Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) fights hand-to-hand with a martial arts style called Cai Li Fo, a Chinese martial art that normally uses a metal fan for defensive and distraction purpose. However, being a peacock, Lord Shen uses his large tail feathers for that purpose instead.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman did an uncredited polish on the script. Previously, he had noted in an interview that he saw Kung Fu Panda (2008) with his daughter, and was impressed by the film.
During the first shot of Mr. Ping's restaurant, he says that it serves both noodles and tofu. This is a reference to the previous Kung Fu Panda (2008), where Mr. Ping stated he previously had a dream of running away and learning how to make tofu. Apparently, Po realizing his dream, convinced him to do the same.
After the original Kung Fu Panda (2008) was released, DreamWorks Animation planned a second film with the subtitle Pandamoneum, which was changed by 2010 to The Kaboom of Doom, before simply being retitled to Kung Fu Panda 2.
Oogway, Commander Vachir, Zeng, and Tai Lung are the only characters from Kung Fu Panda (2008) that do not return in this film, though Oogway in spirit form does appear on the DreamWorks logo at the start of the film, and Tai Lung in a flashback.
Lord Shen's wolf army had a much more tender backstory than being simple-minded mercenaries: the lore of the film states that the wolves were the palace's royal guards, and that Shen, as a young Prince, was the only member of the royal family to play with the wolves, feed them, and basically treat them as his own kin, which bought him the wolves' loyalty and devotion.
This marks Jean-Claude Van Damme in his debut for his first voice-over film, and first animated film. Since he started his career in the late 80s, martial arts or action films have been his chosen works.
Even though it's a fully 3-D CGI animated film, some 2-D animation is featured, from the films opening, the flashback scenes Po has, and even just some of the ways a scene is animated. The perspective of the characters, coupled with the dynamic or balanced color "flattens" the 3-D animation to form a hybrid between 3-D and 2-D, also, a few shots, such as the panning shot over the cities, draws from both the way cities where portrayed in older epic films by using miniatures and models, and how the early 2-D DreamWorks films used CGI rendered cities and effects blended to resemble the 2-D animation.
The Soothsayer's role during the peacocks' regime, was not only to be the royal family's trusted fortune teller, but also to be young Shen's nanny. With this, her name was revealed in behind-the-scenes artwork as Ah Mah.
One master that would have joined the Masters' Council of Gongmen City was Master Boar. Initially meant to be a warrior alongside Masters Storming Ox and Croc, Boar was dropped, due to the complexity of his design. The rolls of fat on his neck were too hard to animate, reminiscent of the problems the animators had with Po.
Lord Shen originally had a secretary-like servant, in the form of a surly-looking female monkey, who diligently took notes for him and brought him tea. She was cut out of the final film, and left as a concept art character.
This film had the shortest production cycle of the Kung Fu Panda film franchise so far, having been in production for three years after the release of Kung Fu Panda (2008). The first film had been in production for four years, while Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) had been in production for four and a half years.
The official name for Lord Shen's ancestral palace is the Tower of the Sacred Flame. Several elements of the palace are centered on the four seasons. The watchtowers surrounding the palace have the motif of winter, spring, summer, or autumn, as do some of the tapestries.
The Soothsayer's large horns are indicative of the great emotional weight that her prophecy has on her, and her outfit itself has six different textile patterns, based off an image the filmmakers found of a native of Tibet.
In one deleted concept referred to in post-production as the Dinner of Deception, Lord Shen would have had Po and the Furious Five over at his palace as honored guests, sitting them down to a feast in their honor, with the ulterior motive of poisoning them as they dined, but through one way or another, Shen's attempts at killing them would have gone wrong. In another concept, Po would have stayed at Shen's palace for the night, along with the Five, and Shen would have been standing over Po's bed, ready to attack.
At around one hour and nineteen minutes) At the end of the movie, when Po is telling Mr. Ping that he found his "real" dad, there is a sign on the wall behind Mr. Ping. It has chopsticks and a yellow slash on a red background--and looks like a "generic" McDonald's Happy Meal box. (The lower chopstick gives the illusion of the characteristic fold.) McDonald's included toys for the first movie and this one, so it makes sense for this to be an Easter Egg.
During the battle between the heroes and the wolves in the village, there is a bunny providing background music, while being juggled about by the heroes. The instrument he is playing is the liuqin, a four stringed Chinese mandolin. It is distinguishable from the pipa, in that the liuqin is significantly smaller, and has two holes on the front, flanking the strings. It would seem appropriate that the liuqin is used here in this fashion, as it is the instrument of choice for providing accompaniment for folk Chinese opera, which is noted for its martial arts styled choreography.