Interview: Adesua Etomi Is Set To Star in YouNeek Studios' Animated Pilot for 'Malika: Warrior Queen'
We catch up with YouNeek Studios founder and writer of the series, Roye Okupe, for an exclusive rundown on how the animated series came to be.
For the past three years, we've been following the developments behind Malika—the pre-colonial superhero queen coming out of Roye Okupe's YouNeek Universe. After the two-part comic books surrounding her story have been published, Okupe's YouNeek Studios is set to encompass the saga through a long-awaited animated pilot.
Nollywood's very own Adesua Etomi is also set to voice Malika in the animation—Okupe tells OkayAfrica in an exclusive interview.
Revisit the synopsis of Malika: Warrior Queen below:
Growing up as a prodigy, Malika inherited the crown from her father in the most unusual of circumstances, splitting the kingdom of Azzaz in half. After years of civil war, Malika was able to unite all of Azzaz, expanding it into one of the largest empires in all of West Africa. But expansion would not come without its costs. Enemies begin to rise within her council, and Azzaz grabbed the attention of one of the most feared superpowers the world has ever known: the Ming Dynasty. As Malika fights to win the clandestine war within the walls of her empire, she must now turn her attentions to an indomitable and treacherous foe with plans to vanquish her entire people.
Still courtesy of YouNeek Studios.
The animated pilot, executive produced by Niyi Akinmolayan of Anthill Studios, has been developed into a short that runs just under 15 minutes featuring three scenes. There are five speaking roles featuring Etomi, Femi Branch, from the old guard of Nollywood who voices Chief Dogbari, Deyemi Okanlowon, who you've seen in Nigerian TV series and films voicing the WindMaker and King Bass, Blossom Chukwujekwu as Abdul and Sambassa Nzeribe voicing General Ras.
YouNeek Studios has been building out a universe of superhero and fantasy characters—YouNeek Youniverse—that's inspired by African history, culture and mythology. Over the last 3 to 4 years, the hub has been able to do so through 10 books consisting of six graphic novels, three on-shot comics and one art book. Everything in the YouNeek Youniverse is connected and has roots in the continent—and we'll soon see it all come to life once again in the animated pilot.
We caught up with Okupe, who wrote, directed and produced the pilot, for a proper catch-up on the growth of YouNeek Studios, tapping Adesua Etomi to take on the lead role and more.
Read our conversation below.