While a current fascination with all things medieval - at least in tone - has been attributed to the crossover success of HBO's Game of Thrones, Showtime's The Tudors predates the ongoing saga of the inhabitants of Westeros by a few years. Now, with Starz looking to expand their original content beyond their hit Spartacus and its various incarnations, we have an official trailer for their next offering, The White Queen.
Set against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses - the long-running battles between the Houses of York and Lancaster over disputed claims to the throne of England - the show is based on a series of novels by The Other Boleyn Girl author Phillipa Gregory. Rebecca Ferguson stars as Queen Elizabeth ("The White Queen") and wife of King Edward IV (Max Irons), whose love for the low-born Elizabeth puts his rise to power in jeopardy as the House of York's rivals scheme against them - notably the Lancaster's Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) and Anne Neville (Faye Marsay) daughter of Lord Warwick (Grimm's James Frain).
Here's the official synopsis:
In the STARZ original drama, the year is 1464, before the Tudor dynasty ruled England, and war has been ravaging throughout the country over who is the rightful king. It is a blood feud between two sides of the same family; The House of York and The House of Lancaster. The House of York’s young heir Edward IV is crowned King of England with the help of his mentor and advisor, the master manipulator Lord Warwick, known at court as “The Kingmaker.” When Edward falls in love with a beautiful Lancastrian commoner, Elizabeth Woodville, Warwick’s plan to control the throne comes crashing down. A violent, high-stakes struggle for the crown ensues between Elizabeth, her fiercest adversary, Lancastrian Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville, a pawn in her father’s power game.
The trailer definitely promises plenty of back-stabbing, royal-court intrigue, swordplay action and candlelit sex scenes, but what sets it apart from such similar fare is the female perspective of such historical power plays. While Game of Thrones is not lacking for strong woman characters, The White Queen seems bent on placing the rivalry of the would-be queens front and center.
It's also worth noting that Starz is presenting this as a 10-episode "limited" series, which will contain the whole story without relying on subsequent seasons... at the moment, anyway. If The White Queen catches on - and judging by the impressive, engaging trailer, it just might - expect Starz to decide that there are plenty more stories to be mined from the Wars of the Roses. After all, the civil war lasted almost thirty years before Henry VII defeated Richard III and united the Yorks and Lancasters by marrying Elizabeth of York to form the House of Tudor in 1485. Not that they'll get that far in ten episodes, but there's plenty of potential here.
The White Queen premieres on Saturday, August 10th, 2013 at 9PM EST on Starz, and will also air on BBC One.