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

The Simpsons have created a rap dramedy called “The Great Phatsby”

Starring Snoop Dogg, Common and RZA

by Emily Badiozzaman
17 Jan 2017

There's a real possibility there will be a Game of Thrones prequel

To help us handle life without the original

by Emily Badiozzaman
17 Jan 2017

This is why you're waiting so long for Rick & Morty season 3

The show's creator reveals what's been holding back the new season

by Jamie Carson
17 Jan 2017

Jason Isaacs on death and tennis

While he makes porridge, we climb inside Jason Isaacs' mind

by Ralph Jones
16 Jan 2017

Watch Alec Baldwin destroy Trump’s press conference on Saturday Night

America is going to be 'literally showered with jobs'

16 Jan 2017

Sherlock season finale had a surprising hidden guest star

Hope they didn't pay him for this

by Jamie Carson
16 Jan 2017

Watch this newsreader have a meltdown over a dress

It'll be all white on the night

13 Jan 2017

Peaky Blinders creator releases update on season 4

He confirmed the return of a series favourite

by Jamie Carson
12 Jan 2017

This major 'Breaking Bad' character will appear in 'Better Call Saul'

What does family taste like?

by Emily Badiozzaman
12 Jan 2017

Limmy on mental health, millennials and the sitcom that never happened

We had the pleasure of interviewing the polymath Scottish comedian. Surprisingly down to earth, and actually VERY funny.

by Tristan Cross
12 Jan 2017