HBO’s much anticipated Game of Thrones prequel has unveiled its main cast and director, and it’s shaping up to be a refreshingly female-led project.
The series, written by Jane Goldman, was ordered to pilot by HBO last year, set thousands of years before the events of the fantasy hit, chronicling “the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour”. “Only one thing is for sure,” teases the official synopsis. “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… it’s not the story we think we know.”
Naomi Watts has previously been announced to lead the show as a “charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret”, and now, we know who’ll be joining her on screen. The show’s core cast will include Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth, The Bisexual), Denise Gough (Colette), Sheila Atim (Harlots), Georgie Henley (Disney’s Narnia movies), Jamie Campbell Bower (The Twilight Saga), Ivanno Jeremiah (Black Mirror), Alex Sharp (How to Talk to Girls at Parties), Toby Regbo (The Last Kingdom) and Josh Whitehouse (Poldark).
“Westeros is a very different place,” George RR Martin told EW. “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. We’re dealing with a different and older world and hopefully that will be part of the fun of the series.”
Behind the camera is SJ Clarkson, who most recently directed BBC and Netflix series Collateral, and has also helmed episodes of Jessica Jones, Orange Is the New Black and Dexter. Clarkson, who will also direct the next big-screen Star Trek movie, joins Goldman, who will serve as the project’s showrunner.
The prequel doesn’t have a title yet, although Martin has reportedly suggested The Long Night.
HBO orders pilot for Game of Thrones prequel
9th June 2018
HBO has ordered its first pilot for a Game of Thrones prequel.
Ever since Game of Thrones’ final run has been confirmed for 2019, speculation has been rife about HBO’s plans for a follow-up series. Would we have a spin-off series about the construction of The Wall? An epic exploring the origins of the Lord of Light? Dramas charting the histories of Westeros’ biggest family houses?
Five potential projects have been in the works in the last year, George RR Martin previously revealed. In a blog post last year, he ruled out a story about Robert’s Rebellion (the war fought by Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon just before Thrones’ first season). He also said that the spin-off series would not be based on the prequel novellas Tale of Dunk and Egg, nor would they feature any characters that we have previously seen.
“None of these new shows will be ‘spinning off’ from GOT in the traditional sense. We are not talking Joey or AfterMASH or even Frazier or Lou Grant, where characters from one show continue on to another,” he explained.
Ultimately, he confirmed, HBO decided to go ahead with four separate developments, to be written by Max Borenstein, Jane Goldman, Brian Helgeland, and Carly Wray.
Now, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Jane Goldman’s series is the one first out of the blocks. The still untitled series, from the Kick-Ass and The Woman in Black writer, will be set thousands of years before the events of HBO’s fantasy hit, chronicling “the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour”.
“Only one thing is for sure,” teases HBO’s official logline, which seems to hint at a story involving The Night’s King. “From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend — it’s not the story we think we know.”
Goldman will serve as showrunner on the pilot, with exec producers including Game of Thrones’ Vince Gerardis and Bloodline co-creator Daniel Zelman, alongside Goldman and Martin.
Speaking previously with THR, HBO’s Casey Bloys said that the series will not air until at least a year after Thrones’ final season. HBO also doesn’t expect many of the spin-offs to move from the script to pilot stage, with potentially only one likely to get the full green light.
The news arrives as fans eagerly await the final season of Game of Thrones, which will air in 2019 – and as all seven seasons of Thrones to date return to Sky Box Sets and NOW TV.