6 Things We Know About the Game of Thrones Prequel Series

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Although Game of Thrones still has one season to go, many fans of George RR Martin’s fictional world are already gearing up for his next television project: the prequel series.

While fans understandably have lots of questions—like which families and houses will be involved—we do know some key details already, many of which have been gleaned from inadvertent spoilers from Martin himself. (Oops!) Here is everything we know so far.

1. It will likely be titled The Long Night.

Although HBO has yet to confirm it, Martin did let it slip on his blog that the series will be titled The Long Night. Though we can't consider that a definite until the studio has announced it, it's pretty much the accepted title at this point, and even IMDb has officially adopted the moniker.

Martin did attempt to backtrack his spoiler by saying it’s not actually the title just yet. "HBO has informed me that the Jane Goldman pilot is not (yet) titled THE LONG NIGHT," he wrote on his blog. "That is certainly the title I prefer, but for the moment the pilot is still officially UNTITLED. So … mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa."

2. It's set about 5000 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

The ​prequel series is set thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, in the Age of Heroes. If Martin’s reveal of the title is true, it will be a bleak period, as the Long Night is what the people of Westeros call the time when darkness fell upon the Known World, and it lasted for a generation.

Martin recently made the time frame a bit clearer in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, explaining that it’s closer to 5000 years before the events in Game of Thrones, not the 10,000 years many fans had originally thought.

3. You won't hear any mention of King's Landing, the Iron Throne, or the Targaryens.

The story is set before the rise of Valyria, the city in which the House Targaryen originated. "Westeros is a very different place," Martin told Entertainment Weekly of the prequel series. "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." (Though just because we won't hear about them when the series kicks off, doesn't mean they couldn't pop up later.)

4. Two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts will star.

Naomi Watts attends the 14th Annual Worldwide Orphans Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on November 05, 2018 in New York City
Rob Kim, Getty Images

So far, two of the main characters have been cast in the series. The first is two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts, who, according to Variety, is playing "a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret." Fans have been speculating that because of her blonde hair and light complexion, her character could be someone related to the Lannister line.

Josh Whitehouse, who had a major role in the Masterpiece series Poldark and will star in the upcoming remake of Valley Girl, has also been cast in a mystery role.

5. George RR Martin is co-creating it with Kick-Ass, Kingsman, and X-Men screenwriter Jane Goldman.

Since it was announced the series was getting a pilot order, co-creators George RR Martin and Jane Goldman, who wrote the screenplays for Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and more, have been attached.

6. Filming is set to begin in early 2019.

Although there is no release date set for the prequel series, we do know that filming will begin in February 2019 in Belfast, Ireland—which likely means a 2020 release date (but that's just speculation). It will, of course, air on HBO.

New Game of Thrones Season 8 Teaser Features an Important Callback to the Very First Episode

HBO
HBO

On Sunday, January 13, HBO finally shared the air date for Game of Thrones's eighth and final season, along with a 90-second promo that featured Jon Snow and Sansa and Arya Stark walking through the Crypts of Winterfell with the voices of the late Lyanna, Catelyn, and Ned Stark heard as they passed each of their statues.

In the immediate aftermath of the new teaser, the biggest question on people's minds seemed to be the whereabouts of Bran Stark—and whether his absence from the trailer confirmed one of the long-held fan theories that Bran is in fact the Night King, or that he is the Three-Eyed Raven. But now that fans have had additional time to digest the footage, they've noticed something else: a clever callback to the series' first-ever episode from 2011.

Just after the 1:00 mark, the camera closes in on feather which quickly freezes over with ice. To the casual viewer, this may not seem like an important thing. But those who recall the show's tiniest details recognized the feather as a callback to the pilot episode of Game of Thrones, and a symbol of Jon Snow's true parentage.

As Business Insider reminds us in "Winter is Coming"—the first aired episode of Game of Thrones—Lyanna's statue was shown in very much the same way that we see it in the new teaser, with King Robert Baratheon placing a feather on it. Fast forward to the fifth season, and you may remember Sansa visiting Lyanna's crypt and picking up that same feather. Both of these scenes hinted that Lyanna was Jon's real mother—a fact that was confirmed in season seven, when it was revealed that he is indeed the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, who were secretly married in Dorne. (Though Jon doesn't know it yet.)

Ever since that revelation, we've suspected that Jon—who is believed to be the bastard son of Ned Stark—will finally learn about his parents in the final season, and the teaser seems to confirm that it will be an important storyline. Especially considering the growing romance between Jon and Daenerys Targaryen, who is Rhaegar's sister … making her Jon's aunt (unbeknownst to either of them, of course).

The final season of Game of Thrones will premiere on April 14, 2019.

Why Chris Evans Turned Down the Role of Captain America 'A Few Times'

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

In 2011, Chris Evans made his first big-screen appearance as superhero Steve Rogers/Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger. It may now seem impossible for Marvel fans to imagine any other actor in the role, but Evans once admitted that it took a lot of convincing to get him to sign on for the part.

While appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2016, Evans revealed that he actually turned down the project "a few times" before finally saying yes. When asked by Kimmel why he was so reluctant to play such a popular superhero, Evans replied that, "I was scared."

In addition to admitting to "having some social anxiety with this industry," Evans explained that his main hesitation was in signing what was ostensibly a nine-picture contract. "In doing movies one at a time, if all of a sudden you decide you don't want to do it anymore, you're afforded the opportunity to take a step back and recalibrate," Evans said. "When you have a giant contract, if all of a sudden you're not responding well? Too bad, you've got to suit up again. That was scary."

Though he initially declined the role, Evans said the offer just kept coming back to him. And after talking to family and friends about it, he realized what an amazing opportunity he was being offered—and what was holding him back.

"I was saying no out of fear, really," Evans said. "You can't do anything out of fear. You can't be doing something because you're scared. It ended up kind of clicking to me in the way that whatever you're scared of, push yourself into it."

Evans's Captain America has gone on to become one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most popular characters, though it's largely rumored that Avengers: Endgame will mark his final outing as The Captain. Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, and Keke Palmer are just a few of the actors whose names are swirling as possible replacements for Evans.

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