DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda 3 is slated for release on January 29, 2016, but the animated sequel has made a late casting change. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Kate Hudson is replacing Rebel Wilson as Mei Mei, a ribbon dancer who becomes romantically obsessed with Po (Jack Black). It doesn't appear that this casting change will affect the release date at this time.
Sources claim that the Kung Fu Panda 3 production was recently extended, which created a conflict for Rebel Wilson, forcing her to drop out. The scenes involving Mei Mei will also be re-animated, to reflect Kate Hudson's new take on the character. We got our first look at Mei Mei in the new photos that surfaced in June, but it isn't known what this new version of the character will look like.
Kung Fu Panda 3 follows Jack Black's Po as he reunites with his long-lost father Li (Bryan Cranston). In both Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2, Po was believed to be the last panda bear in existence, but fans learned at the end of Kung Fu Panda 2 that there was a secret panda lair where these bears have been living in seclusion for years. J.K. Simmons also joins the voice cast as the new villain Kai, who threatens to destroy the panda village.
Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Seth Rogen (Mantis), Lucy Liu (Viper) and David Cross (Crane) reprise their roles as the rest of the Furious Five, along with Dustin Hoffman as Shifu and James Hong as Po's adoptive father Mr. Ping. Jennifer Yuh Nelson co-directs the sequel with Alessandro Carloni, from a script by Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2 writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. The animated sequel will go up against Disney's The Finest Hours on January 29, 2016.
Kate Hudson most recently signed on to star in the biopic Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?, and she will next be seen in Rock the Kasbah. She also made an appearance this summer on NBC's reality series Running Wild with Bear Grylls. Her other upcoming projects include Deepwater Horizon and Unforgettable. What do you think of her joining the voice cast for Kung Fu Panda 3?