Now that the dust (or ash) has settled on the controversial final season of Game of Thrones, HBO is looking to finally begin work on the much talked about prequel series, the first spinoff from the franchise. There had been plenty of rumors and reports that things were getting ready to begin, but now it seems as if the start has been made official.
EW confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that filming on the Game of Thrones prequel, potentially titled The Long Night, has begun in Northern Ireland. HBO is clearly sticking to what worked, keeping to the Ireland locations that served as a production hub for the main series for a number of years. At this point, it's unclear whether or not the shoot will move to any other countries as production continues.
The pilot for the new series is shooting this summer, in the hopes that HBO will like it enough to give it a full series order. For now, there's just one episode on the table. However, given the amount of records broken by Game of Thrones, it would be surprising to see the premium network pass on the spinoff. If HBO does order the show to series, it will likely be a couple of years before it actually airs.
Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class) is serving as the showrunner of the new series, with help from franchise creator George R.R. Martin and director S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones). The series features an ensemble cast led by Naomi Watts, Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Miranda Richardson, Josh Whitehouse, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Alex Sharp, and Toby Regbo.
During a previous interview with EW, Martin confirmed that the new series would take place around 5,000 years before the events of Game of Thrones.
"Westeros is a very different place," Martin said. "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."
Are you looking forward to the Game of Thrones prequel series? Let us know in the comments!