30 November 2023

LEGO® Monkie Kid™ 80054 Megapolis City: interview with designer Wen Xiaodong

Posted by Caz Mockett

Want to see more of the thrilling 2024 LEGO® Monkie Kid™ set, 80054 Megapolis City 5th Anniversary? Senior Designer/ Show Producer 温笑冬 (Wēn Xiàodōng) told us more about the set and its Easter eggs when I met him at the Recognised LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund, Denmark in September. In advance of our set review next week, here are the highlights of our interview, with photography by Boris Vanrillaer of Stuck in Plastic.


Products in this article were gifted by The LEGO Group; the author's opinions are their own.
LEGO® Monkie Kid™ 80054 Megapolis City 5th Anniversary
US$189.99/ £159.99/ 179.99€/ AU$269.99
2330 parts
1 January 2024
This article contains affiliate links to LEGO.com; we may get a small commission if you purchase.
Set 80054 on LEGO.com

This transcript has been edited for clarity and narrative flow.


New Elementary: How long have you been working on the LEGO Monkie Kid theme?

温笑冬 (Wēn Xiàodōng): From the beginning. Actually, my pitch to apply for the job was about the Monkey King legend! 

New E: So it's all your theme then! 

温笑冬: No, no! It’s a team effort [laughs].

New E: How long did Megapolis City take to develop?

温笑冬: About a year. It definitely took a lot of effort from everyone, because we wanted to make it right, not only for the Chinese market but also for fans around the world, so it’s been a balance of everything.

New E: Does the city appear like this in the cartoon show?

温笑冬: We only see a bit of the street, or a bit of this shop or that one; in the show you probably only see a far-off picture of it, but never the details. Since it’s the anniversary, we thought, how about we just make the city? If you know the show, almost from Season 2, they are on a journey – they left the city to explore on a mission. So we thought, how about we let them come home? That’s why we built the City for them.

New E: It’s really nice to have so many vibrant colours, it brings a lot more eye-candy value than subdued ones!

温笑冬: That’s something we always try to achieve as a theme. We want to bring vibrant colours because we think that is more toy-like.

New E: Would you like to take us through the model?

温笑冬: It’s about the celebration of the theme for its 5 year anniversary. You can see it’s really a combination of everything - the Chinese translation of the city’s name means “city that has everything”. Like, an opera stage with a working Ferris wheel!

New E: There are a lot of minifigures, aren't there?

温笑冬: There are 16, all specially made for the set, and there are a lot of special designs on the minifigures. For example, Monkie Kid is wearing this 5 Year Anniversary jacket; on the chest you can see a detail of each individual team member. There is a Pigsy badge, a 5 Years pin and a Peach badge from Monkie King. On the flag you have the 5 Year Anniversary logo for Monkie Kid. Monkey King is having a Peking Opera phase, which is something from the culture.

New E: What does the foil element on the top of the model represent?

温笑冬: It’s representing the clouds. Monkie Kid can stand up there so he’s above the clouds with the flag.

New E: The Evil Macaque has a paint roller; so now he’s a street artist? 

温笑冬: Yes he’s doing graffiti across the city; you can see several. On the side of the shop you can see his tag. 

New E: Even with so many minifigures, it must have been hard to choose which ones to include?

温笑冬: The Gold and Silver Horned Demons are some of my favourites - let’s say they were really annoying in the show! That’s why we gave them a record shop and DJ suits. With 16 minifigures, that’s not everyone from the past, so we have tried to include the rest in other forms. For example, Nezha, he has his own module: a functioning Ferris wheel [a callback to 80034 Nezha’s Fire Ring]. We really tried to include everyone – we even have a small sticker of Princess Iron Fan from Season 1. That’s her air conditioner brand, because she has a fan! And then three characters from Season 4 we brick-built in a cute way [The Mighty Azure Lion, Yellow Tusk Elephant and The Golden Winged Eagle].

温笑冬: This guy [pictured above right] is Tudi Gung, and he’s from the Legend, and we tried to reference him as the Infomaniac, because in the legend he’s the information guy you go to, so we thought “ok, that’s probably a match”.

New E: Is the set fully modular?

温笑冬: Modular play for the playsets in Monkie Kid is quite important, so this is something we definitely bring to the table. The three sets [this, 80036 City of Lanterns and 80044 Monkie Kid’s Team Hideout] can be joined together as one. The piece of extra roller coaster track is for you to expand the track if you join the Cities together. 

New E: The three combined look like an amazing model to put together!

温笑冬: And you need the space for it! There are also so many side builds we made in the past which can also combine, which is another reason why this is the City of Everything.

New E: I see you have got some recoloured parts here? 

温笑冬: The pagoda roof piece is a new colour [the new-for-2024 colour, 402 Reddish Orange] and there’s a space helmet in green.

New E: So that’s the old-style mould of the helmet, not the new motorbike helmet?

温笑冬: Yes, this is a Classic one. 

New E: LEGO® Space fans will be happy; I also see the working elevator has trans-yellow window elements!

温笑冬: We all love the LEGO Space theme! When we were designing this we were like, “how can we make this into Classic Space?”. The LL01 to LL03 [stickers] which mark every floor are the font from the LEGO Space theme.

New E:  We know there are also two new elements: a peach and a window frame, because we’ve just been talking to your colleague Niels Frederiksen about the LEGO® Spring Festival sets, which also use them?

温笑冬: Yes we designed these elements for both. When we were designing the specific shape of the peach, we [wanted the element to be] shared with other themes. With the window frame, we’re trying to make something which is more specific to China, but needs to fit in with the family of LEGO window frames.

Easter eggs

New E
: What was the most challenging part of the model?

温笑冬: I have to say, trying to include as much detail as we can; not only about LEGO Monkie Kid but also about the brand and the history. You can explore and see that there are a lot of things going on.

New E: I see a little duck hiding on top?

温笑冬: Yes, that's Pigsy’s new restaurant for roast duck, with a sign inspired by the LEGO Wooden Duck. Here is a camping season poster where we thought it would be cool to reference some LEGO® Fabuland sets, because they also have a camping theme. This sticker on the front, it’s from the LEGO Family set [200, from 1974].

New E: I spy Octan tanks in the corner as well. And what’s this shop?

温笑冬: It’s got lots of toy vending machines in it. They’re really popular in Asian countries. In the machine there is the air balloon set [80046 Monkie Kid’s Cloud Airship], as a graphic.

New E: Oh, this is nice! Snakes inside a transparent brick!

温笑冬: Yes! And in the record shop you see on the covers, one of them is the Jazz Quartet set.

New E: What about the stickers on the roller coaster track?

温笑冬: These are the five heroes from the theme, who are running around celebrating. [pointing to other stickers] These are actually two iconic sets from LEGO Monkie Kid - the Monkey King Warrior Mech [80012] and the Lady Bone Demon Mech [80028]

New E: How many stickers are there?

温笑冬: Seventy-ish! Across three sticker sheets. It’s probably the biggest sticker sheet we’ve ever worked on. But it’s not like you’re putting 70 on at one go! You build one module, you put two or three on and then you move on to the next. We also create so many details on them, when you put them on, you realise that’s the story. We don’t really make random stickers! We make them so that when you put them on, you think “oh, that’s a really good one”.

New E: Such as?

温笑冬: In the White Bone Demon’s place, there is a sticker showing acupuncture points, but we used a minifigure to represent that.

New E: Is that a drone package? Oh, there’s a little Panda face! 

温笑冬: That’s a Panda delivery drone. The idea was that Pigsy’s food is always handmade, but the Panda shop is like fast food.

New E: Fast and nasty! 

温笑冬: The Panda shop is a 'brand' that we always keep in the theme. In the Team Hideout, there’s a wooden Panda sign in the village. So even in the past sets, they are there... they are always there!

A detail of set 80044 Monkie Kid’s Team Hideout, featuring a wooden Panda sign

New E: Well thank you Xiàodōng, I think our time’s up now.

温笑冬: If time allowed I could probably talk about this for another hour! There are a lot of things going on. One last thing! The lady there, with the gem? She has the jade store. She’s a hint of the Season 5 story. In the set she is showing a normal face, but when you build her you will see the other side of her head wearing the jewellery. You will have to watch the show to figure out who she is!

New E: Thank you very much, we can’t wait!

READ MORE: The New E team analyse LEGO part 4042: Curved Bar with Axle End and 1 x 1 Round Plate

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  1. Ok but is the CS helmet green(dark green on PaB) or bright green?
    This is very important!

    1. It is Green - so Green on Bricklink and LEGO Colour ID 28 Dark Green

  2. Awesome interview and photos! I love that the sculptures of the three demon kings seem to match the "Neo-Fabuland" style of Elton Elephant from https://brickset.com/sets/11021-1/90-Years-of-Play!

    And it's very amusing to see so many antagonists from previous waves of the theme working civilian jobs that fit their respective theming, like the White Bone Demon as an acupuncturist, Spider Queen as a weaver/seamstress, and the Gold and Silver Horned Demons as DJs! It's the sort of thing that might seem a little TOO contrived for a theme like Ninjago, but perfectly suits the Monkie Kid theme's wacky and irreverent tone.