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Lion Forge Entertainment Signs First Look Deal With 'Iyanu' Creator Roye Okupe

Lion Forge Entertainment
is one of the most exciting up-and-coming independent studios in the animation industry. We've brought you several recent developments from the studio, who worked on Oscar-winning short Hair Love and will soon bring Iyanu to Cartoon Network and Max.

The studio has announced that they have inked a new overall deal with Iyanu creator Roye Okupe, founder of YouNeek Studios and creator of the YouNeek YouNiverse. 

Okupe is currently working with Lion Forge on Inyanu, but the new pact will expand their working relationship to a multi-year, multi-franchise deal. It will give Lion Forge the option of adapting any of Okupe's other graphic novels, which are published by Dark Horse Comics.

Among the properties they will have the opportunity to adapt are Okupe’s Malika: Warrior Queen, .X.O. – The Legend of Wale Williams,WindMaker and The Oloris.

The partnership also expands the rights to Iyanu to live-action, opening up a whole new way of bringing Okupe's heroine to the screen. Lion Forge will introduce the animated series to global distributors at MIPCOM next week. Okupe himself also offered insights into the upcoming production this past weekend at New York Comic Con at the Iyanu panel.

Roye Okupe was born and raised in Lagos Nigeria. An acomplished author and filmmaker, his passion for the world of comics and animation isnpired the creation of YouNeek Studios in 2015. The YouNeek YouNiverse is populated with a rich and diverse roster of super-heroes. He has built an interconnected universe of super-hero and fantasy titles that draw inpsirtaion from the rich tappestry of African culture. history and mythology.

This approach brought the creator to the attention of Lion Forge Entertainmnet, who shares a similar mission to tell diverse stories for a worldwide audience.

David Steward II, founder and CEO of Lion Forge Entertainment stated, "Roye Okupe's incredible talent as a creator, writer, and director is a testament to his dedication to storytelling that resonates with audiences of all backgrounds. His creative vision aligns seamlessly with Lion Forge’s mission to offer diverse, culturally rich narratives that allow children to see themselves represented on screen. We are honored to embark on this journey with Roye and explore the boundless potential of the YouNeek YouNiverse."

Okupe added, "I am delighted to call Lion Forge Entertainment my creative home. They have shown unwavering support for my vision of ‘Iyanu’ and the YouNeek YouNiverse, and I am eager to work closely with them on bringing these stories to life. This partnership not only strengthens our commitment to authentically represent Nigerian and African stories but also opens the door to new, original projects within the YouNeek YouNiverse and Lion Forge’s exciting originals. Together, we aim to make a lasting impact on the world of entertainment.

"I look forward to exploring Roye’s captivating YouNeek YouNiverse and collaborating closely with him to develop additional authentic and compelling content for kids and families around the world," said Stephanie Sperber, CCO, Lion Forge Entertainment. "Together, we aspire to create generational stories that entertain and inspire."