What you need to know about the upcoming prequel to HBO's Game of Thrones
Winter is coming
As Game of Thrones gears up for its highly anticipated eighth and final season, fan-favourite characters such as the dashing Jon Snow and mother of dragons Daenerys Targaryen are set to be replaced with new heroes and villains from four previously announced prequels, or as creator George R.R. Martin calls them, "successor shows". One of them has entered the production phase for a pilot. There's been plenty of speculation and rumours floating around, but here's what we know so far — officially.
What is its title?
While George R.R. Martin has publicly expressed it to be called "The Long Night", HBO has yet to confirm its name.
What's it about?
HBO has surmised the pilot as: "Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world's descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. 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, only one thing is for sure: It's not the story we think we know."
What we know is that The Age of Heroes refers to the period after the Children of the Forests and the First Men agreed to the peace Pact. It's when the lineage of the nine Great Houses in Westeros begins. For reference, it dates back at least 6,000 years before Daenerys returned to Dragonstone. If Game of Thrones is medieval fantasy, then expect this currently untitled pilot to be primordial.
Who will it star?
Back in November 2018, HBO announced that English actors Oscar-nominee Naomi Watts (King Kong) and Josh Whitehouse (Poldark) would star. While details of Whitehouse's character hasn't been revealed, Watts' role has been characterised as "a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret."
On 8 January, HBO dropped the names of eight new cast members that included: Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth), Denise Gough (Monday), Jamie Campbell Bower (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald), Sheila Atim (Harlots), Ivanno Jeremiah (Humans), Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia films), Alex Sharp (How to Talk to Girls at Parties) and Toby Regbo (The Last Kingdom, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald).
Who is behind it?
GoT author George R.R. Martin is obviously one of the creators of this new series. Jane Golden joins him with a wealth of experience behind screenplays for major flicks such as X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass.
When will it be released?
The prequel is expected to be released in 2020, approximately a year after the conclusion of Game of Thrones.
In other news, catch a 5-second teaser of GoT season eight where Sansa welcomes Daenerys to Winterfell.