Kung Fu Panda 2

Jack Black Gives a Big Old ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Welcome to Viola Davis

Jack Black is returning as the lovable Kung Fu warrior Po in Kung Fu Panda 4, and he is bringing some very special people with him. The actor introduced two new cast mates to the world via FaceTime with Viola Davis being introduced as the Chameleon, a shapeshifting villain.

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Black, looking magnificently bearded, popped up in a TikTok released by Dreamworks to “call the newest member of the Kung Fu Panda family,” the one and only Viola Davis. The Academy Award-winning actress appeared in the most regal fashion, bathing in her pool. The two shared a little light banter, with Jack saying, “I must be wondering why I am calling you on this glorious day,” and Davis responding, “Well with you, it could be a million reasons.”

Black then got to the meat of the matter, welcoming the star to the franchise and letting us all know that Davis will be playing the film’s villain, the Chameleon. This next film (it is currently unknown if it will serve as the last) follows Po’s journey to become the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace and also to find a new Dragon Warrior to take over. The Chameleon, however, will make this job just a little tough for him, as she aims to steal the “Staff of Wisdom,” which would allow her to bring back the villains Po has sent to the spirit world and bring darkness to the valley.


The #KungFuPanda family just got bigger. Welcome @awkwafina and @violadavis. See the trailer for #KungFuPanda 4 tomorrow.

♬ original sound – DreamWorks Animation

“I am super excited to be joining you as the Chameleon,” Davis tells Black, and adds, “to top it all off, she’s a shapeshifter.” Next is where the VFX team over at Dreamworks earns its money, as Davis, in a puff of smoke, transforms into the other new cast member, Awkwafina. Awkwafina, no newbie to the world of voice acting, plays the role of Zhen, a character who will team up with Po.

The response to Awkwafina’s casting has resulted in the actress once again trending on Twitter, as many feel that she, alongside Chris Pratt, has been overused in the field, especially as the actress has the controversy surrounding her ‘blaccent’ still ongoing.

It will be interesting to see Davis in the role of villain (especially coming off another villainous role as Dr. Volumnia Gaul in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes), acting as the first female villain in the Kung Fu Panda film series. The villains in the past, though all with their own backstory, have all been a little simplistic. They’ve just wanted power for power and reputation’s sake, so it would be refreshing to see something more from the Chameleon. Why does she want to bring back all the former villains? How does this serve her?

Our only insight so far comes from the recently released trailer. The trailer also gives us a glimpse of another new cast member who was not a part of the TikTok, Loki star Ke Huy Quan, who voices the character of Han, adding yet another Academy Award winner to the list.

(featured image: Dreamworks)

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Laura Pollacco
Laura Pollacco (she/her) is a contributing writer here at The Mary Sue, having written for digital media since 2022 and has a keen interest in all things Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and anime. She has worked for various publications including We Got This Covered, but much of her work can be found gracing the pages of print and online publications in Japan, where she resides. Outside of writing she treads the boards as an actor, is a portrait and documentary photographer, and takes the little free time left to explore Japan.