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Jack Black thought DreamWorks was done making Kung Fu Panda movies – and now the fourth is his "favorite of the bunch"

 Jack Black as Po and Awkwafina as Zhen in Kung Fu Panda 4.
Jack Black as Po and Awkwafina as Zhen in Kung Fu Panda 4.

Kung Fu Panda 4 star Jack Black says he considers the upcoming fourth movie his "favorite of the bunch", due to its "fresh elements" and reboot vibes.

The actor, who's been voicing the DreamWorks Animation franchise's butt-kicking, noodle-scoffing hero Po since 2008, recently sat down with GamesRadar+ to chat about the new flick. During the interview, he recalled what "a dream come true" it was when the studio reached out to him to do another and why it was so unexpected, too.

"I had so much fun on the first three that I couldn't really believe they were calling me to make another one," Black told us. "I was like, 'Really? This is a dream come true. I thought we were done.' You know, because it had the beginning, middle and end encapsulated in that first three? But this is kind of a reboot, in a great way.

"It's got a lot of new fresh elements that are really exciting," he continued. "And in a lot of ways, it's my favorite one of the bunch. I thought we really took it to another level and I think it's gonna blow people's minds. A whole new generation of kids will get the experience of Kung Fu Panda and that whole world."

The Chameleon and Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda 4
The Chameleon and Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda 4

Also starring the voice talents of Awkwafina, James Hong, Bryan Cranston, and Viola Davis, Kung Fu Panda 4 sees Po forced to imagine a life for himself beyond being the Dragon Warrior, as his mentor Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) encourages him to choose a successor and take on a new role as spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace.

Of course, though, it wouldn't be a Kung Fu Panda movie without the black-and-white bao bun enthusiast facing off against a new villain. This time round, Po meets his match in Chameleon (Davis), an ambitious reptile with a serious chip on her shoulder, who has the ability to shape-shift into Po's previous enemies, including the ferocious Tai Lung. With the Furious Five off on their own missions, Po teams up with street-smart fox Zhen (Awkwafina) to defeat her.

"Isn't it funny… I still have yet to meet Viola Davis," Black, who is currently filming the Minecraft movie, laughs. "I know, though, that we've worked together because our voices and our energies are definitely sparring with each other on screen – I love her performance. But I did get to work with Awkwafina in person and we had a ball working on our scenes together.

"But for the most part, you do these in isolation. You just work on your part, and I kind of like it because I like to focus on my own sauce and get all of my lines and monologues just the way I want them, and that can take many, many takes. I wouldn't want to put the other cast members through the waiting of my, you know, 100 or so takes until I get it just the way I like."

Kung Fu Panda 4 releases in UK cinemas on March 28. In the meantime, check out our breakdown of the most exciting upcoming movies heading our way.