HBO Max, along with Cartoon Network and Lion Forge Animation, is set to adapt Iyanu: Child of Wonder, a graphic novel by Nigerian creator Roye Okupe and illustrator Godwin Akpan. The animated superhero series will be steeped in Nigeria’s rich culture, music, and mythology. Created by Okupe, the series will follow a teenage girl who must uncover the mystery behind her newfound powers to save her people from an ancient curse threatening to destroy humanity.
The graphic novel is set in the magical version of Yorubaland and is heavily influenced by the history and achievements of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Okupe, who serves as the executive producer, writer, and director on multiple episodes, reveals, “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.”
The series follows a teenage orphan girl, Iyanu, who spends her days studying the history and ancient arts of her people but yearns for a normal life. Nonetheless, one day, responding to danger, she unknowingly triggers her divine powers. With her newly discovered superpowers, Iyanu joins forces with two other teenagers as they embark on a journey to discover the truth about the evil lurking around them. Lion Forge Animation Founder David Steward II said,
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.
Brandon Easton is heading the writers’ room, with Okupe. Two-time Emmy winner, Saxton Moore, will serve as supervising director. 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.
Amy Friedman, head of kids & family programming, Warner Bros., said about the collaboration:
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. 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.
Currently, there are no further details revealed about the project, but stay tuned to Collider for more information.