Spanish broadcaster RTVE and Amazon Prime Video have announced pre-production on “Boundless,” a new four-part historical drama detailing the 16th century global circumnavigation undertaken by Spain’s Juan Sebastián Elcano and Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
Simon West (“Con Air,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”) is attached to direct, with Mono Films and Kilima Media producing.
500 years ago, the pair left Spain in a bid to prove that the world is not flat, a theory at the time and still a point of contention in certain fringe corners of the internet today, and that alternative trade routes to the “spice islands” were a realistic possibility.
Five ships hosting 239 seamen began the journey, departing from Sanlúcar de Barrameda on Aug. 20, 1519. Three years later, only the Nao Victoria returned, manned by eight sickly and starving sailors, including Juan Sebastián Elcano. Magellan had been killed during an attempt to forcibly convert Philippine natives to Christianity in April 1521.
“Boundless” will track the legendary journey by shooting in many of the locations visited by the pair along the way, including the Dominican Republic, the Canary Islands and Spain’s Basque Country, Elcano’s homeland.
Boasted as a “High-budget, cinematic production,” filming is scheduled for summer 2020. In preparation for the ambitious shoot, the Victoria and Trinidad ships will be reconstructed, and a replica of the Nao Victoria will be used for filming. Maritime scenes will be shot at the U.K.’s famed Pinewood Studios.
Since 2012’s massively popular “Isabel,” RTVE has cultivated a production line in higher-end historical fiction, which it looks to return to here. Amazon itself has turned heads taking select territory rights on “Hernán” and backing “El Cid” as one of its earliest Amazon Originals in Spain.
In a statement, Ricardo Cabornero, head of Prime Video Content, Amazon Spain, said: “We are excited to participate in a project of this scale in which one of history’s most incredible journeys will be brought to many people around the world through Amazon Prime Video. The series, directed by renowned director Simon West, will count with all technical resources to be a production full of action and epic.”
The series will launch exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in the U.K., U.S., Spain and Latin America in 2021.