SPOILERS AHEAD FOR GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8
Back in April and May, potentially the most disappointing finale in TV history was released to the world. The meticulously crafted dramatic tension built up by 7 nail-biting seasons of Game of Thrones all came crashing down in 6 heavy-handed episodes, which rushed through long-drawn-out plot points faster than you could say, “Valar morghulis.” Even the actors were disappointed.
But, as the saying goes, what is dead may never die, and the show that left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth could be in with a shot of redeeming itself. HBO has revealed that it has a number of potential prequel projects on the go, which will take place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones.
So here’s everything we know about what’s in store for the future (or the past) of Westeros on our screens.
There are 4 projects on the go
HBO has announced 4 potential prequels with 4 separate storylines. The identity of each prequel has not yet been revealed, but the producers involved have been named as Jane Goldman, Max Borenstein, Brian Helgeland, and Carly Wray.
It’s just a pilot
Of the four projects, only one – Jane Goldman’s – has had a pilot episode fully commissioned, with no guarantee that a series will follow. On his blog, George R. R. Martin wrote, “Three more Game of Thrones prequels, set in different periods and featuring different characters and storylines, remain in active development. Everything I am told indicates that we could film at least one more pilot, and maybe more than one, in the years to come.”
It’s about the Long Night
The commissioned pilot episode will take place during the Long Night, the legendary winter that lasted a generation, 8000 years before the Targaryen conquest of Westeros. It’s when the White Walkers emerged, so expect plenty of frosty, ghoulish ice-people and yet more
It won’t have the same writers
Game of Thrones writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss will not be involved, though they are technically attached to the production as executive producers due to owning the production rights. The duo have said in the past that they wanted to move on from their Westerosi roots once season 8 was finished. In February 2018, Disney announced that Benioff and Weiss would be writing a new series of Star Wars films.
Instead, showrunner Jane Goldman – who penned the screenplays for Kickass and Kingsman: The Secret Service – will write the pilot.
Naomi Watts will star
Oscar-nominated superstar Naomi Watts will purportedly head up a cast which includes John Simm (The Master from Doctor Who), Miranda Richardson (Queenie from Blackadder), and Marquis Rodriquez.
Watts plays “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret”, according to HBO’s website.
It will be broadcast in 2020
The plan is for the pilot episode to be broadcast in 2020, a year after the final season of Game of Thrones. Martin has said he hopes this is long enough for people to separate the two shows, but not so long that they have forgotten about their love for Westeros.
There are no dragons
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Martin explained how different Westeros was thousands of years ago. “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.”
According to Westeros.org, dragons came about after the Long Night: ” “While Westeros was recovering from The Long Night, in Essos, the peaceful sheep-herding folk of the Valyrian peninsula find dragons lairing in the Fourteen Flames, an immense chain of volcanoes extending across the neck of the peninsula. The Valyrians tame the dragons with magic, which gives them the means to gain influence over the area. The Valyrian Freehold is established.”