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HBO announced in June 2018 that it has ordered the pilot episode of a Game of Thrones series. Since then, various pieces of information have followed one another. Numerama makes the point.

The synopsis

The story that will be told in this new HBO television series takes place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones.

According to the American television channel, she will “recount the fall of the world from the Golden Age of Heroes to its darkest hours“. We will also talk about the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of Essos, but also about some of the Stark who populate the legends of the North. Hold on tight: the ” gruesome secrets of the history of Westeros” will also be revealed.

The so-called Age of Heroes actually covers a vast period of history, from 12,000 to 6,000 years before the Targaryen Era, which marks the beginning of the modern age.

Important events take place during this time, such as the emergence of the First Men, the peace with the children of the forest and the outbreak of the Long Night, but the series will not be able to recount them all. It will focus a priori on a very specific event. Since HBO mentions the White Walkers, it might well be the Long Night that will be highlighted.


The Lands of Eternal Winter. // Source: HBO


The title of the new series has not yet been officialized. That said, in a blog post published on June 11, 2018, George R. R. Martin says he favors The Long Night (The Long Night), a name that refers to the arrival of an abominable winter that lasted an entire generation, more than 8,000 years before the story told in Game of Thrones.

There’s no guarantee that this title will be the one chosen by HBO, but the writer’s suggestion gives us a better idea of the Age of Heroes period that will be brought to the screen. Indeed, during the Long Night, the continent was threatened by the arrival of the White Walkers, who came from their distant lands to conquer the world.

This episode, which took place in the year 8,000 BC, is a founding moment in the universe set up by the novelist George R. R. Martin in his Work, as it led to the construction of the Wall, the founding of the Night’s Watch and the political structuring of the region of North Westeros around Stark House, which became its guardian.


The Wall, which prevents the White Walkers from returning. // Source: HBO

The Casting

For its new series, HBO is offering itself a recruit of choice: Naomi Watts. The British actress’s arrival in the universe of Game of Thrones was unveiled on October 30, 2018. His role, however, remains a mystery: all we know is that his character hides a dark secret.

Naomi Watts is a figure in Hollywood. She has been rewarded several times for the accuracy of her game. She is best known for her roles in Mulholland Drive, 21 Grams or King Kong. While her career has been mainly on the big screen, the actress has also acted for television, notably in ten episodes of Twin Peaks.

The next day, another name was announced: Josh Whitehouse, who played in the series Poldark. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the interested party gets one of the main male roles in the show. No details about the character he will play have been given.

Subsequently, several other actors and actresses were announced. In early January, HBO announced the cast of Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Georgie Henley, Alex Sharp and Toby Regbo. None of them are really known to the general public and again their role in the series has not been specified by the network.

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Naomi Watts. // Source: Skidmore Pawn

On posting

Jane Goldman is responsible for writing the series and ensuring its consistency. Such a project is totally in her blood since she has already worked on big-budget feature films, such asX-Men: The Beginning and X-Men: Days of Future Past, as well as Kingsman: Secret Service and Kingsman: Le Cercle d’or, which she is to adapt into a live film La Petite Sirène, by Disney.

She will also be able to count on the support of George R. R. Martin. The novelist is indeed in the loop. He participates in the development and is, like Jane Goldman, executive producer. It is reasonable to assume that the writer will ensure that what is told on television is consistent with what he has in mind for his fictional universe.

However, D. B. Weiss and David Benioff, who directed the television adaptation of Iron Throne, are not involved.

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George R. R. Martin. // Source: Skidmore Pawn

Behind the camera

The pilot episode was directed by British filmmaker S.J. Clarkson. She’s had a few episodes of superhero TV series to her credit: Jessica Jones and The Defenders. HBO says the director will also work on the future TV series devoted to Star Trek, which the channel is to produce.

Release date

No forecast date is currently known. Shooting hasn’t started and HBO’s priority is to prepare for the release of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, which will take place this spring. According to George R. R. Martin, filming is scheduled to begin later this year. Without doubt the channel’s objective is to have a first season to offer its audience in 2020.

Other series

This derivative series, a prequel to Game of Thrones, is not the only project on the rails. Others are being developed – although there is no guarantee that they will all lead to a series. HBO has been interested in spin-offs since 2016, as the channel has no real desire to let go of such a goose that lays golden eggs.

In the spring of 2017, there were four series under construction. A fifth was subsequently put on track. However, on June 13, 2018, George R. R. Martin declared one of them abandoned. Last I heard, HBO is still working on the others. At least for three of them. All of them offer a story set in the past.

What could be the themes of the other three? Robert Baratheon’s rebellion? The Scourge of Valyria? Aegon’s Conquest?

All bets are off.

(updated May 7 with details on the start of shooting)

Article originally published on 31 October 2018