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Shogun - What We Know So Far

Put simply, samurai are cool. Like the knights of medieval Europe or the cowboys of the American Old West, samurai are an important historical class that have been solidified as legends. This is true not just in Japanese culture, but across the world. Perhaps no story is as indicative of the samurai's grasp on our imaginations as the 1975 novel "Shogun." Written by Australian James Clavell, the novel is a dense piece of historical fiction that dives deeply into the world of 1600's Japan with a genuine passion and revere for the country's history and culture.

Now, the novel is receiving what will hopefully be a faithful adaptation into a TV series, courtesy of FX. The novel has been adapted in the past, though with an increased focus on the story's British protagonist compared to the source material. However, FX is looking to remedy that error through the series' cast and plot. With that in mind, here is what we know so far about FX's "Shogun."

When is the release date for Shogun?

Unfortunately, FX has not announced an official release date for "Shogun" yet, and probably for good reason. According to The Hollywood Reporter, FX only began production for the series very recently, though exactly when production began is still a mystery. Regardless, the fact that production has only begun now means that fans will still have to wait at least a year before "Shogun" begins airing. Assuming all goes well, FX viewers will be watching "Shogun" by either 2022 or 2023.

This may not seem like good news for some fans, but given that "Shogun" has been in pre-production since at least 2018, the fact that the series is finally shifting into the next phase of development means that it is closer to completion than ever. Much of the hard work in writing and casting has already been done — all that's left is to assemble these pieces into a fully-fledged series. Fingers crossed that "Shogun" experiences smooth sailing for the remainder of its production journey.

Who is in the cast for Shogun?

So far, FX has only revealed three of the actors playing major characters in this rendition of "Shogun." British sailor Jonathan Blackthorne will be played by actor Cosmo Jarvis ("Raised By Wolves," "Peaky Blinders"). The character of Yoshi Toranaga, a Japanese feudal lord who takes Jarvis captive before becoming his mentor, will be played by Hiroyuki Sanada ("Lost," "The Twilight Samurai"). Finally, the character of Lady Mariko, the daughter of a traitor samurai, will be played by Anna Sawai ("F9," "Ninja Assassin").

FX has also revealed the identities of much of the "Shogun" supporting cast, most of whom are Japanese actors. This includes Tadanobu Asano, Fumi Nikaido, Tokuma Nishioka, and many more. It's clear that authenticity is a major priority for FX in this piece of historical fiction. At the very least, the company is prioritizing proper Japanese representation for a series that will be set in Japan.

What is the plot of Shogun

"Shogun" tells a thrilling story of political intrigue and war during 1600's feudal Japan. At the center of this drama lies Jonathan Blackthorne, an English sailor who finds himself in the service of Yoshi Toranaga, a daimyo (lord) embroiled in a tense conflict with his enemies. The series charts Blackthorne and Toranaga's relationship as these conflicts progress.

According to THR, "Shogun" is paying special attention to the story arcs and perspectives of characters other than Blackthorne, though he retains his critical role as protagonist. This approach is largely a response to the portrayal of Japanese characters in the original 1980 mini-series, which undercut their roles in favor of Blackthorne's.

"When we looked at the [source] material, we realized this is a very richly researched and richly written, very compelling and accurate portrayal of feudal Japan," FX CEO John Landgraf told The Hollywood Reporter. "There's a whole lot of point of view that was omitted from the original series because it was thought at that time that American audiences wouldn't want to see the story from the Japanese point of view. And now, I think you have to tell the story from the Japanese as well as Western point of view."