Iyanu: The Child of WonderA graphic novel series by Nigerian filmmakers called ”.Roye Okupe, received critical acclaim and was nominated for a finalist in the 2020 Dwayne McDuffie Awards for Diversity in Comics. So it won’t come as a complete surprise that HBO Max, Cartoon Network, and Lion Forge Animation announced plans to adapt the graphic novels for animation.
You can find the complete details in the official press statement below.
HBO Max, Cartoon Network and Lion Forge Animation today announced plans to adapt the popular Dark Horse Comics/YouNeek Studios graphic novels series. Iyanu: The Child of Wonder, into a 2D children’s animated series. Roye Okupe (Nigeria) created the animated series. Iyanu: The Child of Wonder is an epic superhero tale steeped in Nigeria’s rich culture, music, and mythology. The series is about a teenage heroine, who must unravel the mystery behind her mysterious powers in order to save her family from an ancient curse that threatens humanity.
David Steward II’s Lion Forge Animation (Academy Award®-winning Hair LoveProduction is being financed and managed by, a Black-owned animation studio.
Brandon Easton (Transformers: War for Cybertron: Seige, Marvel’s Agent Carter) is heading the writers’ room, with Roye Okupe serving as the executive producer, writer, and director on multiple episodes. Lion Forge Animation’s Head of Production, two-time Emmy® winner Saxton Moore (Rise Up, Sing OutAs supervising director, he will be:
Matt Heath and David Steward II from Lion Forge Animation, Erica Dupuis and Ryan Haidarian from Forefront Media Group, Doug Schwalbe and Carl Reed are the executive producers.
The history and achievements of Yoruba Nigerians have heavily influenced my life. Iyanu: The Child of WonderThe series is set in Yorubaland, a magical kingdom. Iyanu, a teenage orphan girl, is the protagonist of the series. She spends her time studying Yoruba history as well as ancient arts but longs for a normal existence. Unknowingly, Iyanu discovers that she has divine powers. These abilities are unmatched since the Age of Wonders. Iyanu, along with two other teens, discovers new superpowers and embarks on an extraordinary journey to uncover the truth about the evil in her homeland. Throughout her adventure, she’ll uncover the truth about her past, her parents, and her ultimate destiny to save the world.
Amy Friedman, head of kids & family programming, Warner Bros., said: “Iyanu: The 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.”
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.”
“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.”
Brandon Easton comment, “As a former public school teacher in the Bronx and Harlem, I spent many years with Black, Latino, and Asian teens and saw what they gravitated toward. While they loved manga and anime, they were all disappointed that no one looked like them. So when I was hired to adapt Roye’s amazing Iyanu graphic novel, I wanted the story to reflect Roye’s original vision while also injecting a sense of pride and wonder for all children worldwide, but specifically for kids who rarely see themselves reflected in a positive light or at all. Iyanu has also changed the way I see myself as a creator – with the awesome responsibility to tell an unprecedented story to a global audience that showcases the humanity of African children.”
Saxton Moore adds, “Iyanu will usher in a new genre of animation around the African diaspora, and Lion Forge Animation is super excited to be a part of it. We hope to empower little adventurous girls around the globe with Iyanu’s story.”
Activist Artists Management represents Lion Forge Animation. Roye Okupe is represented by UTA & Redefine Entertainment.