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John Woo directing adaptation of unreleased Stan Lee comic-book

Monkey Master concept art.
(Image credit: Graphic India)

Beloved action filmmaker John Woo is set to produce a live-action adaptation of Stan Lee’s Monkey Master, an unreleased collaboration from Lee and Graphic India co-founder and CEO Sharad Devarajan. 

The film will be based on the unreleased comic book series, which follows New York City archeologist Li Yong, who discovers an ancient prophecy about the Chinese legend of The Monkey King that brings him to India, where he uncovers a hidden power that transforms him into a modern-day superhero – the Monkey Master. 

Lee spoke about Monkey Master in past interviews, saying of the character in 2016: "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 super-powers."

Monkey Master isn’t the only character Lee and Devarajan created collaboratively, also working together on the Indian superhero project Chakra: The Invincible, which spawned graphic novels and three films.

Woo and Devarajan will serve as producers on the unreleased superhero story along with Gill Champion, POW! Entertainment president and Lee’s longtime business partner, and Lori Tilkin, head of the production at Woo’s Los Angeles-based A Better Tomorrow Films.

It will be exciting to see if Monkey Master will be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and how he will be introduced. Several of Lee’s characters, spanning the Marvel universe and beyond, have previously generated over $32 billion at the global box office. That number is expected to grow with the theatrical releases of Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Eternals rounding out the year. 

Stephanie is a comic book historian and pop culture critic for publications including SYFYFANGRRLS, Marvel, The A.V. Club, Nerdist, Den of Geek, and Rotten Tomatoes. Stephanie is also a comic creator with three ongoing webcomics, Parenthood Activate!, But What If Though?, and Living Heroes. She made her Marvel debut with a short story featuring Monica Rambeau in Marvel’s Voices: Legacy. She recently made her DC Comics debut in Wonder Woman Black and Gold #2 and is co-writing the Nubia and the Amazons miniseries.