African futurism is coming to Hulu. The streaming network has picked up the option for the acclaimed Binti trilogy. The Hulu pilot will be co-written by the author of the Binti books – Nnedi Okorafor. The author made the announcement on Twitter on Tuesday.
Finally, I can be public about it!
— Nnedi Okorafor, PhD (@Nnedi) January 14, 2020
Binti Is The First Wave Of African Futurism
Binti is trilogy of novellas about the first human accepted into a ‘prestigious intergalactic university.’ As a member of the Himba tribe from Namibia, Binti is expected to stay home and close to the land of her birth. But with a thirst for learning, Binti runs away from home to join the university. And that is where her troubles begin. Faced with ignorance and derision from her fellow humans, Binti also encounters strange hostile aliens called the Meduse. They are jellyfish-like creatures who thwart Binti’s journey, but also make an unexpected connection with her.
Orakafor has coined the term Africanfuturism to describe her style. On her blog she writes that “Africanfuturism is concerned with visions of the future, is interested in technology, leaves the earth, skews optimistic, is centered on and predominantly written by people of African descent (black people) and it is rooted first and foremost in Africa.”
Image via Tor/Forge
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor Will Be The First Sci-Fi Epic On Hulu
It will be fascinating to see how Hulu brings the acclaimed Okorafor series of Binti to life. It is not your typical science fiction novel, and paying respect to the real African tribe of the Himba will be highly important to the success of the show. Not to mention the special effects required to create Orakafor’s unique alien races, and make them look believable on screen.
This will also be the first true sci-fi Hulu original. Although the streaming network has dipped into genre with shows like Future Man and Marvel’s Runaways, this will be very different from anything Hulu has done before. Among other things, Binti is a bit of a space opera and that is something that Hulu has been lacking from their original programming until now.
Nnedi Okorafor Will Co-Write The Pilot Episode of Binti For Hulu
Okarafor will be closely involved with the Binti series, which should help the show stay true to her vision. Okorafor will co-write the pilot episode with Emmy-nominated screenwriter Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour. Fans of Watchmen may recognize the name, as Osei-Kuffour wrote the episode featuring Angela’s backstory in the episode An Almost Religious Awe. She has worked with Hulu before on the series PEN15, which earned her Emmy nomination. No other announcements have yet been made about cast or crew for Binti, but we will be following developments closely.
Okarafor Is Working On Several Other Exciting Projects
Along with the development of Binti for Hulu, Okarafor has several other exciting projects in the works. In April of 2019, Okarafor announced that she was launching a production company for Africanfuturist television shows. It seems likely that projects like Binti will be produced through this company.
HBO picked up her novel Who Fears Death for adaptation back in 2017. Although not involved as a writer, Okarafor is onboard as a consultant. George R.R. Martin is also an executive producer on that project. (Because clearly he has so much free time on his hands these days not writing The Winds of Winter).
Last year Okarafor also signed on to co-write a screenplay for an adaptation of the beloved Octavia Butler series Wild Seed. Produced by Viola Davis, Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu will bring Wild Seed to life on Amazon Prime. Okarafor has spoken openly about Butler’s influence on her work, so we have high hopes for Wild Seed on Amazon.
Book cover art for “Wild Seed” by John Jude Palencar | Image via Hachette
Okarafor has also written several comic books. She penned Black Panther: Long Live The King for Marvel in 2018, which garnered her a Hugo nomination. Following that, she wrote a series of comic books centered around the character of Shuri. Okarafor also wrote the graphic novel LaGuardia for Dark Horse Comics. She is not currently working on any upcoming comic books, but we can only hope to see her return to the world of Wakanda in the future.
For anyone interested in reading Binti, there is an excerpt available via Tor. Okarafor’s next novel Ikenga will be out in August 2020. For more coverage on these adaptations (and more!) be sure to follow Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter today.
(Featured image via Forge)
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.