what we call an effort well paid!
KUNG FU PANDA MOVIES AND THEIR MAIN CHARACTERS
There are two parts that have been released till now: Kung Fu Panda (2008)
and Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
. And after a very very very long wait, a third sequel is scheduled to release in the year 2015! While most of the main characters remain the same in both the movies, there are slight variations when it comes to the antagonists and other supportive characters. For instance, the character of Master Oogway dies in the first part itself. For your convenience, we have categorized the main characters of this series based on the two parts: 1 and 2.
A List of Main Characters from Kung Fu Panda: Part 1
Note that most of the characters listed below play an important role in the second part as well. Our hero Po, the Furious Five, Master Shifu, and the funny-yet-adorable Mr. Ping, all continue to entertain us throughout the movie series.
Voiced by: Jack Black
How could we not begin the list from the hero, protagonist, soul, essence, the Dragon Warrior of Kung Fu―Po? Voiced by the famous actor with a great sense of comic timing, Jack Black, this cute big fat panda dreams of nothing else but becoming the master of kung fu.
Being accused of having a stinky smell, flabby arms, and disregard for personal hygiene, Po's accidental bumping into the midst of the famous kung fu masters, only proved that accidents are just the means to fulfill one's destiny. His struggle against all odds with the help of his passion for kung fu, great sense of humor, remarkable appetite, and never-say-die-attitude results in making him the master of masters, while he leaves the audiences and his fellow warriors awestruck by the way he defeats the antagonists in the movie―with strikes of humor, luck, and compassion.
Voiced by: Angelina Jolie
Played by the tigress of Hollywood, Angelina Jolie herself, this character is as hardcore like a tigress should be. She is one of the five members of a group known as the Furious Five, and yes, she is Po's favorite among all.
Though it is not clearly shown, it seemed that she aspired to be the Dragon Warrior to prove herself in the eyes of Master Shifu, perhaps become his favorite? She is portrayed as this strong, confident, no-nonsense kung fu student for whom nothing is more important than her master's honor and kung fu. She is the one who never hesitates to take the lead when other plans to defeat the bad guys seem to fail. Though she never asks for it, the other four of the Furious Five always come to her aid, and together, they successfully assist, protect, and contribute in kung fu's victory over evil.
Voiced by: Jackie Chan
We don't really hear Monkey talk much, but he does pretty good when it comes to the thumbs-up expression and some super-awesome action packed moves. Who else could have voiced this character other than kung fu star, Jackie Chan? Monkey is one of the Furious Five, and like the rest of his team members, he is bloody brilliant at the punches, kicks, and strikes.
Voiced by: Lucy Liu
Although the character name seems to be quite sly and poisonous, our Viper is quite the opposite! Yes, she is this friendly, thoughtful, charming, and soft-spoken character voiced by none other than the charming Lucy Liu, who has all these traits quite herself―we mean we've seen her sweet-yet-deadly avatar in Charlie's Angels
, haven't we? She sympathizes with Po when he struggles to fit into the whole 'kung-fu-ey' routine. She is always there for her team members when they need her, lifting up the atmosphere with her caring hisses and luscious eyelashes.
Voiced by: David Cross
Crane is one powerful kung fu warrior with great weight-lifting abilities! And it is only obvious as he is one of the five masters of kung fu! His flying abilities have proved to be helpful in catching his friends from falling off heights. Voiced by David Cross, it's commendable how the creators of this character have shown a crane with literally chopstick-like legs kick some serious butt.
Voiced by: Seth Rogen
Oh, don't you love this tiny fighter with those adorable Chinese mustaches? Did you know, initially, the creators of this character had planned to make Mantis the bad guy, conspiring with the antagonist, Tai Lung, and betraying his master and other peers. Thank God that didn't materialize! Mantis finally turned out to be this helpful friend, voiced by Seth Rogen, and portrayed as having a keen interest in acupuncture as he tries to help Po get relief from the aftereffects of kung fu training. He also enjoys eating Po's noodle soup, like the others, wishing his mouth was bigger!
7. Master Shifu
Voiced by: Dustin Hoffman
Master Shifu is voiced by the legendary Dustin Hoffman. Shifu was once kindhearted, open to hugs, love, praises. But a mistake he makes in the form of Tai Lung transforms him into just the opposite! He is the greatest kung fu teacher in the whole of China, and someone who is struggling with himself to attain inner peace. His conflict with himself and his master, Master Oogway, in terms of believing that Po is the chosen one to become the Dragon Warrior is what makes his bittersweet relationship with Po all the more strong. While initially he does all that is possible to get rid of our enthusiastic panda, he finally overcomes all his doubts and trains Po to achieve what he was destined to become―the Dragon Warrior who brings peace to the valley, and to Shifu himself.
8. Master Oogway
Voiced by: Randall Duk Kim
The character of Master Oogway is like the guardian angel of all the other characters. He is a tortoise who is the master of Shifu. However, in the movie, we see more of his wise words than his kung fu poses! Voiced by Randall Duk Kim, the character of Oogway plays a crucial role in helping Po and Shifu take the right steps when they seem to get bogged down by the situation. He believes in believing, in destiny, in the fact that "there are no accidents". He was the one who believed in Po and compelled Shifu to believe in him too. In fact, Oogway has some of the most awesome lines in this movie. If you recall the quotes from the Kung Fu Panda movie series
, Oogway's words will definitely stay with you all throughout your life!
9. Mr. Ping
Voiced by: James Hong
Mr. Ping, the goose, plays the role of Po's father! Yes, a goose is the father of a panda! Voiced by James Hong, this character is all about noodles, noodles, and noodles. It would be interesting for you to know that Hong's father was actually a noodle-maker! Yes, and when he would read the lines of Mr. Ping, he actually craved for noodles. Mr. Ping is a noodle-maker who owns his own restaurant. He wants Po to be as passionate as himself when it comes to noodles. Although Po loves his secret-ingredient noodle soup, he dreams of kung fu and not noodles. Mr. Ping plays a crucial part in making Po realize the fact that, "To make something special you just have to believe it's special." It was then that our panda realizes what being a Dragon Warrior truly means, and finally fulfills his destiny and defeats Tai Lung.
10. Tai Lung
Voiced by: Ian McShane
We have mentioned Tai Lung, the antagonist of this movie, innumerable times already, haven't we? Tai Lung was a cub when Master Shifu found him. He taught him kung fu and trained him till his bones cracked. Shifu loved Tai Lung too much to see what he was becoming―greedy for the power of the Dragon Scroll! While Shifu truly believed that Tai Lung was the true Dragon Warrior; however, Oogway saw the evil in Tai Lung's heart and denied him the scroll. In a rage, he tried to take the scroll by force when Oogway stopped him and sent him to the Chorh-Gom Prison. Voiced by Ian McShane, this character is angry, full of rage, and these things have made him all the more powerful and strong, so much that even the Furious Five are no match to his nerve attack! His agility and perfection in kung fu makes it his sole mission to take the Dragon Scroll at any cost, even if it calls for killing those who come his way―even his master!
Voiced by: Dan Fogler
Although the role of Zeng isn't as lengthy as the others, this character does play a crucial role in Tai Lung's escape from prison. Zeng is the messenger of the Jade Palace, the residence of the kung fu masters. When Oogway warns Shifu that Tai Lung would return to take the scroll, Shifu sends Zeng to the Chorh-Gom Prison to ask the guards to double the security. However, as Oogway said, "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it", Zeng's feather becomes the source of Tai Lung's escape from prison. This character is voiced by Dan Fogler. He is this nervous and pessimistic goose who somehow manages to carry out the tasks given to him; however, with a great degree of fear and dreadfulness.
12. Commander Vachir
Voiced by: Michael Clarke Duncan
Commander Vachir's character is voiced by the unforgettable Michael Clarke Duncan, who isn't with us anymore! This character is a rhino who is the chief of security of the Chorh-Gom Prison and the leader of an army of one thousand elite battle rhinos. He is the one who has overseen the construction of this prison, and has been supervising Tai Lung's imprisonment for 20 years! He is quite overconfident and takes offense when Zeng asks him to double the security. His underestimation towards Tai Lung paves the way for our antagonist's escape from the prison, using Zeng's fallen feather.
List of Main Characters from Kung Fu Panda: Part 2
While part 1 shows Po's struggle to become 'Kung Fu Panda' from an ordinary 'Big Fat Panda', the second part takes him further into the unseen, uncalled realities from his past. He travels with the Furious Five to save kung fu to Gongmen City, where he meets the antagonist of this movie, a peacock named Lord Shen. The new characters introduced in this series do not disappoint the viewers in any way! The following list consists of the main characters from the second movie in the series. See what they are like!
13. Lord Shen
Voiced by: Gary Oldman
"Who do you think you are, peacock?" And the peacock's expressions are worth a watch! Lord Shen's character is that of a prince who wants power and has evil in his heart. After his parents banished him from his own kingdom, he secretly built a weapon using metal to destroy kung fu from the world. Voiced by Gary Oldman, this character gains both dislike and pity from the audiences. Blinded by the greed of power, he destroys everything that stands between him and his motive to rule the whole of China. He also shares a bittersweet relationship with the Soothsayer, for it was her prophecy that compelled Shen's parents to banish him. She also said that Shen was to be defeated by a warrior of black and white, which is why he killed all the pandas that lived in the province; baby Po somehow managed to escape. The dialogs between the Soothsayer and Shen are quite funny and amusing indeed!
Voiced by: Michelle Yeoh
Soothsayer's character is that of an old goat who, as you must have guessed, is a soothsayer. Michelle Yeoh does a remarkable job in modulating her voice to this intense, compassionate, and aged adviser, who has compassion towards Lord Shen, and constantly urges him to stop his evil motives and live his life the right way, without greed, lust, and rage. Her witty answers, wise advice, and a keen contribution in making Po come to terms with his own identity and attain inner peace, makes this character a favorite among others.
15. Wolf Boss
Voiced by: Danny McBride
Wolf Boss is this one-eyed character who is Lord Shen's most trustworthy soldier. He is the leader of the wolf army owned by the peacock. Voiced by Danny McBride, this character plays a crucial role in bringing about a deja-vu in Po's life with the mark on his sleeve. It was the wolf boss who informs Shen of the existence of a black and white warrior, and acknowledges Po to be the true kung fu warrior. Although his role is quite evil, he actually is quite caring towards his own army, even to the point of denying to fire the weapon at Po, at his master's order, because quite a lot of his wolves were too close to him. He is also comical and has the habit of speaking a lot, something that clearly annoys Shen at various instances.
16. Master Thundering Rhino
Voiced by: Victor Garber
Master Thundering Rhino is (rather was) the leader of the Council of Gongmen City. His 'impenetrable horn defense technique' made him one of the renowned kung fu masters in the whole of China, apart from the fact that he was the son of the 'Legendary Master Flying Rhino'. What made him even more popular was his act of slaying the 'Ten Thousand Serpents' at the Valley of Woe. His character is full of respect and honor towards kung fu. He is strong, brave, and courageous to fight even the most intimidating opponent, which is evidently portrayed in the vocal contribution of Victor Garber. However, he gets killed by the cannon made by Lord Shen when he returns to take revenge.
17. Master Storming Ox
Voiced by: Dennis Haysbert
This character is another crucial member of the Council of Gongmen City. He too, quite like his master Thundering Rhino, is fearless, audacious, and a true kung fu warrior. Voiced by Dennis Haysbert, this character is shown in a fight against Shen when he unexpectedly enters the boundary of the Gongmen Palace. However, he fails to defeat them and witnesses the death of their master. He is then imprisoned with his fellow counselor, Master Croc. Although he lives for kung fu and the safety of his people, his character experiences hopelessness after his master's death, conveying Po and the Furious Five that defeating Shen is impossible and that kung fu is dead. However, he regains hope and joins them in the last battle when Master Shifu persuades him.
18. Master Croc
Voiced by: Jean-Claude Van Damme
The character of Master Croc is quite similar to that of Master Storming Ox. He too was trained by Master Thundering Rhino and had tried to stop Shen from committing the horrendous act of killing one of the greatest kung fu teachers of the world. Due to his inability to do so, even he chose to stay imprisoned in the jail for the safety of the residents of the city and has lost all hope from kung fu, considering the brutality of this metal cannon in front of living beings like them. But, in the end, like Master Storming Ox, even Master Croc regains his faith in kung fu when Shifu guides them to join the battle alongside Po and the Furious Five against Lord Shen and his wolf army. Voiced by Jean-Claude Van Damme, the character is totally like his voice, a true deadly warrior!
Although the aforementioned was the list of the main characters of this awesome movie series, we must not forget the other voice artists who contributed in the sweet little dialogs by different supporting characters such as the piglets and pigs, baby bunnies and adult bunnies. Did you know that one of these voices was that of Jack Black's wife, Tanya Hayden, who voiced the Bunny Waitress in the Tea House during Po's dream sequence in the first part of the movie. Also, the voice of Baby Tai Lung, is of Riley, director Mark Osborne's six-year-old son.
There are a lot of things that make the Kung Fu Panda movie series special. One of them is the personal connection of the voice artists with the characters of this series, some instances of which have already been shared in this write-up. We bet you all must be eager to watch the third part of this series which is scheduled to release in the year 2015. It sure is an anticipated addition to the series as this movie is said to unravel Po's true family history. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered. How is there a panda village when Shen killed them all? How did they escape? How will destiny reunite Po with his real family? What will happen to Mr. Ping, who has raised our panda like his own son? Well, our hero has a lot going on in this movie to hamper his inner peace, for sure! Let's await what happens, along with the new characters that will be added to this list in the near future, when the movie finally releases. Till then, cheers to the team of Kung Fu Panda!