In Depth

Game of Thrones prequel: everything you need to know

HBO is starting work on a new series set 10,000 years before Game of Thrones

The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novels, will be broadcast next year - but it won’t be the last we see of the medieval fantasy epic.

Ending months of spectulation, Martin has confirmed that HBO will make a pilot episode for a spin-off series based on a script by British writer and producer Jane Goldman.

“This is a prequel, not a sequel,” he wrote on his blog. “None of the characters or actors from Game of Thrones will appear in the new show.

“We’re very early in the process, of course, with the pilot order just in, so we don’t have a director yet, or a cast, or a location, or even a title.”

What's it about?

The story “really puts the PRE in prequel”, Martin says, turning the clock back to the Age of Heroes, about 10,000 years before the events depicted in Game of Thrones.

“For those not well read in their Westerosi history,” says Den of Geek, that’s when “Bran the Builder constructed the Wall and founded House Stark, the Kings of Winter, at Winterfell... [and] the Casterlys, for whom Casterly Rock was named after, were swindled and cheated out of their mountainous fortress by Lann the Clever (who birthed the House of Lannister).”

It was a time of peace and harmony, interrupted by “the coming of the Long Night - a generation of winter - and a war that informed the modern world”.

Who is involved?

Jane Goldman, who is known for her screenplays for Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class and The Woman in Black, will serve as showrunner for the prequel, Martin confirmed on his blog.

“We’ve gone back and forth in email, text, and telephone, so I have definitely been involved” he said, “but really, the accolades here should go to Jane. She has been an absolute thrill to work with… and my god, what a talent.”

No casting or directorial appointments have been made yet.

When will it air?

HBO has said that any new series would not premiere until at least a year after Game of Thrones ends, meaning the summer of 2020 is the earliest possible broadcast date.

Will there be more?

The Age of Heroes-based prequel is one of several spin-offs under consideration.

Not all of them will make it to the screen, says Martin, but the selection of one script “does not mean the others are dead”.

He added: “Everything I am told indicates that we could film at least one more pilot, and maybe more than one, in the years to come. We do have an entire world and tens of thousands of years of history to play with, after all. But this is television, so nothing is certain.”

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