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Villain Overview

Behold... The REAL Dragon Warrior!
~ Ke-Pa after assuming his true form.

Ke-Pa is the overarching antagonist of the Kung Fu Panda franchise.

He is one of the two unseen overarching antagonists (alongside Lord Shen) of DreamWorks' 16th animated feature length film Kung Fu Panda, one of the three unseen overarching antagonists of the short Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll (along with Tai Lung and Lord Shen), the overarching antagonist of the TV series Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomness (being the main antagonist of the two-parter Enter The Dragon) and a posthumous antagonist in Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny.

He is a dragon-like demon who ravaged the Valley of Peace with his fellow demons long ago, was sealed in a weaker mortal form and fled but later came back for revenge once his powers began to return to him.

He was voiced by Alfred Molina, who also played Mr. Freeze in Harley Quinn, Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2, Lasombra in Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie, Johann Tetzel in Luther, Rippen in Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero, Viggo Grimborn in Race to the Edge, Satipo in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Professor Jeffries in Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!, Maxim Horvath in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and Reverend Leland Drury in White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf.

Appearance

Mortal Form

Stripped of his might, Ke-Pa swore revenge and fled, the power of the peach tree keeping him trapped in a mortal body, the body... of a pig.
~ Ke-Pa's opening narration in Enter the Dragon.

In his mortal form, Ke-Pa is a gray pig with large ears, white bushy eyebrows, and jagged teeth. He sports an orange robe with yellow stripes and a small orange and yellow hat.

True Form

All now bow down to me, your new Dragon Warrior. [Ke-Pa begins laughing and simultaneously breathing fire into the sky.]
~ Ke-Pa to the villagers as Po is banished from the Valley of Peace.

In his true form, Ke-Pa reveals that he is actually draconic in appearance, with a design heavily based on Chinese dragons (being the first character to bear such a design). He has red scaly skin, several dull golden yellow horns, sharp teeth, red eyes, goatee, and an elongated body.

Personality

This is just the beginning. Soon we'll have all of China, and then; the world. We'll wipe all mortals right off this planet!
~ Ke-Pa and his brethren begin the destruction of all life on Earth.

Ke-Pa was shown to be blasphemous, arrogant and bitter of his defeat against Oogway in both forms; however, he additionally became destructive and tyrannical when he regained his demonic powers, though presumably he was already quite destructive in the past, based on the flashbacks showing his demon brethren laying waste to the Valley of Peace.

His plans to wreak havoc and destroy the world shows that he is a vengeful, oppressive, manipulative and power-hungry being. He is also shown to be very disrespectful and vituperative for mortals and will mock and toy with them, believing them to be powerless against his supernatural powers, especially considering his experience when he was trapped as one.

In spite of his evil and destructive nature, Ke-Pa can be very patient (as evidence by him slowly walking to the Valley of Peace once his power began to return to him [though this could be chalked up to him being overly confident and believing no one could stop him] as well as him waiting for the construction of Zhuangzi's Funnel in order to release his fellow demons) and wise, thanks to his long age and centuries-long imprisonment, providing a level of cunning that goes well with his sadistic humor and wit, making him a fearsome opponent both physically and psychologically.

Overall, Ke-Pa is an exceptionally dark villain for a villain appearing in perhaps the most light hearted medium in the entire franchise.

Biography

Beginnings

The Sacred Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom has overlooked the Valley of Peace for centuries, but for much of that time, the valley was anything but peaceful. Demons of the underworld ruled. And anyone who dared enter their valley was driven off, or worse...
~ Ke-Pa's opening narration in Enter the Dragon.

Many centuries ago, back when even the ~1000 year old Oogway was still young, Ke-Pa was one of the many demons that escaped from the underworld to plague the nearest region to the hole from which they had emerged, the Valley of Peace. He was the mightiest among his kind and ruled by their side, likely serving as their leader. Due to his dragon-like appearance, it is possible that the legends of destructive dragons started thanks to him.

At some point, while Ke-Pa was away, a martial artist came to the Valley of Peace, a young tortoise named Oogway. Before some of the demons could kill a few cornered villagers, Oogway stood between the two groups, confronting the demons. The demons soared towards Oogway, and the tortoise began to summon a powerful life force within him in the shape of the Yin Yang symbol, known as the Hero's Chi. Before the demons could reach him, Oogway launched rays of energy at them, driving them all back to the hole leading to the underworld from which they had emerged, and capped it with an enormous metal seal.

Oogway's defeat at the hands of Ke-Pa, as shown in a flashback.

Enraged upon his return to the Valley of Peace, Ke-Pa snuck up on an exhausted Oogway and relentlessly attacked the tortoise, sending him flying hundreds of meters away at the base of the Sacred Peach Tree. As Ke-Pa prepared himself to strike the final, killing blow, something magical happened. As Oogway had protected the Valley of Peace, the Peach Tree now protected Oogway. Golden rays shot out of the tree out toward the sky and into the ground, or as described by Ke-Pa "the powers of Heaven and Earth", surrounding Ke-Pa and overcoming the demon's power, imprisoning him inside the mortal body a powerless pig. Swearing vengeance, he fled, but not before becoming aware that Oogway built the Jade Palace on top of the sealed pathway to the underworld in order to keep it safe and protected.

Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness

Ke-Pa after beating up some thugs at a bar with a portion of his true power.

Ke-Pa then waited for the tree to die so that he can regain his powers, destroy the one who possessed the Hero's Chi and free his demons. When the day came that the tree started to die, Ke-Pa started to gain some of his powers back and headed for the Valley of Peace. There, he encountered Po, who he fought and easily defeated. After that, he arrived at Peach Tree Hill, where he fought Shifu and defeated him as well, just as easily. After that, the tree died and Ke-Pa gained his full power and true form back.

Ke-Pa is freed from his mortal body.

When Shifu lies saying that he has the Hero's Chi, Ke-Pa attempted to free his demons by crushing Shifu thus destroying the Chi, but Shifu revealed that this would only make it impossible for Ke-Pa to free the other demons. Instead, Shifu proposed to use an ancient artifact known as Zhuangzi's Funnel, which would force Ke-Pa to enter a trance and leave him vulnerable for the Furious Five to trap and attack him, which was Shifu's plan that unfortunately did not work. Upon Po's return, Ke-Pa discovered that the panda was the real host of the Hero's Chi and almost crushes him to death, extracting the Chi, killing him, and freeing his demons in the process.

It's over. Po is gone, and Ke-Pa has won.
~ Shifu loses all hope.

Miraculously, Po is brought back to life by the peach tree sapling planted by Shifu and his Hero's Chi is not only given back to him but also enhances his already great power, to Ke-Pa's surprise as Po reappears while the demon is laying waste to the village alongside his brethren. Ke-Pa, witnessing the Hero's Chi killing two of his minions, orders the rest to devour and destroy Po. Using the Hero's Chi, Po destroys some of the demons but is unable to take them all on, so he lures them back to the underworld and seals them once again.

Ke-Pa tries to devour Po.

Enraged that he wasted days to free his minions and for Po to seal them in two seconds, Ke-Pa swears this day will see the end of the dragon warrior. Weakened, Po is unable to attack Ke-Pa with the Hero's Chi but it slowly starts to return to him, until he shoots one last massive beam of energy directly into Ke-Pa's mouth as he tries to eat him, ending his reign of terror for good.

No, this can't happen, you're a worm, an ant, A MORTAL!
~ Ke-Pa's last words as he tries to devour Po.

Kung Fu Panda: Paws of Destiny

Ke-Pa was mentioned by Bunnidharma when answering Po's question of when he last saw Master Oogway, that being when he drove Ke-Pa from the Valley of Peace (though technically, the Peach Tree drove him off, not Oogway, as Oogway used the power of the Peach Tree to trap Ke-Pa in his mortal form).

Later on, Po used the Hero's Chi during his battle against Jindiao.

Powers and Abilities

But one demon remained, stronger, smarter, and faster than the others. His name... Ke-Pa.
~ Ke-Pa's opening narration in Enter the Dragon.

Ke-Pa is a fearsome beast that is unquestionably one of the most powerful characters in the Kung Fu Panda franchise and easily the mightiest fighter in the show, with the possible exception of Po when powered by the Hero's Chi who managed to defeat Ke-Pa, albeit with great difficulty. Ke-Pa is arguably the only villain of the franchise who defeated or is capable of defeating Oogway, as he almost killed him if the Peach Tree hadn't intervened and powered Oogway.

We've never encountered a foe as powerful as Ke-Pa.
~ Shifu to Po
Our only hope is that one of you intercepts Ke-Pa before the peach tree dies and he reaches his full strength. But under no circumstances are you to fight him alone, only as a group will we have a chance.
~ Shifu to Po and the Furious Five

While imprisoned in his mortal body, he has the strength of a pig and is nothing special to larger animals like crocodiles and buffalos, but once he starts to regain his strength, he becomes considerably more powerful, superior even to the likes of the prodigious Tai Lung, casually lifting and throwing Po with a single arm, overpowering Shifu with little effort and taking multiple strikes from an angry Po with no effect, even when the demon purposefully let his guard down. Shifu stated that they had never faced such a powerful enemy and that he, Po, and the Furious Five would only stand a chance against his mortal form if they all worked together.

He possessed telekinesis which enabled him to fly, crush, or disintegrate people/objects from a distance. This also appears to break their bones, even when he doesn’t move a finger and only uses his mind.

I need you to go tell the villagers to pack up and run for their lives, make them understand even the Dragon Warrior is no match for Ke-Pa.
~ Shifu to Po

In his original dragon-like demon form, Ke-Pa grows even stronger (possibly on par if not superior to Kai) as he was able to easily defeat a much younger, albeit tired, Oogway, something very few characters in the series would be capable of doing.

His physical strength is immense, able to smash Shifu through buildings and send the several hundred to thousand-ton cap off the seal flying. He is also very fast and durable than most demons, as he didn’t disintegrate after being blast by the Hero’s Chi in one shot. Another sign of his durability was when the Furious Five attacked him while he was in a trance (which left him weak and defenseless), he was able to withstand all of their attacks. His fire breath is even more impressive, able to reduce trees to dust and, through fireballs, capable of reducing the top of Jade Mountain into a crater far bigger than even him.

Though wingless, much like the Chinese dragons of old legends, he can soar through the skies at great speeds, and seemingly control the weather, or at least lightning which he can shoot from his eyes and manipulate it from the clouds. The telekinesis shown in his mortal form becomes enhanced as well, and he can lift massive chunks of the Jade Palace with it.

His most noteworthy and obvious trait in his true form is his incredible size, being the largest villain in the series.

Quotes

The tree, it's dying.
~ Ke-Pa as he starts to regain his power.
I feel, good. It's starting to return to me. When the tree dies I'll be back to my full power. [Ke-Pa tosses a coin at a buffalo who he just beat, Ke-Pa begins walking outside.] Keep the change. The demons shall reclaim the land that was stolen from us. We shall conquer the Valley of Peace, then all of China, and finally, the world.
~ Ke-Pa begins to head back to the Valley of Peace.
Isn't anyone going to welcome Ke-Pa?
~ Ke-Pa upon arriving to the Valley of Peace.
Po: Wait, you're Ke-Pa?
Ke-Pa: In the flesh, such as it is.
~ Ke-Pa confirming his identity.
Po: [While trying to get back up and talking weakly.] Okay, this is your last chance to surrender.
Ke-Pa: I appreciate the offer, but I'm going to have to pass. [Ke-Pa strikes Po with a force of energy from his hand, Po flies through the air screaming, Po slams into his statue and falls to the ground, Ke-Pa telekinetically moves Po to read the letters at the base of the statue.] "Dragon Warrior". It's kinda catchy, must remember that. [Ke-Pa begins walking off.] If you'll all excuse me I'm just going to run upstairs and see some old friends.
Fung: Take your time, guy.
Ke-Pa: Oh I'll be back, and then we can get down to the real fun.
Fung: Seriously guy, take your time.
~ Ke-Pa, Po, and Fung.
And now, it's time to unleash the demons fury upon the world. [Ke-Pa attempts to pull the cap off of the seal.] Oogway really got this on tight. [After a failed attempt at breaking the seal, Ke-Pa flies into the air and blows fire at the seal. A large green shock wave, shaped like a Yin and Yang, bursts from the seal, which remains unbroken.] Hmm, of course, Oogway sealed it with his Hero's Chi, so, I must need the Hero's Chi to unseal it.
~ Ke-Pa
[Ke-Pa blows fire at the statue of Po and it explodes. The head of the statue lands next to Po. Ke-Pa lands on the base that once held the statue. Po, Shifu, the five, and villagers crowd up by Ke-Pa.]
Ke-Pa: How exciting was that? We'll get right to business; I need the Hero's Chi [Shifu looks at Ke-Pa in horror.] and from what I know about chi and balance and harmony bla bla bla, is that when Oogway left, the universe passed the Hero's Chi, to one of you. [Ke-Pa gets closer to the masters of the Jade Palace.]
Tigress: Even if we knew, we'd never tell you!
Ke-Pa: Ooh I think you will, because otherwise I'm going to start gobbling up villagers by the claw-full.
~ Ke-Pa threatening to devour the villagers if not given his goals.
Shifu: I don't want to hear anything you have to say. The lives of everyone here are in danger because of you!
Po: But...
Shifu: LEAVE! You are of no use to any of us.
Ke-Pa: Oh, a chance to watch you flee your own village, drenched in shame. I love it.
~ Ke-Pa to Po after being banished from the village for not evacuating it and endangering the lives of everyone there.
You there. Now, would you like to help or would you like to die?
~ Ke-Pa to Fung and his son.
Ke-Pa: I'm sort of enjoying this excellent effort, like I'm earning it. It should make the release of my fellow demons that much more enjoyable. [Shifu stares at Ke-Pa with a blank expression.] What? Nothing to say? No pithy wisdom? No lofty moral judgments?
Shifu: What should happen, will.
Ke-Pa: Oh I see. Zen-like acceptance. Very mastery of you. Well Shifu, I couldn't agree more.
~ Ke-Pa and Shifu.
Oh sure, attack a guy while he's in a trance why don't ya. Well you failed. [Ke-Pa then pushes the funnel tighter.] And now that you're down I can finally take you out.
~ Ke-Pa effortlessly defeats the Furious Five.
Now, now my demon brethren you are free!
~ Ke-Pa screams down the pathway leading to the underworld.
Destroy them! Destroy them all!
~ Ke-Pa points at the group of terrified onlookers upon freeing his brethren.
Po: Hey, how you doin'?
Ke-Pa: The panda, alive, how?!
Po: Uh, not sure, some kind of weird magicky, mystical thing, anyway, check this out. [Po charges a ball of light in his hands and shoots it at two demons around Ke-Pa, destroying them...
Ke-Pa: The Hero's Chi! Attack him, devour him, destroy him!
~ Ke-Pa orders his demon army to kill Po after he reveals that he still has the Hero's Chi.
NO! [Po is thrown into the side of the crater and crushed by a rock and a column from the Hall of Warriors. Ke-Pa stands tall over Po.] I swear by all that's dark and vile, this day will see the end of the Dragon Warrior.
~ Ke-Pa's breakdown.

Trivia

  • The name Ke-Pa (pronounced "kee-PAH") means dreadful, formidable, scary, etc in chinese.
  • Despite only appearing in one 1 hour special of the first TV series, Ke-Pa is perhaps one of the two foremost antagonists (alongside Lord Shen) in the franchise because he lead the very first evils in the world. Plus to ensure his first defeat, Oogway built the Jade Palace, the most important place in the franchise since:
    • This is where he trains Master Shifu when he was left alone there.
    • And this is where Shifu found Tai Lung, adopted him, but trained him harshly as he believed Tai Lung is the Dragon Warrior by his great skills. Which was proven wrong by Oogway, cementing his turn to the dark side and main villain of the first film since all his training amounted to nothing.
    • This is also where Shifu trained his second adopted child, Tigress, who was also harsh on her because of what happened with Tai Lung. When Po, the main protagonist of the franchise, accidentally poisoned Shifu when he cooked his food, he sent Tigress to go and summon 4 warriors. However, a mix up with Po led her to summon the wrong people. This led to the rise of the Furious Five who then defeat Boar, whose battle inspired Po, a hidden bystander, to be a Kung Fu fan, leading to the events of the first film, as well as him being indirectly responsible for Tai Lung's turn to the dark side.
    • This is also where Shifu trained Po when he was selected as the Dragon Warrior, which didn't go well, but also where he found his secret strength on food, where he trained him near the Sacred Pool of Tears using food. The training helped defeat Tai Lung in the first film.
    • This also where Po learned about inner peace and chi, which he masters in other places to defeat the main villains of the second and third film's main villains, Lord Shen (also the franchise's Big Bad) and Kai the Collector.
    • And the Jade Palace is obviously where Po trained to become a great Kung Fu master, who then trained the secret Panda village and the Four Constellations, which all lead to the defeats of the aforementioned Kai, Jindiao and the White Bone Demon.
    • This also cements him as a necessary evil, despite him being the most dangerous villain in the franchise, since without his rampage on the Valley of Peace, the Jade Palace wouldn't be built to prevent Ke-Pa's demon horde from entering the realm of the living, so Master Shifu wouldn't have been trained, Tai Lung may have become evil for different reasons, Po and the Furious Five wouldn't have been trained also, and Tai Lung (if he became evil due to being left alone or have different goals), Boar, Shen, Kai, Jindiao and Baigujing would've still be undefeated and succeed in their goals.
    • However, despite indirectly causing/supporting many events to happen, Ke-Pa lacks the personal connection to Po compared to Shen, with the real personal crime against him is having him banished from the Valley of Peace and temporarily destroying his hero image, which completely pales in comparison to Shen's connection with Po since he killed his mother and most of his kind and why he got to the Valley as an orphan and become Mr. Ping's adopted son, as well as being the only villain to psychologically break Po. Plus, Shen has more screen time than Ke-Pa and the second film is a more important instalment in the franchise than Enter the Dragon, which only had one reference outside the episode and the only plotpoint that continues was just that Po used the Hero's Chi after learning to use it. Due to this, Ke-Pa is more of the Bigger Bad of the franchise than sharing the big Bad role with Shen. Even with that however, Ke-Pa managed to kill Po, something no other villain in the films and series has ever done and likely will never do, that too with plans far bigger in scale on being dangerous than every other villain in the franchise, cementing him as the most evil.
  • Ke-Pa is voiced by Alfred Molina, well known for playing Doctor Octopus in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2. Apparently, he is one of the 2 villains played by someone from that film, the other being Kai the Collector, voiced by J. K. Simmons, who played J. Jonah Jameson.
  • He is the only villain from the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness to be referenced outside the show.
  • He is the only villain to ever kill Po, Kai does not count as Po sacrificed himself just to drag Ka into the Spirit Realm, along with. He is also one of the very few people to give Fung orders considering his very egotistical nature. Coupled with the scope of his plan being till the entire world than just China, with the plan being wiping out all mortals, as well as being the only villain to truly defeat Oogway (considering Oohway wanted Kai to defeat him unlike with Ke-Pa), successfully taking over the Valley of Peace twice also and having the most powerful army in the franchise, he is arguably the biggest threat in the franchise, perhaps surpassing even Lord Shen.

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           KungFuPandaTitle.pngVillains

Movies
Kung Fu Panda: Tai Lung†| Criminals
Kung Fu Panda 2: Lord Shen† | Lord Shen's Wolf Army† (Boss Wolf†)
Kung Fu Panda 3: Kai the Collector
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll: Boar

Television
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomness: Brotherhood of Malfeasance (Hundun, Taotie, Fung, Temutai & Tong Fo) | Junjie | Scorpion | Lidong | Heilang | Bad Po† | Bian Zao | Fu-Xi | Ke-Pa† | Pang Bing | Alien Rice Weevils
Kung Fu Panda: Paws of Destiny: Jindiao† | Jade Tusk | Rooster | Wing & Wong | Imperial Army (White Bone Demon, Shi Long & General Fang)

Video Games
Wu Sisters | Great Gorilla† | Fai Suan | Kuai Xun | Kai | Mao Ren | Mei Ling

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