An unexpected change has been made to DreamWorks’ Animation’s “Kung Fu Panda 3“.

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Rebel Wilson was originally slated to voice a new character named Mei Mei, a female ribbon-dancing panda who is romantically obsessed with Jack Black‘s character, Po.

Kung Fu Panda 3 Official Still 3 - Rebel Wilson as Mei Mei

However, the “Pitch Perfect” star has now been replaced by Kate Hudson, the award-winning actress who is best known for her role as Penny Lane in 2000’s “Almost Famous”.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hudson stepped in to replace Wilson, who left after production schedule was extended. Insiders told THR that Wilson was forced to bow out due to schedule conflicts. This seems a little odd as voice recording for animated film is normally done far in advance.

Now, with Hudson stepping in as replacement, Wilson’s previously completed scenes will need to be re-animated to reflect Hudson’s take on the character. Of course, as compared to live-action films, the switch is slightly easier as it doesn’t require much reshoots.

However, it still requires new recording sessions and altering animation to fit Hudson’s performance.

 

Hudson’s character is described to be a wannabe ribbon dancer who is “overeager” and “amorous”. She is also the first female panda that Po will meet in the “Kung Fu Panda” series. Beside Mei Mei, Po will also reunite with long-lost panda father, Li (voiced by “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston), and discover a secret panda village that he never knew existed.

The original cast members from the previous “Kung Fu Panda” films will return to voice their respective roles. Dustin Hoffman will voice warrior trainer Master Shifu while James Hong will voice Mr. Ping, Po’s adoptive father who owns a noodle shop. Angelina Jolie, Jackie ChanSeth RogenDavid Cross, and Lucy Liu will also return to voice the “Furious Five” kung fu warriors. Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons will the film’s supernatural villain, Kai.

Watch the first trailer below:

“Kung Fu Panda 3″ is currently due to be released on 29th January 2016. It will be released in Malaysia on 17th March 2016.

For more information, visit the movie’s official website and Facebook page.

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