Jennifer Yuh Nelson finally makes her eagerly awaited live-action directorial debut with The Darkest Minds this weekend when it hits cinemas.
But while moviegoers excitedly wait to see what she can muster up away from the animation world, whatever happens, her position and reputation within that genre will still remain intact.
That’s because Nelson was key figure in the huge success of the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise, which over the course of three films has grossed $1.818 billion dollars.
This huge amount, and the continued popularity of the Dreamworks series, means there have long been rumors that a fourth film will be greenlit to kick start a new trilogy.
I recently had the chance to talk to Jennifer Yuh Nelson over the phone about “The Darkest Minds”, during which time I asked for an update on the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise, and whether or not a fourth film might be forthcoming.
“I really don’t know,” was Nelson’s initial response. But she quickly opened up to the idea of another follow-up.
“For me it had always been a trilogy, in terms of the exact arc that we were working on. I really don’t know what the plans are. But the pull is Po. Po is the world. So I am sure something will happen at some point, but it’s just that I don’t know what.”
Clearly DreamWorks aren’t in any rush with the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise. All the way back in 2011 its CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg kick-started the suggestions that there would be as many as 6 sequels to the series.
Katzenberg told Empire, “‘Kung Fu Panda’ actually has 6 chapters to it, and we’ve mapped that out over the years.”
Since then, though, DreamWorks has severely reduced its output, and they won’t even release a film in 2018.
But since there are sequels to “How To Train Your Dragon,” “The Croods” and “The Boss Baby” already confirmed, and with “Shrek 5” in development, too, there’s a very good chance they will return to the “Kung Fu Panda” films again at some point in the future.
In the meantime, make sure to check out “The Darkest Minds,” which is now in cinemas.