For a long time, Netflix was seen as a safe home for series – it never seemed to cancel any of its original programming. But that idea is long behind us now, even if the streaming service has shown faith in most of its shows. But not, it seems, in Marco Polo, which will not return for a third season.
Launched in 2014 and created by John Fusco, the series starred Lorenzo Richelmy as the titular Venetian and followed his early explorations in 13th century China, and more specifically his time in Genghis’ grandson Kublai Khan’s (Benedict Wong) court.
A sticking point for the series future was likely the hefty cost, with season 1's price tag running to an estimated $90 million. With big sets, location work and all the expense of a period piece, it had a successful first year, but the second season didn't draw the same reaction. Or – though it's tougher to know for sure given the streaming service's nondisclosure of viewership – ratings.
"Netflix has been incredible to give us the room to make a series with a cast true to every principle of diversity. It’s a bold network that allows you to do that and support us in the way that Netflix did,” says Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Company produced the show. “As many people know, Asian history and the world of martial arts have fascinated me for all of my career – I’ve made many movies around these topics and this genre, and now this TV show I’m so proud of. John has been a great partner and we’re both fascinated to continue exploring this exciting period in history on future projects together."