‘Iwaju’ creative team on possible Marvel Multiverse crossover: Want to see Otin’s interaction with Iron Man | – Times of India

It’s time to induct a new Disney Princess to the lineup with director Olufikayo “Ziki” Adeola‘s new animated series ‘Iwaju‘.This futuristic fairytale set in Lagos, Nigeria, offers a fresh perspective on the traditional coming-of-age tale, taking viewers into the dynamic world of Tola and Kole.
Hamid Ibrahim, serving as the Production Designer, Toluwalakin “Tolu” Olowofoyeku, the Cultural Consultant and Director Ziki in an interview with ETimes, explore the potential comparisons to Marvel’s groundbreaking film, ‘Black Panther‘. While sharing the necessity for more diverse narratives set in Africa, the creative team also shared their aspirations for this original Disney+ Hotstar series, its lead character Tola, and much more. Join us as we uncover the inspirations, challenges, and aspirations that shaped this game-changing new animated series. Excerpts:
What inspired Iwaju and why make a web series over a film?
Olufikayo “Ziki” Adeola: Iwaju was inspired by Lagos, Nigeria. We always coined the phrase ‘A love letter to Lagos’ and that’s what Iwaju represents. Everything from the world-building to the characters is very much steeped in contemporary Lagos.
As for why we went for a series versus a movie, it’s because the opportunity that we had discussed was for Disney+. It was relatively new at the time and the opportunity that made sense for this collaboration was to create something for them.
When it’s a sci-fi story in Africa, the only thing that comes to mind is ‘Black Panther’. How do you think Iwaju will help change the portrayal of African characters?
Hamid Ibrahim: In terms of the comparison with ‘Black Panther’, it’s a natural one so we understand, because people have not seen many things that portray the future of Africa. But in this series, everything is inspired by a real place – Lagos, Nigeria. The technology and everything shown is an evolved depiction of how people from that place would look in the future. I hope that comes through and when people watch the show, they’ll see the difference between ‘Iwaju’ and ‘Black Panther’ and stop comparing.
Right now, when they talk of sci-fi and Africa, you only have ‘Black Panther’. If you have more movies and shows, it becomes a bit more varied and nuanced.
Toluwalakin “Tolu” Olowofoyeku: I think I’ll go with what Hamid said. The more people see different types of stories from Africa set in maybe the future or the past, or in a fantasy setting, they would stop reducing it to just one specific story. I think it’s because they don’t really have anything else to compare it to, so when they want to describe it, they think, ‘Oh, it’s like this (Black Panther)’.
Tola is now officially a Disney princess and among the very few of African descent. How do you hope she is embraced by the global audience?
Olufikayo “Ziki” Adeola: For Tola as a character, I think the very essence is to inspire. Certainly, within the world of Iwaju, we often characterize the story as an aspirational young girl inspiring a group of jaded men. I certainly hope that the aspirational quality of her character, and the inspiration that she provides expands beyond the world of Iwaju towards the audience that is watching it.
Since Disney Marvel is in its Multiverse saga if ‘Iwaju’ could cross over into another superhero film, which one would you pick?
Hamid Ibrahim: Personally, I’d love to see her in Iron Man, just because I’d like to see the interaction between Otin and Iron Man‘s tech. That would be absolutely amazing. I’d like to see a fight. That would be an amazing fight.
Olufikayo “Ziki” Adeola: If I had to pick an answer, then we’d be creating a wholly new African multiverse kind of thing. So rather than adding it to any existing pantheon, it would be a new pantheon in its own right.
Toluwalakin “Tolu” Olowofoyeku: I would go with the same thing Ziggy said. That was an excellent one.

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