The New Legends of Monkey: characters

Chai Hansen as Monkey

Monkey is an enigma — a God. Monkey is centuries old but presents as a young man. Born from a rock on a mountaintop and raised with wild animals in a jungle, Monkey is the ultimate autodidact. Monkey was always the brightest, fastest and best. In today's world he'd be earmarked for an athletic career but in the world of Monkey he was noticed by the Ancient Gods. They saw in him huge potential, a game-changing God who could harness powers of both good and bad to build perfect balance in the universe. Yet Monkey's need for worship and adulation ran him afoul of the powers that be. The Gods were forced to contain his irrepressible energy in a statue that has stood untouched for five hundred years.

Monkey has incredible strength and acrobatic abilities. He has perfected all schools of Kung Fu, and fights with a legendary wishing staff that can change size at will. Monkey also has other powers to rediscover, which are dormant after being trapped in the statue. He is restless, ambitious, and irreverent. He's prone to engage feet and fists before brain and is slow to recognise that doing so often leaves him in the wrong. He does have a wicked sense of humour and deep down a yearning to improve. He just can't help but get into trouble; it's in his nature. Monkey has always felt out of place.

When Tripitaka releases Monkey from his statue prison, she believes that Monkey is the key to the Scholar's quest and her best chance at surviving in a brutal world. As their journey continues, Tripitaka discovers that Monkey was not imprisoned by Demons as the Scholar had led her to believe, but imprisoned by the Gods for a crime he didn't commit. She learns she cannot completely trust Monkey, but she can trust a magical prayer that tightens his immovable crown to keep him by her side and in check. Tethered to Tripitaka, Monkey begins the journey waiting for an opportunity to escape the power of the crown. The whole world has changed in his absence and his fellow Gods are in short supply these days. Monkey develops a sneaking suspicion that he might be responsible for the chaos he sees before him. As the gang pushes further into their quest, Monkey begins to care for his fellow travelers — in particular the equally headstrong Tripitaka.

Chai was born in Ko Samui, Thailand, and migrated to Australia at the age of seven. In 2007 he completed his scholarship and gained a Diploma in Performing Arts in 2011. Chai then went on to be cast as one of the leads, Zak Blakely, in the international Netflix series Mako Mermaids, which aired for three series. His feature film debut was in the film Thicker Than Water.

Chai has recently wrapped on the US series The 100 shooting in Vancouver, in what was meant to be a two-episode guest appearance. However, this turned into a 10-episode major guest role in which an entire story arch was especially written for his character.