Considering that there’s an entire station on DStv dedicated to epic movies, you would think that Nollywood would’ve nailed the art of making them.
If the movie isn’t about going into an evil forest to get some magical MacGuffin to save their village (it was fun the first two times), then it’s about a patriarch’s family members fighting amongst themselves about who gets to succeed him while they wait for him to die.
They keep making the exact same storylines with different casts even though there’s enough material in our mythology to make whole ass franchises. Imagine it: a shared cinematic universe with gods from the African pantheon as characters. Kinda like 2016’s “Gods Of Egypt,” but not as terrible.
Here are five Yoruba deities whose stories – if done right – would make entertaining movies.
*Because a ton of stories exist for each character in mythology, I’ll be picking the stories that’ll work best as movies.
POTENTIAL PLOT: Before becoming the king of the Yorubas, he and his younger brother, Obatala, were sons of Olorun (god of creation). Obatala asked their father to create a new realm (Earth as we know now it). Olorun is like, “Okay” and gives him a shell full of magical soil to get things going. Obatala actually does the damn thing (creates mountains, valleys etc) but gets distracted when he discovers alcohol and becomes too shit-faced to finish the job.
Angered by his son’s new status as the world’s first alcoholic, Olorun sends his other son, Oduduwa, to salvage the mission. Oduduwa does this and makes himself king of the city of Ile-Ife and Obatala is not pleased.
I don’t know about you but I would watch a “Clash Of The Titans” style thing where Oduduwa tries to rule over Ile-Ife in peace while Obatala raises hell every opportunity he gets. And then we get random shots of Olorun in his sky palace sighing and wondering why the hell he didn’t just go do this himself.
Sango was the third Alaafin of Oyo. He was the second son of Oranmiyan, the founder of the Oyo Empire, and the youngest grandson of Oduduwa. He had three wives; Oba (the first wife), Oshun (the second), and Oya (the third and technically a concubine because no bride price or dowry was paid).
POTENTIAL PLOT: The third wife Oya was said to be a spirit who had the ability to transform into animals and summon rain. Together with Sango’s thunderbolt, they have many victories together in battle, leading to her becoming his favourite wife and keeper of the thunderbolt. Oba and Oshun become hella jealous. (More on that in the next entry).
A couple of generals in Sango’s army start moving mad and he decided to show them who’s boss, so he goes to get his thunderbolt from Oya but finds it covered in period blood. (An act of sabotage carried out Oba and Oshun.) Super pissed, he goes to a mountain top to make sure the thunderbolt still works right, accidentally calling thunder so powerful, it destroys his palace AND KILLS HIS ENTIRE FAMILY.
Ok. He didn’t kill his family. That was me making the story more exciting for audiences (like how Hollywood did with the story of Noah).
Oba, Oshun, and Oya (Sango’s Wives)
Some variations of their story say that the first two wives, Oba ad Oshun, were jealous of the third wife, Oya because she was Sango’s favourite. This led to them doing all they could to make life terrible for Oya (and sometimes, each other).
POTENTIAL PLOT: After Sango brings Oya home and she becomes his favourite, Oba and Oshun vow to frustrate her out of their home. What they don’t know is that Oya is a spirit with special powers of her own. What will follow is a romantic comedy where Oya, after playing nice at the beginning, messes with the other wives in hilarious ways after finding out about their jealousy for her. Will this movie completely fail the Bechdel test? Yes. But what movie does these days?
A Cross Over Involving Everyone!
Imagine an Avengers-style team up of all the gods working together to save mankind from some terrible threat brought about by Eshu (the trickster god) in his quest for power and respect.
The threat could be titans! Are there titans in Yoruba myth? It doesn’t matter. We can make it work. .