Russia Developing 'Game of Thrones'-Style Series About Romanov Dynasty

Empress Maria Fyodorovna's coffin is surrounded by clergy
Orthodox clergymen hold a mourning ceremony at the coffin of Empress Maria Fyodorovna, the wife of Tsar Alexander III and mother of Russia's last monarch, Nicholas II of the Romanovs. Russia is currently working on a series, dramatizing the reign of the Romanovs. Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters

With the BBC's depiction of the Russian Empire in its adaptation of War and Peace fresh off TV screens, Moscow is preparing its own historical saga—with an unlikely inspiration.

Russian producers are readying to film a Game of Thrones-inspired series about Russia's last royal family, the Romanovs, state news agency Itar-Tass reported.

The series will be called Epokha Raztsveta, which translates as The Age of Flourishing, and according to its producers it will mimic the Game of Thrones fantasy series with a breadth of personas and detailed portrayals.

"The historical project Epokha Raztsveta can be called an equivalent to Game of Thrones," producer Alexey Petrukhin said. "We studied the business model of their project and we communicated a lot with the creators of Game of Thrones. As in their series, we will have several directors, several operators, each of whom will follow their family and their own characters."

Game of Thrones, which tells the story of the fictional continent of Westeros created by U.S. fantasy author G.R.R. Martin, is famous for its large ensemble cast. The show's five seasons to date have shifted in focus between the continent's seven kingdoms, showing how events in Westeros impact internal power struggles and intrigue across its ruling families.

A feature-length film will kick off Epokha Raztsveta in 2017. Director Oleg Stepchenko, known for adapting the Nikolay Gogol short story "Viya" for the big screen in 2013, will serve as artistic director, while playwright Oleg Shishkin will preside over the screen treatment.

According to Petrukhin, the series will aim for a similarly comprehensive view of Russia's own royals, with the screen treatment chronicling the Romanov's three-century rule across 12 seasons. Premiering in 2018, each season will feature 12 episodes, with the series one taking place before the establishment of the Romanov reign, during the so-called Times of Trouble.

The Romanovs took over after a period of famine and internal strife in Russia at the end of the 16th century, with several other kings attempting to fill the power vacuum left by the previous Rurik dynasty. At the time, the country was also fighting a war with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Russia endured the depositions and assassinations of several impostor rulers before 1613 when Mikhail Romanov first ascended the throne.

Spoiler alert: The Romanov reign, while long-lasting, also ended tumultuously, with the Communist Revolution of 1917. King Nicholas and the rest of the royal family were brutally executed by revolutionaries and the Soviet Union took the Russian Empire's place.

After years of dismissing the Romanov dynasty as decadent, bourgeois and corrupt under Soviet rule, Russia has rediscovered an interest in its last royal house. The king, queen and their five children were not given state funerals, with all but son Alexey found in a mass grave in 1993. Alexey's body has also allegedly been found since and Russia has exhumed the royal family to genetically verify his identity and grant him the same posthumous honor that his relatives were denied by the Soviets and granted following the USSR's collapse—canonization.

Meanwhile, Russia is not the only country giving its history a Game of Thrones-inspired adaptation, as filmmakers in Kazakhstan are working on a high-budget series called the Kazakh Khanate.