Netflix is taking a swing at a centuries-old Chinese fable with The New Legends of Monkey, a new series set to premiere on the streaming site on April 27th. The show is based on a Chinese fable from the 16th century called Journey to The West and follows three fallen gods on a quest to aid a young monk in a magical quest to restore peace in a world befallen by demons.
The New Legends of Monkey will star Thai actor Chai Hansen (Mako Mermaids) as the Monkey King, and New Zealand actor Josh Thomson (Gary of the Pacific) and Australian actress Emilie Cocquerel (Lion) as gods Pigsy and Sandy, respectively. Monk Tripitaka is portrayed by New Zealand actress Luciana Buchana.
The 10-part, half-hour series will see Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy use their martial arts mastery and magic powers to guide Tripitaka on a dangerous mission to bring an end to the tyranny of demon power and bring balance back to the universe.
Monkey serves as the series’ anti-hero and is described as a good God who accidentally released a group of demons that has since tormented both humans and Gods. After being frozen in stone as punishment for 500 years, he is freed by Tripitaka and forced to deal with the world he helped create.
The show is being compared to the mythical universes and quests enjoyed in The Chronicle of Narnia and Lord of the Rings movies series.
There is another reason viewers may find the story familiar. The Chinese legend on which The New Legends of Monkey is based is also the loose framework for AMC’s Into the Badlands TV series, as writer and co-showrunner Miles Millar has stated.
In addition, the Dragon Ball franchise, which consists of the anime cartoon series, as well as the original mangas and coinciding films, are also said to be based on Journey to The West, with leading Saiyan Goku based off the Monkey King also known as Sun Wukong.
The New Legends of Monkey was produced for ABC (Australia), Netflix and TVNZ by Oscar and Emmy-winning production company See-Saw Films, along with Jump Film & TV.