Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Marco Polo is coming for Game of Thrones

polo1.jpg
polo2.jpg
polo3.jpg

First look at Netflix’s big budget sex’n’swordplay epic, Marco Polo

For the majority of us, the words ‘Marco Polo’ are most commonly associated with an inexplicable swimming pool-based game played by US children. But don’t worry: Netflix has not started pumping millions of dollars into shows about niche aquatic pastimes. In fact, the company’s latest series tells the story of the 13th-century Italian explorer from which the game gets its name.

The real Marco Polo led what experts in understatement would refer to as a ‘fairly colourful life’. While plying his trade as a merchant in Venice, Polo bumped into murderous loon and head of the Mongol Empire Kublai ‘grandson of Genghis’ Khan, and subsequently followed him back to Asia for various bloodthirsty adventures, becoming the first Westerner to document life in China in the process. It’s this basic outline that lays the foundation for Netflix’s take on the story, which sees Italian newcomer Lorenzo Richelmy star as Marco, with British actor Benedict Wong as Khan, and a supporting cast including Twin Peaks’ Joan Chen.

With its blend of sex, political intrigue, outlandish costumes and extreme violence, Marco Polo represents a clear shot in the direction of Game Of Thrones. Netflix has spent the past few years marking itself out as a serious rival to the likes of HBO, but while Orange Is The New Black and House Of Cards broke boundaries in intelligent comedy and drama, Marco Polo is a massive leap in terms of sheer scale. How do we know? Well, firstly the Weinstein brothers are producing the series, and secondly ShortList visited the set at Pinewood Studios, Malaysia, earlier this year and witnessed, among other things, vast Mongol villages, luxurious palaces (including Khan’s famous ‘Pleasure Dome’) and some spectacular martial arts-based action scenes.

“It’s all based on the books Polo wrote,” explains the show’s creator John Fusco. “We have the advantage that Marco was an actual person. That gives us a treasure trove of materials to work on.” All indications suggest that “treasure trove” could lead to plenty of viewers picking China over Westeros come Christmas…

Marco Polo premieres on Netflix on 12 December; netflix.com

(Images: Netflix)

Related

got3.jpg

Game Of Thrones 60s Intro

constantine-tv.jpg

Constantine TV trailer

615x330-killerjoe.jpg

Killer Joe TV show in the works

gotham1.jpg

Villainous New Teaser For Gotham

lucifer1.jpg

Lucifer latest DC title headed to TV

sor3.jpg

School Of Rock TV Series Is Coming

Comments

More

Channel 4 accidentally air sweary Gordon Ramsay show at 11am

Wonder what they said in the control room when they realised?

by Gary Ogden
24 May 2017

Here's how much Aziz Ansari's 'Master of None' Italian summer costs

Allorrrrrrra

by Sam Diss
24 May 2017

'Game of Thrones' season seven apparently has a "much faster pace"

Shit's about to hit the fan in Westeros

by Alex Finnis
24 May 2017

James Corden makes impassioned tribute to Manchester in wake of attack

“If it was even possible, the spirit of the people of Manchester will grow even stronger this evening”

by Gary Ogden
23 May 2017

"I won": Why Face Off is Breaking Bad’s greatest episode

It's over. Stop making television. This is it

by Ralph Jones
22 May 2017

Harry Styles’ Carpool Karaoke with James Corden is an utter joy

He's joined the likes of Elton John and Adele in appearing on it alone

by Joe Ellison
19 May 2017

'Master of None' season two is a masterpiece of modern masculinity

Right now, there is no better show out there about being a man in 2017

by Dan Dalton
19 May 2017

The Simpsons writer reveals a brilliant (but brutal) deleted scene

Damn those seagulls

by Matt Tate
18 May 2017

Arrested Development is coming back to Netflix for a fifth season

Return of the Bluths

by Gary Ogden
17 May 2017

12 people who could narrate 'Planet Earth III' who aren't Attenborough

He's irreplaceable though, right?

by Gary Ogden
17 May 2017