Onyx Collective came armed with news during its presentation Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival.
Disney’s Tara Duncan-led quasi studio has put a Queen of Sheba scripted drama series in development. Onyx, which produces content exclusively for Hulu, has also nabbed two documentaries out of the snowy fest: Questlove’s untitled Sly Stone feature and Ryan Coogler’s Anthem.
Sheba, which is also exec produced by Coogler, is co-created by Chantelle Wells (Showtime’s Yellowjackets) and actress-writer-producer Azie Tesfai (Supergirl). The drama explores the rise to power of the first queen on the continent of Africa as she seeks to unite the nation now known as Ethiopia, making it one of the richest, most formidable kingdoms in the world. Inspired by true events, the potential series follows Makeda into a world of danger, deceit and political intrigue as she is forced to step into a role that no one, including her, ever imagined as the Queen of Sheba.
Wells and Tesfai — the latter of whom grew up in Ethiopia — co-created Sheba and exec produce alongside Coogler and his Proximity Media’s Kalia King, Sev Ohanian and Zinzi Coogler. Wells will write the script. It’s unclear if Tesfai, who is the first Ethiopian person to ever portray a comic book superhero on screen in The CW’s Supergirl, will have an on-screen part in addition to her role as exec producer. Tesfai, who is also writing The Chase for NBC, came up with the idea and brought it to Proximity with Wells then recruited to pen the script. Sheba is the first scripted series to stem from the Black Panther alum’s overall deal with Onyx, the collective that focuses on stories of underrepresented communities.
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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Lesley Goldberg