With the success of Netflix original adaptations like Gina Prince Blythewood’s film The Old Guard, Netflix has announced that it wants more “Harry Potter and Star Wars-style“ movies and films. Netflix needs to look no further than the plethora of Black sci-fi and fantasy creators making their own stories in novels, comic books, and video games. There is quite a bit of material out there just waiting to be adapted by Black directors and filmmakers, stories that everyone from kids to adults could enjoy. Here are ten Black SFF works that need the Netflix treatment.
10. Tristan Strong Punches A Hole In The Sky by Kwame Mbalia
Tristan Strong is a twelve-year-old boy grieving the loss of his best friend, Eddie, and smarting from being defeated in his first boxing match. While visiting his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, he accidentally unleashes an evil haint and creates a hole between the real world and a magical world of African American folk heroes and West African gods. Now he must work together with them and undergo an epic quest to retrieve Anansi’s story box to save the world.
This book would make an excellent Netflix fantasy movie due to its action, adventure, and heartwarming moments. It would be something that whole families could watch together and discuss, especially since the book’s modern spin on John Henry and Anansi makes them accessible to kids. Since the book is part of an ongoing series, having a film adaptation would be a good way to build anticipation for the next book.
9. Aurion Legacy of The Kori-Odan by Kiro’o Games
In this lush African fantasy game, you play as royal couple Enzo Kori-Odan and his wife Erine Envou. On the day of his coronation and marriage, prince Enzo Kori-Odan suffers a coup from his brother-in-law and is exiled from Zama with Erine. In order to reclaim their rightful places in Zama, they must travel the world and create an alliance while honing the power of their Legacies.
Since this game has already been picked up for a movie adaptation, it’s only a matter of finding the right film company to host it. Netflix already has video game movie/ tv show adaptations such as Dragon Quest: Your Story and The Witcher, so it wouldn’t hurt to have another one. Whether live-action or animated, Aurion has the world-building, action, and epic adventure worthy of an on-screen adaptation.
8. Adorned By Chi by Jacque Aye
Mixing Igbo mythology with the influence of the magical girl Japanese anime genre, Adorned By Chi is the literal embodiment of Black girl magic. Focusing on a group of Nigerian college students, they discover they must channel the power of guardian pets to defeat monsters known as Mmanwu to stop them from wreaking havoc on the student body and the world.
Given its cartoonish art style and quirky cast of Nigerian girl and boy characters, Adorned By Chi would make a perfect animated series similar to the likes of W.I.T.C.H. or Winx Club. The coming of age themes mixed with the magical girl shenanigans would relate to young school children and appeal to older viewers as well. An animated movie might also work, but a series is the best bet since the events unfold in chapters that work like episodes. Adorned By Chi has already been picked up by MWM, but it wouldn’t hurt to have the adaptation come to Netflix at some point.
7. Magnifique Noir by Briana Lawrence
If Adorned By Chi deserves an animated series for kids, then Magnifique Noir deserves either a live-action series or animated series for older teens and adults. Focusing on a group of mainly college-aged Black, queer women, this comic book novel series combines the cuteness, femininity, and transformation sequences seen in Sailor Moon and combines them with the everyday experiences of Black womanhood.
Although the magical girl genre is traditionally aimed at kids, it would be nice to have something that adult magical girl fans like myself could watch as well. This series tackles mature themes including sexual harassment, mental health, cyberbullying, and more. Not to mention, the main cast of girls living together in one building evokes a cozy, comforting aesthetic that is reminiscent of classic shows like A Different World.
6. Exo: The Legend of Wale Williams by Roy Okupe
Created by YouNeek Studios, Wale Williams’s story is set in a futuristic society known as Lagoon City, which is inspired by the real island of Lagos. Wale is a twenty-something young man who returns home to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his father, an inventor. He discovers that his home has changed drastically after the poorest areas have been overrun by corrupt leaders and robotic drones called DREDS.
The world of Wale Williams looks so vibrant and high tech and would look fantastic in a live-action movie adaptation. Given the dearth of Nigerian (aka Nollywood) films on Netflix, it wouldn’t be hard to find some Nigerian actresses and actors for this film. Furthermore, having a live-action film adaptation of this could pave the way for other YouNeek Studio adaptations like Malika: Warrior Queen.