Lord Shen (simply known as Shen) is the main antagonist of DreamWorks's 22nd full-length animated feature film, Kung Fu Panda 2. He is an evil, disowned, and manipulative peacock prince who wanted to take over China and destroy Kung Fu with his cannons. He is Po's second enemy, the Soothsayer's former master and the Wolves' leader.
He was voiced by the legendary British actor, Gary Oldman, who also played Baron Ruber, Dreyfus, Mason Verger, Norman Stansfield, General Grawl, Egor Korshunov, Drexl Spivey, Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, Carnegie, and Count Dracula.
Shen is shown to be smart, ambitious, intellectual, and supremely lethal. His past forged in him the notion that he had been wronged, and that the world owed him something, and he sought to do everything in his power to take it. This included inventing a powerful weapon unlike anyone had ever seen before. Shen was intent on using this weapon to wipe out kung fu and take over China.
Shen is shown to be unspeakably ruthless and diabolical, willing to commit a genocide of China's pandas in order to smite any chances that one would someday defeat him, as described in a fortune-telling he overheard. Raised as royalty, Shen largely preferred to let his weapons and his henchmen do the hard work rather than dealing with such obstacles himself. His ambition to leave his mark on the world drove him to find a dark and destructive potential in his family's celebrated invention of fireworks, and when cast out by his parents for his massacre of the pandas, he swore revenge and aimed to conquer all of China to prove himself. Shen had little or no regard for the life or well-being of others, as he blasted a bridge without hesitation, despite there being innocent bystanders on it, and was willing to sacrifice his own troops, which put him in conflict with his most trusted subordinate Boss Wolf. The wolf refused to kill his own warriors, and for this disobedience, Shen struck him down without a second thought.
Shen is also an idealistic perfectionist, which was shown when he took over the Tower of the Sacred Flame and fussed over the position of his cannon, saying that he envisioned the moment he would retake Gongmen City for years and that everything had to be exactly as he envisioned it, and when he was rehearsing intimidating lines for his confrontation with his destined foe (which went to waste due to Po's offhanded nature). He also demonstrated a fondness of expensive materials and luxury, as shown when he became infuriated when the Soothsayer chewed off the hem of his robes, which he claimed to be made of "the finest silk in the province".
Shen is also shown to be rather short-tempered, argumentative, and cantankerous. When Po and the Furious Five escaped from the collapsing Tower of the Sacred Flame, he became furious and kicked one of his gorilla followers in the nose. Additionally, when he ordered Boss Wolf to gather the wolves shortly after the incident, he screamed at him repetitively to do the task even after the wolf hurried away to do so.
Shen also seems to have a low tolerance for pain (despite being a seasoned master of kung fu and swordsmanship), such as when Soothsayer plucked out one of his smallest down feathers. He yelped loudly and pulled his wing back, acting as if he were badly injured. He also didn't care about tradition and ancestry, as he ordered his minions to bring down the Tower of the Sacred Flame despite the fact that it had been his family's ancestral home for over twenty years.
Prideful and possibly deranged, Shen seemed to carry little to no remorse for his crimes, and would often boast of his accomplishments. He is also shown to be sadistic and manipulative. When confronting the Kung Fu Council, he gleefully stated that his cannon was a "parting gift" that would literally part them: "part of you here, part of you there, part of you way over there staining the wall!" showing that he was rather bloodthirsty and egotistical. He also takes pleasure in cruelly lying Po that his parents didn't love him and taking advantage of the panda's pain. This cruelty likely stemmed from Shen's conviction that his own parents hated him, forged in his mind when they banished him years ago. Shen's bitterness against his parents went as far as to insult his father's memory by throwing his throne out the window and replacing it with his cannon, despite just commenting that he had fond memories of playing around it as a child.
However, the Soothsayer opposes his plans. She tried to reason with Shen to change his ways, and, even while being his prisoner and showing occasional mockery towards him, displayed her concern for the reckless decisions he made. Despite his conviction that his parents had wronged and hated him, she related that his parents had actually loved him so much that they died of grief after they had to banish him. Although he paused in thoughtful silence upon hearing this, Shen hardened his heart, freeing and dismissing the Soothsayer, and proceeded with his conquest.
Shen chose to accept success, seen when he furiously struck one of his followers for failing to kill Po and the Five when they escaped the Tower, stating that "nothing stands in my way." After Po defeated Shen's unstoppable weapons, Shen tried his best to kill the panda, but accidentally sealed his own fate by slicing through the ropes that held up his cannon. At the very end of his life, Shen finally accepted that he had been beaten and did not attempt to save himself when his own cannon crushed him.
When Shen was ready to become the next peacock ruler of Gongmen City, the Soothsayer goat gave a prophecy to his parents that he would eventually be defeated by a warrior of black and white, but only if he was to continue pursuing his path of using his father's art of fireworks for warfare to take control of China. Shen hears about this while eavesdropping on them, but rather than rethinking over his goals to put in a better destiny for himself, Shen instead decides to avert the prophecy by leading his wolf gang to massacre a nearby village of pandas.
After the massacre was complete, Shen returns back to his palace with pride but is distraught to see that his family is horrified and disgusted by what he has done. Lord Shen's father angrily considered him to be a disgrace to their family name and sentences him and his wolf gang to exile as punishment for slaughtering the pandas. Believing that his parents hated him and feeling he did so as self-defense to further his goals, Shen angrily swore that he will return and reclaim what's rightfully his. Following Shen's exile, his family became very depressed during their rule and later died out of grief, giving their power to the Gongmen Kung Fu Council.
During his twenty years in exile, deep in the mountains, Shen's wolves worked tirelessly to complete their master's ultimate weapon: a cannon that would bring an end to the use of Kung Fu. When Boss Wolf informed him that they had run out of metal to use as material, Shen ordered him to attack the farthest villages and steal all the metal they could find. While he and a group of wolves set out to do so, Shen decided that it was time to move forward with his plans.
Kung Fu Panda 2 Edit
Once two decades have passed, Shen took back the control of the Gongmen City by force while using his new, powerful weapon: A cannon. With it, he killed the senior Master Thundering Rhino, imprisoned the other Kung Fu Masters, Ox and Croc, by threatening to use the cannon against the city and took back his palace, plotting to spread his power. It was then that Po, Shifu, and the Furious Five learned of Lord Shen's treachery and the threat of his weapon, realizing it could bring about a new style of warfare, which could mean the end of Kung Fu.
With the Council out of the way, Shen began to ransack the tower, even tossing his father's throne out the window and replacing it with his cannon (despite stating his fond memories of the throne). He then questioned the Soothsayer about his future, but she informed him that nothing had changed; he would still be defeated by "a warrior of black and white". Shen declared this to be impossible, but was quickly proven wrong when Boss Wolf returned, informing him that he had battled a panda whom, he commented, "fought like a demon". Shen, furious at this news yet determined to keep his cool, ordered Boss Wolf to bring the panda to him so he could kill Po himself and prove the Soothsayer wrong.
Later, when the panda, Po Shan, was brought before him alongside the Furious Five in handcuffs, Shen was taken aback by Po's casual behavior of not being intimidated by him or the situation. Much to the Soothsayer's surprise and Shen's amusement, it soon became clear that Po was unaware of the massacre of the pandas, and of Shen's role in it. He laughed and taunted him about his ignorance, and then ordered the Wolf Boss to fire the cannon at Po and the Five. However, Mantis quickly extinguished the fuse and knocked Boss Wolf out, which bought Viper enough time to pick the lock on Tigress' cuffs. Once they were free, the Five attacked, and Tigress and Mantis destroyed Shen's cannon.
Po lunged at Shen, but upon seeing the marks on Shen's tail feathers, was struck with a memory of his past, and realized that Shen was there the night he lost his biological parents. Shen only confirmed this with satisfaction and made use of the opportunity to escape to the Fireworks Factory, where he had several more cannons waiting. He ordered his warriors to open fire and bring the tower down with Po and the Five inside. Despite this, they managed to escape as the building collapsed.
After the following battle, Shen escapes to his cannon factory, out of the palace, and Po and the Furious Five barely manage to escape. Shen then proceeds with his plan to begin his assault on China using his cannons and expanding his empire, declaring the beginning of "the Year of the Peacock".
Shen later gloated to the Soothsayer that she was wrong about Po since the panda had failed to defeat him. But she only criticized Shen for destroying his ancestral home. She asked Shen if conquering China would finally satisfy him. Shen is clearly shocked, having never considered what he'll do after he succeeds in conquering China, but is quick to brush off his doubt, snarkily replying "It's a start. I might also convert the basement into a dungeon." When arguing with him failed to change his mind, the Soothsayer tried to reason with Shen, stating that his destruction will never bring him satisfaction and begged him to stop so his parents could rest in peace. Shen insisted that his parents had hated and wronged him, but she said that they had loved him so much that they died of grief. His cold response to this news made it very clear to the Soothsayer that he was determined to follow the path of destruction. Shen then ordered his guards to set her free. Deeply saddened, the Soothsayer told him goodbye and wished him happiness as she left. Shen does not watch her leave.
Meanwhile, the Furious Five tried to blow up the factory with the explosives while keeping Po back at the Gongmen city prison, along with Croc and Storming Ox (who was starting to show weakness from discovering the truth of his family). However, Po sneaks into the factory to confront Shen and learn more about his past, inadvertently interfering with the Five's plan. Shen, taking Po's weakness by lying that Po's parents hated him and abandoned him, manages to shoot the panda with his cannon; sending Po out of the factory and into the river. Confident that the Panda was dead, the wicked peacock then orders his wolves to capture the Five and prepare his armada.
Po is found and healed by the Soothsayer, who helps him attain inner peace and return to face Lord Shen again as he begins his assault. It was then Po realized his father defended him against the wolves from killing him, and his mother sacrificed herself to save him from Shen's wrath.
Shen has the Furious Five chained up and suspended above his ships as they sailed out of the city. But much to his shock and rage, Master Po comes back and tries to rescue his friends and defeat Shen once and for all. Shen orders his gunners to blast him, but Po nimbly moves along the rooftops, preventing them from getting a clear shot, and then jumps onto the ships to engage Shen's army, now that they couldn't fire without hitting their own men. Lord Shen could do nothing but watch as Po freed the Furious Five and joined forces with Masters Storming Ox, Croc and Shifu and a tremendous battle ensued andd the canal was eventually blocked just before the harbor, preventing the armada from progressing.
Losing his patience Shen orders the Wolf Boss to to fire the cannon at the blockage, not even caring his own soldiers would be killed in the blast. When Boss Wolf refused to do the deed, the wicked peacock coldly strikes him with one of his throwing knives and fires the cannon himself, knocking all the kung fu warriors away and clearing away the blockage, leaving all but Po too injured and weak to continue fighting.
However, Po, having attained his inner peace by letting his memory of his parents flow through him rather than fighting it, manages to redirect all of the cannonballs back at Lord Shen's fleet, much to the other kung fu masters' surprise. After the ships were all destroyed and the rest of Shen's army defeated, Po confronts the exhausted Shen on his ruined flagship, revealing to the peacock that he has prevented his own past from taking over his present and urges Shen to do the same thing, stating that what matters most is choosing his own future.
Though Shen agrees with Po of choosing his own future, he refuses to let go of his pain. Without hesitation, Shen attacks Po with his lance and knives, quickly gaining the upper hand. However, as they fight, Shen, in his blind fury, accidentally slashes through the ropes holding up the remains of his last cannon. Shen notices this too late as the heavy weapon topples over and falls towards him. Seeing now that he has finally lost, Shen accepts his fate by closing his eyes as he gets crushed to death by the cannon. The gunpowder in the cannon blows up, resulting in a great explosion that sinks the remains of the ship into the waters. However, Po narrowly escapes unscathed, thus the prophecy became fulfilled.
Throughout the film, Shen had been troubled by his fear of Po stopping, even killing him. He was also troubled by the memory of how his family had banished him, refusing to accept the fact that his actions against the pandas have made them mad at him in the first place, and instead believe that they never loved him. The Soothsayer and Po both implored him to stop his actions and find peace of mind and happiness. Tragically, in his final moments, Shen did find peace of mind and happiness.
Kung Fu Panda 3 Edit
Shen doesn't make a live appearance in Kung Fu Panda 3, where it turns out that several pandas (led by Po's father Li Shan) have escaped Shen's slaughter and have taken refuge in a village in the mountains, However, a few scenes before Po and Li rally the village together to defeat Kai and his Jombies, Shen is briefly seen near the end of a recycled flashback told by Li of how he lost his family.
- He has a similar color pattern to Lord Vireka (white and red).
- His tail consisted 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 "Destroy Bob the Builder Destroyer", he was defeated by Master Po, and then by Black and White Spies.
- Lord Shen has more fans than Tai Lung (the main antagonist of the first Kung Fu Panda movie), whom he shares many personality traits with.
- Lord Shen is the only Kung Fu Panda character to have artificial body parts.
- Lord Shen has a bit of a comparison to Darth Traya 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 is often regarded as one of the (if not, the) darkest Kung Fu Panda villains.
- However, as the matter of fact, Shen is the only Kung Fu Panda villain so far who committed a mass genocide upon a certain group of animals.
- Shen is the only villain in the Kung Fu Panda films who has not met Shifu or Oogway.
- Shen is the first main villain of Kung Fu Panda movies who has an army, being followed by Kai as the second, with his army of Jombies.
- Shen being born white is intentionally symbolic for his character as a villain, as white symbolizes death in Chinese culture.
- Shen is the most honorable villain in the Kung Fu Panda franchise since he accepts his defeat and death with dignity while both Tai Lung and Kai scream in horror when they meet their demise.
- Shen didn't appear physically in Kung Fu Panda 3, but he appears in the flashback of Po. However, he isn't mentioned by his name at any moment.
- Shen is often regarded as one of the most popular DreamWorks villains.
- Shen is similar to the following villains:
- Penguin from Batman Returns. They appear in movie sequels, are born with monstrous traits, disowned by their parents at childhood, grow up to be mortal enemies of the protagonists, accept their identities by putting their deceased parents behind them, and die with honor.
- Pitch Black from Rise of the Guardians, another computer animated film made by Dreamworks:
- They were defeated by their own creations/inventions/weapons.
- 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.
- Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- Both despise a group. (Pandas in Shen's case; Gypsies in Frollo's Case).
- Both Control an Army. (The Wolves in Shen's case; The Notre Dame Soldiers in Frollo's case.)
- Both Are Paranoid Villains.
- Both are Game Changers.
- Both are Terrorists.
- Both are the Main Antagonists of their films.
- Both pursued and killed the protagonist's mother at the Protagonist (Quasimodo and Po) at infant age.
- Both are insane.
- However, Shen has some redeeming qualities...
- ... like he apparently fell sad about his parents' punishments upon him as well as their demise, willingly sent the Soothsayer free and spared her, and admitted that his crimes of killing Po's parents (despite he did not know about Li Shan's survival) as something horrible which "scarred [Po's] life"...
- ... whereas Frollo has no redeeming qualities at all...
- since Frollo never felt sad in killing Quasimodo's mother, and not only Frollo tried to make Esmeralda his victim if she refused to become his possession, but also he tried to kill Quasimodo after proudly admitting his murder of Quasimodo's mother - even the murder attempt of an infant Quasimodo - as something righteous which he "should have done 20 years ago".
- Scar from Disney's The Lion King.
- They are remarkably intelligent and manipulative.
- They have henchmen that are related to the dog family (Shen: Wolves, Scar: Hyenas).
- They are responsible for the murder of the protagonists' parents (Shen killed Po's mother, Scar killed Mufasa).
- They are very well-mannered, but also vicious and ruthless.
- They wind up defeating themselves in the end (Shen wound up getting smashed by his own cannon, Scar betrayed his henchmen and wound up getting eaten by them).
- However, there are differences.
- Shen is a racist against Pandas. While Scar doesn't actually hold racism.
- Shen has a few redeeming qualities, while Scar had none.
- However, there are differences.
- Ego from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
- They serve as the main antagonist in a sequel.
- They are responsible for the murder of the protagonists' mothers. Because of this, they are indirectly responsible for the events of the first film in their respective franchises.
- They are Game Changers.
- They are incredibly smart, calm and manipulative, but also unhinged.
- They even dress in light-colored clothing.
- However, Shen is a tragic villain, while Ego is Pure Evil.