Netflix Casts Classic ’80s Reboot ‘Legend of Monkey’

Netflix keeps greenlighting reboots of classic series sure to tug on the heartstrings of nostalgia seekers everywhere. In light of Netflix’s 90s reboots Fuller House, Carmen Sandiego, and Mystery Science Theater 3000, the streaming service has recently announced and cast The Legend of Monkey, a remake of the classic 1980s Japanese adventure series Monkey Magic. The English-language dub of Monkey Magic was syndicated throughout the 80s and became a cult-classic.

Monkey Magic was itself a reboot of a classic story that has its origins in a 16th-century novel called Journey to the West. The novel recounts the tale of a Buddhist monk who journeys to India and back to recover sacred ancient scrolls. Along the way, the monk encounters dangers and colorful characters galore, including Sun Wukong, the “Monkey King,” and Pigsy, a half-human, half-pig abomination who has been punished by the gods. The novel has been re-made into numerous literary and media adaptations in the some five-hundred years since its writing.

A scene from 'Monkey Magic.'
A scene from cult classic ‘Monkey Magic.’

Netflix’s new reboot of Journey to the West is being co-produced with See-Saw Films along with Australia’s ABC1 and New Zealand’s TVNZ. Michael Carrington, Head of children’s programming at ABC1, says the new reboot will bring this new series to an entirely new audience:

Our production partner See-Saw Films is bringing The Legend of Monkey to life through incredible locations and sets, an acclaimed production team and an exciting diverse young cast. We can’t wait for fans to see this new series that features the heroes they love and we are just as excited to introduce this reimagined magical and exciting world to a whole new generation of viewers.

Kiwi actors Josh Thompson (Gary of the Pacific) and Luciane Buchanan (Filthy Rich) alongside Australian actors Chai Hansen (The 100) and Emilie Cocquerel (Lion). The casting choices have already drawn criticism for the fact that The Legend of Monkey seems to be yet another example of a Chinese story cast entirely by Caucasian actors. Nevertheless, the ten-episode first season is scheduled to debut on Netflix in 2018.