Netflix is teaming up with broadcast companies in Australia and New Zealand to bring back the childhood favorite “Monkey Magic” to screens around the world; however, not everyone is so excited about this burst of eighties nostalgia.
Titled “The Legend of the Monkey,” the remake will be approximately the gazillionth retelling of the 16th century Chinese classic, the Journey to the West, one of China’s four great classic novels. This version will focus on a teenage girl who falls in with three fallen deities with mystical powers who try to “bring an end to a demonic reign of chaos and restore balance to their world”.
However, after looking at the promotional photo, some online couldn’t help but notice that none of the main actors were Chinese, accusing producers of “whitewashing” one of China’s most beloved legends.
Something's missing from the cast of Legend of the Monkey King, based on the Chinese fable. But what 😐 pic.twitter.com/aPH5ggsSdB
— That's McClearious™ (@syxseed) April 20, 2017
They're whitewashing The Monkey King. White people won't stop. https://t.co/EzvEeBdfZy
— Remember Theramore (@Feathermoonie) April 25, 2017
— Fooi-Ling Khoo (@oofarchitecture) April 21, 2017
Like "Journey to the West" is not a reference to all the characters turning white,.
— Snarky Platypus (@SnarkyPlatypus) April 20, 2017
But others have argued that the familiar practice of “whitewashing” may not really apply in this case. A Thai actor plays the Monkey in the series, while two of the other main actors have Maori backgrounds. Still, Emilie Cocquerel, who will play Sandy, is white and web users have wondered if producers could not have found an Asian actor to play the part.
The series is being produced by See-Saw Films, backed by Australia’s ABC, New Zealand’s TVNZ and Netflix. It has already started filming and is scheduled to be released in 2018 as ten half-hour episodes. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can catch up on the original Japanese series on YouTube.
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