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Cartoon Network and Max Reveal All-Nigerian ‘Iyanu’ Cast

Lion Forge Entertainment’s adaptation of Dark Horse Comics / YouNeek Studios’ popular graphic novel series ‘Iyanu: Child of Wonder,’ by award-winning Nigerian creator and producer Roye Okupe, is slated for a 2025 release.

Cartoon Network and Max have just announced the all-Nigerian cast for Iyanu, Lion Forge Entertainment’s adaptation of Dark Horse Comics / YouNeek Studios’ popular graphic novel series “Iyanu: Child of Wonder” by award-winning Nigerian creator and producer Roye Okupe.

Serah Johnson will provide the voice of Iyanu, a teenage heroine who must uncover the mystery behind her newfound powers to save her people from an ancient curse threatening to destroy humanity. Johnson, known for her extensive voiceover work within the animation industry and audiobooks, is the first Nigerian and African to win the Society of Voice Arts Award (SOVAS) for Outstanding Animation Character - Film or TV - Best African VoiceOver for her work on Moji.

The show features a mix of new talent along with experienced and esteemed actors. Stars include TV personality and City People Award winner for Fast Rising Male Actor Okey Jude (Hotel Labamba, The Governor’s Daughter) who joins the cast as Biyi, Iyanu’s carefree adventurer friend. Recognized as the official IVR (Interactive Voice Response) on Nigeria’s largest telecommunications network MTN between 2013 and 2015, Jude also earned an Africa Choice Awards nomination for “The Most Promising Male Movie Star of 2022.” Samuel Kugbiyi, a multifaceted artist with a career spanning from childhood, will play Iyanu’s bookworm friend Toye. Noteworthy among Kugbiyi’s creative endeavors is the acclaimed musical drama Tafiya Lafiya: The Journey, where he was both a writer and performer.

African Movie Academy Awards winner and Nollywood actress Adesua Etomi-Wellington (King of Boys, Gangs of Lagos) will voice Olori, who Vogue named as one of their 14 global superstars in 2019 alongside Scarlett Johansson, Deepika Padukone and Vanessa Kirby; set to play Toye’s father Kanfo is one of Nollywood’s foremost leading men, Blossom Chukwujekwu (Falling, Stolen Lives) who has multiple wins and nominations across Nigeria’s award shows like the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, Best Of Nollywood Awards, Golden Movies Awards, among others; Nigerian-born entertainer and author of Màmá, It's A Girl Stella Damasus (Gone) plays Sewa; Shaffy Bello (The Score, Battleground), a Best of Nollywood Awards nominee, has signed on to voice Emi – The One Mother; and esteemed actor Ike Ononye (Doc Martin, The Lovers) will voice Elder Alapani.

The 2D animated series takes place in the magical kingdom of Yorubaland and centers around Iyanu, a teenage orphan girl who studies Yoruba history and ancient arts but yearns for a normal life. One day, she unknowingly triggers her divine powers, which have not been seen since the Age of Wonders. With newly discovered superpowers, Iyanu joins forces with two other teenagers as they embark on a remarkable journey to discover the truth about the evil lurking in her homeland. Throughout her adventure, she’ll uncover the truth about her past, her parents, and her ultimate destiny to save the world.

Brandon Easton (Transformers: War for Cybertron: Seige, Marvel’s Agent Carter) headed the writers' room, with Okupe serving as the executive producer, writer, and director on multiple episodes. The show’s Executive producers are David Steward II and Matt Heath from Lion Forge Entertainment, Erica Dupuis of Impact X Capital, Ryan Haidarian of Forefront Media Group and Doug Schwalbe.

Iyanu is slated for release in the US on Cartoon Network and Max in 2025 and has a 26 episode, two season order.

Source: Max

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.