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The Monkey King Netflix Release Date, Cast, And Plot - What We Know So Far

Netflix is going all-in on "Journey to the West" adaptations. The streamer already co-funded two seasons of a live-action version of the story from New Zealand, "The New Legends of Monkey," a campy "Xena: Warrior Princess"-style romp through the forests of Aotearoa. Now Netflix has greenlit an animated version, "The Monkey King," executive produced by "Kung Fu Hustle" star Stephen Chow. Chow has already tackled the Monkey King and his shenanigans once before — producing, co-writing, and co-directing "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons," and producing and co-writing its sequel "Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back."

According to the Netflix Family Twitter account, "The Monkey King" will be produced by "Over the Moon” producer Peilin Chou and "Wonder Park" producer Kendra Haaland. The series will be directed by veteran effects animator and film director Anthony Stacchi, whose credits include everything from VFX on "Back to the Future” to writing and directing the Academy Award-nominated "The BoxTrolls." Netflix also highlighted that this version of the Monkey King's story would have an all-Asian cast. Here's everything else we know so far.

When will The Monkey King premiere on Netflix?

Netflix has not given an official release date for "The Monkey King." The show was announced in conjunction with two other animated projects: "Boons and Curses," which will be inspired by the myths and legends of ancient South Asia, and "Mech Cadets," which is based on the comic series "Mech Cadet Yu" by Marvel Comics veteran Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa.

Netflix has a full and varied library of animated series and films. "Castlevania" Season 4 came out in May 2021, and a new series from the director of "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" is due out in late May. According to Thrillist, the show will be about two robots that raise a human baby on a post-apocalyptic earth. A new "Sailor Moon" movie is coming to Netflix in June 2021, as is a new Sony Pictures Animated feature, to follow up the studio's other big Netflix hit "The Mitchells vs. The Machines."

Who is in the cast of The Monkey King

In their announcement, Netflix put special emphasis on the all-Asian cast of "The Monkey King." For too long, stories set in Asia have used non-Asian actors. It was the industry standard for one person (often white) to voice as many characters of as many backgrounds as humanly possible. And although the skills of 1,000-voice legends like Mel Blanc, Frank Welker, Billy West, and Tress MacNeille can't be denied, creators have been recognizing the importance of finding a diversity of talent for their projects.

"The Monkey King" will feature the voice talents of Jimmy O. Yang ("Silicon Valley"), Bowen Yang ("Saturday Night Live"), Jolie Hoang-Rappaport ("Watchmen"), stand-up comic Jo Koy, Ron Yuan ("Mulan"), Hoon Lee ("The King and I" on Broadway), Stephanie Hsu ("Mrs. Maisel"), Andrew Pang, Andrew Kishino, Jodi Long, James Sie, and the legendary BD Wong ("Law & Order: SVU," "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"). We don't know what specific roles the members of this all-star cast will be taking, but the heavy presence of comedians makes it clear that this action-comedy will be leaning into the comedy.

What is the plot of The Monkey King?

Netflix has stated that this adaptation of "Journey to the West" will focus on "a very special Monkey, and his magical fighting Stick." "Dragonball" fans will recognize the fighting stick as just one detail that links Goku with the legendary Monkey King. "Journey to the West" has been adapted dozens of times — in movies, anime, and famously, in the West, as a gag dub of a cheesy '80s show called "Monkey Magic."

Per Netflix, Monkey and his Stick will "team up to fight against gods, demons, dragons, and the greatest enemy of all, Monkey's own hubris!" Monkey is often a very prideful character. In "The New Legends of Monkey," Monkey's hubris is what allows demons to take over the human realm, and it gets him frozen in a mountain for a few hundred years. Monkey is often joined on his exploits by a monk, a pig demon, and a river spirit. It is unclear whether these recognizable friends will join this version of the Monkey King, or if it's just going to be him and his Stick.

There's a reason this story has been adapted over and over again. The Monkey King is an intrinsically interesting character, overpowered by the fatal flaw of pride. Stephen Chow is known for his blending of comedy and action in the live-action sphere, and it will be exciting to see what he does with animation.