The Game Of Thrones Prequel Has Started Filming, Should Arrive On Screens In 2021
Like any TV series that has a huge fan following, unprecedented success and killer ratings season after season, the idea that Game of Thrones would launch a spin-off series was inevitable. But the fact that HBO announced five prequels of the medieval low fantasy series would be in development was proof that you really can never have too much of a good thing.
Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has confirmed that the first of up to five potential prequel shows will be called The Long Night, ready to take up the mantle after Game of Thrones' final season, and just cast Naomi Watts in a mystery role as a "charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret."
Commenting on her casting in a blog post, Martin opened with the statement, "Casting is now underway for THE LONG NIGHT, the first of the GAME OF THRONES successor series ordered to film," thus seemingly confirming the rumoured title of the show, however HBO haven't acknowledged that title since (and actually named an episode of Game of Thrones' eighth season "The Long Night," adding more confusion to matters). Whilst the network has reserved the right to realise all of the sequels, or none of them, Martin has also revealed that their settings range from 100 years prior to the events of the original, to 5000 years.
“The Long Night” refers to Westeros' own personal Dark Age – a period of time thousands of years before Robert's Rebellion, when the world experienced a winter that lasted for many years and marked a "generation and laid waste through famine and terror," as the Game of Thrones wiki details. This was when the White Walkers emerged in the north and brought an army of wights (reanimated corpses) to fight the living.
The Children of the Forest joined the First Men to fight the White Walkers and drive them back north. During this time, humans and Children of the Forest used dragonglass to fight the White Walkers and Bran the Builder (aka Brandon Stark) built The Wall to keep the White Walkers out. It was also during this time that the Night's Watch was established to keep watch over the northern border of Westeros, should the White Walkers return.
Despite the time gap, these stories are related to the original through prophecy and basically, the upcoming prequel will be telling the beginning of the story that ends with Game of Thrones.
“The Long Night” ends with the Battle for the Dawn, a legendary fight between the First Men alongside the Children of the Forest against the White Walkers. Although unclear in the history books, this may have been when Azor Ahai, the prince that was promised, led the humans to victory over the undead. This was the battle during which "the first members of the Night's Watch rode against the Others and drove them back north."
Fans quickly began speculating just how the prequel plans to introduce the Targaryens, or if they will simply be omitted from the prequel completely. During the events of “The Long Night” in the books, the Targaryen family is a powerful house in Essos and don't arrive to Westeros until the fall of Valyria nearly 8000 years later. It's possible that the show might depict what's going on in Essos, but since the continents aren't yet intertwined, it wouldn't make a ton of sense.
What we do know now, as revealed by HBO in the aftermath of Game of Thrones' final season airing last month, the show will indeed be set in era 8000 years before the Westeros, during which the Wall and White Walkers were created. A description reads that “descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour,” and that Watts will be joined on screen by Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Miranda Richardson, Josh Whitehouse, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Alex Sharp, and Toby Regbo.
The show's showrunner will be Jane Goldman, who helped bring X-Men: First Class to life, while directing duties will fall to S.J. Jackson, who has a swathe of credits including Orange Is The New Black, Jessica Jones and Vinyl under her belt.
Filming has begun on the project with view to a 2021 release, with the show once again descending on Northern Ireland, according to The Belfast Telegraph. Go forth loyal subjects!