Knowing full well that we’re totally desperate for any stray crumb of Game of Thrones news, HBO execs have revealed that the first of five potential spinoff series is officially in the works.
HBO even released this tantalising description for the as-yet-untitled show:
“The series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: 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.”
So here’s what we know about the new series, who’s writing it and when it’ll be out…
What might be covered?
In Martin’s novels, the Age of Heroes is a period of history after the Dawn Age, in which the First Men crossed the land bridge into Westeros and came into contact with the illusive Children of the Forest, according to the fan-powered Game of Thrones Wiki.
The Age of Heroes officially began when the First Men and the Children of the Forest signed a peace deal, after many centuries of conflict, in order to unite behind the task of defeating the White Walkers.
This battle against the White Walkers is known as the Long Night and ended with the terrifying frozen creatures being driven back to the far north and the Wall being built to keep them out.
Many great and legendary heroes lived in this time, and could very well feature in the show, including founder of House Stark Bran the Builder, who is said to have constructed the Wall and Winterfell.
Lann the Clever, the founder of House Lannister, was also around during the Age of Heroes.
Meanwhile, Game of Thrones supremo George RR Martin seems to have casually dropped the title of the new show.
“Casting is now underway for THE LONG NIGHT, the first of the GAME OF THRONES successor series to ordered to film,” he wrote on his blog.
“HBO has just announced the first cast member: NAOMI WATTS is coming on board as one of our stars. I could not be more excited. Welcome to Westeros, Naomi.”
Martin added: “Jane Goldman scripted the LONG NIGHT pilot and will be running the show. She and her team are busy in London right now, neck deep in casting, and I expect some more names will be announced soon.”
According to fan site a Wiki of Ice and Fire, the Long Night is how the Westerosi refer to a period when a terrible darkness fell across the Known World.
“It occurred during the Age of Heroes approximately eight thousand years before Aegon’s Conquest, in the midst of a great winter that lasted for years. The Long Night lasted a generation and laid waste through famine and terror.”
However, HBO walked back these comments a little, telling /Film: “The Prequel pilot remains untitled.”
Who’s writing it?
The show will be co-created by George RR Martin and screenwriter Jane Goldman, who will act as showrunner.
Goldman’s credits include the Kingsman films, X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass and The Woman in Black.
Goldman spoke to Digital Spy about the upcoming show, saying: “I am just writing ideas and outlining some things. I really can’t say very much about it, but yeah, it’s all going well. I’m having lots of fun making stuff up!”
Asked whether it’ll feature her signature humour and love of gore, she added: “I don’t know if I’m allowed to say, but I would say yeah! Those are things I love, and things I like to do. It would be remiss of me not to put them in. So yeah.”
Interestingly, and not that in matters in any way, but Goldman is also married to Jonathan Ross. There you go.
Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have chosen to not be involved and are instead working on a new series of Star Wars films.
Who’s in it?
HBO bosses have announced the first cast members who’ll be joining the show – along with a tantalising character description.
The first thespian joining the cast is Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts.
“Watts will play a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. The character’s name is not being revealed, however.
Watts, 50, is a strong choice for the Jane Goldman-helmed project, after noted appearances in films like David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001), The Ring (2002), 21 Grams (2003) and King Kong (2005).
The English actress, who spent her childhood in Australia, was rumoured to be attached to the project earlier this month by the site Recapped.
“The only thing we know is they want British actors for all of the roles or actors with a perfect British accent,” the site said. “The pilot is set to shoot early next year so we should be getting some cast announcements soon.”
Joining Watts is Poldark actor Josh Whitehouse. “The truth is out,” he tweeted.
The English actor and model also appeared in the 2014 film Northern Soul.
None of the actors from the current show will appear in the prequel, according to Deadline.
“It’s a very different setting, a very different time in Westeros, It will feel different but still Game of Thrones,” HBO President of programming Casey Bloys said in August.
When is it coming?
HBO’s progamming president has Casey Bloys previously said that the first show will not air until at least a year after the main show ends. So this means the earliest we could see it is 2020.
How much will it cost?
HBO executives have said they’re willing to throw more than $50m at each new season.
“$50 million [per season] would never fly for what we are trying to do. We are going big,” Francesca Orsi, HBO senior vp drama, said at the INTV conference in Israel in March.
What about the other prequels?
On his blog, Martin discussed the other spinoff series that are coming down the pipeline. “Meanwhile, there are still a couple of other possible prequels in active development,” he said.
“I can’t tell you the subject matter of those projects, no, sorry, wish I could. The readers among you might want to grab a copy of FIRE & BLOOD when it is released on November 20, though.”
Fire & Blood is a complete history of House Targaryen that’ll be released on 20 November, 2018.
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(Images: HBO / Game of Thrones / Getty)