It’s been over 1.5 months since the fourth installment of Kung Fu Panda was released theatrically in the United States on March 8, 2024. However, fans are still debating the movie due to the introduction of a new character, Zhen the fox, as the new Dragon Warrior instead of Tigress, whom fans expected to take the role.

Kung Fu Panda 4
A still from Kung Fu Panda 4

Zen, also known as Zhen, is a clever fox and former criminal featured in Kung Fu Panda 4. Initially portrayed as an antagonist trying to steal the Staff of Wisdom for a villain, she later teams up with Po on a journey and ends up being selected as his successor as the Dragon Warrior.

Kung Fu Panda 4 Disappointed Fans by not Including their Favorite Character in the Movie

Zhen in Kung Fu Panda 4
Zhen in Kung Fu Panda 4

Fans have adored Tigress ever since the first Kung Fu Panda movie in 2008. Her dedication, discipline, and exceptional fighting skills have made her a natural fit for the Dragon Warrior title.

A lot of fans think Tigress (voiced by Angelina Jolie) should have been the Dragon Warrior. In all the Kung Fu Panda movies, Tigress is shown as a really skilled and committed fighter, always working hard to get better at kung fu. She’s like Po’s (voiced by Jack Black) right-hand person, who often leads missions and teaches young warriors.

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However, she has only briefly appeared in the film. Social media is filled with comments like, “I still can’t believe they made the dumb Aquafina fox the dragon warrior instead of Tigress or Tai Lung…” This really shows how hard fans wanted the South China tiger back on the screen. Check out some fan reactions on it:

There’s a reason why the filmmakers chose Zhen as the new Dragon Warrior. By the end of the movie, Po confirms that Zhen will be the new Dragon Warrior for the franchise.

The movie focuses on passing the torch to a new generation of heroes.  Zhen’s unique background adds something fresh to the story and presents challenges for Po and his friends.

Fans will have to wait and see if Zhen becomes a fan favorite in the long run. However, the filmmakers’ choice reflects a trend in animated movies of introducing new heroes who break the mold.

Tigress’ True Strength Lies Beyond Dragon Warrior Role

Tigress in the Kung Fu Panda franchise
Tigress in the Kung Fu Panda franchise

When the trailer of Kung Fu Panda 4 first came out in December 2023, fans noticed that the Furious Five — Tigress, Mantis, Monkey, Viper, and Crane — were missing. However, Tigress did make a brief appearance with her comrades in the film, which seemed to please fans.

The only disappointment fans had was Tigress not becoming the Dragon Warrior. While the legendary prodigy’s power is undeniable, Tigress’s true calling lies elsewhere. Her real strength is in discipline and guiding others, not just being powerful.

The Valley needed someone to lead and inspire, and Tigress fits the bill. Taking on this role lets her show her true strength and become the support the Five need. It shows that true heroism is about using your talents for the greater good, and Tigress is perfect for it!

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Kung Fu Panda 4 on Prime Video.

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