Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo is set to produce a Chinese superhero movie based on a story created by the late Stan Lee and his longtime collaborator Sharad Devarajan.
The film will be an adaptation of ‘Monkey Master’, an unreleased comic book series that Lee and Devarajan created in 2016 as a loose riff on the Chinese legend of The Monkey King. The film will follow New York City archaeologist Li Yong as he discovers an ancient prophecy about the Monkey King, which brings him to India where he uncovers a hidden power that transforms him into a modern-day superhero, The Monkey Master.
The film is in development and it’s possible that Woo, famous for his action choreography in films like ‘Face-Off’, ‘Mission Impossible 2’ and ‘Red Cliff’, could later board it as a director.
Lee discussed the story in 2016 shortly after writing it, saying, “I have always been fascinated by the Chinese and Indian cultures, which are so philosophical and rich in tradition and morality. I’ve written countless superheroes of every nationality and every part of the world before, I’ve even created many heroes from other planets and galaxies, but Monkey Master will be unique in how it interweaves myth to create a modern-day hero that will entertain fans across the world with his martial arts skills and unstoppable superpowers.”
Woo and Devarajan, who is the founder and CEO of Graphic India, will serve as producers for the adaptation along with Gill Champion, president of Lee’s former company POW! Entertainment, and Lori Tilkin, head of the production at Woo’s A Better Tomorrow Films.
Lee and Devarajan previously collaborated on the Indian superhero property Chakra: The Invincible, which became a series of graphic novels and three films that aired on Cartoon Network.
The Monkey King is one of the central characters of the 16th-century classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, which is one of the most frequently adapted stories of traditional Chinese literature. Nearly every year there is a major Chinese film released that retells some aspect of Journey to the West’s sprawling mythology.
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