The globe-hopping series will feature separate stories of people who believe themselves to be descendants of the Russian royal family the Romanovs, who ruled Russia from the 17th century until they were ousted from power by the Bolsheviks in 1917. Each of the eight stand-alone episodes will revolve around a different family. The story also includes the enduring mystery (or myth) of Anastasia, who may have been the only surviving child of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra, who were executed in 1918.
“The reason that I picked the Romanovs is that in an era where we have social media and so much theoretical connection to each other, it really seems like we’re further apart than ever,” Weiner explained in a 2017 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “And I love this idea that these characters believe themselves to be, whether they are or not, descendants of this last autocratic family who are part of one of the great true-crime stories of all time. I also love that it’s the chance to talk about nature versus nurture, what they have in common and what is left of a grand heritage.”
The $50 million series — which shot on three continents — has lined up a raft of high-profile guest stars including Diane Lane, Isabelle Huppert, Aaron Eckhart, Andrew Rannells, Paul Reiser and Mad Men alum John Slattery. Amazon revealed even more on Saturday, including Noah Wyle, Kathryn Hahn, Mary Kay Pace, Griffin Dunne, Ben Miles, Ron Livingston, Kerry Biché, Jon Tenney and Clea DuVall.
The Romanoffs is Weiner’s first series since AMC’s Mad Men wrapped more than two years ago.