Game of Thrones prequel gets a start of production date

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Game of Thrones prequel update: The HBO pilot now has a filming start date.

The as-yet-untitled project will begin production in early summer, HBO programming president Casey Bloys told EW on Monday.

The news follows nearly a year of rumors of when the prequel to HBO’s all-time biggest hit will start filming. At one point there were reports that filming would start last October, and then another report predicted a February start date — none were confirmed by HBO, however. Last summer Bloys said told reporters he hoped to get the project underway sometime in the first half of 2019.

The move follows the prequel landing director SJ Clarkson (Jessica Jones) last month and announcing its full cast — which is led by Naomi Watts (King Kong), Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth), and Denise Gough (Broadway’s Angels in America).

Bloys has previously said that a prequel will not air until at least a year after GoT concludes. If greenlit to series the project theoretically could be on the air in 2020 or 2021. The prequel’s showrunner is Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class) based on a concept she developed with author George R.R. Martin and we hear a writers room is already up and running working on additional scripts should HBO decide to order more episodes.

There’s no official word yet on where the production will film, though the assumption has been that the production will take advantage of GoT‘s established home base in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Not a lot is known about the prequel’s story, which is officially described as: “Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: from the horrifying secrets of Westeros’s 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.” The show’s title is rumored to be The Long Night, but that’s not confirmed.

Martin has previously told EW that the prequel will be rather different than the original hit show, which returns in April for its final six epsiodes. “Westeros is a very different place” he 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.”

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