Kung Fu Panda 4's Jack Black likens Po to Star Wars' Obi-Wan Kenobi as he teases future of the franchise

 Jack Black as Po in Kung Fu Panda 4.
Jack Black as Po in Kung Fu Panda 4.

Kung Fu Panda 4 star Jack Black has likened the titular character to Star Wars' Obi-Wan Kenobi, as he teases the "rad" future for the DreamWorks Animation franchise.

Directed by Mike Mitchell, the new installment sees the butt-kicking, bao bun-munching Po struggle to accept that his time as the Dragon Warrior might be coming to an end as his martial arts master, Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), forces him to choose a successor and instead, step into a new role as the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace.

With the film not out until March 28, we won't reveal whether Po ends up embracing the change or not here, but even if he does, Black is certain the hairy hero could live on in the series in a different way.

"I see it as much like what was his name in Star Wars? Han Solo? The spiritual leader that passes on to like the new plane...? Obi-Wan Kenobi!" he laughed in a new interview with GamesRadar+. (If you're not too clear on the reference: Alec Guinness's Obi-Wan Kenobi died in the first Star Wars movie, before appearing to Luke Skywalker as a guidance-giving Force ghost in follow-ups The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi). "I mean, who knows what the future holds, but I think the spiritual leader could be a cool character to explore.

"Maybe he'll have the power to levitate and move stuff with his mind. He may have some new powers we haven't even considered yet. Yeah. There's lots of rad adventures that Po could go on as this new kind of character, you know?"

Elsewhere in the chat, Black, who will next be seen – or more accurately, heard – in video game adaptation Borderlands, explained how his own life influenced his voice performance as Po this time around.

"I [thought] about my big life change, which was starting a family with my wife, Tanya, and having our boys and how big an impact that had on my priorities and what I thought was important in life. Yeah, that kind of correlates with Po's journey, where he's going into this new phase of his life where he's going to be the spiritual leader.

"Change isn’t easy, but sometimes that's where the magic and the mystery of life is," he continued. "It resonated with me and I think it will with audiences, too."

Also starring the likes of Bryan Cranston, James Hong, Awkwafina, and Viola Davis, Kung Fu Panda 4 releases on March 28. In the meantime, check out our breakdown of the most exciting upcoming movies heading our way.