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HomeAnimations‘Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight’ Celebrates a Particular Lunar New Yr

‘Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight’ Celebrates a Particular Lunar New Yr

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For those who had any doubt that we had been within the midst of the Lunar New Yr, a particular episode that caps Season 2 of the hit DreamWorks Animation collection, Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight makes it official. Within the new “Epic Lunar New Yr” episode now streaming on Netflix, everybody’s favourite folivorous martial artist, as a way to preserve his gang’s spirits up as they pursue a worldwide quest for redemption and justice, shares the story of a hunter who helped shield a village from a dragon on the primary Lunar New Yr.

That includes Jack Black in his iconic function, and Rita Ora because the no-nonsense English knight Wandering Blade, the collection finds Po venturing exterior China for the primary time as he and his motley crew of warriors – together with the slippery Rukhmini (Rahnuma Panthaky) and the loyal Mr. Ping (James Hong) – face hazard at each activate their journey to unravel the secrets and techniques surrounding Blade’s brother and his connection to some magical weapons.

We spoke with author Felicia Ho, who was introduced in to pen the particular episode, and co-executive producers/writers Chris Amick and Ben Mekler about its creation and the necessary function that the Lunar New Yr performs in Chinese language tradition.

Check out the “Epic Lunar New Yr” trailer, then study extra concerning the particular episode’s manufacturing.

AWN: Why make a Lunar New Yr particular? What impressed the particular episode’s story?

Felicia Ho: Lunar New Yr is crucial, sacred vacation in Chinese language tradition. It is a vacation that celebrates the hope for a affluent future, meals, and – above all – household, so it felt pure to present Po the chance to discover how he may strategy all these issues in his distinctive method. I used to be impressed by means of my very own experiences of celebrating the vacation rising up Chinese language American. It was a time when my dad and mom had the area to share their tales, traditions, and practices with me – practices that do not usually come up in day-to-day life. That was a big a part of the inspiration for the story: the observe of passing down custom by means of storytelling, by means of sharing the oral historical past, the importance of why we observe these traditions that imply a lot to us.

Chris Amick/Ben Mekler: When Netflix requested for a vacation particular throughout the Dragon Knight universe, it felt necessary to discover a vacation that Po would have a good time, and there was a possibility to create a Lunar New Yr particular to share with a worldwide viewers – hopefully one which households can take pleasure in 12 months after 12 months. There was just one drawback: we’d taken Po out of China. That meant we needed to get inventive about tips on how to have a good time throughout the globetrotting journey of our collection. Fortunately, a key theme of the present is experiencing and sharing different cultures, so it felt like a possibility to let Po and Mr. Ping share their favourite vacation with their new pals. Regardless of being removed from China, celebrating the vacation turned a solution to join them to their dwelling as a reminder of what they’re preventing for.

The writers’ room was very busy with Season 2 when it got here time to jot down the particular, so we knew we’d must work with somebody exterior of our workers who might tackle an bold problem and run with it. We had been fortunate to search out Felicia Ho. She introduced a lot to the desk immediately, and inside no time we had the idea of retelling the traditional Chinese language New Yr story by means of Po’s perspective. That meant every thing could possibly be turned as much as 11 and full of tons of motion, humor, and coronary heart.

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AWN: What did your collaboration appear like, by way of a timetable and particular interactions?

FH: I met with the entire staff – [executive producer] Peter Hastings, Chris, Ben, and [executive in charge of production] Gregg Goldin – early on to share my experiences and tales about Lunar New Yr and to see what may match with Po’s personal relationship to the vacation. We did an preliminary brainstorm within the room, guided by Chris and Ben, and collectively we got here up with three normal concepts of what the story might appear like. I got here again with fleshed-out outlines, and we narrowed down the thought to a singular one which we might start molding into one thing extra solidified. After further notes and strategies, we introduced the concepts to the artists who offered the imaginative and prescient of what the artwork and animation would appear like, which was immensely useful within the inventive course of. I felt like we had been riffing from the primary minute. Everybody within the room is hilarious and cracks me up a lot. It was probably the most encouraging, hysterical, and welcoming experiences I’ve ever had.

CA/BM: We liked Felicia’s writing from the beginning, and on day one, she shared a fantastic and sophisticated story about her relationship to her household and tradition, highlighted by the Lunar New Yr. We had been so impressed that we constructed an entire model of the story primarily based totally on her expertise. However because it goes typically, issues developed and adjusted, and this story actually wished to be one thing else. When that occurred, we knew we had been in nice palms with Felicia as a result of, it doesn’t matter what story she informed, it could all the time tie again to that private and emotional relationship to her household and the vacation.

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AWN: Felicia, how did you combine the person character arcs with the narrative?

FH: I all the time strategy each story with the emotional journey of the character. The place are they emotionally firstly of the episode and the place do they find yourself? What do they study? How does this alter their sense of self? Is that this particular feeling or journey that they are going through common to an viewers? To me, if you can also make the viewers really feel one thing actual, that is crucial ingredient of the story. By way of figuring that out I can begin to map out how our characters react to occasions, obstacles, targets, rigidity, different characters. After I can perceive that, I can begin to weave within the different story components that make it entertaining, comedic, and cinematic.

AWN: What makes Po such an ideal character, and the way a lot does it must do with Jack Black’s interpretation?

FH: Jack Black is iconic. Each character, each body, every thing he is ever executed is sensible. Interval. As for Po as a personality, I feel his resilience, his everlasting nicely of optimism, his capacity to giggle at himself, his empathy, how he wears his coronary heart on his sleeve… all these components are what make him an ideal, timeless character.

CA/BM: We’ve all the time approached Po as a personality who sees one of the best in others as a result of somebody as soon as noticed one of the best in him. He’s unapologetically himself, and that’s precisely what he brings out within the individuals round him. Jack Black makes that half straightforward since he already is that particular person. Having Jack again to voice Po in our collection brings an honesty to the function. The writers know that he can pull off the comedy, in addition to the extra sophisticated emotional arcs we observe. The identical is true for James Hong as Mr. Ping, who we couldn’t resist bringing alongside for the second season.

Po and Mr. Ping had been clearly outlined voices from the soar, however our different actors stepped as much as assist outline their very own characters – Rita Ora’s Wandering Blade, Rahnuma Panthaky’s Rukhmini, Ed Weeks’s Colin, Della Saba and Chris Geere’s Veruca and Klaus, Melissa Villaseñor’s Akna. However, even with that robust basis, this episode had a ton of characters and voices to handle whereas shifting a giant, emotional story ahead in a method that felt new, but additionally true to the vacation we’re honoring. Felicia gave the entire staff one thing we had been so excited to make. Each present ought to have a Felicia Ho.

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AWN: What did you take pleasure in most about engaged on this episode?

CA/BM: Producing the Lunar New Yr particular felt like an actual deal with. It was thrilling to inform a narrative with a unique setting, totally different guidelines, that sat exterior of our canon, however might nonetheless use the characters and themes we’d been spending quite a lot of time eager about. As followers, writing for Po and Mr. Ping, for that solid, telling a narrative within the Kung Fu Panda universe in any respect – that was thrilling. Having the belief and freedom to construct new mythology, new characters, push the tone and discover locations we’d by no means seen earlier than… and doing all of it alongside phenomenal writers and superb artists who add a lot to every story.

FH: For me, it was the method of watching all of it come to life. Sharing a narrative that is meant a lot to me, extracted from experiences over the course of my life, and watching the efforts of an entire staff deliver that to life. Watching a kernel of an concept construct and develop into one thing that appears like a real collaboration of essentially the most proficient animators, writers, administrators, executives. That is been one of the best a part of the entire journey.

Jon Hofferman's picture

Jon Hofferman is a contract author and editor primarily based in Los Angeles. He’s additionally the creator of the Classical Composers Poster, an academic and ornamental music timeline chart that makes a beautiful present.



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