“Iwaju,” a new animated series coming to Disney+ next year, will be the first collaborative animated series between Disney Animation and an outside studio, Pan-African company Kugali Media, in its 100-year history.
Disney+ provided audiences with a glimpse at the afrofuturist series’ two protagonists, shortly after the image debuted at the D23 Expo this year. Along with an exclusive clip at D23, Disney told audience members that Iwájú is a “love letter to Nigeria.”
Written and directed by Kugali co-founder Ziki Nelson, Iwájú is set in a “futuristic version of Lagos, Nigeria.” The upcoming series will follow a wealthy heiress from a lavish part of town and an impoverished boy from the mainland named Tola and Kole, respectively. Despite their different backgrounds, Tola and Kole must uncover the shady activities of a crime lord named Bode.
A sneak preview of the series shows an Afrofuturist tale that Nelson says will have plenty of color and action, and like so many Disney tales, there’s an animal companion along for the ride in the form of a robotic salamander named Otin. But the series also tackles social theme facing Lagos in real-life, most notably the widening inequality facing its residents.