HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel has set an early summer filming start date, says programming president Casey Bloys. Jane Goldman will serve as showrunner for the series, after developing the idea along with Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin, with Jessica Jones director S.J. Clarkson tapped to helm the pilot. The cast is led by Naomi Watts - who reportedly plays a “charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret” - alongside Josh Whitehouse.
As of yet, the prequel series does not have a confirmed title, despite George R.R. Martin himself declaring that the show will be called The Long Night. Story details are being kept largely secret, but it's been revealed that the show takes place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones in an era Martin describes as being very different from the world fans have come to know through his books and the original show. And, much to the chagrin of Thrones fans everywhere, it’s also been revealed that dragons may not play a part in the new series.
After original reports of a February start date for the prequel series to begin filming, HBO president of programming Bloys has now revealed to EW that cameras will actually begin cranking on the show in early summer 2019. A writer’s room has also been set upm and is ready to begin crafting more episodes should HBO decide to pick up the series. No premiere date has been set, but it’s believed the show will most likely reach the air in 2020 or 2021.
Game of Thrones itself is currently gearing up for its own final season, which is set to begin running in April. Anticipation for the last six episodes of the classic fantasy series was already high before HBO fueled the hype machine a little more by airing a clever Super Bowl ad in conjunction with Bud Light. In addition to stars Watts and Whitehouse, the prequel cast will also include Naomi Ackie (Star Wars Episode IX), Denise Gough (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt), Jamie Campbell Bower (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald), Sheila Atim (Harlots), Ivanno Jeremiah (Black Mirror), Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia), Alex Sharp (To the Bone) and Toby Regbo (Reign).
With almost everything about the prequel series being kept under wraps, fans are left to speculate about what elements of known Game of Thrones lore the story will incorporate. One theory says Watts is playing the first of the Lannisters, while another holds that the show will tackle the story of legendary warrior Azor Ahai. But ultimately, the possibilities are totally wide open as to story. Martin laid the groundwork with his A Song of Ice and Fire books, and now more writers will get to build upon that foundation, as Game of Thrones lives on for as long as HBO can keep it going.