HBO Max, Cartoon Network, and Lion Forge Animation announced they are adapting the acclaimed Dark Horse Comics/YouNeek Studios graphic novel series, Iyanu: Child of Wonder, into a children’s animated series.
According to the press release, Iyanu: Child of Wonder, which was created by Nigerian filmmaker Roye Okupe is “an epic superhero tale steeped in Nigeria’s rich culture, music, and mythology. The series follows a teenage heroine who must uncover the mystery behind her newfound powers to save her people from an ancient curse threatening to destroy humanity.”
Influenced by the Yoruba people of Nigeria, Iyanu: Child of Wonder is set in the majestic kingdom of Yorubaland. The series follows a teenage orphan girl, Iyanu, who is immersed in studying the achievements of the Yoruba people and their ancient art but yearns for a normal life. After responding to danger, her eternal power comes alive. Armed with superpowers, Iyanu connects with two other teenagers as she goes forth on an adventure to change the world.
In a statement, Okupe shared his excitement about adapting his novels into an animated series and he’s also slated to 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,” Okupe said. “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.”
David Steward II, the founder of Lion Forge Animation, one of the leading Black-owned animation studios (the studio won an Academy Award for Hair Love), is overseeing the production.
“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,” Steward said. “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.”