Disney teams up with pan-African company to release sci-fi series set in Lagos, Iwaju

<p class="">At yesterday’s Investor Day 2020 event, Walt Disney Animation Studios unveiled the exciting content that will be released over the next few years, including the ‘first-of-its-kind’ collaboration with a pan-African comics publisher to create <em>Iwaju</em>, a long-form animated series set in a Wakanda-like world.</p>

<p class="">The original animated series, according to the chief creative officer Jennifer Lee, will be a watershed for Disney, as it will be their first animated series not based on an existing movie or franchise<em>. Iwaju</em> will also be released on Disney+ in 2022.</p>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>twitter.com</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">Speaking on the ‘first-of-its-kind’ collaboration with an African entertainment company, Lee said: "Back in the beginning of 2019, I saw a news piece about a group of storytellers from Nigeria and Uganda. The title of this video was ‘Pan-African Comic Book Hopes to Kick Disney’s…’ you know what. I was intrigued. Here were three talented comic book artists, Tolu Olowofoyeku, Ziki Nelson, and Hamid Ibrahim, founded an entertainment company called Kugali. Their dream was to bring African stories, created by African artists to the world through comics and animation, highlighting the diversity of cultures, history, and voices across the continent. Their talents as storytellers blew us away. I’m proud to announce a first of its kind collaboration, as Kugali and Disney Animation team up to bring their original long-form series to Disney+."</p>

<p class="">She continued, "The series is called Iwájú, which in the Yoruba language roughly translates to "The future." Set in Lagos, Nigeria and steeped in science fiction, Iwájú explores deep themes of class, innocence, and challenging the status quo. Iwájú will debut on Disney+ in 2022."</p>

<p class="">This is not the first time Disney has partnered with an African entertainment company. In September, the studio signed an <a href="https://africa.businessinsider.com/local/lifestyle/disney-africa-signs-exclusive-distribution-deal-with-filmone-entertainment-to-become/1jqspq3" id="5bb5970b-be94-4c29-bdf1-f07268f8bca6">exclusive distribution deal with Nigerian production and distribution company FilmOne Entertainment </a>to distribute Disney-owned films in English-speaking West Africa.</p>

<p class="">The deal also covered exclusive rights to all of the Walt Disney Studios divisions, which include Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures and Blue Sky Pictures.</p>

<figure class="image" align="center"> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/NTU7MDA_/f14211d61745ca76829de547c306345c.jpg" alt="Set in Lagos, Nigeria and steeped in science fiction, Iwájú explores deep themes of class, innocence, and challenging the status quo."> <figcaption>Set in Lagos, Nigeria and steeped in science fiction, Iwájú explores deep themes of class, innocence, and challenging the status quo.</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">While more specific details about the show are not yet available, the fact that Kugali, a company that has roots in Africa is involved, is a step in the right direction for positive representation of the continent in mainstream media.</p>

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