Missing Game of Thrones? Well, the pilot for its untitled prequel series is currently filming in Northern Ireland. Details have been very scant, and for some time now, we’ve only known that it is set 10,000 years before the events of Game of Thrones. Here’s the logline for the potential series: “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.”
The only character description we have is that of Naomi Watts, who will portray “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret.” Outside of Watts, the diverse cast includes four Black actors: Naomi Ackie, Marquis Rodriguez, Sheila Atim and Ivanno Jeremiah. Miranda Richardson, Josh Whitehouse, Denise Gough, Jamie Campbell Bower, Alex Sharp, Georgie Henley, Dixie Egerickx, John Simm, Richard McCabe and Toby Regbo round out the main cast.
Now that filming on the pilot has commenced, author and executive producer George R.R. Martin talked to Entertainment Weekly and revealed five new, key details about the spinoff:
1. Westeros is divided into roughly 100 kingdoms during this time — “We talk about the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; there were Seven Kingdoms at the time of Aegon’s Conquest. But if you go back further then there are nine kingdoms, and 12 kingdoms, and eventually you get back to where there are a hundred kingdoms — petty kingdoms — and that’s the era we’re talking about here.”
2. The Starks are there! — “The Starks will definitely be there. Obviously the White Walkers are here — or as they’re called in my books, The Others — and that will be an aspect of it. There are things like direwolves and mammoths.” Note: The prequel does predate dragons. Sorry, Drogon!
3. No Lannisters…yet. But here is another family we could see — “The Lannisters aren’t there yet, but Castlery Rock is certainly there; it’s like the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s actually occupied by the Casterlys — for whom it’s still named after in the time of Game of Thrones.”
4. Like early Game of Thrones, this will have a true ensemble cast with no definitive leads — As pointed about by EW, HBO’s initial casting seemed to suggest that there would be three central leads, all women: Naomi Watts, Naomi Ackie and Denise Gough. “I hesitate to use the word ‘lead,’” Martin says. “As you know for Game of Thrones, we never even nominated anybody for lead actress or lead actor [during awards season] until recently; it was always for supporting [categories] because the show is such an ensemble. I think that will be true for this show too. We don’t have leads so much as a large ensemble cast.”
5. It is still untitled, but here’s a thought — “I heard a suggestion that it could be called The Longest Night, which is a variant I wouldn’t mind. That would be pretty good.” Note: The project has been previously referred to as The Long Night, which has been complicated due to a Game of Thrones final season episode being titled the same thing.