Disney has announced that Nigeria’s first animation series, Iwájú, will be released in 2023 at the D3 Expo.
D23 Expo is Disney’s ultimate fan event which brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks and more. The Expo includes Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Studios, among others.
Iwaju, which translates to “the future” in Yoruba, is a science fiction series and will be an original long-form animated series.
The series is produced by Toluwalakin Olowofoyeko and directored by Olufikayo Adeola (Ziki), the managing director and co-foundr of Kugali.
Iwájú is set in a futuristic version of Lagos and explores themes of inequality, class divide, and coming of age. Adeola described it as “the everyday reality of life in Nigeria and other parts of the world”.
Although Disney has been commended for creating diverse content, there have been some valid criticisms about the project. The most notable is that Disney Plus, the streaming service that the project will be on exclusively, is unavailable in Nigeria.
However, since the series is launching in 2023, there is some time for the conglomerate to remedy the issue.
The streaming platform was launched in November 2019 by Disney. However, of all 54 countries in Africa, Disney Plus is only available in 6 countries – South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Libya. It was only unveiled in these countries earlier this year.
According to industry reports, other African countries like Nigeria have had to resort to virtual private networks (VPNs) and cards that allow foreign transactions since its launch.
However, following the announcement of Iwájú at the D23 Expo, industry experts believe that Disney’s streaming service may come to Nigeria soon as the core target audience should be people that can relate to the story and the culture the most.