The limited series had been a longtime passion project of Lupita Nyong’o who was set to star in and executive produce the adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel of the same name. Nyong’o’s Black Panther co-star Danai Gurira wrote the pilot and was to serve as showrunner.
According to sources, the decision to not proceed with Americanah was made after Oscar winner Nyong’o dropped out because of a scheduling conflict.
The show had received a 10-episode straight-to-series order at the streamer last year. It had been cast and ready to go when the coronavirus pandemic shutdown all production in March. The delays caused by the shutdown have scrambled the schedules of A-list talent who are usually booked a year or so in advance with little wiggling room.
Americanah tells the epic story of Ifemelu (Nyong’o), a young, beautiful, self-assured woman raised in Nigeria, who as a teenager falls in love with her classmate Obinze. Living in a military-ruled country, they each depart for the west, with Ifemelu heading for America, where, despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple for the first time with what it means to be black. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous undocumented life in London.
The series also was to star Uzo Aduba, Corey Hawkins, Zackary Momoh, and Tireni Oyenusi. Its demise was first reported by Variety.