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Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight EPs Praise Jack Black

Jack Black is back as Po in Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight. In this exclusive interview with the EPs, they had nothing but praise for him.

Kung Fu Panda The Dragon Knight Executive Producers praise Jack Black interview

Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight S1. Jack Black as Po in Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight S1. Cr. NETFLIX © 2022

Kung Fu Panda is a lovable, iconic franchise that families everywhere have loved for years. After the films, there was a series, however it did not have Jack Black reprising his role as Po. While now he is back in Jung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight and fans will be thrilled, just like those that worked on the film are.

In this exclusive interview with Mama’s Geeky, Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight Executive Producers Peter Hastings (The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants; Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness) and Shaunt Nigoghossian (Blood of Zeus) had nothing but praise to say when it comes to Jack Black. 

Why Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight?

When asked about his decision to come back to Kung Fu Panda, Peter Hastings, who also worked on Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness explains there were many reasons, but that Jack Black was certainly one of them. “We ended up with Jack Black on this show, doing the voice, which has been such a bonus. Just just for the fun of it, he’s been so great to play with.”

Hastings goes on to say that he has always loved Po as a character, because he is a lovable loser that can also kick butt. “It creates a great opportunity for comedy, for fun, for emotion, and to do cool action.”

As for Shaunt Nigoghossian, who is new to Kung Fu Panda but not to Netflix, confesses that it was a lot of fun to work on Blood Of Zeus with its amazing locations and beauty, and then to get the opportunity to do it again with The Dragon Knight. He was excited to get to explore a comedy drama that is also a big tentpole project for Netflix.

When Peter pitched it to him, he was hooked once he discovered the adult themes and the great story. Nigoghossian appreciates that this is not a typical series in that it starts every episode in the same place, but rather it tells a cohesive story all the way through the season. “They said, we want it to be more action, like the movies. We want to push design to make it something else. So to me, that was like music to my ears.”

Kung Fu Panda The Dragon Knight

Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight (L to R) Jack Black as Po and Rita Ora as Wandering Blade in Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2022

Jack Black Is Back As Po

As we mentioned, Jack Black is back, which is very exciting for fans of the actor, as well as the franchise. Black is Po, and he brings so much to this character. When asked about having him on Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight, both EPs had nothing but great things to say. 

Shaunt explains that visually Jack Black gave the team a lot more to work with than a normal actor who just comes in and says his lines, and then leaves. “We have to do like 100 more poses, which is way, way, way harder, but it just makes everything so much better.”

He also says that Black really hits emotions well. “You can hear the crying. You can hear the sadness, and it tells you [for example] this room has to be dark. We can’t use sound, we can’t use music. We just got to let him talk.” 

Kung FU Panda: The Dragon Knight interview

Kung Fu Panda: Dragon Knight: Season 1. Cr. NETFLIX © 2022

When it comes to personally working with Jack Black, Peter Hastings says that it’s super fun, and in no way a stretch for him to be Po, because he just is Po. “He’s nice. He’s not really putting anything on, it’s pretty much the same as hanging out with Jack. So that’s fantastic.”

As voice director, it is Peter’s job to make sure that the actor knows what is happening and to understand what the moment is. “Very often, I would get to the point where I’m like, okay, good. Let’s move on. And he would go, let me do one more, let me hit it, and let me hit it hard. Then he would do another take, and very often that was the keeper that ended up in the show.”

Improvisation is something that Hastings always encourages in his actors, he explains. Some accept the invitation, and some don’t. Jack Black certainly does, which is probably no surprise to those who know him. There are a lot of times where he will finish saying the line that is on the paper, but then just keep talking and talking, and sometimes that is exactly what the show needs. 

Shaunt jokes, “That’s when you’re like, well, I guess the scenes gonna be like 12 seconds longer, but it’s pretty dang funny.”

Full Interview

Be sure to watch the full interview with Executive Producers Peter Hastings (The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants; Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness) and Shaunt Nigoghossian (Blood of Zeus) to learn even more about the show, the importance of content that the whole family can enjoy, and to see their love for Jack Black and his craft shine through! 

Jack Black returns as Po in Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight and you don’t want to miss it when it hits Netflix on July 14th!

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Kung Fu Panda The Dragon Knight Netflix Poster

About Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight

Jack Black returns to Kung Fu Panda in the new series “Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight.” When a mysterious pair of weasels set their sights on a collection of four powerful weapons, Po (Jack Black) must leave the comfort of Panda Village on a globe-trotting quest for redemption and justice that finds him partnered up with a no-nonsense English Knight named Wandering Blade (Rita Ora).

Together, these two mismatched warriors will set out to stop the magical weapons from ever being used. James Hong will reprise his role as beloved character, Mr. Ping, Po’s adoptive, over-protective father who is always filled with pride for his boy.

Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight hits Netflix on July 14th!