July 14, 2024

Nigerian graphic novel animated adaptation greenlit


HBO Max and Cartoon Network have announced they have greenlit a 2D animated adaptation of the Nigerian graphic novel “Iyanu: Child of Wonder.”

The novel which is published by Dark Horse Comics and YouNeek Studios was created by YouNeek Studios’ founder Roye Okupe. The story is heavily influenced by the Nigerian Yoruba culture and follows the life of teenage orphan Iyanu who lives in the magical kingdom of Yorubaland as she studies the history and culture of her people.

One day, responding to danger, she unknowingly triggers her divine powers, the likes of which have not been seen since the Age of Wonders. With newly discovered superpowers, Iyanu joins forces with two other teenagers as they embark on a remarkable journey to discover the truth about the evil lurking in her homeland.

Throughout her adventure, she’ll uncover the truth about her past, her parents, and her ultimate destiny to save the world.

The animated adaptation of the Nigerian comic is set to be done by Black-owned animation studio Lion Forge Animation and will see the series creator Roye Okupe also write and direct multiple episodes.

“When I set out to create ‘Iyanu’ for a global audience, I wanted to develop a world that combined everything I love about the fantasy genre with the majesty and awe that is ancient West Africa,” said Roye Okupe.

“On top of that, working with Godwin Akpan, who illustrated the books, as our art director and collaborating with a thoughtful studio like Lion Forge Animation that prioritizes authenticity and diversity, is beyond belief.”

Amy Friedman, head of kids and family programming at Warner Bros spoke about the series praising its world and characters stating “‘Iyanu: Child of Wonder’ has it all – vast world-building, authentic characters, a strong, African female hero at the centre, and a first-class team of stellar creators and producers,”

“While created for kids, the series will resonate with anyone looking for an adventure filled with surprise, magic, lore and legend. We feel so lucky to be the home of ‘Iyanu’ and partnering with this team.”

Co-founder of Lion Forge Animation, David Steward II, also spoke about the project stating “The authenticity of the ‘Iyanu’ story means everything to us and aligns perfectly with our mission to create and deliver inclusive content to global audiences,”

“A powerful means of accomplishing and sustaining this is through franchise building, and the depth and layers of the Iyanu world allow us to explore and create a beautiful universe on-screen alongside tremendous partners.”