Tai Lung's Past
Tai Lung was found as a cub by Master Shifu. Shifu raised him as his own son, having "loved him like no other", and trained him in the arts of Kung Fu.
Tai Lung became a formidable fighter, and was the first to master the thousand scrolls of Kung Fu. But even that power wasn't enough for him. He wanted the Dragon Scroll, which was believed to hold the secret to limitless power, to which it acts as the source of Tai Lung's growing pride.
But Shifu's mentor Grand Master Oogway sensed his overwhelming pride that will result dark pursuits, and respectfully refused to let him have it. At that rate, Tai Lung's pride turns into rage, and Tai Lung takes it out by laying waste to the Valley of Peace, and tried to take the scroll by force, where Master Oogway and Master Shifu are waiting for him.
Shifu attempts to stop Tai Lung on his rampage, but is unwilling to harm the one who he considers to be a son. Eventually, Tai Lung didn't hesistate to push Shifu out of the way, crippling him in the process, due to the fact that Shifu was unable to stand up for Tai Lung when Oogway denied him the Dragon Scroll. Just before Tai Lung was about to get hold of the Dragon Scroll, he was stopped by Master Oogway, who blocks up his chi, rendering him unconscious.
He was then locked into a prison with thousands of guards, weapons, two boulders chained to his arms, and a jade shell on his back to immobilize him as punishment for his crimes against the Valley.
20 Years Later
20 years later, Tai Lung escapes from Chorh-Gom Prison; meanwhile, in the Valley of Peace, the potential Dragon Warrior (Po) is being trained to fight Tai Lung. But the problem is that while Tai Lung was locked away, he had much time to meditate, and became stronger than ever before. He is faster, stronger, and now more powerful than his former father and teacher Master Shifu.
During the final battle, he and Po came face-to-face and fought over the Dragon Scroll themselves and tried to outdo each other and retrieve the scroll (that was before Tai Lung could kill Shifu with his claws for the scroll when he found out it was gone and Po took it).
After the fight, Po managed to defeat (and supposedly kills) Tai Lung by using the Wuxi Finger Hold, which causes a huge gold explosion that ends his reign of terror.
Kung Fu Panda Holiday
Tai Lung appeared at the beginning of the special as part of Mr. Ping's nightmare, where he appeared giant-sized and battled Po, who remarked that he thought Tai Lung was dead before being cut off with Tai Lung slamming his paw on him. After a brief fight, Tai Lung was defeated once again when the panda kicked him and sent him flying off into the horizon, exploding into a portal-like light on impact.
In Legendary Warriors
It was shown that Tai Lung had survived his battle with Po. To enact his plan for revenge, he gathered multiple clans and gangs, including the Wu Sisters, to capture enough villagers so that their energy can power his new weapon, which would give him super strength. Po, Tigress, Shifu, and Monkey managed to defeat Tai Lung and his allies.
In Legends of Awesomeness
Though Tai Lung makes no live appearance in the series, he is shown in flashbacks and is mentioned on more than one occasion:
In "Rhino's Revenge", Tai Lung made a brief cameo during Hundun's flashback of the snow leopard's escape from Chorh-Gom Prison.
At the end of "The Kung Fu Kid", it was revealed that Peng (a kung fu prodigy) was Tai Lung's nephew and has been searching everywhere for him, much to Po's shock and horror.
In "Master and the Panda," Peng ended up learning the truth about what had happened to Tai Lung and attacked Po, who tried to tell Peng that his uncle was a villain, but Peng calls him a liar. Later, Peng ended up corrupted by the Gong Lu Medallion and fought Po in a battle that mirrored Po's fight with Tai Lung. Po later used a shift stone to assume the form of Tai Lung in order to convince Peng to remove the Gong Lu Medallion and succeeded, Peng declaring he is not like his uncle and does not want to be.
In Kung Fu Panda 2
While not actually appearing in the sequel, Tai Lung was briefly mentioned when Po was put in eight-point acupressure cuffs, Po pointing out they the same type of cuffs had once held Tai Lung. He was also seen briefly in Po's memories during his flashback, when they were battling at the end of the first film.
In Kung Fu Panda 3
Though Tai Lung has no corporeal presence in the film, his fate is alluded to, as the Wuxi Finger Hold plays a major part in the film's events. It was also revealed that mortals who have the hold used on them are sent to the Spirit Realm, and additionally, Tai Lung can be seen as one of Kai's amulets around his waist, representing the kung fu masters in the Spirit Realm that had their chi taken by Kai.
Earlier in the film, Po is shown playing with his action figures while taking a bath, one of which is an action figure of Tai Lung.
As an adult, Tai Lung was shown to be dark, dangerous, and arrogant. However, in the past when he was raised and trained by Shifu, he seemed to be a happy, energetic cub with much talent and dedication to the arts of kung fu and was viewed as a kung fu prodigy in the eyes of his loving father and master. Over the years, Tai Lung grew to into a strong and fierce warrior, having achieved much as a student, even mastering all one thousand scrolls of kung fu.
However, his ultimate goal was to be the Dragon Warrior and be handed the Dragon Scroll, which he firmly believed was his destiny. However, in the moment when Shifu presented him to Oogway, the old master indicated Tai Lung was not the one, much to their shock. Expecting Shifu to speak for him on his behalf, he received an emotional blow when his master made no attempt to protest and Tai Lung saw this as an act of betrayal. It was this double rejection that revealed the darkness in Tai Lung's heart, expressed in pure rage as he attacked and ravaged the Valley of Peace and later ruthlessly struck Shifu aside when he tried to stop him from taking the Dragon Scroll by force.
Tai Lung's seething rage and fury did not fade even after spending twenty years in prison. However, though he was shown to be patronizing and brutal to anyone standing between him and the Dragon Scroll, it is possible he had no intent to hurt anyone as he was never shown to take a life. He was also revealed to have worked hard in everything he did to make Shifu proud, and was shown to look remorseful and hesitant after hearing Shifu's sincere apology to him. Another example of his vulnerable side was also shown when Tai Lung expressed clear fear and desperation after finally being beaten by Po.
Overall, Tai Lung is a portrait of someone whose pride and ambitions went too far, driving him to violently lash out and try to take what was not his, harming anyone who stood in his way, including the very person whom he wanted to please in the first place. His eventual downfall came from his own denial and his underestimation of Po, as well as his failure to accept that the secret to true power simply comes from within.
Tai Lung is an intimidating fighter who is willing to fight to the extreme, and is both resourceful and unpredictable, having mastered various styles of kung fu. Due to his physiology and lifetime of training, Tai Lung also possesses immense physical strength and was able to punch and tear his way through numerous armored opponents, as well as rock and many other barriers. He was also noted to be a kung fu prodigy from childhood, and the first student of the Jade Palace to master all one-thousand scrolls of kung fu.
Like Shifu, he shows an effortless mastery of speed and was able to move lightning-fast over great distances without tiring, so much that he could suddenly appear in the blink of an eye. He is also capable of defying gravity to an extent, shown when he sprinted and jumped up enormous stalactites while they were falling in mid-air, though this is likely due to his advanced physical speed and acute reflexes. He would use his claws to climb structures, and also seemed willing to use them to strike an enemy as seen in his battlewith Shifu. He also displayed the ability to hold blue fire in his bare paws and use it when fighting, showing no visible signs of pain and demonstrating a high tolerance of it. His pain tolerance is also seen when Po brings him to his knees with multiple blows from his stomach, sending him crashing through buildings and bouncing him high enough to leave a leopard-shaped hole in the ground. He is also seen using chi in some moves, such as his super kick, which he used on Po. This displays his limited skills at using Chi capabilities.
Tai Lung's signature moves include the nerve attack, which, ironically, was the same technique Oogway used to defeat him in his first attempt to steal the Dragon Scroll. Despite this, Tai Lung was capable of using it to paralyze and defeat most of the Furious Five. He also had a signature double-fist punch and a "sucker kick", both of which he used several times in the first film. Unfortunately, the nerve attack proved useless against Po, who only found it incredibly ticklish due to his panda physiology.
Despite being an extremely aggressive fighter, Tai Lung could be patient before taking action as he was able to withstand years of immobile imprisonment before quietly finding a way to free himself. He also used his opponents weapons to his own advantage, as well as other unsuspecting objects nearby, such as rope, a stick, or even a feather, which he used to escape the restraints that held him for twenty years.
Even after being heavily immobilized in jail for two decades, his Kung Fu skills and strength had not deteriorated mostly due to his Chi control technique in general Kung Fu universe. In addition to defeating all the rhino guards of Chorh-Gom prison, he surpassed all of the Furious Five combined, and even Shifu. Despite this, however, he ultimately could not defeat Po in battle, and was defeated by a combination of Po's own skill, natural immunity to his nerve attack and use of the Wuxi Finger Hold.
Discovered by Shifu outside the palace as an infant, Tai Lung was taken in as his son and apprentice, and later displayed an innate talent for kung fu. Shifu proudly raised and trained him, driving him to train hard and believing that he was destined to become the Dragon Warrior, unaware he was tempering in the young snow leopard's heart a lust for power as Tai Lung, at the promise of Shifu, gained the mindset that he was indeed the Dragon Warrior. That proved to not be the case, however, when Oogway refused him the title.
Tai Lung had expected Shifu to speak to Oogway on his behalf, but felt betrayed when Shifu did not, causing the darkness in his heart to explode. When the red panda tried to stop him from taking the Dragon Scroll, Tai Lung viciously attacked him without a second thought, even though Shifu himself had pulled back out of love for his son. Years after these events, Shifu was shown to be stern and withdrawn toward his new students, the result of carrying the emotional burden of Tai Lung's betrayal.
Meanwhile, Tai Lung's rage had intensified a hundredfold while rotting in jail for the next twenty years. When he escaped, he made his way back to the Jade Palace where he confronted Shifu once more. This time, he tried to talk calmly to Shifu, addressing him respectfully as "Master." However, Shifu grimly insisted he was no longer his master and that they were to engage in battle. During the fight, Tai Lung unleashed his anger and blamed Shifu for what went wrong in the past, from letting Oogway's decision stand because of his "weakness", to being the one who gave him the ideals of becoming the Dragon Warrior.
Shifu initially just defended himself against Tai Lung, but finally struck back in anger when Tai Lung carelessly took Oogway's staff, declaring Shifu could be the one to make him the Dragon Warrior now. The battle then became more vicious and Tai Lung yelled that he has done everything he'd done just to make Shifu proud, striking the red panda with blue-flamed fists until Shifu was beaten. Shifu then finally apologized, admitting that it was the pride and love for Tai Lung that had blinded him from seeing his flaws, and seeing what Tai Lung had been turning into. Tai Lung's fury melted away and he hesitated, momentarily at a loss.
Even so, Tai Lung eventually hardened his heart and seized Shifu by the throat, growling he did not want an apology, but the Dragon Scroll, and he demanded the master to reveal its location. Choking in Tai Lung's grip, Shifu repeated that Tai Lung would never have the Dragon Scroll, and, furious, Tai Lung attempted to finish him off, but was interrupted by the arrival of Po, after which he then carelessly threw Shifu to the ground. Hope that the two would reconcile was diminished as a result of the battle.
Upon hearing that Oogway had chosen someone to be the Dragon Warrior, Tai Lung made his move and escaped from prison. During his journey back to the Valley, Tai Lung had apparently heard about the Dragon Warrior, how he "fell out of the sky in a ball of fire" and was "a warrior unlike anything the world has ever seen." He was eager for the opportunity to fight a "worthy opponent" and declared that their battle would be legendary.
He then found himself amused and incredulous to see the Dragon Warrior Oogway had chosen was a "big fat panda", who acted casual and even made a few quips at Tai Lung. Tai Lung then proceeded to try and steal the Dragon Scrollfrom Po, underestimating him and only thinking his kung fu skills had been derived from the Dragon Scroll's "secret to limitless power." Enraged, he fought more seriously and eventually managed to get the scroll from Po, only to find that it was a blank, reflective surface with no secrets written on it. Even while down and injured, Po helpfully tried to explain the scroll's purpose, that the power was within oneself all along.
Confused and frustrated at this, Tai Lung tried to attack Po again, and continued to fight in vain as Po used his own physical attributes to overwhelm the snow leopard to the point where he had Tai Lung in the Wuxi Finger Hold. Tai Lung was afraid to see the technique, but nervously thought that perhaps Po was bluffing and that Shifu never taught him the hold. He was momentarily relieved when Po admitted so until he added he had actually figured it out himself. With the move performed, Tai Lung was defeated by the true Dragon Warrior: A panda he had laughed at upon first meeting.
Tai Lung was unaware that while Oogway observed his training, he did not like what he saw: Shifu's excessive pride was filling Tai Lung's heart with darkness. When Tai Lung was presented before Oogway, he was shocked when Oogway denied him the Dragon Scroll, apparently without hesitation. This, along with Shifu's silent refusal to speak up in his defense, enraged Tai Lung into showing the darkness in his heart by going on rampage through the Valley of Peacebefore trying to take the scroll by force.
After knocking Shifu aside, Tai Lung was ultimately stopped by Oogway, who knocked him unconscious with nerve strikes, but did not kill him. Ever since this incident and being put in Chorh-Gom Prison by the master, Tai Lung held a deep burning grudge against Oogway, even taking his sacred staff from its resting place after hearing of his death, merely using it to demonstrate to Shifu that he had the power to name him the Dragon Warrior and later using it to choke Shifu, snapping the staff apart in the process.
The Furious Five
Tai Lung seemed aware that the five warriors who approached him at the Thread of Hope were Shifu's students, and the Five in turn knew of Tai Lung's history with Shifu, and as noted by Crane were "not really supposed to talk about him". However, led by Tigress, the Furious Five were determined to stop Tai Lung before he could reach the Valley of Peace. Unimpressed to see them, Tai Lung's first reaction was to ask where the Dragon Warriorwas. When Tigress suggested it was her, Tai Lung merely laughed, knowing full well that none of them were the Dragon Warrior, and only boasted how his battle with the real Dragon Warrior would be legendary, as it would be with a "worthy opponent". Angered, Tigress attacked him directly, aided by the rest of the Five.
Though Tai Lung ultimately overpowered them in battle, he seemed to grow some trace of respect for the Furious Five after fighting them as he praised their efforts, but added that Shifu didn't teach them everything and immobilized most of them with his nerve attack. He also did not finish them off, but instead allowed Crane to carry his injured companions back to the Jade Palace as a warning.
The Wu Sisters
In Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors, the Wu Sisters are depicted as Tai Lung's loyal minions.
Tai Lung's outfit consists of a brown-studded belt and a pair of purple slacks, along with Shaolin leg wraps. The material of his pants appears to be the exact pattern and fabric of the blanket Shifu found him wrapped in upon first discovering the cub outside the palace gates.
In some concepts of the character, as well as in Kung Fu Panda: The Game and at the beginning of Kung Fu Panda Holiday (but never in the first film), Tai Lung was also shown wearing a studded shoulder plate and a metal gauntlet on his right arm.
- Tai Lung's name approximately translates in English to "great dragon" (simplified Chinese: 大龙?; traditional Chinese: 大龍; pinyin: dàlóng). The name also comes from the Shaw Brothers Studio star actor, Ti Lung.
- The double-fist punch inadvertently became Tai Lung's signature move, which he performed a total of three times in the first film. Additionally, he is noted to have a "sucker kick" that he uses several times.
- Tai Lung is a snow leopard, which, in the wild, is a predator of both the giant panda and the red panda.
- The voice of baby Tai Lung was supplied by director Mark Osborne's then-six-year-old son Riley Osborne.
- The wok Po used to hit Tai Lung appeared as an Easter egg in Kung Fu Panda 2, where it was briefly seen on the conveyor belt in the Fireworks Factory with Tai Lung's face still forged into it.
- Tai Lung appeared as an Easter egg in Kung Fu Panda 3, where he was briefly seen as one of the jade amulets on Kai's belt.
- Tai Lung was designed to be "the hero of his own story," overcoming obstacles to chase only what he believes to be rightfully his, a concept that was inspired by The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. Tai Lung was also given golden eyes to reflect this, as gold is the symbol of heroism in the films' color theory.
- Tai Lung's introduction in the first film was designed to be reminiscent of that of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.
- For designing Tai Lung, character artist Nicolas Marlet looked to Chinese theatrical makeup as inspiration for Tai Lung's facial fur.
- In the original film, the number of dust particles in the dust cloud created after Tai Lung dives into Po, causing an explosion, added up to 33,588,526.
- The number of tiles Po sent raining down on Tai Lung (who climbed those tiles) in the first movie was 8,260 tiles total.
- Tai Lung was originally going to be the leader of a group of villains.