Fans of "Game of Thrones" who still don't know what to do with their Sunday nights now that the series is officially over won't have to wait too long for another excuse to dive into the world of Westeros, because HBO has just begun shooting one of the planned prequels.
While fans had been hoping for a spinoff series following Arya as she set sails to find what is west of Westeros, HBO seems to be interested in providing some backstories of George R. R. Martin's fantasy world instead.
It will take some time before we know the ins and outs of the new series that just began shooting, but there is some information out there about who is in the cast and when it will take place, compared to the time of events in "Game of Thrones." Here is what we know so far.
When does this new show take place?
Martin has said that the first show that HBO is developing will take place roughly 5,000 years before "Game of Thrones" started. Martin told Entertainment Weekly that "Westeros is a very different place. 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.”
So, there are no Targaryens in this new prequel, that means there won't be getting any CGI dragons to watch in awe. But don't worry too much. There could be other magical creatures in this new show because it takes place at the tail end of the Age of Heroes, which was full of wonder.
Who is in charge of the new show?
Martin himself will be heavily involved with the writing of this new series, along with showrunner Jane Goldman ( of "X-Men: First Class,") and director S.J. Clarkson ( of "Jessica Jones"). Martin has written a little bit about this time period in his blogs, but since there is no direct source material for this show, it's reassuring that he is on the team of creators.
Who will be in the show?
The biggest name on the show is Naomi Watts, who will play a “charismatic socialite with a dark secret," which isn't a whole lot to go off of, but as we know in Westeros, secrets don't stay secrets forever. Watts' co-star will be Josh Whitehouse, who stars in the U.K. period drama "Poldark." Other cast members include Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Miranda Richardson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Alex Sharp and Toby Regbo.
What is the show called?
There were reports that the show was working under the title "Bloodmoon," but there are also reports saying that the show will be called "The Long Night," which was the name of the third episode of the last season of "Game of Thrones."
What will the show be about?
As far as plot goes, we know virtually nothing, but there are certain folklore characters that lived during the Age of Heroes, such as Bran the Builder, who famously built the Wall to keep the White Walkers out of Westeros and is the founder of House Stark, and Lann the Clever, who is believed to be the founder of House Lannister.
We can also expect some magical creatures to make appearances such as the Children of the Forest and possibly some Giants, since they ruled the land of Westeros before the First Men invaded.
If the show is really called "The Long Night," that might mean that we're going to get some backstory about the rise of the White Walkers. We know from "Game of Thrones" that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers with dragonglass, and "The Long Night" is often referred to in the series as one of the worst time periods in Westeros' history. It was a winter that lasted an entire generation and saw the first rise of the White Walkers. Will we finally get more information on who the person behind the Night King is?
If we were to make some educated guesses, we'd bet that the new show will feature the creation of House Lannister, Bran the Builder, the rise of the White Walkers and even some scenes featuring the Night's Watch, since they fought the White Walkers the first time they invaded.
Where is the show being filmed?
It was recently announced that the pilot for the new series is being shot in Northern Ireland, which became almost a home base for "Game of Thrones" while it was in production for nearly 10 years. Most of the scenes that took place in the northern regions of Westeros in "GOT" were filmed in Northern Ireland, which could be another clue to what this new series will show us. It's said that Bran the Builder built Winterfell where the Starks live, so it's pretty possible Bran the Builder could show up in the new series.
When will it debut on HBO?
That's another tough question to answer. HBO is just shooting a pilot right now, so if it is greenlighted to become a series, we probably won't get a debut date until at least 2020. Since "GOT" normally debuted in the spring/early summer, who knows if it will be ready for that time in 2020. Our money is on the show premiering sometime in 2021. It's a long wait, but it sounds like it will be worth it.
So while we wait for these new prequels to start trickling in from HBO, it's as good a time as ever to rewatch "Game of Thrones" since it's all wrapped up, or to possibly read the "A Song of Ice and Fire" books that inspired the show (if Martin ever finishes the last two books) or do a deep dive on the internet and read some "GOT" fan fiction, in case you hated the way the show ended.