EXCLUSIVE: Netflix is to launch Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan, a docu-drama about the warring kingdoms of feudal Japan that is described as a real-life Game of Thrones. The series is a co-production with Blue Ant Media-run Smithsonian Canada.
The SVOD service has commissioned the multi-part series from Canadian producer Cream Productions, the company behind PBS’ The Dictator’s Playbook and ID series BTK: A Killer Among Us and Fear Thy Neighbor.
The show will explore the warring kingdoms of feudal Japan when several powerful warlords fought to become absolute ruler. It brings to life a cast of characters in an epic struggle through stylized drama that will pay homage to the noir of graphic novels and Japanese art.
It will tell the story of Date Masamune, a notorious samurai known as the ‘One-Eyed Dragon’ who fought alongside the three founding fathers of Japan – warlords who led fierce armies of samurai against each other to unite the nation 400 years ago. His is thought to have been the inspiration for the design of Darth Vader’s iconic helmet. As a child he infamously plucked out his own eye when it became infected with smallpox, murdered his younger brother to ensure his line of succession, succeeded his father when he was 17 and soon after conquered neighboring clans to unite most of northern Japan under his control.
The series is exec produced by Simon George, who has exec-ed Nat Geo’s Jason Silva-fronted Origins: The Journey of Humankind, History’s Barbarians Rising and Showtime doc Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston. George will exec produce alongside Cream CEO and co-founder David Brady, President Kate Harrison and senior production executive Matthew Booi.
The show is currently being filmed in Japan, the U.S. and Canada and is expected to air later this year.