Lord Shen is the overall main antagonist of the Kung Fu Panda franchise. He is the main antagonist of Kung Fu Panda 2, a posthumous antagonist in Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, and a flashback antagonist in Kung Fu Panda 3. He was voiced by Gary Oldman.
Lord Shen was born into a royal family of peacocks that ruled Gongmen City and were admired by its people for their invention of fireworks bringing color and joy to China, but as he grew in age and nobility, he began to show interest in the power in the fireworks' gunpowder, wondering if it could be weaponized and used in warfare. Seeing the darkness and sorrow that this obsession would bring, Shen's worried parents relied on their court Soothsayer on what his future held. In response, she foretold that if Shen ever continued deeper into his dark roots, he will only be stopped by "a warrior of black and white". Eavesdropping on the fortune-telling, the young lord sought to defy this prophecy, fearing any obstacles in his plans. Guessing right that the warrior part referred to a panda, he set out into the countryside with an army of wolves and gorillas to massacre most of China's entire panda population, intending to leave none alive.
When satisfied that all pandas have been eliminated, Shen returned home expecting praise from his parents. Instead, they expressed horror at their son's actions and banished him from the city forever as punishment. Fueled with anger on feeling wronged, for he considered his crime as bravely defying fate to realize his goals, Shen swore revenge and promised he would someday return, and once he does, all of China will be under his rule. Unknown to him, though, the seeds of his destruction were laid as the life of one panda cub, who later turned out to be Po, was spared when his mother sacrificed herself in Shen's panda genocide to save him while his father Li Shan stayed behind to fight back and relocate the other surviving pandas to a secret panda village in the mountains, eventually departing ways with their son as he was shipped off in a crate of radishes to the Valley of Peace, where he was adopted and raised by the owner of a noodle shop, Mr. Ping until he was chosen the legendary Dragon Warrior (seemingly by accident) by Kung Fu Grand Master Oogway. Shen's parents, on the other hand, became so crippled by the pain of having sentenced their son and only heir to life in exile that they both died from broken hearts.
Over the next twenty years, Shen and his wolf army set up a factory deep in the mountains and worked tirelessly to complete an arsenal of firework-powered weapons for their preparation of their upcoming conquest. When Boss Wolf informed him that they had run out of metal to use as material, the peacock ordered him to attack the farthest villages and steal all the metal they could find. While he and a group of wolves attended to that, Shen decided it was time to move forward. He traveled to Gongmen City and marched up to his former home. Once there, he confronted the Kung Fu Master's Council, telling them he was there to take back what was rightfully promised to him since birth. In the skirmish that followed, Shen easily defeated Masters Storming Ox and Croc but was pushed back by Master Thundering Rhino, who shattered several of Shen's blades. However, Shen was prepared for this and revealed his new weapon, a cannon. Thundering Rhino prepared for battle, but was no match for Shen's device and was killed by a single shot.
With Thundering Rhino dead, Lord Shen threatened to turn his cannon on the city unless Storming Ox and Croc surrendered. He had the two masters imprisoned in Gongmen Jail and planted Master Rhino's Cloud Hammer in his courtyard as a trophy. With the Council out of the way, Shen ransacked the Peacock Palace, even throwing his father's throne out the window and replacing it with his cannon. He then questioned the Soothsayer about his future, but she informed him that nothing had changed: he would be defeated by a warrior of black and white. He declared this to be impossible but was quickly proven wrong when Boss Wolf returned and informed him that while he and his troops ransacked the Valley of Peace, the were nearly stopped by the Furious Five and the Dragon Warrior, who turned out to be a panda named Po. Shen, greatly angered by this, ordered him to bring Po to him so he could prove the Soothsayer wrong.
Later, when Po and the Five were brought before him in handcuffs, Shen taunted Po not only about his appearance but his ignorance about his past and his own role in it. He ordered Boss Wolf to fire the cannon at them, but Mantis quickly extinguished the fuse and knocked Boss Wolf out. This bought Viper enough time to pick the lock on Tigress' cuffs, and once they were free, Tigress and Mantis destroyed the cannon and while Po tried to attack Shen. However, when the peacock took this opportunity to show Po his feathers, the marks on them triggered the same flashback the panda had upon seeing the similar mark on Wolf Boss's armor, this time with Shen in the vision, and realized Shen was there the night he lost his biological parents. Shen confirmed this and used the distraction to escape back to his fireworks factory nearby, where he had several more cannons waiting. He ordered his men to open fire and bring the tower down with Po and the Furious Five still inside, but they managed to escape. Frustrated, Shen ordered his troops to move out and to begin his conquest, then dismissed the Soothsayer by proclaiming that she was no longer a use to him.
Some time later, Po infiltrated the factory to confront him, ruining the Five's plan to destroy the building. As the two fought, Shen easily maneuvered Po and teased him again, bluffing that he saw his parents abandon him and that they never loved him. This lie distracted Po enough for Shen to reach his most powerful cannon and blast Po out the factory and into the river. Confident that the panda was dead, the wicked peacock had the recaptured Furious Five chained up and suspended above his ships as they sailed out of the city. But much to his shock, Po came back and tried to rescue his friends and stop Shen before he got to the harbor. In response, Shen ordered his gunners to blast him, but Po nimbly moved along the rooftops, preventing them from getting a clear shot, then jumped onto the ships to engage Shen's army, now that they couldn't fire without hitting their own men. Shen could do nothing but watch as Po freed the Five and joined forces with Masters Storming Ox, Croc and Shifu to use some of the fleet's ships to block the way to Gongmen Harbor.
Finally losing his patience, Shen ordered Boss Wolf to fire the main cannon, but he refused to kill his own men, thus standing up to Lord Shen for the very first time. In response to this, the enraged Shen coldly strikes him with one of his throwing knives and fires the cannon himself, knocking all the kung fu warriors away and blasting through the boats they had set up to block his fleet. Shen watched as Po swam out to one of the destroyed ships and began making Tai Chi motions. Unphased, Shen ordered his gunners to open fire and finish the panda. However, Po used a technique that Shifu had showed him earlier to catch and deflect the cannonballs, sending them back and destroying most of Shen's cannons, eventually killing his army. The Dragon Warrior struggled with the force of the last ball as he whirled it around into a ying-and-yang symbol before completed the move with his catchphrase "Skadoosh," sending it back towards the peacock's main cannon and destroying along with his flagship. As the dizzy lord viewed the destruction around him, he asked the panda how found peace after what he did to him, to which Po stated that he had to let go of his past because who he chose to be in the present was what mattered, and asked Shen to do the same. Shen agreed but declared his choice by attacking Po with his lance and talons. Despite having Po on the defensive, Shen accidentally cut through the ropes holding the wreckage of his cannon and realized this too late and the heavy weapon fell on him while he closed his eyes, accepting his fate. Thus, the cannon crushed the hateful peacock to death and the gunpowder in it exploded, blowing up the ship and sinking it into the water.
Shen does not appear in TV series. Only in the flashback and mentioned.
Shen was extremely smart, supremely lethal, and burns with ambition; it was a combustible combination. His past has forged in him the notion that he's been wronged and that the world owed him something. He intended to do everything in his power to take it, which included inventing a powerful weapon, unlike anything the world has ever seen. Shen was intent on using this weapon to wipe out Kung Fu and take over China. This put him on a collision course with Master Po and the Furious Five.
Shen was unspeakably ruthless, willing to decimate an entire village just because a simple fortune-telling warned him one of its inhabitants would be his downfall, and he showed some cowardice a few times in the movie, such as when he was willing to kill an infant, and preferred to let his cannons and henchmen do his dirty work rather than dealing with his obstacles himself. He had no regard for any life but his own (and probably the Soothsayer's, seeing as he released her later on in the movie, claiming that she was of no use to him by that point, rather than killing or imprisoning her). He was also willing to sacrifice his own troops, which puts him in a conflict with his most trusted subordinate, Boss Wolf, who refused to kill his own men, leading to Shen striking him down simply for his disobedience.
He was rather sadistic, claiming to Master Po that his parents abandoned him and did not love him, taking advantage of his pain, and enjoying the emotional scars he inflicted on Po.
Even though Lord Shen is a skilled and accomplished Kung Fu fighter, he is more likely to use his cunning or his cannons than his physical prowess. He excels in sword combat, however, and hides an armory of blades in his robes, which he can unleash in lightning speed. Shen also has a pair lethal-looking metal talons to protect his feet. These also serve as weapons and as a means to light the fuses of his cannons. In battle, his tail becomes another limb, which he can shape and use to attack or defend. His "Funnel Cloud Attack" and "Feather Attack" are daunting and deadly. Shen's fighting style is both graceful and lethal.
In keeping with his state as a white peacock, Shen wears a long, white robe (which matches his plumage) with a black belt. Underneath his robe is where he keeps his halberd and a large supply of throwing knives. To hide the burn scars on his feet, Shen wears metal talons that protect his feet and serve as formidable weapons.
- According to the director, Shen proved to be a great challenge to animate, so much that the complexity of the character was like that of doing six characters all at once.
- Lord Shen's voice actor, Gary Oldman, also voiced Ruber who was the main antagonist of Quest For Camelot and is famous for the role of Sirius Black in Harry Potter.
- Shen is the only Kung Fu Panda character to have artificial body parts.
- His tail consists of 92 feathers.
- Lord Shen was originally cast as a devious mayor for the first Kung Fu Panda movie.
- In the Mad episodes "Kung Fu Blander" (in which his new army were the Angry Birds) and "DestroyBob the Builder Destroyer," he was defeated by Master Po, and then by Black and White Spies.
- Lord Shen has more fans than Tai Lung, whom he shares many personality traits with.
- Lord Shen has a bit of comparison to Darth Traya from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords as they share a common goal: to destroy the thing that they rely on (even though she uses the force, Traya intends to destroy since in the hopes of understanding it, she will learn the way to kill it and failed) and even though Shen is a Kung Fu warrior, he intends to destroy Kung Fu.
- Shen didn't appear physically in Kung Fu Panda 3, but he appears in the flashback of Po. However, he isn't named by his name in any moment.
- Shen is often regarded as one of the most popular DreamWorks villains.
- Shen is the first DreamWorks villain to have been killed by his own creation/invention/weapon. Pitch is the second.
- Shen shares other similarities with Pitch:
- Both didn't hate the protagonist themselves at first (Shen, Po; Pitch, Jack Frost), but a group the protagonist was part of (Pandas in Shen's case, Guardians in Pitch's case)
- Tried to kill the protagonist at repetitive attempts
- Shen's name means "God" in Chinese, further explaining his personality.
- Shen and Kai are the most evil villains of the Kung Fu Panda movie franchise, even though they're not pure evil.
- According with Jeffrey Katzenberg, if DreamWorks Animation release Kung Fu Panda 4, Shen will be the main antagonist, suggesting that he survived to his cannon fireworks.
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