The Monkey King, also known as Sun Wakong, is a legendary trickster figure from Chinese mythology. He figures prominently in Big Bird in China, as a traditional Chinese theater figure, popping up to bewilder Big Bird and tease Barkley. He offers clues to the location of The Phoenix in Chinese. The Monkey King is also a shape-shifter, splitting into multiples at one point, taking the guise of a human storyteller, or randomly turning into the Two-Headed Monster.
Behind the Scenes
The Monkey King was played by seven different performers: Quan She-Zhen, Liu Xia-Shen, Xiu Tien-Ed, Lu Fu-Hai, Wu Chu-Lian, Li Jiang, Chou Yi-Ping, Zhang Xin-Tien. In one scene where he's heard speaking English, Jon Stone provides his speaking voice.
His inclusion was a result of Caroll Spinney's experience filming The Road to China, wherein he observed a puppet theater performance using the character. Spinney referred to the character in a 2004 interview as "the Bugs Bunny of China."