“Game of Thrones” may be over, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never see Westeros again. A prequel to the critically acclaimed series is already in the works at HBO. Though the network is staying pretty tight-lipped about the new show, it has dropped a few hints and teases about what fans can expect.
From the A-list casting to the rumored title, here’s everything we know about the upcoming “Game of Thrones” prequel.
It Takes Place Thousands Of Years Before ‘Game of Thrones’
How long before the events of “Game of Thrones” does the upcoming prequel take place? According to HBO, it will take place thousands of years before the events of the series. It will chronicle the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.
George R.R. Martin Will Produce
Yes, “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin has been actively involved in the creation of the forthcoming prequel series. He serves as co-creator alongside writer and producer Jane Goldman, who will act as showrunner. Martin will be a co-executive producer.
The Show Will Still Take Place In Westeros
Like “Game of Thrones,” the prequel will also take place in the fictional land of Westeros. But don’t expect it to look like the Westeros you’re familiar with.
“Westeros is a very different place. There’s no King’s Landing. There’s no Iron Throne. There are no Targaryens — Valyria has hardly begun to rise yet with its dragons and the great empire that it built,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly in November. “We’re dealing with a different and older world and hopefully that will be part of the fun of the series.”
It Will Focus On The Origins Of The White Walkers
According to the official synopsis from HBO, viewers can expect to learn more about the history of the White Walkers. As the description reads, “From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’s history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend, only one thing is for sure: It’s not the story we think we know.”
Don’t Expect To See Any Other Characters From ‘Game of Thrones’
The prequel takes place thousands of years before the original series. That means that, no, none of the characters we’ve come to know and love over the years will likely be around on the new prequel.
“None of the characters or actors from Game of Thrones will appear in the new show,” Martin wrote in a blog post in June 2018, adding that this pilot “really puts the PRE in prequel, since it is set not ninety years before Game of Thrones … or a few hundred years, but rather ten thousand years.”
Despite this, some are speculating that there may be one exception …
Will The Night King Play A Role?
While both Martin and HBO have made it clear that this will be an all-new story featuring none of the original characters, some have speculated that there may be one exception to the rule: the Night King. Long before he (spoiler alert!!) died at the hands of Arya Stark in the final season of “Game of Thrones,” the Night King was the first White Walker in existence. If the prequel is going to delve into the backstory of Westeros and the rise of the Army of the Undead, it only makes sense that the Night King would make some sort of appearance.
It May Feature Some Ancestors With Familiar Names
Though you’re likely not going to see any familiar faces from “Game of Thrones” since the prequel takes place before their time, you may get to see past generations of their families. The Age of Heroes, which this prequel is expected to explore, featured distant ancestors of some of the characters we know — including Brandon the Builder, the founder of House Stark. These ancestors are the ones who established the territories and houses that would eventually form what we know as the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
This “Game of Thrones” Book Might Have Some Clues
If you’re looking for some hints about what to expect from the new prequel, you’re in luck. Martin told The Hollywood Reporter that the book “The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones,” published in 2014, could contain some clues about the eventual plot of the new series — but they’re well-hidden.
“You might find a sentence or two in ‘The World of Ice and Fire,’” Martin said of any potential hints. “You certainly won’t find 12 pages. A lot of this is based on that line or two, and Jane [Goldman] then took it and came up with something.”
Naomi Watts Will Headline The Show
The first cast member to be announced for the potential series’ pilot was Oscar nominee Naomi Watts. The name and specifics of her character have yet to be revealed. However, HBO did release a description, describing her role as that of “a compelling socialite with a dark secret.”
Josh Whitehouse Will Also Star
Shortly after Watts’ casting, it was announced that British actor Josh Whitehouse will also be joining the series. The “Poldark” star reportedly has a “key role” alongside Watts in the prequel. More specific character details have not been revealed.
HBO Announced More Cast Members This Year
After the casting of the initial two stars, HBO also announced the casting of the following actors: Naomi Ackie (pictured below, whom you may know from “Lady Macbeth”), Denise Gough (“Monday”), Jamie Campbell Bower (“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”), Sheila Atim (“Harlots”), Ivanno Jeremiah (“Humans”), Georgie Henley (“The Chronicles of Narnia” films), Alex Sharp (“How to Talk to Girls at Parties”) and Toby Regbo (“The Last Kingdom,” “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”).
Details of their characters haven’t been revealed.
This Oscar Nominee Was Added As A Series Regular In March
Oscar-nominated actress Miranda Richardson, who many might also recognize for playing Rita Skeeter in “Harry Potter,” is among the newest cast members to join. Her casting was announced in March, along with other recent additions, including Marquis Rodriguez (“Manifest”), John Simm (“Strangers”), Richard McCabe (Philip K. Dick’s “Electric Dreams”), John Heffernan (“Dracula”) and Dixie Egerickx (“Summerland”).
Richardson Has Teased That The Prequel Will Be ‘Totally Different’
In case you didn’t already get the message that this prequel won’t be the same “Game of Thrones” you’re familiar with, Richardson is here to drive it home.
“I have loved the storytelling in that series ‘Game of Thrones’ and the wish and the will is to continue that, [but] with a totally different set of elements, [and] people,” she told Digital Spy. “The craftsmen are the same — there is a base team that is the same and their work has been phenomenal throughout. I’m just thrilled to be a part of it.”
The Prequel May Have Hints Of Horror And Humor
As previously mentioned, screenwriter Jane Goldman (below) will serve as showrunner of the new “Game of Thrones” series and is also listed as co-creator alongside Martin. Goldman has previously written screenplays for “X-Men: First Class,” “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and “The Limehouse Golem.”
She also reportedly worked on Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” Given her background in both comedic and horror movies, Goldman has previously stated that she hopes to inject a little bit of both elements into her prequel series.
“I don’t know if I’m allowed to say, but I would say yeah!” she told Digital Spy when asked if her pitch featured any of her signature love for humor and gore. “Those are things I love, and things I like to do. It would be remiss of me not to put them in. So yeah.”
This Famous Director Will Helm The Pilot Episode
In addition to executive producing the series, S.J. Clarkson will direct the show’s pilot episode. Most recently, she helmed and produced the BBC/Netflix production “Collateral.” She has also directed episodes of “Orange Is the New Black,” “Dexter,” “Bates Motel” and “Jessica Jones.”
The “Game of Thrones” Showrunners Won’t Be Involved
Other than Martin, there won’t be any “Game of Thrones” vets remaining behind the scenes. “Game of Thrones” executive producers and showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss will not be involved with the prequel. The duo has opted to move on to focus on a new series of “Star Wars” films.
Martin Has Hinted At The Title Of The Show
Last fall, Martin was informally referring to the series as “The Long Night.” As fans of all things “Game of Thrones” know, “The Long Night” refers to a period of winter that descended upon the world and lasted an entire generation, causing thousands to starve and freeze. It’s during this time that the White Walkers arose in Westeros, leading to the eventual War for the Dawn.
However, it seems the title may have changed. Martin has since retreated from calling the project “The Long Night,” and recent reports have suggested the working name is now “Bloodmoon.”
HBO, for its part, has yet to confirm a title.
HBO Is Going Big Budget
“Game of Thrones” cost about $6 million per episode to produce, and that cost more than doubled by the final season. Well, fans don’t need to worry — HBO has made it known that it’s not planning to skimp when it comes to the prequel. Last year, Francesca Orsi, HBO’s senior vice president of drama, told The Hollywood Reporter of the project, “We are going big.”
Production Has Already Started
HBO announced in February that the project will begin production in early summer 2019. And apparently, things are going according to schedule. Some reports have suggested that filming is already underway.
It Could Air As Soon As Next Year
Though the show will begin production on its pilot episode this summer, it’ll likely be a while before we see it. According to Entertainment Weekly, HBO programming president Casey Bloys has previously said that a prequel will not air until at least a year after “Game of Thrones” concludes. That means that if it’s greenlit to series, the earliest projected air date would be in mid- to late-2020.
A Writers Room Has Been Set Up
According to Entertainment Weekly, the project has already assembled a writers room. That way, the team, led by Goldman (below), will be ready to pen more scripts should HBO opt to order more episodes based on the pilot. EW also suggests that the full season of the prequel will likely be a similar length to early “Game of Thrones” seasons — about eight to 10 episodes.
It Will Film In Belfast
Bloys recently confirmed that the pilot episode will start shooting this June. The show will film in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where most of the “Game of Thrones” scenes were produced. Local reporters reportedly observed production in the area in late spring.
There May Be More Prequels Coming
This project was one of several prequel scripts submitted to the network for consideration, a couple of which are reportedly still in contention. Of those that may move forward, Martin has hinted that at least one could be based upon his “A Song of Ice and Fire” companion book, “Fire & Blood.”
“…Two other shows remain in the script stage, but are edging closer,” Martin wrote on his blog. “What are they about? I cannot say. But maybe some of you should pick up a copy of FIRE & BLOOD and come up with your own theories.”
At Least One Other Prequel Idea Won’t Move Forward
Though it was previously announced that “Game of Thrones” writer and co-executive producer Bryan Cogman (below) pitched his own prequel idea to HBO, it seems that project won’t come to fruition.
“My prequel show is not happening and will not happen,” Cogman told The Hollywood Reporter in April. “HBO decided to go a different way. It is goodbye. I am done with Westeros. It’s wonderfully bittersweet … I’m eager to start the next chapter, but a part of my heart will always live with “Game of Thrones.”
Don’t Call Them Spin-Offs
Oh, and one other thing — don’t call any of these potential prequels “spin-offs.” Martin prefers the term “successor shows,” as he stated on his blog recently.
“I have had five different GAME OF THRONES successor shows in development (I mislike the term ‘spinoffs’) at HBO, and three of them are still moving forward nicely,” he wrote.