Ivan the Terrible: A Storyboard

1. Ivan the Terrible begins with Ivan's coronation, the new Tsar proclaiming his intention to unite and protect all Russia against enemies both outside her borders and within.

2. Ivan marries Anastasia Romanova in a lavish ceremony, but the celebrations are interrupted by news of Tartar rebellion in the west. War on Kazan is declared.

3. Ivan oversees a successful siege, utilising the latest addition to medieval warfare: gunpowder.

4. Illness strikes the Tsar upon his return to Moscow. Believing Ivan to be on his deathbed, a Boyar rebellion pledges allegiance to his cousin Vladimir.

5. Recovering from his illness, Ivan soon descends into mourning, his beloved Anastasia poisoned by the treacherous Efrosinia.

6. Ivan leaves Moscow, surrounding himself only with men he can trust (the Oprichina), vowing only to return when the people beg him to. They soon submit and he rules with absolute power.

7. A flashback reveals Boyar deceitfulness in Ivan’s childhood, the Lord’s responsible for the murder of the Tsar’s parents

8. Malyuta, the Tsar’s loyal friend, encourages Ivan to crush rebellion with ruthless initiative. In their desperation, the Boyars plan the assassination of the Tsar…

9. …led by Efrosinia, increasingly desperate to seat her son upon the thrown. 


10. A naïve Vladimir is comforted by a lullaby (‘The Song of the Beaver’), sung by his mother. Little does she know though that her betrayal has been discovered; the Tsar will soon have his revenge.

11. The plan to murder Ivan goes drastically wrong. Drunk and disguised as the Tsar due to Ivan’s intervention, Prince Vladimir falls foul of the Boyar’s hired assassin. The Oprichnina celebrate the defeat of Ivan’s enemies.

12. ‘the sword of justice will flash against those in the outside world’ - wizened by his domestic strife, a determined Ivan sets his sights on regional dominance.