|“||Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend.||„|
|~ Po's opening line in the first film|
Master Po is the titular main protagonist of the Kung Fu Panda franchise. He is one of Master Shifu's students, Mr. Ping's adoptive son, Li Shan's biological son, and the Dragon Warrior. He was voiced by Jack Black who played Dewey Finn from School Of Rock, R.L. Stine from the Goosebumps movie, Ignacio/Nacho from Nacho Libre, and voiced Lenny from Shark Tale.
BeginningsPo was born in a remote farming village populated entirely by pandas. There he grew up happily with his biological mother and father Li, until one day the village was invaded by an evil, power-hungry peacock named Shen, who sought to avert a prophecy by eliminating any threat to his rule.
As his wolf followers slaughtered the pandas and destroyed the village, Po's mother fled with her son, while his father stayed behind to try and fight them off. As the wolves quickly started to close in on her, Po's mother managed to temporarily elude the wolves and found a crate of radishes, which she hid her child in. Mother and son shared one final moment of farewell before his mother caught the attention of the wolves and lead them away from him, sacrificing her life for her son.The crate Po was in was eventually shipped far away to a village in the Valley of Peace, where the owner of a noodle shop, Mr. Ping, found the baby panda. Though hesitant to get involved at first, the goose felt pity for the infant and brought him inside where he fed him and gave him a bath, and as he continued to care for him, he grew to love the cub. Eventually realizing that no one was looking for the child, Mr. Ping decided to adopt him, giving him the name "Po" and raising him as his own son. Since then, Po had been happily raised in the noodle shop, learning all he knew as a noodle maker from his adoptive father. Until the events in the second film, Po never questioned Mr. Ping about whether he was adopted, as both father and son shared a deep mutual love and respect. He did, however, carry doubts that they were related.
Po had grown up into an adventurous dreamer who hoped to become a kung fu legend some day, on par with the Furious Five, whom he idolized. However, he didn't think he could pursue his dream, as he was an out-of-shape panda who worked at a noodle shop, which Mr. Ping enthusiastically expected him to some day run in his place. Though Po showed little interest in continuing this family tradition, he complied, not wanting to let his father down.At heart, Po was a huge fan of kung fu, as his room was decorated with posters and action figures of the Furious Five, and he would imagine himself as a legendary, unbeatable warrior who would fight alongside them. Po knew, in detail because of this, many things about kung fu, from techniques to various weapons and legends. Although this encyclopedic knowledge showed Po as somewhat of an expert on kung fu, it was only in the form of a fan who fantasized he could be part of it, not as someone who had any real experience.
It was seemingly by mistake, then, that he was chosen to become the Dragon Warrior. Po was ecstatic when he heard of a tournament being held to determine which of the Furious Five would be chosen as the Dragon Warrior, something he declared would be the "greatest day in kung fu history". He abandoned his task of selling noodles in order to see the tournament, but couldn't make it in time, as the gates closed on him, shutting him out.After many failed, desperate attempts to get inside and watch the event, Po was about to give up and go back to work with his father—when the fireworks that he had strapped to a chair lit up and shot him into the sky, flying over the arena. Po abruptly landed inside the tournament grounds just as Oogway was about to choose who would be the Dragon Warrior, and Po fell in front of the Furious Five—with Oogway's claw pointed directly at him. Inspired by the panda's sudden appearance, Oogway took this as a sign that the universe had brought them all the Dragon Warrior. Everyone else, including Po, was surprised by this.
The Valley celebrated, and Po was carried (with difficulty) on a palanquin (which he broke through) to the Jade Palace. Po was dropped inside the palace, where he became distracted as he discovered the many legendary kung fu artifacts kept within. After awing at several displays, he was met by Shifu, who had objected that a "flabby panda" couldn't possibly be the Dragon Warrior, and the red panda tried to intimidate Po upon meeting him, insulting his portliness, hygiene, and threatening Po with potential use of the Wuxi Finger Hold, promising the panda that he would regret ever being chosen.
Shifu afterwards led Po to the challenging Training Hall, where the members of the Furious Five were training. Po, thrilled at being in the presence of the Five (who were all observing him), was nervous but eager to try some kung fu moves. But being an unwary beginner, he was hurtled, burnt, punched, and thrown through the various obstacles. The Furious Five later joked about his incompetence, which Po happened to overhear, making him feel inferior.That night, after making accidental damages in the student barracks, Po had an awkward conversation with Crane (where Po himself revealed that he didn't think he belonged at the Jade Palace). He was then given a rebuke from Tigress, who told him stern and straightforward, that he didn't belong in the Jade Palace, was a disgrace to kung fu, and should leave by morning. Po, disheartened, retreated to the Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom, upset and overeating, cramming his mouth full with peaches. Oogway, upon finding him, listened to Po as the panda related how he had doubts about ever becoming a kung fu warrior. The tortoise gave him some kindly advice, telling Po that instead of being concerned about what was and what would be, he should focus on the opportunity he had at the moment.
The next morning, Po surprised Shifu and the Furious Five by not only staying, but by arriving first at the training courtyard to practice. Once again, Po was put through a kung fu thrashing, beat up by the Furious Five and Shifu long into the day, but Po showed no signs of pain or indignity, as he was so amazed by the skill he witnessed and only welcomed the privilege to spar with the kung fu masters. This optimism and sheer tenacity at such treatment frustrated Shifu, who, even after literally kicking Po out of the palace, was unsuccessful in making him quit.
The Furious Five, with the exception of Tigress, became impressed at Po's fortitude, and came to warm up to to him more in the evening. Mantis and Viper tried helping Po feel better with acupuncture, and Mantis assured him about his own small size as a warrior compared to Po's. After inadvertently confirming his suspicions that Shifu was indeed trying to get rid of him, Viper and Mantis explained to Po that the old master was not always so strict. Having overheard their conversation, Tigress shared the story of Shifu's past involving how he had raised Tai Lung, who became evil, and Po was rendered speechless. However, due to an unintentional mistake on his facial nerve by Mantis, he ended up making a spastic expression, which angered Tigress.Po later made the Furious Five some noodle soup, which he was praised for, and made them (save for Tigress) laugh when he did an imitation of Shifu—only moments before the master himself appeared. He announced that Tai Lung had broken out of Chorh-Gom Prison, and that it was Po's destiny to defeat him, also relaying that Oogway had passed away. Startled and frightened, Po ran off in a panic, only to be stopped shortly by Shifu, who, despite his prior disapproval, declared that Po was the Dragon Warrior.
Refusing to believe this, Po confronted Shifu on how he'd never believed in him, and had been trying to make him quit since his first day, while Shifu reminded Po that he had chosen to stay, despite all the harsh treatment. Po revealed that he had been hurt both inside and out, but had stayed because, to him, it was better than living every day just being himself, and wanted so badly for the kung fu master to change him into something better. When Po questioned Shifu on just how he planned to make him the Dragon Warrior capable of defeating the mighty Tai Lung, the red panda admitted he didn't know, and departed.
Discouraged, Po again fled to food for comfort, and had nearly ravaged the kitchen in the barracks, punching through cupboards and drawers, even doing a perfect split at one point, when Shifu discovered him the next morning. He stood amazed, seeing that the panda had inadvertently showed a knack for kung fu while merely trying to find food in his distressed state. Shifu decided to use this perceived weakness as a teaching tool to motivate and train Po.Led through the Wu Dan Mountains to the Pool of Sacred Tears, Shifu told Po the origins of kung fu. Po agreed to learn from Shifu, astounded and emotional from finally getting a chance to live his dream. And so began his first serious step in kung fu training. Po was put through various exercises, from push-ups to ten-mile hikes, to balancing soup bowls, defending his own meals from attack, and a game of keep away, using chopsticks and a dumpling as a reward. Through determination, and with Shifu's teaching, Po's senses grew sharper, he became more confident, and in time, had achieved tremendous improvements in body, mind and spirit.
But the Furious Five, led by Tigress, had left to fight Tai Lung on their own. Despite putting up a courageous fight on the Thread of Hope that morning, each of them was overwhelmed by Tai Lung's superior skill, but left alive as a warning. Crane weakly carried his comrades back to the Jade Palace, where Po and Shifu found the rest of the Five all paralyzed, struck by Tai Lung's nerve attack. Seeing his heroes wounded before him, Po was worried about facing Tai Lung himself, but Shifu assured him that he could beat Tai Lung—with the help of the Dragon Scroll.
He retrieved it, giving it to Po and promising him extraordinary powers of sight and sound when he would read it, and feeling "the universe in motion around you". Po opened the scroll, only to find it was nothing but a golden, reflective surface that was completely ‘’blank‘’. This confused and disappointed both him, Shifu, and the Five, leaving Po to believe that he really had been picked to be the Dragon Warrior by accident. With little options left, Shifu told the Furious Five to evacuate the Valley, saying that he would fight Tai Lung himself to buy them all time. They obeyed, Po reluctantly leaving with the others.
The Five split up to escort the villagers out, leaving a dispirited Po to seek out his father. Mr. Ping was glad to see him again, tying an apron around Po and talking to him about future plans for a new noodle shop as they fled with the rest of the Valley. Having come so close at becoming the kung fu warrior he'd aspired to be, and being pulled back into his former life as if nothing had happened, Po unhappily lingered for a moment, his hopes crushed. Mr. Ping tried to assure his son that he still had a destiny at the noodle restaurant. Not encouraged by this, Po remarked that he sometimes couldn't even believe he was the goose's son.Mr. Ping, taken aback, tried to comfort Po by finally telling him the truth: the secret ingredient of the noodle shop's secret ingredient soup—was nothing. He explained that he never needed to add anything more to ordinary noodle soup. By simply believing it to be special, it became special on its own. Astounded, Po took out the Dragon Scroll, and found himself looking into his own reflection. Mr. Ping's words made the connection, and at last Po understood the meaning of the Dragon Scroll, the secret to "limitless power". He made his way back to the Jade Palace, climbing the stairs (which exhausted him), and arrived just in time to distract Tai Lung and save Shifu, who was nearly unconscious as a result of his battle with the snow leopard. Facing Tai Lung, Po proclaimed that he was the true Dragon Warrior. Tai Lung laughed at the claim, and Po smugly revealed that he the Dragon Scroll in his possession. This lead to a back-and-forth struggle for the scroll which soon turned into a battle that spread down into the Valley, both Po and Tai Lung trying to get the Dragon Scroll as it fell from place to place.
Po used his creative cunning to keep the scroll away from Tai Lung, even using noodles and a cart propelled by fireworks in the battle, as well as the same maneuvers in his game of "keep-away" with Shifu. Despite his ongoing success, Po finally collapsed when Tai Lung met him with a powerful punch, pummeling the panda to the ground. When Tai Lung finally had the scroll, he was disappointed and stunned when he discovered it was blank. Po, as he was getting up, told him that he hadn't got the scroll's meaning the first time either, and explained that "There is no secret ingredient; it's just you." Infuriated, Tai Lung threw down the Dragon Scroll and struck Po, but his deadly nerve attacks only served to have a ticklish effect on Po, making him laugh.Again, the two fought, Po besting and outsmarting Tai Lung again and again, developing his own improvised style in the process. Eventually, Po caught Tai Lung in the Wuxi Finger Hold, declaring to have figured out the secret to the mysterious technique on his own, and with the word "Skadoosh" and the flexing of his pinky, Po performed the move, sending a massive golden shock wave throughout the Valley of Peace and beyond and defeating Tai Lung.
When the Furious Five and villagers returned, they watched Po emerge from the haze in silence, and became elated, the villagers cheering for his triumph. Mr. Ping raced to his son, overjoyed and proud of his victory as a kung fu warrior. Tigress stepped forward and bowed to Po in respect, smiling and calling him "Master," and the rest of the Furious Five and the Valley followed suit. Po was modestly pleased, but quickly remembered that Shifu was hurt back at the palace. He rushed back and found Shifu still injured, and told him he had defeated Tai Lung.
Shifu weakly thanked Po for bringing peace both to the Valley and to him, afterwards trailing off and closing his eyes, leaving Po to momentarily mistake him as dying, to which Shifu exclaimed he wasn‘t. After a quiet, meditative moment, Po asked him if he wanted to get something to eat. He and Shifu later enjoyed a meal of dumplings at the Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom, overlooking a new day in the Valley of Peace.
Before Po and the Five could leave the Valley, they were stopped by Mr. Ping, who gave Po a backpack full of his favorite foods, paintings of their moments together, and Po's action figures. Fearing for his son, Mr. Ping pleaded with him not to go, but Po remarked that he had to fulfill his duty as the Dragon Warrior, asking rhetorically what he would be if he didn't go to save kung fu. Mr. Ping supplied that he was his son, to which Po merely stared at him, not answering when the goose questioned whether he agreed. Pressed to leave with the others by Tigress, Po said goodbye to the goose and set off on his journey as Mr. Ping sadly watched him go.They spent several days traveling across China, crossing snowy mountains and huge deserts. One night while sleeping on a river in a small boat, Po had a dream about his parents replacing him with a radish, and woke in distress. He went outside the boat to try and do the technique Shifu had showed him. However, droplets of water kept falling on him, eventually causing him to yell in frustration. Po was then confronted by Tigress, who started to spar with him. Po shared how he had found out that Mr. Ping had adopted him, though tried to shrug off that this bothered him, and complimented Tigress‘ "hardcore" ability to not feel anything, his comment making Tigress pause in thought. When they arrived at Gongmen City, they found that the wolves that had raided the Musicians' Village had taken over the city, harassing the citizens. Po soon separated from the Five and snuck in with a dragon costume, the Five eventually joining him in his disguise. He eventually found a sheep, who told him that Master Storming Ox and Croc were being kept inside Gongmen Jail. Upon arriving at the jail, Po and the Five burst the masters' prison cell door open. However, the two masters refused to come with them and instead were resilient to stay in their cell, stating that kung fu was dead. Taken aback by this, Po tried again and again to force them out of their cells, but was unsuccessful, though remained convinced that kung fu still lived. However, before he and others turned to depart, Boss Wolf and two of his wolves found them. Although the two wolves were quickly taken down by the Five, Boss Wolf fled and Po tried to catch him, their battle becoming a frantic chase that led out into the streets, until eventually they ended up in front of Shen's palace, where all of Shen's wolves surrounded them. Po then surrendered, though he stated that he had a plan.
After they were taken up to Shen, Po found a small figurine of the weapon and destroyed it, but his triumph turned to horror when he saw the actual, larger weapon. He met Lord Shen, who laughed at the sight of him in chains, and conversed with the Soothsayer about the panda having had “A lifetime to plan his revenge”. Po began to sense that Shen and the Soothsayer knew something that he didn't, but Shen gave no answers, and ordered Boss Wolf to fire the cannon at him and the Five. When he tried to light the fuse, however, Mantis (who had actually been replaced by Po's action figure of him in a cage when they were captured) was quick to put it out, and attacked Boss Wolf.Meanwhile, Viper had successfully picked and unlocked Tigress' cuffs, freeing her and the others. Po and the Five then rose to fight, the Five proceeding to destroy the weapon and Po taking on Shen himself. When Po had the chance to fight the peacock, however, he received another vision, this time of Shen, and realized that he had some connection to his past. With Po frozen before the peacock, Shen escaped and the panda and the Five soon found to their horror that ‘’more’’ cannons had been produced. Seeing that they were trapped inside, they made their way up to escape and reached the top of the palace, where they jumped and evaded the fire arrows being shot at them.
They returned to Gongmen Jail, where Masters Storming Ox and Croc asked what was happening. Tigress confronted Po as to why he had let Shen escape, telling him to stay while they went to stop Shen after he didn't answer. After Po made many efforts to leave, only to be stopped by Tigress, he finally told her that Shen knew what had happened to his parents, and that had to know the truth about his past, adding that “The hardcore can‘t understand“. He was then surprised when Tigress unexpectedly hugged him, telling him that she did understand, but didn't want to see her friend die. She then left with the rest of the Five as Po stayed behind.However, Po later found his own way into the cannon foundry, and eventually found the peacock. They ensued in a battle, the Five struggling against Shen's minions to reach Po while the panda demanded Shen to tell what had happened. The peacock told him with satisfaction that he'd seen his parents abandoned him and that they didn't love him. Taking advantage of Po's shock at hearing this, he revealed one of his largest cannons and fired at the panda. Although Po had shielded himself with a wok pan, the force still shot him out of the factory and into a nearby river, where he drifted unconscious and badly-injured.
After floating down the river, Po was eventually rescued by the Soothsayer, who brought him to a derelict village and healed him. The Soothsayer brought up his troubling visions, and told him how she had long ago foreseen that Shen would be defeated by a warrior of black and white. As Po looked around the village, he saw more flashes in his mind from his past, and even recognized an old burnt panda doll. At the advice of the Soothsayer, Po allowed the visions to come freely instead of fighting them, until his full memory finally came back, and he remembered what had happened.He saw his parents happily living with him in the village when he was a baby, and saw Shen and his wolves attacking pandas in the village. While raindrops fell as the story flowed through his mind, Po managed to perform the same water drop technique Shifu had demonstrated. He saw that his parents had not abandoned him as Shen claimed, but had both risked their lives to save him, and his mother had hidden him in a crate of radishes before distracting Shen and the wolves to follow her alone. Though saddened at discovering this, Po then recalled all the good memories of his past, as well as the happiness he had in the present. He realized that he had led a fulfilling life since being adopted by Mr. Ping, and, finally knowing who he really was, found inner peace.
Po then returned to Gongmen City, and saw the Furious Five tied up in chains above Shen's fleet, which was just about to leave the city to begin his conquest of China. But Shen noticed the panda, and ordered his wolves to fire at him. Po made it on the boat and attacked the wolves, freeing the Five and fighting alongside them. Later in the battle, Storming Ox and Croc joined in, along with Shifu, who had traveled to the city after sensing Po's near-death-experience. As the battle raged on, Shen managed to take control of a cannon and aimed it Po. Before he fired, however, Tigress pushed Po out of the way, taking most of the impact of the cannon, and she and the other kung fu warriors were blasted into the water.After surveying the rest of his friends, who were weak and exhausted as they hung on to the wreckage, Po saw to the injured Tigress, and held her paw in concern. Angered at Shen, Po swam to an overturned boat and stood before the entire fleet as the others watched. Shen fired at him once more, and Po, concentrating on inner peace, evaded the cannonball, redirecting it with ease similarly to the technique Shifu had shown when he had guided the water droplet. Shen ordered to fire at him again and again, but Po continued to evade and throw the blasts elsewhere, until he caught one of the cannonballs and struggled with its force. Before releasing the cannonball, he said "Skadoosh", then threw it at Shen, and it collided with his cannon, destroying it and his entire fleet.
Po later found Shen among the remains, and the peacock asked him how he managed to find peace after all he had done to him. Po told him that he had simply left his past behind, and urged Shen to do the same. Shen instead started attacking Po in a rage, with Po evading most of his strikes, until Shen had inadvertently cut loose his destroyed cannon, which then fell on top of him and exploded as Po dived out of range and into the water. After Lord Shen was killed, Po surfaced near the dock and was greeted by Tigress, who then helped him out of the water and complimented his actions as "pretty hardcore". Po then hugged her, shocking her and the rest of the warriors who were watching nearby. Shifu then came and and congratulated Po on achieving inner peace. All of the villagers then cheered as Po and the other masters watched the fireworks display above the city.Bringing with him two crates of radishes as well as his old panda doll, Po returned home to Mr. Ping, who was dealing with a unsatisfied customer and her son, and was beset with worry for Po. Relieved to see him, he hugged Po happily and asked him if he saved China, to which Po confirmed he had. Po then told him that he had found out about his origins and how he had ended up in the radish basket as a baby. Po declared to Mr. Ping that he knew who he was: he was his son. The two shared a long tearful hug before they went into the noodle shop's kitchen, both insisting to cook for each other.
Meanwhile, far away from the Valley and unknown to Po, his still-living panda father had suddenly become aware that his son was alive, and appeared hopeful as he overlooked the view his small village, inhabited by other pandas.
Po reunites with his biological father and travels with him to a secret sanctuary of pandas where, to his surprise, he does not fit in. There he meets Mei Mei, an overly eager panda, who had been promised to Po through an arranged marriage when they were children. To make matters worse, an evil spirit ox called, Kai begins terrorizing China and stealing the powers of defeated kung fu masters. Now, in the face of incredible odds, Po must learn to train a village of clumsy, fun-loving pandas to become a band of Kung Fu Pandas for againsting Kai.
Po initially comes off as kind-hearted and good-natured, if not a little immature and stubborn. He was shown to be obsessed with Kung Fu and the Furious Five as he collected action figures of them all and dreams of being a member. He also shows an extensive knowledge of history, as when Po was thrown into the Jade Palace he was aware of the Kung Fu artefacts and their history, he can also come off as being gullible as when he thought the Vase of 1,000 Souls was talking to him when it was actually Shifu and while being trained by the latter he was completely unaware that he was trying to get rid of him.
He is shown to have an immense appetite and is overweight, barely walking up two steps will completely drain him of energy. Po is also very clumsy and unintentionally destructive, he destroyed a priceless, century-old artefact and then kicked a hole in the wall.
At the end of the film Po is shown to be cowardly and self-loathing. When Oogway had just died, the task fell on the Dragon Warrior to defeat Tai Lung he instantly fled from the Jade Palace only to be stopped. During his confrontation with Shifu Po revealed that the reason he endured the Five and his cruel way of training him was because it could never have hurt more than just being himself.
Even before becoming a seasoned Kung Fu master, Po was very deterimned an example of this would be when he was locked out of the tournament that would decide the Dragon Warrior he desperately tried to get in despite his ideas causing him constant pain. After being properly trained by Shifu, Po showed signs of bravery and was finally able to believe in himself and was able to confront Tai Lung then later defeat him.
Given Kung Fu Panda 2 Po's personality took a change, he has taken up more responsibility as he and the Furious Five devote their energy into protecting the Valley of Peace however he still had childish qualities as when he tried to fit 40 dumplings in his mouth. After confronting a pack of wolves Po begins to have an identity crisis, he has proven to be reckless as when he launched a one-man assault on Shen's firework factory to discover the truth about himself which caused him to nearly be killed.
After finally coming to terms with his past and accepting who he was, Po managed to find inner peace and was able to destroy Shen's entire fleet. He showed a great deal of mercy and tried to reason with Shen despite him being the one to cause him so much pain.
Powers & Skills
- Martial Artist: Po has shown mastery over kung fu techniques & is very adaptive with his combat skills, creating new techniques to defeat new foes. He is also proficient with various weaponry & even tools.
- Intelligence: By the end of Kung Fu Panda 3, he became wise enough to understand Oogway's sayings & words of wisdom, effectively becoming a Kung Fu teacher.
- Panda Physiology: His natural physiology is so durable that he is immune to nerve attacks & most forms of physical harm. He took a hit from Shen's explosive cannon, with only moderate injuries & fell into a short coma. He can even use his weight to intimidate his foes, via sitting on them
- Chi-Based Powers: He also has mastery over chi, using it to enhance his physical attributes, levitate or instantly heal others & himself as well. His chi mastery was so strong that he was capable of overpowering Kai, a demonic chi-powered spirit warrior.