Not much is revealed about Kai's past life. However, it is implied he was probably very ambitious in his youth, which led to his departure from his home in the Himalayas in a journey of dominance, wandering throughout China as a lone warrior later recruited as a general in a great army alongside Grand Master Oogway, whom he grew a brotherly bond with. One day, the two brothers-in-arms were caught in an ambush orchestrated by an enemy army, and Oogway was badly wounded. Kai carried him all over the region for days, looking for help, until they came across a secret village high in the mountains inhabited by pandas, who used their mastery of Chi to heal Oogway. While Oogway was fascinated by this energy and was learned from the the pandas how to use it by giving Chi to others, Kai was only interested in increasing his own power with this energy, and learned from the pandas' teachings how to use it by taking Chi from others rather than give it. Seeing what danger his friend's obsession would bring, Oogway intervened and battled fiercely to stop him until finally, the yak was banished by the tortoise to the Spirit Realm.
Five hundred years after his banishment to the Spirit Realm, the now vengeful and power-hungry Kai challenged Oogway to a rematch. Although nearly equally matched, Oogway was caught and his chi was stolen, but not before warning Kai that he had set another on the path to defeat him. Kai swore to take the Dragon Warrior's chi after defeating and used Oogway's chi to return to the mortal realm.
Upon his return, Kai ordered several of his jade soldiers to find Oogway's students. They eventually found Po and the Furious Five, who Kai witnessed through the "eyes" of his soldiers as they fought them. He then summoned his warriors back to his side, and Crane and Mantis were ordered to investigate his current location, joining up with Masters Bear, Croc and Chicken whose villages had also been attacked. Although the masters confronted and tried to fight Kai, they are one by one all easily defeated and had their chi stolen.
Kai eventually arrived at the Jade Palace where he attacked the rest of the Five and Shifu, destroying the palace in the process. He managed to absorb the chi of Shifu, Viper and Monkey but Tigress managed to escaped in order to warn Po of Kai's advancement.
Kai journeyed to the Panda Village, and upon arriving, he and his soldiers were attacked by the pandas whom Po had organized into a defensive force, using their everyday activities as their assets. While Kai was distracted, Po attempted to use the Wuxi Finger Hold to transport Kai back to the Spirit Realm, but Kai revealed that it could only transport mortals to the Spirit Realm, not spirits. Kai gained the upper hand in their battle and advanced on Po and the others. But before he could attack, Po grabbed onto Kai and used the Wuxi Finger Hold on himself, sending them both to the Spirit Realm.
Outraged to have been returned to the Spirit Realm, Kai fought Po and gained the upper hand over him again. He was able to grab Po in his chains and began to steal his chi, but before the process was complete, Li, Tigress, Mr. Ping, and all the pandas were able to use their own chi to save Po. Po then formed his own chi in the shape of a dragon and fought against Kai, gaining the upper hand and destroying one of his two swords in the process. Undaunted, Kai swore to take Po's chi even if it took him another five hundred years. Po then willingly surrendered his chi to Kai who was ecstatic to receive the power, but quickly discovered that it was overloading him with chi. Unable to stop it, the abundance of energy became so great that it destroyed Kai.
Following his death, all the chi that he had stolen was returned, reveiving its fallen warriors.
- In Chinese, the name Kai most often translates to "victory" (凯), or "open" (开).
- The Collector was previously reported to be voiced by actor Mads Mikkelsen, however, he dropped from the film due to unknown scheduling issues.
- J.K. Simmons is also known for portraying the role of Jonah Jameson from the Spider-Man movie series. Like Shen, Kai hates pandas.
- He was seen using jade weapons to attack.
- Kai was previously going to be voiced by Mads Mikkelsen. However, he dropped from the film due to unknown scheduling issues.
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