Age of Samurai

Netflix has given a greenlight to Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan, a multi-episode docu-drama that follows ancient warlords in feudal Japan. The “stylized drama” will tell the story of the real-life Date Masamune, a legendary warrior who plucked out his own eye and whose armor may have served as an inspiration for Darth Vader’s in the original Star Wars. Read more about the show’s true-life protagonist below.

Deadline brings news that Age of Samurai is coming to Netflix, and that it will be a show about multiple warlords vying to become the absolute ruler of Japan. The outlet also says the new show “will pay homage to the noir of graphic novels and Japanese art,” so we’re expecting this to look distinct from typical period dramas.

But even if the visuals end up being more traditional than we’d like, it sounds like the adventures of its main character will be more than enough to make up for it:

[Age of Samurai] 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.

Whoa. No wonder this story is being referred to as “a real-life Game of Thrones.” There’s no casting news available yet, but Ken Watanabe (Inception, Godzilla: King of the Monsters) once played Masamune in a 1987 Japanese miniseries called Dokuganry? Masamune.

This series will be executive produced by Simon George; he’s directed documentaries like Miracle Landing on the Hudson and WWII From Space for places like National Geographic and the History Channel, and his first directing credit is a 2002 doc called Shaving Ryan’s Privates, which, according to its IMDb page, is “A documentary looking at porn films that parody classic Hollywood movies.”

There’s no official release date scheduled yet, but Deadline says that production is currently underway and the show is expected to hit Netflix sometime in 2019.

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