Warner Bros. Animation is teaming up with writer/director Ava DuVernay (pictured) to develop a family-friendly animated series based on Tui T. Sutherland’s book series Wings of Fire. The studio secured exclusive rights to the middle-grade book brand, which spans 15 novels, three graphic novels and four short stories.
This is DuVernay’s first animated series, and is part of her overall deal with Warner Bros. Television Group. For the prodco’s TV unit, she has produced the Queen Sugar and Cherish the Day series, and is producing the pilot for the DC Comics-based series DMZ, which is produced by HBO Max and Warner Bros. Television. DuVernay was also the director of Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, and Oscar-nominated feature Selma, about Martin Luther King Jr.
WB Animation is producing the new show alongside executive producer DuVernay, through her ARRAY Filmworks prodco. Sutherland, Dan Milano (Glitch Techs), Christa Starr and WB Animation’s Sam Register (Teen Titans Go!) are also on board as executive producers.
The Wings of Fire series has sold more than nine million copies and is available in 16 languages. Set in a world entirely ruled by dragons, the books soars through the adventures, conflicts and friendships of these characters. Sutherland, a Venezuelan-American children’s author, has penned a number of popular kids books—including the Pet Trouble series—and has contributed to the animal-focused adventure stories Warriors and Seekers.
Fantasy is all the rage in the kids space now, as HBO Max stocks up its catalogue with DC Super Hero High. Netflix, meanwhile, is making its own fantasy push with the YA live-action series The Letter for the King and DreamWorks Animation’s Kipo & the Age of Wonderbeasts series, which debuted earlier this year.
WB Animation has been signing more creators to stock the HBO Max shelves, inking its first overall deal with Wellesly Wild to write, produce and develop animated projects for kids, adults and family audiences. Meanwhile, HBO Max signed an exclusive multi-year deal with children’s author Mo Willems to create a live-action special Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!, as well as animated specials based on Willem’s books.