Sony Pictures Television is heading to Nollywood and is set to develop a Black Panther-style series about a group of female warriors after striking a deal with pan-regional African broadcaster and studio Ebony Life.
The Hollywood studio is to co-develop three scripted TV projects with the firm including a series inspired by the Dahomey Warriors, a group reminiscent of the Dora Milaje, the personal bodyguards to the King of Wakanda: T’Challa in the box-office Marvel smash.
The warriors, also known as the Dahomey Amazons, are thought to be the only all-female front-line military unit in modern history, a combat force of musket-slinging, machete-wielding women feared across Western Africa for over 200 years from the 17th century. Starting out as a small team to bring down elephants and hunt while their husbands were at war, they eventually became a personal bodyguard unit to local kings. The group were thought to be the inspiration for Wakanda’s Dora Milaje characters including Nakia, played by Lupita Nyong’o, Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba).
Development on the Dahomey Warriors project will start immediately with details of the other two scripted projects to follow. Sony Pictures Television will distribute internationally. The deal follows an agreement between the two companies, which will see Sony adapt gameshow The Dating Game for Ebony Life in Nigeria.
Ebony Life CEO Mo Abudu said, “Ever since our launch in June 2013, our vision has always been to change the narrative about Africa and to tell our stories from our perspective. We have invested in the creation of quality programming and the development of our people and their ideas. It is this ethos that has given us the opportunity to partner with a world-class organisation like Sony Pictures Television. Now we have the opportunity to bring the fascinating story of The Dahomey Warriors, and many others like it, to audiences around the world. It has been hard work getting here, but that’s what we are known for at Ebony Life. As I always say, ‘If you can think it, you can do it’.’’
Wayne Garvie, President, International Production, Sony Pictures Television added, “Mo Abudu is one of the most formidable and creative figures in Nigerian television, and with Ebony Life her and the team are creating something that is truly ground-breaking and extraordinary. Our aim is to help Ebony Life create a portfolio of African content that will fulfil their aim of being one of Africa’s prime creator of premium content.”