With George R.R. Martin's recent confirmation that HBO's Game of Thrones spinoff is titled The Long Night, we think that the next slice of historical fantasy could explore the life of legendary warrior Azor Ahai. Though he's never appeared in Game of Thrones (on account of dying thousands of years before the show begins), Azor Ahai's presence has been felt through the machinations of Melisandre, a devoted disciple of the Lord of Light, who believes that the time has come for Azor Ahai's successor to rise.
At first Melisandre believed that Stannis Baratheon was the reincarnation of Azor Ahai, but her focus has since shifted to Jon Snow, whose life story matches up with several pieces of the prophecy of Azor Ahai's return. Many fans are onboard with this theory, believing that Game of Thrones' eighth and final season will see Jon defeat the oncoming horde of White Walkers and wights with the legendary sword, Lightbringer. But however Game of Thrones ends - whether with Jon becoming Azor Ahai, another character proving to be the reincarnation, or Azor Ahai's successor never materializing at all - The Long Night seems like a perfect opportunity to explore where the legend came from.
HBO president of programming Casey Bloys has confirmed that the prequel will take place 8000 years before Robert's Rebellion, during the last time that a long winter fell over the world, and huge swathes of people died of cold and starvation (or were slaughtered by the White Walkers and the wights). It was during this time that Azor Ahai emerged as a champion of the deity known as the Lord of Light, and forged the mighty Lightbringer by plunging his sword into the chest of his wife, Nissa Nissa. The casting of Naomi Watts in The Long Night has some fans wondering if she might be playing Nissa Nissa - though there's no evidence to support that (her character is described as a "charismatic socialite").
Azor Ahai is one of several legendary figures in A Song of Ice and Fire's mythology credited with driving back some kind of great darkness. In Westeros, people talk about a figure called "The Last Hero," who defeated the White Walker army and may or may not be the same person as Azor Ahai. Now, the story of the White Walkers being driven back the first time around arguably isn't that interesting, since we already know how it ends and Game of Thrones is basically that same story, just a few thousand years later. However, what could be interesting is exploring how the legend of Azor Ahai came to be - and how much of it is actually true.
What little we know about Azor Ahai is vague enough that a TV show could create a great story just by connecting the dots. Audiences would know about major events ahead of time - like Azor Ahai forging Lightbringer by killing Nissa Nissa - but not how they came about. Given that the legend has been passed down for thousands of years, who knows how accurate it even is? One interesting twist would be to have Azor Ahai as the main villain of The Long Night, whose story was embellished by history to make him out as a hero.
One thing we do know about The Long Night is that it won't be a one-man show. Bloys also said that the show, like Game of Thrones, will feature an ensemble with plenty of strong and complex characters. However, Azor Ahai could figure into this ensemble as a leading character, like Daenerys or Jon, or as an antagonist, or even just as part of tapestry. Regardless, it seems like it would be a waste to have a show set during the Age of Heroes, and not tell the story of one of the most famous heroes in Game of Thrones history.