HBO Max and Cartoon Network have confirmed a 2D animated adaptation of ‘Iyanu: Child of Wonder’, the 2017 Dark Horse Comics/YouNeek Studios graphic novel created by Roye Okupe and illustrator Godwin Akpan.
The animated superhero series, which is heavily influenced by the Yoruba people of Nigeria, will be financed and produced by Black-owned animation studio Lion Forge Animation.
According to Variety, 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.
Lion Forge’s head of production Saxton Moore will serve as supervising director. Brandon Easton will lead the writers room.
Executive producers include Steward II and Matt Heath from Lion Forge Animation, Erica Dupuis of Impact X Capital, Ryan Haidarian of Forefront Media Group, Doug Schwalbe, and Carl Reed.
‘Iyanu: Child of Wonder’ has it all – vast world-building, authentic characters, a strong, African female hero at the center, and a first-class team of stellar creators and producers,” said Amy Friedman, head of kids and family programming at Warner Bros. “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.”
“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,” said Steward, founder of Lion Forge. “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.”
“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.”