Netflix ‘Yasuke’ Live-Action Series: What We Know So Far

Netflix is ​​once again teaming up with writer Nick Jones Jr. to produce Yasuke, a five-part live-action series based on the real-life dark samurai story starring Omar Sy.

Former Marine and now writer Nick Jones Jr. is the showrunner and writer for the upcoming series. Last year, he was the head writer and producer of Netflix’s anime adaptation Yasuke. Unlike the anime, the live-action series won’t have any fantasy elements, but will be a serious dramatization of the real-life story of Yasuke and his friendship with samurai Oda Nobunaga. Jones jr. commented :

“Having the chance to finally bring the legendary true story of Yasuke to life has been a dream of mine since serving in Japan as a Marine.”

Jones and Sy will both serve as executive producers alongside Shawn Levy and Josh Barry (Stranger Things, Shadow & Bone) of 21 Laps as well as Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi of Important Productions. She says:

“It’s the perfect project for what Forest and I are looking for – the intersectionality of two cultures through great storytelling, to bring a real historical figure to the fore, paired with incredible action, with faces that represent the Both black and Asian heritage – behind the camera and in front of the camera – amounts to a total dream scenario.

21 Laps is under an overall deal with Netflix and has released numerous projects over the past few years, with more to come.

Here’s everything else we know about Netflix’s live-action Yasuke series:

What is Yasuke’s plot and background?

Netflix’s Yasuke will tell the story of the real-life legend, an African man brought to feudal Japan under slavery who became the country’s first non-Japanese samurai. While last year’s Yasuke anime incorporated fantasy elements, this new live-action series will be a dramatization of the historical story, focusing on Yasuke’s friendship with samurai warrior Oda Nobunaga as he moves up the ladder.

Per the Harlem World Museum, here’s some more context:

In 1579, Yasuke arrived in Japan in the service of the Italian Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano, Visitor of the Missions in India, in India. Yasuke was one of many Africans who came with the Portuguese to Japan during the Nanban trade and some believe he was the first African Nobunaga ever saw. He was also present during the Honnō-ji incident, the forced suicide of Nobunaga at the hands of his general Akechi Mitsuhide on June 21, 1582.

Yasuke’s exact origins are unclear. Some clues indicate that he would be Mozambican, others Sudanese or Ethiopian. The Netflix series will likely choose one of these theories, but it’s not yet clear which one it will work with.

You may be familiar with Netflix’s anime Yusake, directed by Lesean Thomas and released in April 2021.

Who is cast in Yasuke?

It has been announced that Lupine and Intouchables star Omar Sy will direct Netflix’s Yasuke as the eponymous character. No other characters have been revealed at this time. Sy commented in a statement:

“I was inspired by Yasuke for a while. With this superb team, we are creating a remarkable series showing what it meant to be an African samurai in Japanese history. The action sequences alone are going to be phenomenal and ingenious.

What is the production status of Yasuke?

by Netflix Yasuke is currently in early development, where the team behind the project is writing the scripts as we talk with pre-production following after.

How many episodes will there be in Yasuke?

Netflix’s Yasuke is confirmed to have five-hour episodes, and it’s dubbed as an event series, which means it will be a limited series.

What is the Netflix release date for Yasuke?

Netflix hasn’t announced a date for Yasuke, but given its very early stage of development, we can probably only expect a release date in late 2023 or 2024.