Game of Thrones Prequel: The Long Night Release Date, Cast, and News

The Game of Thrones prequel pilot is coming along nicely with strong talent in front of and behind the camera.

Game of Thrones is over, and its ending will likely be debated for years, but rest assured that HBO will not skip a beat afterward to continue our Westerosi adventures. After previously greenlighting Jane Goldman’s pitch for a Game of Thrones prequel to pilot last summer, the new potential series is now filling out its cast, who are being added in addition to already announced leads Naomi Watts and Josh Whitehouse. 

Here’s everything we know about the Game of Thrones prequel series so far…

Game of Thrones Prequel Series Release Date

Production on the pilot episode has already been completed. Assuming HBO moves forward with the Game of Thrones prequel (and why wouldn’t they?) We wouldn’t be all that surprised if it were to arrive in late 2020 or early 2021.

Game of Thrones Prequel Series Cast

Naomi Watts is set to star in an unknown role. As the first casting announcement, and a twice Oscar nominated actress, we imagine that the Australian Watts will taking a central role in the new series, and certainly has a bit of a familial Lannister look about her. (That is just speculation.) The same might also go for British actor Josh Whitehouse, who is probably best known for the series Poldark. He was also cast in a leading role that has remained largely mysterious.

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Other recent noteworthy castings include Naomi Ackle, who was previously on Doctor Who, Jamie Campbell Bower (Twilight, Sweeney Todd), Denise Gough (Colette), Sheila Atim (Girl from North Country, Harlots), Ivanno Jeremiah (Humans, Doctor Who), Georgie Henley (the Narnia movies), Alex Sharp (How to Talk to Girls at Parties), and Toby Regbo (Reign). HBO has also announced the twice Oscar nominated Miranda Richardson (The Crying Game, Sleepy Hollow) as a member of the cast.

While who all these actors will play is being kept strictly under wrap, it is likely given the more multiculturally aware casting that rumors some of them will hail from the mysterious known third continent of this world, Sothoryos, are not unfounded. This will only make the world larger if we explore this universe’s version of Africa.

Marquis Rodriguez (Iron Fist, When They See Us), John Simm (Doctor Who, Life on Mars), Richard McCabe (Collateral, Poldark), John Heffernan (Collateral, Dickensian) and child actress Dixie Egerickx (Patrick Melrose, The Little Stranger) have also been cast.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Prequel Story

Early announcements revealed the series would expand on our understanding of Westeros’ fabled Age of Heroes setting. We have previously written about what to expect the Age of Heroes, which HBO has been kind enough to confirm some of via their oh, so vague logline that the series will not only explore the origins of House Stark (which was a given) but also White Walkers, Westeros, and the far “East” (more of Essos and the lost Targaryen homeland of Valyria, mayhaps?):

“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.”

read more: Sansa Stark as Queen in the North Has Historic Roots

Also given that George R.R. Martin has revealed that the title, or at least a working version of it, is “The Long Night,” it stands to reason the series will be set predominantely in the generations-long winter that ended with the original Battle for the Dawn and Bran the Builder constructing the Wall. Other notable aspects from this era could include the founding of Winterfell by Brandon Stark, and many of the Southron folktales. Of course the most intriguing aspect may be a detailed origin of where the White Walkers come from. 

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Game of Thrones Prequel Series Title

George R.R. Martin previously revealed the prequel is tentatively titled The Long Night.

While we’ve previously speculated on what the Age of Heroes can mean, the emphasis on Watts as a major lead is an intriguing one. Given Watts’ golden hair, she might make for an interesting casting as a Targaryen of the past, back when the family was one of many great Valyrian homes that mastered dragons and the skies, as well as the hellfires of a pit that would one day claim their great city.

Also, there is a chance Bran the Builder (the first Stark of major lineage) could have taken too much credit from his wife. And one out there idea—and quite unlikely—is if they blur the timeline and make the Night’s Queen, the undead bride taken by a Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch (and perhaps a Stark himself). It was she and her husband who orchestrated all sorts of horrors in the Shadow Tower of the Watch.

We imagine though that this show will be set before those nightmares and perhaps Watts would want a role that would not err so close to simply pure evil. In any event, she is definitely a major addition on what is the first of five developing prequels to likely reach series.

Game of Thrones Prequel Series Writer

It was revealed in 2017 that HBO was developing five potential pilots from different creative teams, although given Jane Goldman’s pedigree as the screenwriter of Stardust, Kick-Ass, and X-Men: First Class, we always liked the prospect of her series making the jump. “A Song of Ice and Fire” author, George R.R. Martin, had a hand in advising all the projects and has since revealed that one of the five potential prequels has been indefinitely shelved but there is a chance HBO could greenlight another of the three still in development.

We will of course be hearing much more as the new series approaches.

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Game of Thrones Prequel Director

S.J. Clarkson, a woman director who worked on The Defenders and Jessica Jones, will helm the pilot which sets the tone of the series, as well the rest of a wide-ranging and diverse cast. 

Clarkson is a major get for the series, and who has been on Goldman and HBO’s radar ever since her movie franchise debut, the still developing Star Trek 4, was shelved seemingly permanently. This project will allow Clarkson and Goldman to create a visual language that’ll likely differ from the original HBO series the predated it.

David Crow is the Film Section Editor at Den of Geek. He’s also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. Read more of his work here. You can follow him on Twitter @DCrowsNest.