Africa to the world! HBO Max and Cartoon Network picked up a 2D animated adaptation of Iyanu: Child of Wonder, a Dark Horse Comics and YouNeek Studios graphic novel series influenced by the Yoruba people of Nigeria.
Yesterday, June 11, Variety announced the exciting pick up from both networks. Iyanu: Child of Wonder will be financed and overseen by a Black-owned animation studio Lion Forge Animation.
In times where Africa was not properly represented in the media, this is a major win for the community. Stars like Lupita Nyong’o play a part in expanding its representation in television and film with her partnership with Kenya-based production company Kukua in 2021. She stars in its YouTube Originals animated series, “Super Sema.”
Other African titles include Netflix’s popular South African drama series Blood & Water, which debuted in 2020 and landed in Netlfix’s Top 10 list in the U.S. Netflix also realizes the significance of Africa’s presence in entertainment, recently debuting reality series Young, Famous & African.
Now, networks HBO Max and Cartoon Network are discovering the need for proper African representation with the impactful pick-up of Iyanu: Child of Wonder.
‘Iyanu: Child of Wonder’ is a superhero tale set in the magical kingdom of Yorubaland, which draws from Nigerian culture, music and mythology. The series follows Iyanu, a teenage orphan who spends her days studying Yoruba history and ancient arts but yearns for a normal life. 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 authenticity of the ‘Iyanu’ story means everything to us and aligns perfectly with our mission to create and deliver inclusive content to global audiences,” David Steward, founder of Lion Forge shared with Variety. “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.”
Currently, no other details have been released about the project.