Marco Polo (TV series)

Marco Polo was an American drama web television series inspired by Marco Polo ‘s early years in the court of Kublai Khan , the Khagan of the Mongol Empire and the Founder of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). The show premiered on Netflix on December 12, 2014. [2] The series was written and created by John Fusco and stars Lorenzo Richelmy in the title role with Benedict Wong as Kublai Khan . [3] The series is produced by The Weinstein Company . On January 7, 2015,

On December 12, 2016, Netflix announced they had canceled Marco Polo after two seasons. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the series’ two seasons resulted in a $ 200 million loss for Netflix, and the decision to cancel the series was jointly taken by Netflix and The Weinstein Company. [5]

Cast and characters


Actor Character Seasons
1 2
Lorenzo Richelmy Marco Polo Hand
Benedict Wong Kublai Khan Hand
Joan Chen Empress Chabi Hand
Remy Hii Crown Prince Jingim Hand
Uli Latukefu Byamba Hand
Zhu Zhu Nergui / Princess Kokachin Hand
Mahesh Jadu Ahmad Hand
Tom Wu Li Jinbao aka “Hundred Eyes” Hand
Olivia Cheng Jia Mei Lin Hand
Rick Yune Kaidu Khan Hand
Pierfrancesco Favino Niccolò Polo Hand
Amr Waked Vice Regent Yusuf Hand
Chin Han Chancellor Jia Sidao Hand Guest
Claudia Kim Princess Khutulun Recurring Hand
Jacqueline Chan Shabkana Khatun Hand
Ron Yuan Prince Nayan Hand
Leonard Wu Prince Orus Hand
Michelle Yeoh Lotus Hand
Thomas Chaanhing Gerel Khan Hand
Chris Pang Arban Khan Hand
Gabriel Byrne Pope Gregory X Hand


Actor Character Seasons
1 2
Chloe Luthi & Jaime Chew + Princess Ling Ling Recurring
Max Kellady Emperor Gong of Song Recurring
Esther Low Princess Kokachin Guest Recurring
Tan Kheng Hua Empress Dowager Xie Daoqing Recurring
Patrick Teoh General Red Brow Recurring
Lawrence Makoare Za Bing Recurring
Nicholas Bloodworth Tulga Recurring
Shu An Oon Jing Fei Recurring
Vanessa Vanderstraaten Princess Sorga Recurring
Corrado Invernizzi Maffeo Polo Recurring
Baljinnyamyn Amarsaikhan Ariq Böke Recurring
Jason Chong General Kasar Recurring
Daniel Tuiara Sukh Recurring

+ Luthi portrays Ling in season 1, Chew in season 2.


The series was originally developed at Starz , which had picked up the series in January 2012. [6] After attempts to film in China failed, the project was released back to The Weinstein Company. [3] Netflix then picked up the series for a 10-episode season, for $ 90 million, making it one of the most expensive TV shows in the world, second to Game of Thrones . [7] [8] The project Was officiellement annoncé at Netflix in January 2014. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg serve as executive producers and directed the pilot and second episodes, “The Wayfarer” and “The Wolf and the Deer” respectivement. [9] The series was filmed in Italy , Kazakhstan , and at Pinewood Studios in Malaysia . [9]

Stuntman Ju Kun was working on the show alongside fight choreographer Brett Chan, but went missing with the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 during pre-production. [10]

To prepare for her role as Chabi , Joan Chen read the book The Secret History of the Mongol Queens by Jack Weatherford , as she wanted her performance to reflect the culture of the time period. [11]

During his extensive research, show creator John Fusco traveled the Silk Road by horseback and also crossed the Ming Sha Dunes of Western China on camel. In Venice, Italy, it is the last Will and Testament of Marco Polo. [12] While some Mongolian viewers and experts view it as “riddled with historical errors,” many have praised the series. Orgil Narangerel, who played Genghis Khan in a BBC documentary, said it was more accurate than any previous foreign portrayal of Mongolian culture. “As a Mongol and an artist, Marco Polo makes me feel like our dreams are coming true,” he told AFP. “I watched all 10 episodes in just one day.” [13]


The series featured music by Mongolian bands Altan Urag and Batzorig Vaanchig of Asia’s Got Talent , who cameoed as a singer. Daniele Luppi composed the main theme, whilst Peter Nashel and Eric V. Hachikian are composers of the original score.


Season 1

No. in
title Directed by Written by Original release date
1 1 “The Wayfarer” Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg John Fusco December 12, 2014
After three years crossing seas, deserts and the Silk Road, a young Marco Polo finds himself a prisoner of the great Kublai Khan.
2 2 “The Wolf and the Deer” Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg John Fusco December 12, 2014
As Kublai Khan battles his warmonger brother for rule over Mongolia, Marco learns that justice in Khan’s Imperial City is swift as it is deadly.
3 3 “Feast” Alik Sakharov Michael Chernuchin December 12, 2014
Marco begins a dangerous relationship with the beautiful Blue Princess as tensions grow between Kublai and Xiangyang ‘s cunning Chancellor.
4 4 “The Fourth Step” Alik Sakharov Brett Conrad December 12, 2014
As war looms with the walled city of Xiangyang , Prince Jingim tests his diplomacy skills while Kublai Marco’s questions allegiance.
5 5 “Hashshashin” Daniel Minahan Patrick Macmanus December 12, 2014
Marco searches for the mastermind behind a murderous plot, while Prince Jingim weighs the risks of retaliation.
6 6 “White Moon” Daniel Minahan Dave Erickson December 12, 2014
On the eve of an auspicious ceremony, Marco searches for the culprit behind the assassination attempted on Kublai Khan, even as a new one takes shape.
7 7 “The Scholar’s Pen” David Petrarca Michael Chernuchin December 12, 2014
Marco and Hundred Eyes take on a dangerous mission to infiltrate the walled city of Xiangyang, while its Chancellor struggles to hold on to power.
8 8 “Rendering” John Maybury Brett Conrad December 12, 2014
When Kublai sets his sights – and his army – on the taking of the walled city of Xiangyang, Marco’s allegiance is tested.
9 9 “Prisoners” David Petrarca Patrick Macmanus December 12, 2014
Marco finds his fate in the hands of Kublai yet again. Meanwhile, behind the walls of Xiangyang, Chancellor Sidao sets his sights on regaining power.
10 10 “The Heavenly and Primal” John Maybury John Fusco December 12, 2014
Marco’s ingenuity – and loyalty – is put to the ultimate test when Kublai takes a violent and bold step in his quest to become emperor of the world.

Christmas special

title Directed by Written by Original release date
11 “One Hundred Eyes” Alik Sakharov John Fusco December 26, 2015
A 30-minute original story of Hundred Eyes, in which a defiant warrior-monk arrives at Kublai Khan’s chains and earns his nickname.

Season 2

No. in
title Directed by Written by Original release date
12 1 “Hunter and the Sable Weaver” Daniel Minahan John Fusco July 1, 2016
On Prince Jingim’s wedding day, Kublai receives disturbing news about the ambitions of his cousin, while Marco navigates a delicate mission.
13 2 “Hug” David Petrarca Patrick Macmanus July 1, 2016
Marco gets an unpleasant surprise on return to Kublai’s short. Kublai faces an impossibly difficult decision.
14 3 “Measure Against the Linchpin” Daniel Minahan Elizabeth Sarnoff July 1, 2016
Haunted by recent events, Kublai journies with Marco in the mountains for answers. Empress Chabi takes action to insure an heir to the khan.
15 4 “Let God’s Work Begin” David Petrarca Kate Barnow July 1, 2016
The Challenge for the throne escalates when two of Kublai’s sons are endangered. From far away in Acre, the Holy Land, another threat to the Khan is born.
16 5 “Lullaby” Jon Amiel Bruce Marshall Romans July 1, 2016
Rebel attacks in the south and pull Kublai’s attention away from home. Kokachin gets an unwelcome visitor from her past.
17 6 “Serpent’s Terms” Jon Amiel Noelle Valdivia July 1, 2016
Ahmed’s deadly and secret chess match against Kublai enters its endgame, even as Kublai’s thirst for power grows stronger than ever.
18 7 “Lost Crane” Alik Sakharov Matthew White July 1, 2016
Kaidu’s ruthlessness reaches new levels in his bid for power, while Hundred Eyes’ form lover has him questioning his loyalties.
19 8 “Whitehorse” James McTeigue Elizabeth Sarnoff & Patrick Macmanus July 1, 2016
Marco’s allegiance to Kublai is tested like never before. Mei Lin’s bold move throws Ahmed’s plans into chaos.
20 9 “Heirs” James McTeigue Kate Barnow July 1, 2016
Marco’s past with Kokachin resurfaces. Kublai’s position as Khan faces a final challenge, even as he welcomes a new heir into the world.
21 10 “The Fellowship” Alik Sakharov Elizabeth Sarnoff & Patrick Macmanus July 1, 2016
The day of the Kurultai arrives, shaping Kublai’s fate as Khan. Ahmed makes his final stand, and Marco learns a terrible truth.


The first season of Marco Polo was met with negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes , the first season holds a rating of 24%, based on 33 reviews, with a rating average of 4.7 / 10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “An all-around disappointment, Marco Polo is less than a round of the game that shares its name .” [14] On Metacritic , the show’s first season has a score of 48 out of 100 based on 21 reviews by critics, indicating “mixed reviews”. [15]

In his review for Entertainment Weekly , Jeff Jensen gave the first season a “B-” rating, calling the “stale”, but added “Somewhere in the middle of episode 2, though, Marco Polo became surprisingly watchable. . ” [16]Writing for People , Tom Gliatto praised the series, calling it “… a fun, body-flinging, old-fashioned epic.” [17] USA Today reviewer Robert Bianco gave the series 1 1 / 2 stars out of 4, Saying, “Clearly what Netflix hopes you’ll see a [sic] big bucks, prestige entertainment along the lines of That HBO fantasy epic, But in truth,

In 2015, the President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj presented John Fusco and the Marco Polo creative team with an award, honoring their positive portrayal and global presentation of Mongolian subject matter. [19]Fusco, himself, has described the series as historical fiction, based on the accounts of the Venetian traveler Marco Polo. [20]


Category Recipient (s) result Ref.
67th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards
Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music Daniele Luppi Nominated
2015 Hollywood Music in Media Awards
Best Main Title – TV Show / Digital Series Daniele Luppi Nominated

See also

  • Europeans in Medieval China
  • Mongol conquest of the Song dynasty
  • History of the Song dynasty


  1. Jump up^ “Marco Polo TV series finishes shooting in Slovakia” . The Slovak Spectator . Retrieved 7 July 2016 .
  2. Jump up^ “Netflix’s ‘Marco Polo’ Sets December Premiere Date” . . August 28, 2014 . Retrieved August 28, 2014 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:b “Netflix’s ‘Marco Polo’ Sets Its Cast” . The Hollywood Reporter . April 8, 2014 . Retrieved April 8, 2014 .
  4. Jump up^ Fowle, Kyle (July 1, 2016). “A mega Marco Polo recap: Let’s talk about all of season 2” . Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 6 July2016 .
  5. Jump up^ ” ‘ Marco Polo’ Canceled at Netflix After Two Seasons” . . Retrieved 13 December 2016 .
  6. Jump up^ Villareal, Yvonne (13 January 2012). “Marco Polo to get the Starz treatment with new original series” . Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 16 July 2012 .
  7. Jump up^ “The Weinstein Company Seeking Hits, Shifts to TV” . 25 November 2013 – via The New York Times.
  8. Jump up^ “Netflix Is Creating One Of The Most Expensive TV Shows In The World – Here’s Why It’s So Important” . Business Insider . Retrieved 2016-01-07 .
  9. ^ Jump up to:b “It’s Official: Netflix Orders Series ‘Marco Polo’ From Weinstein Co.” . . January 14, 2014 . Retrieved January 14, 2014 .
  10. Jump up^ “Malaysia Airlines MH370 passengers include stuntman, honeymooners” . 7 April 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Mike Ayers. ‘Inside’ Marco Polo, ‘Netflix’s $ 90 Million Epic’ . WSJ .
  12. Jump up^ “Riding the Silk Road” . Traveler . Retrieved 2016-04-12 .
  13. Jump up^ “Netflix Marco Polo Series ‘Riddled With Historical Errors ‘ ” . January 29, 2015 . Retrieved March 22, 2016 .
  14. Jump up^ “MARCO POLO: SEASON 1” . Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved December 22, 2014 .
  15. Jump up^ “Marco Polo (2014): Season 1” . Metacritic . Retrieved December 22, 2014 .
  16. Jump up^ Jensen, Jeff (January 7, 2015). “Marco Polo Review” . Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved January 10, 2015 .
  17. Jump up^ Gliatto, Tom (December 12, 2014). “Netflix’s Fun New Marco Polo Is All About the Wrath of Kublai Khan” . . Retrieved January 10, 2015 .
  18. Jump up^ Bianco, Robert (December 12, 2014). ” ‘ Marco Polo’ gets lost on the Silk Road to nowhere” . USA Today . Retrieved January 10, 2015 .
  19. Jump up^ Newbould, Chris (28 June 2016). “New season of Marco Polo to reveal the dark side of characters, says actor Lorenzo Richelmy” . The National . Retrieved 4 June 2017 .
  20. Jump up^ Makinen, Julie (19 September 2014). ” ‘ Marco Polo’ brings the court of Kublai Khan to Netflix” . Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 4 June 2017 .
  21. Jump up^ “Creative Arts Emmys: The Complete Winners List” . The Hollywood Reporter . September 12, 2015. Archived from the original on September 21, 2015 . Retrieved September 21, 2015 .
  22. Jump up^

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